Director David Fincher discusses Mank with Aaron Sorkin

A DGA Virtual Q&A

February 6, 2021
The Director’s Cut. A DGA (Directors Guild of America) Podcast

A disillusioned screenwriter in old Hollywood gets a shot at redemption in Director David Fincher’s biographical comedy-drama, Mank.

Fincher’s film takes place as film 24-year-old wunderkind Orson Welles hires scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz to write the screenplay for his masterpiece, Citizen Kane.

On February 6, Fincher discussed the making of Mank in a DGA Virtual Q&A moderated by Director Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7).

During their conversation, Fincher spoke about his love for “the altar of cinema,” the communal aspect that can come through film. “For me, what I love about cinema is going into a big dark room with 700 people and through their laughter and through their surprise and through their shock and through their reactions you realize, I’m not alone. I’m the same. I’m wired into this group in the same way just organically and I’m picking up on all these other cues. That is what makes the cinema, or a great grand theater, an almost cathedral-like experience.”

Fincher’s other directorial credits include the feature films Se7enThe GamePanic RoomZodiacGone Girl; episodes of the television series House of Cards and Mindhunter; and countless commercials and music videos. He has been nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film for The Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonThe Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In 2013, he was nominated for the DGA Award for Dramatic Series for House of Cards, “Chapter 1” and has twice been nominated for the DGA Award for his Commercial work with Anonymous Content in 2003 and 2008, winning the Award in 2003 for Beauty for Sale (Xelibri Phones), Gamebreakers (Nikegridiron.Com) and Speed Chain (Nike).

Fincher has been a DGA member since 1991.

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The Magic of the Movies: Behind the Scenes of David Fincher’s Mank


Netflix Film Club (YouTube)
February 28, 2021

Join acclaimed director David Fincher, actors Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, and the cast and crew of Mank, for a peek behind the curtain of Netflix’s black-and-white ode to Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Settling the Score

Director David Fincher talks the music of Mank with composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Jon Burlingame
February 12, 2021
Netflix Queue

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have written a dozen film and television scores together. Not just partners in Nine Inch Nails, they have won multiple awards for music in visual media: an Oscar and a Golden Globe for The Social Network, a Grammy for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, an Emmy for Watchmen. But they had never tackled a project quite like Mank.

Director David Fincher, whose films The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Gone Girl Reznor and Ross also scored, came to the duo with a period piece set between 1930 and 1940 and shot in black and white, the story of Hollywood screenwriter Herman “Mank” Mankiewicz (played by Gary Oldman).

Reznor and Ross’s previous scores had been created with synthesizers, samplers, and sequencers in their Los Angeles studios, where they recorded all of the music themselves. Mank required something different: a more traditionally orchestral score, with swing-jazz and dance-band elements appropriate to the era. It was an arena in which neither Reznor nor Ross had any prior experience.

So they listened to the popular music of the 30s and 40s and, intriguingly, the early film scores of Bernard Herrmann, the longtime Orson Welles collaborator. His music for Citizen Kane proved inspirational in terms of the style of orchestral writing that frames Mank.

Ultimately, they created more than 90 minutes of original music, played by the equivalent of a 70-piece orchestra and big band. Because of the pandemic raging through the summer and fall of 2020, all of the musicians performed individually in their home studios and were mixed together into a seamless whole.

“It was an incredibly intoxicating, inspiring environment,” Reznor says of working with Fincher. “We felt like artists, not artisans, being challenged to try to make something awesome.”

We talked to the musicians and the director about creating the music for Mank.

Read the full interview

More Like This: Spotlight on Mank, featuring Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Erik Messerschmidt and more

Krista Smith
February 10, 2021
More Like This (A Netflix Queue Podcast)

A podcast from Netflix Queue, the journal that celebrates the people, ideas, and process of creating great entertainment on Netflix and beyond. Host Krista Smith is joined by a different co-host each episode – Franklin Leonard, Tre’vell Anderson, and others – to give an insider’s peek into the creation of your favorite films, series and documentaries and the incredibly talented people who make them.

