EXCLUSIVE: David Fincher’s Mank has been near the top of the heap this awards season, scoring the most nominations at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards and a place on the AFI Top 10 movies of 2020 for the take on the relationship of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles during the writing of the iconic Citizen Kane.
Those noms include posthumous recognition for the screenplay, written by Fincher’s father Jack, who died in 2003. It was David who encouraged his dad to explore the story between the two men, along with it the idea of taking responsibility for one’s ideas put into the world, and the reality-altering power that creates.
The evolution of the script, as Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. put it after its Globes nomination: “After retiring, [Jack Fincher] turned to crafting a script about the behind the scenes on a movie he loved, Citizen Kane. He chose the evolution of Herman Mankiewicz from a tipsy intellectual script doctor to a man who found his courage in authorship on a movie that took on his benefactor, William Randolph Hearst. Jack Fincher could not get anyone to bite on his script while he was alive. His son, then regarded as a visionary helmer of commercials and videos, was just making his debut on Alien 3, a movie that disappointed. No studio wanted to make a movie designed to be in black and white, and when pitched amounted to a credit arbitration between Mankiewicz and Orson Welles. After he made the groundbreaking Netflix series House of Cards and Mindhunter, [David] Fincher used the currency at Netflix to muscle through Mank and make it in black and white, exactly as Jack Fincher scripted it, a profound way to honor the memory of his father.”
The result: the first film credit for the journalist and essayist, 17 years after his death, and a Netflix film that is both an ode to Old Hollywood and the art of filmmaking.
It also has made an Oscar frontrunner of Gary Oldman, who won the prize for playing Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour and is now up for a Globe, SAG and Critics Choice prizes for playing Mankiewicz.
Click on the Mank script here:
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