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David Fincher’s MANK

by Monte R.

I’m looking forward to seeing David Fincher’s MANK, although RKO 281 (1999) with Liev Schrieber as Welles and John Malkovich as “Mank” will be hard to beat in my mind.

Apparently, the actor cast to play Welles in MANK (Tom Burke) is nearly 40 years old. Liev Schrieber was 32 years old when he played Welles in RKO 281. But Welles was only 26 years old when he made Citizen Kane (1941) – the casting of older actors is part of the incorrect revionism, which is unfortunate. Like, make no mistake about, Welles was a young man when he hit that home run. I think that fact really bothers some people —

Citizen Kane by Welles remains an absolute fascination amongst cineastes for so many reasons. Welles somehow skipped the creative life cycle of most artists, especially filmmakers, and he went supernova right out of the gate, which is why he remains an object of historical review. He also did it at the dawn of the studio system in the 1940s. He was so ahead of his time in acting, radio, theater and cinema.

The NY Times published a good article on David Fincher and MANK today, which is rare as he rarely does interviews. I also think it’s interesting that MANK will premiere on Netflix – not in regular movie theaters. It’s esoteric black-and-white throwback would likely not ever get financed by a regular major movie studio. For all the negatives about streaming, this is one of the positives – Netflix has really stepped up, especially, oddly, with Orson Welles works. A few years ago, Netflix financed the completion of The Other Side of the Wind, which was one of Welles’ unfinished works.

Interestingly, David Fincher, like Welles, also went supernova at young age. As a follower of his career since 1988, Fincher started off in lowly production jobs working at Lucasfilm/ILM, then somehow quickly jumped into making commercials at age 22, then jumped into music videos, despite never having a reel of work or having gone to film school – it’s all very weird. His “Express Yourself” video for Madonna is the one that blew up his career – its creativity was remarkable.

Then he got the opportunities to direct dozens of million dollar major music videos for artists like Billy Idol and Aerosmith – he must have been in the right place at the right time, all I can figure out. In the 1980s, every wannabe filmmaker like me wanted to be like Stephen Spielberg. Now, they all want to be David Fincher.

I own the 1st book proof of Orson Welles’ book “Everybody’s Shakespeare” aka “Twelfth Night” (1934) which features pencil marks in it by 17 year old Orson Welles. I bought it a movie memorabilia auction years ago and I suspect it came from the collection of Peter Bogdanovich or Oja Kodar, Welles’ last wife.

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