In telling the story of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, Mank director David Fincher worked from a script by his late father, Jack Fincher.
Maureen Lee Lenker
November 19, 2020
The project had been in the family for decades: Jack conceived of the script in the late 1980s, and his son has been emotionally tied to the material since his father first showed him Citizen Kane at age 12. “It was only over time and with many, many conversations that we agreed there was something in this idea of a man finding his voice,” Fincher, 58, tells EW. “His voice was his entrée into Hollywood, and his voice was the thing that he was convinced didn’t really matter. How do we dramatize for the audience this dawning awareness of somebody who is self-immolating? That seemed like a ripe area of the garden to plant in.”
Fincher worked on the project with his father on and off for many years before his death in 2003, as can be seen in this exclusive annotated story sequence outline that arose from their countless conversations. “The pages are pre the draft,” the director says. “This is the outline from 1990 and has all of Jack’s scribblings on it as we were talking on the phone once a week and saying, ‘Well, what about if this happened?’ You can see the story was very different. It was a more complicated thing.”