Nobody but Laray Mayfield could have cast Netflix’s “Mank.” She saw the first version of the script back in the late ’90s thanks to her long-standing working relationship with director David Fincher, which dates back to making music videos in the ’80s. Her work in film alongside Fincher and beyond has earned Mayfield both critical and popular acclaim. An expert at building ensembles and finding new faces, she again worked her magic on “Mank,” which chronicles Herman J. Mankiewicz’s writing of “Citizen Kane.” Here, she shares her advice for actors and illuminates how she works with Fincher after all these years.
How did the ensemble for “Mank” come together?
We spent a lot of time reading and meeting actors. Of course, we offered it to Gary [Oldman] first, and that was a pivotal piece of our casting. And then we went to Charles Dance. For everything else, we jumped in and started doing lots of auditions, running lists, and talking to David about different actors. We did that for seven months.
“If somebody really wants to be an actor, they should take acting classes. They should go to school for it. It’s a training. It’s like dancing, it’s like painting, it’s like playing football, it’s like playing guitar. You don’t just decide one day you’re going to be an actor.”