A couple of new behind-the-scenes images from David Fincher’s Netflix movie Mank have landed online, offering tantalizing teases of what’s to come. While highly anticipated films like No Time to Die continue to exit 2020 in hopes of finding theatrical success in a world less ravaged by the current pandemic, we at least know that Mank isn’t going anywhere. Fincher’s first feature film in six years is a Netflix original, and is thus far less concerned with theatrical box office receipts. And while I will still hold out hopes that Netflix puts the movie in some theaters at some point next year just so we can experience it on the big screen, right now in this dearth of new movies I’m just grateful we’re getting it at all.
The original film was scripted by Fincher’s father Jack Fincher and re-evaluates 1930s Hollywood through the eyes of scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (played in the film by Gary Oldman) as he races to finish the screenplay of Citizen Kane. The production and release of Kane was fraught with controversy, as battles were waged over who wrote what between Mankiewicz and Orson Welles after the film won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar.
These behind-the-scenes images from the film come courtesy of cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt, who shared them on his Instagram account. This is Messerschmidt’s first feature with Fincher, although he did work with the director on the first two seasons of Fincher’s Netflix series Mindhunter.
Mank is presented in black-and-white, but what’s striking about these images is the use of an LED video wall to simulate the background while two characters are supposed to be driving. This is a technique that Fincher used on both seasons of Mindhunter to great effect (as Messerschmidt previously explained to me in our interview), and it’s also gained traction as the Emmy-winning team behind The Mandalorian expanded this technique to create entire VFX backgrounds rendered in real-time.
I’m extremely excited for Mank, but also crossing my fingers that Netflix has also put together a feature-length making-of documentary for the film, as Fincher is known for bountiful and insightful bonus features on the Blu-ray and DVD releases of most of his movies. Here’s hoping.
Check out the behind-the-scenes images below. Mank will be released on Netflix sometime this fall.