This year will go down as one of the weirdest and messiest in Hollywood’s history. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the release of some of the biggest movies of the year have been pushed back to late 2020 or even the summer of 2021, and it remains to be seen how The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will handle the annual Academy Awards. But even without any solid plans in place yet, Netflix is planning on giving a traditional awards season release to David Fincher‘s next film, Mank.
If this is your first time hearing about Mank, it’s the first feature film directed by David Fincher since he was at the helm of Gone Girl in 2014. Mank tells the story of writer Herman J. Mankiewicz, played by Gary Oldman, who famously wrote the script to Orson Welles’ influential classic Citizen Kane. There was famously tension between the writer and the director as Welles took all the credit for Citizen Kane‘s script, and he reportedly even offered Mankiewicz a $10,000 bonus to take his name off the script, though Welles has denied those claims.
Part of the drama between Welles and Mankiewicz was used in the HBO drama RKO 281, starring John Malkovich as Mankiewicz and Liev Schreiber as Welles, but this is the first time that an entire movie will be focusing on Mankiewicz himself. On top of his work on Citizen Kane, Mankiewicz was also known to be a famous script doctor who worked on many big films without receiving any credit on the movies themselves.
Since this is a drama ingrained in Hollywood and it’s coming from an esteemed director like Fincher, Netflix is obviously hoping it will get some awards love when the time comes. That’s why they’re planning on releasing it in October, according to the film’s screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, Munich). Roth recently appeared on Pardon My Take (via The Film Stage), and here’s what he had to say about the movie after confirming the fall release window:
“It’s an incredible piece. He did a black-and-white ’30s movie. It looks like a ’30s movie and feels like one. Six people will go see it, but it’s pretty amazing.”
Roth’s tongue-in-cheek remark about six people going to see it probably isn’t too far off the mark. It’s not just that this movie probably isn’t extremely appealing to general audiences, who have no idea who Herman J. Mankiewicz is, but Netflix usually doesn’t give movies like this a wide theatrical release, often opting for minimal screen presence in order to qualify for awards consideration. But for cinephiles like you and me, this movie sounds right up our alley.
Mank also stars Tom Burke as Orson Welles, Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies, Lily Collins as Rita Alexander, Mankiewicz’s secretary, and Tom Pelphrey as Mankiewicz’s brother Joseph, and Tuppence Middelton as Mankiewicz’s wife Sara. The cast also features Arliss Howard, Ferdinand Kingsley, Jamie McShane, Joseph Cross, Sam Troughton, and Toby Leonard Moore. The Social Network composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are also reteaming with Fincher to provide the score.
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