Mank and Screenwriters

In Mank, there’s a scene where screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, played by Gary Oldman, awakens disoriented in a California mansion. He soon wanders out back to a film set, where he encounters two studio bigwigs. One of them is Louis B. Mayer, the co-founder of MGM. The other is Irving G. Thalberg, a producer who has his own Academy Award named after him. Thalberg has to explain to Mayer who “Mank” is, even though he co-wrote one of their movies (just as he co-wrote, or depending on who you ask, wrote Citizen Kane, often considered the greatest movie ever made).

In snappy dialogue, a quick picture unfolds of Mank and his place in the Hollywood ecosystem. He’s a hired gun who’s used to receiving notes from execs in “the oversight tent.” This is a businessman’s backyard where “movies are a team sport” and where studios “use writers by the truckload,” sometimes all at once, sometimes in relays. The astute viewer knows what Mank knows: that it’s usually a sign of trouble when you see a movie with a revolving door of screenwriters.

At this year’s Oscars, due to air on Sunday, Mank leads the pack with 10 nominations. Citizen Kane had nine yet it only won Best Original Screenplay—an ironic footnote, given that the film helped set the prototype for the auteur, or director-as-author. Like so many other crew members who labor behind the scenes to bring film narratives to life, screenwriters may not inspire the same brand-name loyalty as directors. However, their scripts are where the storytelling begins; and as Mank shows, it’s a process where words matter as much as moving pictures.

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VFX Artists React to Mortal Kombat

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, the gang from Corridor Crew react to the visual effects in the new Mortal Kombat movie trailer, Species, and RoboCop. Plus, check out The Hollywood Reporter’s actors roundtable with Sacha Baron Cohen, John David Washington, Steven Yeun, and more. And finally, take a look back at the Disneyland attraction Adventure Thru Inner Space, featuring a rather infamous corporate sponsor. Read More »

david fincher on hollywood

I’m tipsy, and I’m thinking about Mank, both the movie and the man. I like to think he’d enjoy the thought of somebody drinking and writing about a portrayal of himself almost 70 years after his death. Maybe I’m wrong. What I do know is that Mank is a great movie.

Mank is also Fincher’s most revealing work to date. It is an epic drama that conveys what he has to say about films and the people behind them. Fincher isn’t exactly known for his warmth as a storyteller. The ending of The Game and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button are the possible exceptions, but even those are about how death is coming for us all. Mank is a rare life-affirming experience from the filmmaker, about the importance of people, not films. 

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mank trailer final

Mank is now on Netflix, and the streaming service decided to release one last trailer to seal the deal. This final Mank trailer is appropriately old-timey, cut like the type of trailers for Hollywood’s yesterday. It also comes with plenty of gushing pull-quotes to remind you that this is a prestige picture over at Netflix. Watch the latest, and final, Mank trailer below.

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mank review

“It isn’t enough to tell us what a man did. You’ve got to tell us who he was.” – Citizen Kane

Herman J. Mankiewicz, genius Hollywood screenwriter, has been sent away to Arizona. Broken – his leg is in a thick cast following a car accident – and eager to get drunk at the drop of a hat, Mank – as everyone calls him – has been tasked with hammering out a screenplay for Hollywood’s new golden boy, Orson Welles. And Mank has a whopper of an idea: he’s going to write about newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, one of the most powerful men in the country. It’s a subject Mank is well-versed in, having spent countless nights drunkenly cavorting at Hearst’s castle-like estate San Simeon. Mank knows Hearst. Knows the people in Hearst’s inner-circle. And with his clacking typewriter, he’s going to destroy them all – and possibly himself, in the process.

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mank trailer

No one can play an unraveling genius like Gary Oldman, though the “genius” part may be in question in David Fincher‘s highly anticipated return to feature filmmaking, Mank. Fincher’s first film in six years is a portrait of 1930s Hollywood, with Oldman’s Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz at the center — though most people just call him Mank. Watch the official Mank trailer below.

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mank trailer

David Fincher is back with his first feature film since 2014’s Gone Girl, and that’s cause for celebration. Mank is a 1930s Hollywood story about Herman J. Mankiewicz, the screenwriter who wrote the screenplay for Citizen Kane – although director Orson Welles later tried to take most of the credit, and various different accounts of what really happened have muddied the waters a bit. Gary Oldman plays Mankiewicz, leading a cast that includes Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Tom Burke, and more. Watch the Mank trailer below.

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Mank First Look Photos

Director David Fincher is back with his first feature film since Gone Girl in 2016. The film is called Mank, and Netflix will be releasing it this fall, hoping to get some awards season glory with a story about screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he worked on the screenplay for the influential Hollywood classic Citizen Kane, directed by Orson Welles.

In honor of the 79th anniversary of the wide release of Citizen Kane, Netflix released a batch of Mank first look photos, revealing Gary Oldman as Mankiewicz, as well as Amanda Seyfried, Charles Dance, and Lily Collins, all in glorious black and white photography. Read More »

slow horses

Remember Apple TV+? It launched a few weeks ago and then immediately got left in the dust by Disney+. But the Apple streaming service is still kicking, and not ready to instantly throw in the towel. Instead, they’re looking for new material – and they’ve found it. Slow Horses will star Gary Oldman as a leader of a team of British spies, which sure sounds a lot like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. That’s not a complaint.

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mank cast fincher

After a long hiatus from feature filmmaking, David Fincher has decided to head back to the movies with Mank, a biopic of Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz. We already know that Gary Oldman is playing Mankiewicz, but what about the rest of the cast, which includes Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, and more? Info has finally trickled out as to who’s who in the Mank cast, including which actor is playing Orson Welles. The answer may shock you! Or not! Just keep reading!

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