It’s been five years since David Fincher released his last feature “Gone Girl.” The wait may very well be over soon as Fincher has signed on to direct “Mank,” a forthcoming Netflix feature about the life and times of “Citizen Kane” co-screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz. The film will no doubt tackle the Welles-vs-Mankiewicz feud, which has been a controversial point of contention for cinephiles, especially after the 1971 publication of Pauline Kael’s much-disputed essay, which claimed that the mastermind behind the ‘Kane’ screenplay was solely Mankiewicz. I do wonder if Fincher will portray Wells as the villain or if he will try to give a fair assessment of what actually went on behind-the-scenes with ‘Kane.’ Kael’s assertions were debunked numerous times by historians and scholars.
Gary Oldman (61 years of age) is set to play 44-year-old Mankiewicz.
The film could very well be released in 2020.
Response from from Orson Welles biographer Joe McBride [via HE]:
"David Fincher is a good director, but I fear this will be more of the shameless Pauline
Kael/Ben Mankiewicz BS.
"Robert Carringer definitively refuted her by doing the actual research she neglected to do, i.e., reading the seven drafts of the Citizen Kane screenplay. He concluded that the co-screen writing credit [between Orson Welles and Herman Mankiewicz) is correct.
"I was one of those writing criticisms of Kael at the time.
She called me the day her piece came out. I later wrote about the controversy in A NEW LITERARY HISTORY OF AMERICA, eds. Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors (Harvard University Press, 2009):
"Andrew Sarris pointed out the irony that I was the first person to study
Mankiewicz’s work on Citizen Kane and [that I gave] it its due with an appendix on the script in the Welles section of my 1968 book PERSISTENCE OF VISION: A COLLECTION OF FILM CRITICISM."
Posted a few years back —
The five classics directed by David Fincher: “Zodiac,” “The Social Network,” “Seven,” “Fight Club,” “The Game”