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Long before it showed off a single frame of footage, David Fincher’s Mank was my most anticipated of the year. Because it’s David Fincher, for starters. And because he’s tackling the myth of the making of Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. Sign me up. Wait, he’s casting Gary Oldman as Herman Mankiewicz, the screenwriter who teamed with Welles to harpoon media giant William Randolph Hearst? Where do I begin? Start here, with the full trailer for Mank, which just dropped. Check it out above.
Currently, I am halfway through a rewatch on Citizen Kane (it’s on HBO Max, if you want to do the same), and it’s all in preparation for David Fincher’s Mank. Long considered one of the greatest – if not THE greatest – movie ever made, Citizen Kane cast director Orson Welles as a fictional mogul Charles Foster Kane, who was really just publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst in broad caricature.
Primarily known for his successes in newspaper publishing, Hearst also was a budding politician with skeletons in his closet that made for juicy exploration on the screen. However, William Randolph Hearst also wielded a lot of power, and provoking him with a movie like Citizen Kane seemed like an ill-fated decision for Orson Welles and his collaborators.
Enter David Fincher, stylized storyteller behind such masterpieces as Zodiac, Seven and The Social Network. He takes a screenplay credited to his late father, and casts it with heavy hitters who can hold their own in a period drama about the drama behind Citizen Kane. Gary Oldman agrees to play screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz opposite Tom Burke’s Orson Welles (and damn if the man doesn’t sound EXACTLY like Welles in that new trailer. Lily Collins and Amanda Seyfried join the production, each looking like they stepped off of the screen in the 1930s.
And Game of Thrones icon Charles Dance plays William Randolph Hearst. Hello, Academy? Call off the show this year, and hand everything to Mank.
Now the challenge falls to Netflix. The streaming giant has been trying to break through the awards barrier during the most recent cycles with prestige pictures such as Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, or Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. Based on the reaction of Film Twitter, Mank is highly anticipated by the expected film snobs (myself, included) who dream of a Fincher tell-all about Citizen Kane. But can the streaming company get regular customers excited about Mank? Can they convince Hubie Halloween supporters to give it a try?
The new poster for the movie, shared above, has a December 4 release date. The film will be in select theaters, but also available on the Netflix platform. We can only hope that positive word of mouth keeps the buzz swirling on Mank until the Oscars roll around in… April? Sheesh, that’s a long way away.