“Mank” tells the exciting story of a talented but troubled artist behind the movie “Citizen Kane”. It is not about the story of Orson Wells, the director of “Citizen Kane”, the greatest movie ever. , But revolved around an alcoholic writer-Herman J. Mankiewicz. Mankiewicz is actually behind the revolutionary non-linear narrative structure of the film “Citizen Kane” and the corrosive description of wealth and power.
“He was one of those voices that pointed the way,” said David Fincher, the director who took nearly 30 years to make “Mank” a reality. “I hope the audience can see this generation with joy. Wisdom. This generation has been forgotten in some ways and has never got what they deserve.”
“Mank” will be launched on Netflix on December 4th. Although it will also be shown in some theaters, most people will still treat it as a streaming movie. Before the film went live, it was praised by film critics, and Rotten Tomatoes was 90% fresh. It is a miracle that a unique project like “Mank” can be approved. The film’s script was written by the director’s father, Jack Finch, and was originally planned to be produced by Polykram in the 1990s. Before the sexual harassment scandal, Kevin Spacey was once discussed as the starring role. Judy Foster is considered to play Hirst’s mistress-Marion Davis.
However, the film company was hesitant to insist on Vinci’s insistence on shooting this story with black and white lenses to pay tribute to Greg Tolan’s expressionist photography in Citizen Kane.
“Producer Polykram backed down,” Finch recalled. “We had to shoot with color film, then make corrections, and finally make it into a black and white version. This shooting process was clearly not approved by the studio.”
Until David Fincher collaborated with Netflix, to his surprise, Netflix not only agreed to start making “Mank”, but also agreed to make a black and white movie. Netflix’s vice president of original films, Scott Stubb, said, “We did not have any anxiety when we made this film because he is David Fincher and he is the best. We know that he is working on this project. How long it took, and I know how private this project is to him.”
The movie finally started in November 2019, with Gary Oldman as Mankiewicz, Amanda Seyfried as Davis, and Charles Dans as Hearst. At this time, a key creative director is missing. The scriptwriter Jack Fincher, the father of David Fincher, died in 2003 at the age of 72 and left us more than 10 years before the production of “Mank” began.
He used to be an avid movie lover and began to write scripts after he retired from the press, but what inspired his son David Fincher was his story about the birth of the “Citizen Kane” script, although he felt that the initial efforts were not Achieve the desired result.
Jack Finch’s script involves an interesting historical background: the 1934 election between California Governor Frank Merrim and the Socialist Democrat Upton Sinclair. In this campaign, Hollywood producer Owen Thalberg produced the first negative advertisements at the request of MGM boss Louis Mayer. For this key secondary plot in the script, Finch was not interested at first.
“I don’t understand.” Finch said, “Fake News is too bizarre. Who really cares if there was any evil in 1934?” However, in 2020, the director had to admit that this movie A certain part of may resonate strongly with viewers who have just gone through this year’s US election.
David Fincher used a digital camera to shoot “Mank”, but he and his creative team took great pains to make the film look like it was shot on film. They processed the images through digital technology, and also designed sound effects that included the crackling sounds that appeared in the movies of World War II to make it look more black and white.
“He wants to feel like watching this movie as if you saw “Citizen Kane” in a basement, next to it is “Mank”.” Film production designer Donald Graham Burt said, “He wants it to watch It looks more like something from that era, and doesn’t want the audience to know when we filmed.”
Vinci is a person who pays attention to all aspects of accuracy, but this does not extend to the characterization of Mankiewicz by the starring Gary Oldman. At the time of the filming, Oldman was 61 years old, 20 years older than Mankiewicz when he wrote Citizen Kane, but he looked nothing like Mankiewicz’s weak baldness. Looking back at Oldman’s previous roles, from Winston Churchill to Earl Dracula, who relied heavily on makeup and clothing, now he wants to pull off the hairline and make a fake nose.
David Fincher said, “I need such an actor. When I walk into the room, everyone will say,’This is the person.’ You need an actor among the actors. If you choose a role based on height and hairline , Then you missed the most important part.”
Vinci was attracted by Mankiewicz’s way of telling the truth and his way of using jokes as a defense mechanism against an unfair world. He was also fascinated by the key roles that Mankiewicz and other early screenwriters such as Ben Hecht and Edwin Justus Meyer played in helping the film industry move from the silent era to the sound film era.
Although “Mank” looks back on Hollywood’s past, it also helped lead a wave of new movies about other classic film productions. Vinci joked that he is creating a new genre that will soon have its own turf on Netflix.