Mank: 6 Quick Things To Know About David Fincher's New Movie

Gary Oldman, Arliss Howard, and Tom Pelphrey in Mank

It has been a little more than six years to the day since David Fincher's most recent movie, Gone Girl, was released in theaters, but the next entry in the visionary director's filmography will soon be playing in front of millions of screens (computer screens, that is) when Mank is released on Netflix. But with the release of the film still months away, there may be some out there who are wondering what's going on with Fincher's 11th movie.

Truth be told, there's quite a bit to know about the upcoming Hollywood insider story about the contentious relationship between screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz and director/actor Orson Wells. For starters, there's a lot to know about what Mank is about, how long the movie has been in the works, its impact on Fincher's other projects, and when we will finally see the anticipated Netflix drama about the man who supposedly came up with the infamous "Rosesbud" line in Citizen Kane.

Orson Welles in Citizen Kane

Mank Centers On The Making Of Citizen Kane

Anytime Orson Welles' name is brought up, one of the first things, if not the first, to come to mind is Citizen Kane. David Fincher's upcoming drama centers on the man who wrote the film's screenplay, Herman J. Mankiewicz and the struggles he had with the iconic filmmaker throughout the production as well as prior to the film's release, primarily to do with the screenplay and who should receive credit for the only part of the movie that won an Academy Award (Best Original Screenplay), according to Variety.

In the role of Herman J. Mankiewicz is Gary Oldman, who plays against Tom Burke's Orson Welles. Other members of the cast include Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies, Lily Collins as Rita Alexander, Arliss Howard as Louis B. Mayer, and Charles Dance as William Randolph Hearst, whose life was the inspiration for Citizen Kane.

Gary Oldman in Mank

David Fincher's Father, Jack, Wrote The Screenplay In The 1990s

A film based on Herman J. Mankiewicz's struggle during the production of Citizen Kane was been in the works for decades at this point, and the screenplay for David Fincher's Mank was written in the 1990s by the director's late father and former LIFE Magazine San Francisco bureau chief, Howard "Jack" Fincher. According to IndieWire, the movie has been something of a passion project for the younger Fincher for quite some time now and was even in the works prior to his father's 2003 death. However, the project never got beyond the early pre-production planning stages until this most recent incarnation picked up steam in 2019.

Amanda Seyfried in Mank

Mank's Principal Photography Wrapped In February 2020

After more than 20 years of starting and stopping, production on Mank got underway in November 2019 and wrapped in February 2020, just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered film and television sets around the world. This was confirmed by Amanda Seyfried in a June 2020 conversation with Collider where she revealed that she was surprised they were able to get everything finished by late February, considering how much footage director David Fincher insisted on getting during the three-month shoot, including one that took five days:

I was part of scenes with tons of people in it and we would do it for an entire week. I can't tell you how many takes we did, but I would guess 200, maybe I could be wrong and could be way off. Um, I could be underestimating by five days of one scene when I didn't have one line… 'You think I can just relax? No, because there are probably nine or 10 different camera angles that had been on me at one point.

Amanda Seyfried also said in the interview that Mank was the hardest movie she's ever worked on, but she was thrilled to be a part of it.

Charles Dance in Mank

Mank Was Shot Entirely In Black And White

Upon looking at the first set of images Netflix released for Mank, it's evident that the movie was entirely shot in black and white. David Fincher's insistence to shoot the movie in that way is one of the reasons it has taken more than 20 years to move forward with the project, as he explained in a 2009 conversation with Empire (via The Fincher Analyst):

We tried. It was too expensive. Because if you're going to make a Hollywood insider movie — it's nothing to do with Hollywood really, it's Hollywood in the late '30s, early '40s — you've got to make it really cheaply. We had a chance to make the movie for, like, $13 million, back in 1998 and, um [guiltily] I wanted to make it in black and white. [Laughs] And that fucked up all those home video and video sellthrough and cable deals. I haven't read it in a while. I probably should.

In recent years, however, movies shot in black and white have proved to be rather successful, including Alfonso Cuarón's 2019 Academy Award winner Roma as well as Pawel Pawlikowski's 2018 Oscar-nominated Cold War. And David Fincher has some experience in shooting in black and white, most notably his 1990 music video for Madonna's "Vogue."

Jonathan Groff on Mindhunter

Mank Is The Reason Mindhunter Season 3 Was Delayed

David Fincher has put his full attention into the production and release of Mank, even if that means that his hit Netflix crime drama Mindhunter, more specifically, the show's third season, will have to wait for some time. In late 2019, right around the time Fincher's upcoming biopic entered production, THR reported that plans for Mindhunter Season 3 were put on hold. There is still no word on when Fincher will pick things back up with the story about the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit and its major players, but with a two-year break between the first two seasons, we'll probably be waiting a while to see Holden Ford, Bill Tench, and Wendy Carr again.

Lily Collins and Gary Oldman in Mank

Mank Will Be Released In Select Theaters In November, Netflix December 4

With the star-studded cast, the involvement of David Fincher, and centering on the production of one of the most iconic films of all time, it's safe to say that Netflix is going to make a push for award season with Mank. And that appears to be the case now that the movie has been given a limited theater run at some point in November before making it streaming debut on Netflix on December 4, 2020. That being said, it appears we don't have to wait too much longer to see the latest offering from Fincher and his take on the making of one of the most important movies in the history of Hollywood.

There is still a lot that can happen between now and the release of Mank, so make sure to check back for all the latest information on David Fincher's next movie. If you want to know more about other upcoming Netflix releases, make sure to check out our 2020 Netflix schedule here at CinemaBlend.

Philip Sledge
Content Writer

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or chatting about professional wrestling to his wife. Writing gigs with school newspapers, multiple daily newspapers, and other varied job experiences led him to this point where he actually gets to write about movies, shows, wrestling, and documentaries (which is a huge win in his eyes). If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.