Herman J. Mankiewicz
Photo: John Springer Collection/CORBIS (Getty Images)

David Fincher’s career over the last few years has been one of largely unrealized potential, something that comes as something of a shock considering he’s still one of the most respected names in Hollywood. But Fincher hasn’t made a movie since 2014's well-regarded Gillian Flynn adaptation Gone Girl, and his filmography since then has broken down between TV (notably, the serial killer series Mindhunter for Netflix) and aborted film projects. (Hey, remember that minute when it looked like he was going to direct a World War Z sequel, of all things?)

But while Fincher’s star appears to have fallen a bit in recent years, he has found enough oomph to get one of his dream projects off the ground at last: Mank, a biopic of Citizen Kane co-screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, that Fincher’s been trying to get made since shortly after he completed The Game way back in 1997. (Plans apparently broke down when he insisted the film be done in black and white, just like Kane itself.) The film is apparently something of a passion project for the director, not least of which because the screenplay was written by his father, former Life magazine editor Jack Fincher, who died in 2003.

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Not that he’s going it alone, here: Gary Oldman has already been attached to star in the film, playing Mankiewicz, a hard-drinking former newsman whose other (often un-credited) film credits include The Wizard Of Oz, Pride Of The Yankees, and The Pride Of St. Louis. Mankiewicz was well known for his love of the written word and the snappy comeback, both on and off the screen, and while he feuded briefly with Orson Welles over the writing credit for Kane—pushing back at least in part against auteur marketing efforts that pitched the movie as the work of a singular talent—he was ultimately given the lead co-writing credit on the film.

Per Deadline, Fincher’s old pals at Netflix are footing the bill to see his monochromatic dream project come true at last.

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