More Like This gets the Mank treatment! In this very special episode, Krista takes us behind the scenes of David Fincher’s Mank, sharing interviews with key members of the creative team. Composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross talk about the power of storytelling through music, how they pulled inspiration from composers of the past, and how pandemic restrictions forced them to record a 70-piece orchestra one instrument at a time; set decorator Jan Pascale demonstrates how the smallest details make the biggest impact; cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt details how he combined classic and modern techniques to transport a 21st century audience back in time; and editor Kirk Baxter explains why David Fincher once called him 50% blacksmith and 50% poet. Enjoy this deep dive into the process of making movie magic with film collaborators at the top of their game, and be sure to see their work in Mank, now streaming on Netflix.

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Excerpt with Erik Messerschmidt:

Cinefade VariND

The Music of Mank. Conversation with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Morgan Neville
January 29, 2021
Netflix Awards FYC

A conversation with composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross on behalf of Mank. Moderated by Morgan Neville.

Watch the full conversation

Sound Designer Ren Klyce Breaks Down The Elaborate, Multistep Process Of Crafting Monaural Palette For David Fincher’s ‘Mank’

Matt Grobar
February 8, 2021
Deadline

On David Fincher’s Mank, sound designer Ren Klyce was tasked with crafting a monaural soundtrack, similar to those heard in films of the ’30s and ’40s, engaging in a laborious, experimental process, in order to round out the world of one of the year’s most distinctive films.

Scripted by Fincher’s late father Jack, the director’s longtime passion project follows Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman)—a washed up, alcoholic screenwriter from Hollywood’s Golden Age—as he endeavors to finish the screenplay for the iconic Citizen Kane.

The goal with Mank was to immerse viewers in its period world through the creation of visual and sonic ‘patinas,’ each working in concert with the other. While cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt shot the black-and-white film digitally, at extremely high resolution—allowing Fincher to degrade the image in post—Klyce would tinker with sonic degradation, tapping into all of the characteristics that gave early 20th century soundtracks their unique feel.

One of Fincher’s closest collaborators—who has worked with him on 10 features and two television series since 1995—Klyce had experimented only briefly with mono sound in the past, on a handful of Fincher films. “But we never did it with the conviction of, ‘This is the purpose,’” the sound designer notes, “‘because we want it to feel like it was made using the technology of the time.’”

Below, the seven-time Oscar nominee recalls his earliest conversations with Fincher about Mank, and the multifaceted process of fashioning its vintage sonic palette.

Read the full interview

Anheuser-Busch Super Bowl Commercial Executive Produced by David Fincher and Directed by Adam Hashemi

February 3, 2021
Anheuser-Busch

Anheuser-Busch – Let’s Grab a Beer (Super Bowl LV) (“90)

Anheuser-Busch – Let’s Grab a Beer (Super Bowl LV) (“60)

Tagline
“It’s never just about the beer. It’s about being together.”

