Gary Oldman Worried by David Fincher’s ‘Mank’ Request to Act Natural

“Mank” offered the Oscar winner the odd challenge of appearing “au naturel” on screen.

Gary Oldman won the Oscar for Best Actor thanks to his performance in “Darkest Hour,” in which he played Winston Churchill by undergoing a physical transformation that included a fat suit and facial prosthetics. Throughout his career, from “Darkest Hour” to “Dracula” and the “Harry Potter” franchise, Oldman has often relied on hair and makeup to transform into his characters, which is why the upcoming biographical drama “Mank” presented such an odd challenge for the star.

As Oldman tells Empire magazine, “Mank” director David Fincher had one request for him when he was cast: “Gary au naturel.”

“I thought, ‘Oh, fucking hell!’,” Oldman said, revealing some nerves he had over playing a real-life figure without help from hair and makeup. “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.”

Oldman continued, “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.”

Oldman stars in “Mank” as Herman J. Mankiewicz, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane.” The film, which boasts a script by David Fincher’s late father Jack, follows Mankiewicz as he battles personal demons and overcomes professional obstacles in the pursuit of finishing the “Citizen Kane” script.

Not only does “Mank” offer Oldman’s first major leading role since winning the Oscar for “Darkest Hour,” it also serves as Fincher’s first directorial feature since 2014’s “Gone Girl.” The cast also includes Lily Collins and “Ozark” supporting actor breakout Tom Pelphrey.

Netflix has yet to announce a release date for “Mank,” although it’s widely expected to premiere before the end of the year. Producer Eric Roth mentioned over the summer that Netflix was going to release the movie sometime in October, but that doesn’t seem to be the case as fellow Netflix awards contender “The Trial of the Chicago 7” launches October 16.

Get a new look at “Mank” in the photo below, thanks to Empire.

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