David Fincher Directing Mank for Netflix, Gary Oldman to Play Citizen Kane Writer

David Fincher is heading back to the director’s chair for a new biopic, which he’s making for Netflix, and Gary Oldman is coming with him. It’s been revealed that Fincher will make his first new movie in five years with Mank, which will chronicle the life of famed screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, the man who co-wrote Citizen Kane, amongst many other classics. What’s more, the movie was actually, originally written by the filmmaker’s late father, Howard Fincher.

According to several new reports, David Fincher has locked down a deal for Mank with Netflix and the plan is to begin filming in November. The movie will shoot in Los Angeles, with Gary Oldman set to portray the legendary screenwriter. Perhaps most interesting of all, Fincher will shoot the movie in black and white. Netflix has proved that they don’t have any issue allowing filmmakers to shoot high-dollar, high-profile dramas in black and white, as was demonstrated with Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma last year, which very nearly saw the streaming service walk away with a Best Picture Oscar.

This project has a long, fascinating history. Originally, David Fincher wanted to direct it as his follow-up to The Game, which was released in 1997. However, he ran into issues with the studio over his insistence on shooting it in black and white. So, he moved onto other things. Now, all these years later, he’s going to make it as his follow-up to 2014’s Gone Girl instead. At one point, Fincher had now-disgraced actor Kevin Spacey targeted for the lead role. With Gary Oldman, we have a seasoned and respected actor who is coming off of his recent Best Actor Oscar win for playing Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.

Herman J. Mankiewicz was one of the most respected and well-paid writers in early Hollywood. Some of his contributions include Man of the World, Dinner at Eight, Pride of the Yankees, The Pride of St. Louis and even The Wizard of Oz, which he wasn’t officially credited for. But it’s his work with the legendary Orson Welles on the screenplay for Citizen Kane that he is most famous for. Not just because that’s still considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made, but because he and Welles clashed in a big way over the screenplay credit. Ultimately, the two shared the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for their work. Yet, the situation was incredibly contentious.

David Fincher already has a great relationship with Netflix, having co-created/produced House of Cards and Mindhunter, in addition to his work on the animated series Love, Death & Robots. This comes as the streaming service is said to be tightening its wallet when it comes to big-budget projects. Yet, at the same time, they’re gunning hard to assert themselves as a major player and they desperately want Oscar-worthy projects. This has Academy Awards written all over it. There is no word yet on when we could actually see Mank arrive, but late 2020 seems realistic. This news was previously reported by Deadline.