With Mank, director David Fincher realized a long-cherished dream of shooting a screenplay by his father Jack Fincher, who died in 2003. The story takes place in the Golden Age of Hollywood and against the making of Orson Welles’ masterpiece Citizen Kane, a film that many still consider the greatest ever made. But as cast members say during a conversation about the film at the resourcingstrategies Contenders Film Awards season, the Netflix film isn’t about Welles, but about the man it hired, Herman Mankiewicz, played by the Oscar winner Gary Oldman.
“It was a wonderful script. Jack Fincher really did his homework in my opinion and captured Mank, “said Oldman, zooming in from London and making a quote referring to the man he plays:” It’s a terrible thing to do that you hate, and then turn around and you. I am an old man. “
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“He was a script doctor who felt he had wasted his talents and definitely drank them away,” added Oldman in the discussion, which included co-stars Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins and Charles Dance. He says that Mankiewicz, who shared Kane’s only Oscar win with Welles (who later put his name on the script), used an evil sense of humor to counter his own self-loathing.
Seyfried plays the movie star Marion Davies, whose relationship with William Randolph Hearst helped her boyfriend Mank gain access to his private domain and legendary parties. This experience led to the fictional creation of Charles Foster Kane. “It was a challenge for me to fit into this world, to transport it into the 30s and to believe that I was in that position … but it was absolutely welcome for me as an actor,” she says.
Collins played Rita, an assistant to Mank and a kind of “moral compass” for him, as she describes her role, a rare ray of light. And Charles Dance came from London to talk about playing the imposing Hearst and suggested that maybe Rupert Murdoch is the closest to him.
“He was an extremely powerful, and let’s face it, rich man who felt he could do whatever he wanted with his money,” says Dance of Hearst, which is definitely an understatement.
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