Having not made a film since 2014’s Gone Girl, David Fincher finally has another project in the works. Unsurprisingly, it’s at Netflix, where the director has had much success with series such as Mindhunter and House Of Cards.
Fincher will direct a long-gestating dream project of his. Titled Mank, the film is about Herman J. Mankiewicz, the man who shared the Best Original Screenplay Oscar with Orson Welles for writing Citizen Kane. The main reason it’s a dream project? The script was penned by Fincher’s late father, Howard Fincher, before his death in 2003.
Gary Oldman is on board to play Mankiewicz, and Fincher will shoot the film in black-and-white.
Mankiewicz was one of the best known and best paid screenwriters in the early days of Hollywood. He clashed loudly with Welles over screenwriting credit for Citizen Kane, and it took a great toll on him. He also worked on The Wizard Of Oz, Pride Of The Yankees, and Pride Of St. Louis. He was known for his satirical sense of humour, but his real-life story isn’t a particularly happy one.
Mank was, at one point, going to be Fincher’s follow-up to 1997’s The Game. However, the project fell apart because of Fincher’s insistence that he shoot in black and white, as Citizen Kane was shot. And obviously, with a script penned by his father, a former Life Magazine bureau chief, it’s understandable that Fincher wasn’t going to budge on his demands.
This is great news, as for a while it looked as if Fincher may struggle to make another film. Directors like him, Michael Mann, and David Lynch – stalwarts of the 90s and early 2000s – now struggle to get their passion projects made, as studios don’t want to take a punt on an expensive, original film.
For a while it looked as if Fincher would direct World War Z 2. It seemed a curious decision, but helming a sequel was pretty much the only way he could get a massive budget to play with. However, that eventually fell through. Fincher is notorious for not compromising his vision – something he learned on the set of the behind-the-scenes disaster Alien 3 – and wasn’t going to to do so at this point in his career.
Thus, the fact that Mank is even getting made is great news. That it looks like it’s being made the way Fincher has always wanted is even better. It’s no surprise that he’s re-teaming with Netflix, a studio willing to give its top filmmakers full creative control.
The film will go behind the cameras in November for a Los Angeles shoot. It’s possible the film arrives in 2020, but don’t bet on it.