Gary Oldman interview: ‘Mank’
If Gary Oldman could travel back in time to give advice to screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, he jokingly has two words of bold advice for him: ‘Get sober!’ In the new Netflix film “Mank” directed by David Fincher, Oldman portrays the alcoholic Oscar winner, the co-writer of “Citizen Kane” with Orson Welles.
In our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video above), he adds, “He had these aspirations of wanting to be a playwright or novelist, considering that to be high art. He came out to California and felt really that screenwriting was just beneath him. He could do it in his sleep. He once said that a final draft was what you put through the typewriter the night before.”
For the black-and-white movie, which was written by the late Jack Fincher, the plot is set in 1940 when a drunken and injured Mank is writing much of the “Citizen Kane” script in bed while tended by his assistant Rita (Lily Collins). Featuring flashbacks into the prior decade as well, the film also stars Amanda Seyfried, Charles Dance, Tom Pelphrey, Arliss Howard and Tom Burke.
Oldman is now part of the awards season conversation again following his Oscar win in 2018 for “Darkest Hour” and a prior nomination in 2012 for “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” The British actor’s acclaimed career has included standout roles in “The Dark Knight” films, several “Harry Potter” movies, “The Contender,” “Air Force One,” “Immortal Beloved,” “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” “JFK,” “Prick Up Your Ears” and “Sid and Nancy.”
Of the cycle involving his victory at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTA and more, he admits with a smile, “I think they were inventing awards to give me. They were making them up. I did a clean sweep, but you never know in that final analysis with the Academy. I was up against some real big hitters. I thought Daniel Kaluuya‘s performance was really strong. You’re up against Denzel Washington and Daniel Day-Lewis, and they’re not chopped liver.”