The film is Fincher’s first feature directing effort since 2014’s “Gone Girl” and chronicles Herman Mankiewicz’s (Gary Oldman) race to finish the “Citizen Kane” screenplay for Orson Welles (Tom Burke).
Fincher shot on location at Kemper Campbell Ranch in Victorville, Calif., where Mankiewicz spent more than two months laboring on the first draft of a screenplay widely considered to be among the greatest ever written. Mankiewicz, notorious in Hollywood for his heavy drinking, stayed clean due to the ranch’s strict no-alcohol policy. That left him free to focus on Welles’ script.
Mankiewicz delivered a 300-page script to Welles, titled “American” which was then heavily edited. He spent time tweaking the script with input and revisions from Welles, whittling things down to a more manageable 156 pages.
However, the “Who really wrote ‘Citizen Kane?’” question is legendary. Mankiewicz sought screenplay credit and was eventually awarded it by RKO. The film’s screenplay credit reads: “Screenplay by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles.” Although Netflix has not released any official synopsis, the film’s logline is “1930s Hollywood is re-evaluated through the eyes of scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish the screenplay of ‘Citizen Kane’ for Orson Welles,” and one can assume this will be addressed.
“Citizen Kane” would go on to receive nine Academy Award nominations. Its only Oscar win was in the best original screenplay category. The statue was shared by Mankiewicz and Welles.
“Mank” also stars Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies and Lily Collins as Rita Alexander. Fincher reunites with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who worked on “The Social Network” and “Gone Girl,” for the film’s score. No official release date has been set for the film, but it is expected to hit the streaming service and some number of theaters this fall.