No one can play an unraveling genius like Gary Oldman, though the “genius” part may be in question in David Fincher‘s highly anticipated return to feature filmmaking, Mank. Fincher’s first film in six years is a portrait of 1930s Hollywood, with Oldman’s Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz at the center — though most people just call him Mank. Watch the official Mank trailer below.
Fincher’s first film since 2014’s Gone Girl has been long in the making. Penned by his father Jack Fincher, Mank is Fincher’s passion project that he has been working on since at least 1997. And it’s curious how it took so long: the premise of the behind-the-scenes battle over the making of Citizen Kane sounds like the kind of juicy industry story that Hollywood falls head over heels for. But perhaps it was Fincher’s grand vision of not just the story of Herman J. Mankiewicz — whose credit for the Citizen Kane screenplay was famously a point of contention between him and director Orson Welles, who would claim credit — but as an ode to 1930s Hollywood in all its black and white glory.
Producer Eric Roth teased as much in June, saying, “It’s an incredible piece. He did a black-and-white ’30s movie. It looks like a ’30s movie and feels like one.” And we see how Mank lives and breathes 1930s Hollywood in the new official trailer, which revolves less around Citizen Kane as it does around Mankiewicz’s indulgent lifestyle and unraveling psyche as he attempts to write a screenplay about William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance), with the shadow of Orson Welles looming over the entire process. The trailer is fragmented and jumbled, but probably intentionally so, as one character makes the same criticism about Mank’s screenplay. “Welcome to my mind,” Mank replies.
Gary Oldman stars as Mankiewicz, with Tom Burke playing Orson Welles, Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies, Lily Collins as Rita Alexander, Arliss Howard as Louis B. Mayer, Charles Dance as William Randolph Hearst, Tom Pelphrey as Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Tuppence Middleton as Sara Mankiewicz, Joseph Cross as Charles Lederer, Craig Robert Young as Charlie Chaplin, Sebastian Faure as Clark Gable, Michelle Twarowska as Joan Crawford, Scarlet Cummings as Bette Davis, Natalie Denise Sperl as Greta Garbo, Trevor Wooldridge as Darryl F. Zanuck, Ferdinand Kingsley as Irving Thalberg, and Toby Leonard Moore as David O. Selznick.
Here is the (brief) synopsis for Mank:
1930s Hollywood is re-evaluated through the eyes of scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish the screenplay of Citizen Kane for Orson Welles.
Mank will open in select theaters in November before arriving on Netflix on December 4, 2020.
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