Press Release

CREDITS

Agency
Wieden+Kennedy New York

Global Chief Creative Officer
Karl Lieberman

Global Chief Operating Officer
Neal Arthur

Director of Strategic Planning
Dan Hill

Creative Director
Michael Hagos

Copywriter
Brad Phifer

Head of Integrated Production
Nick Setounski

Executive Producer
Jessica Griffeth

Senior Producer
Bianca Cochran

Group Account Director
Brooke Stites

Account Supervisor
Meredith Zambito

Group Strategy Director
Stephane Missier

Strategist
Matt Hisamoto

Social Strategist
Irsis Cabral

Comms Director
Zack Green

Business Affairs
Daniella Vargas

Traffic Coordinator
Tina Wyatt

Production Company
Reset

Executive Producer
David Fincher

Managing Director/Executive Producer
Dave Morrison

Executive Producer
Deannie O’Neil

Producer
Vincent Landay

Assistant Producer
Grace Campos

Director
Adam Hashemi

1sr Assistant Director
Bob Wagner

Directors of Photography
Eigil Bryld, Chayse Irvin

Production Designer
Donald Graham Burt

Costumes
J.R. Hawbaker

Sound
Ren Klyce

Music
Atticus Ross

Editorial & Finishing
Exile

Editor
Kirk Baxter

Additional Editor
Grant Surmi

Assistant Editor
Christopher Fetsch

Flame Artist
Dino Tsaousis

Flame Assistant
Adam Greenberg

Executive Producer
Sasha Hirschfeld

Post Producer
Toby Louie

The Perfect Storm That Led to Anheuser-Busch’s Super Bowl Ad

Inside the journey to W+K’s ‘Let’s Grab a Beer’

Tim Nudd
February 15, 2021
Muse by Clio

Crew Call Podcast: How Composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Went From Sonic To Jazz in ‘Mank’

Anthony D’Alessandro
February 3, 2021
Deadline

Netflix’s drama Mank led all Golden Globe feature nominations this morning with a count of six, and one of those belonged to composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score for the David Fincher film. Mank reps the fourth feature between the filmmaker and the composers, the latter who immediately took home the Oscar and Golden Globe in the first noms for their score of 2010’s The Social Network.

Fincher’s new age noir in Social Network, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl is continually heightened by Reznor and Ross’ synthetic, metallic, pulsating tonal stylings, but in Mank the two composers pull a 180 and deliver a lively jazz score that pays deep homage to the cinema of the 1930s and 1940s.

We talk with them both on Crew Call today about their shorthand with Fincher, and how they sparked a fascinating rhythm about embattled scribe Herman J. Mankiewicz’s rage against Hollywood, and his once mentor and friend, media titan William Randolph Hearst.

Reznor and Ross were a double Golden Globe nominee today, also nabbing a second score nom for Disney/Pixar’s Soul.

Listen to the podcast

Mank, The Unmaking

January 28, 2021
Netflix

manktheunmaking.com

Text by:

Nev Pierce

Photography by:

Erik Messerschmidt
Miles Crist
Gisele Schmidt-Oldman
Gary Oldman
Ceán Chaffin
Nikolai Loveikis

Composer Roundtable: Pros From ‘Mank,’ ‘Soul,’ ‘Minari’ and More Talk Remote Recording Sessions and Finding Creativity in Isolation

Scott Roxborough
January 26, 2021
The Hollywood Reporter

Film composers may be accustomed to working alone, but they weren’t immune to the tumult of 2020. Six film music specialists came together — virtually — to discuss the key to writing an effective score, even when creatively challenged by the pandemic: “What I really miss is playing music with human beings.”

2020 was a year like no other, so it’s fitting that The Hollywood Reporter’s Composer Roundtable was unlike any that had gone before.

On Jan. 8, six of Hollywood’s leading film composers came together via Zoom, across three continents, to talk shop: Ludwig Göransson followed up his Oscar-winning Black Panther score with a thumping, time-shifting soundtrack to Christopher Nolan’s Tenet; Tamar-kali offered up a dissonant, daring soundscape for Shirley that won praise from the likes of Iggy Pop; Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross had a busy year with work that included the wall-to-wall 1940s orchestral score for David Fincher’s Mank and the ethereal, synthetic sound of Pixar feature Soul; Terence Blanchard, Spike Lee‘s go-to composer, delivered the majestic musical backdrop for the war drama Da 5 Bloods; and Emile Mosseri, who has quickly established himself as one of indie cinema’s most in-demand music makers, created an affecting, ethereal soundscape for Lee Isaac Chung‘s Minari.

In a lively discussion, this eclectic group of film music veterans and newer talents who find themselves — and their music — in the awards-season conversation discussed the art and craft of film composing, the value of defying expectations and how each of them would score 2020.

Read the full roundtable