David Fincher is directing the biopic Mank for Netflix about Citizen Kane co-writer Herman Mankiewicz, with Gary Oldman set to star. Although Mankiewicz is best known as Orson Welles screenwriting partner on Citizen Kane - for which they received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay - he worked on many other films throughout his career, including The Wizard of Oz, The Pride of the Yankees and Duck Soup.
The Mankiewicz biopic will be Fincher’s first feature film since 2014’s Gone Girl. Since then, he’s worked mostly in television producing and directing Netflix shows, including House of Cards, Mindhunter, and Love, Death & Robots. Fincher has considerable experience in the biopic genre too: he directed Oscar-winner The Social Network in 2010, and was set to direct Steve Jobs before he was replaced by Danny Boyle.
Variety reports that Fincher’s latest biopic is titled Mank - a reference to Mankiewicz’s nickname - and is based on a script penned by the director’s late father Jack Fincher before his death in 2003. Fincher will produce the film alongside his producer wife Ceán Chaffin and Douglas Urbanski, and intends to shoot the movie in black and white with production slated to begin this November. Plot details are currently unknown, but Variety reports that sources close to the project say the film will focus on Mankiewicz’s involvement with the development of the script for Citizen Kane, which saw he and Welles almost come to blows over who should be credited.
Star Gary Oldman is certainly no stranger to a biopic. Over the course of his career he’s portrayed many real-life people, including punk rocker Sid Vicious in Sid & Nancy, composer Ludwig van Beethoven in Immortal Beloved, and presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK. More recently, Oldman tacked the role of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, which won him an Oscar for best actor, and will soon play Jürgen Mossack, co-founder of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, in The Laundromat - another upcoming Netflix production about the Panama Papers scandal, directed by Steven Soderbergh. It’ll be interesting to see what Oldman makes of Mankiewicz - a man described by his peers as both charming and witty but a hard drinker too.
Netflix seems taken with the biopic genre lately. In addition to The Laundromat, the streaming giant also recently released The Dirt – a biopic about infamous rock band Mötley Crüe. It’s also teaming up with legendary director Martin Scorsese to make a biopic about mob enforcer Frank Sheeran called The Irishman, and developing a Hulk Hogan biopic with Chris Hemsworth set to star. We’ll update you on the progress of Mank when more information is revealed.