The below photo from David Fincher‘s Mank was presented exclusively a few hours ago by Empire. At left is Gary Oldman as Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, Tom Pelphrey as “Mank’s” younger brother Joseph L. Mankiewicz is center, and a nondescript mystery actor as “a junior production aide”, standing side by side on an MGM studio soundstage.
Empire‘s Ben Travis: “Fincher requested ‘Gary au naturel’ for his tale about the making of a Golden Age masterpiece, which offered the actor a challenge.
“’I thought, ‘Oh, fucking hell!’,” Oldman tells Empire. ‘I can’t remember the last time I did that. I’ve always got something! I was thinking, ‘I don’t know about that.’ I don’t look anything like Mank. There’s a similarity with [Tom Burke as] Welles and Amanda Seyfried] kind of looks like [film star and Hearst’s lover] Marion Davies, and you’ve got this pale make-up on Charles Dance, so he resembles [William Randolph] Hearst. But I didn’t have anything I could anchor to.
“Then, once we started, I thought, ‘Yeah, Dave was right.’ No tricks. No nothing. Just: here it is. I’ve embraced it.”
Gary Oldman, Tom Pelphrey, nondescript mystery actor in David Fincher‘s Mank.
You’ll notice that Oldman, 62, seems a good deal older than Pelphrey, 38. Separated by 24 years. Be honest — Oldman could be playing Pelphrey’s father.
In actuality Herman Mankiewicz, born in 1897, was 12 years older than Joseph, who came along in 1909. The scene in question is presumably set in 1940 or ’41, when Herman was 43 or 44 and Joseph was 31 or so.
Pelphrey can pass for a guy in his early 30s, sure, but Oldman, he honest, doesn’t look like a guy in his mid ’40s. The youngest he could possibly be would be in his mid ’50s. But what struck me more than anything else is the fact that Pelphrey is significantly taller than Oldman, and yet the record shows that the Mankiewicz brothers were both around 5′ 10″.
Brothers can grow to different heights, of course, but I were casting Joseph I would’ve picked a guy who’s (a) roughly Oldman’s height, (b) someone who looks 12 years younger than Herman rather than 24, and (c) definitely someone who resembles Oldman facially to some extent.
Consider the differences between Oldman and Pelphrey — they don’t even look like cousins.
None of this is a big deal, but if I were to meet a couple of brothers who are separated by 12 years, I would naturally expect to see certain similarities. Am I an asshole for saying this? I don’t think so. I mean, I really don’t.