David Fincher is known for shooting many, many, many takes until he gets what he wants. And it looks like he hasn’t changed. Fincher’s return to feature directing, Mank, is due out on Netflix this year, and according to star Amanda Seyfried, one of her scenes required – at least in Fincher’s eyes – 200 takes and about an entire week to film.
If you thought David Fincher had cooled it with his propensity for many takes, thing again! Speaking with Collider, Amanda Seyfried, who plays Marion Davies, the actress and mistress of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst in Fincher’s upcoming Mank, said one scene ended up taking approximately 200 takes, and a full week, to shoot:
“I was part of scenes with tons of people in it and we would do it for an entire week. I can’t tell you how many takes we did, but I would guess 200, maybe I could be wrong and could be way off. Um, I could be underestimating by five days of one scene when I didn’t have one line… ‘You think I can just relax?’ No, because there are probably about nine or 10 different camera angles that had been on me at one point.”
It’s worth noting that Seyfried says “she could be wrong,” so maybe it wasn’t exactly 200 takes. But it was clearly a lot. This might seem excessive, but it’s pretty much par for the course with Fincher. Reports indicate that multiple scenes in Gone Girl ended up being shot with at least 50 takes; Jake Gyllenhaal reported one scene in Zodiac required 20 takes; and Fincher ended up shooting a 9-minute Mindhunter scene 75 times. While some may take issue with Fincher’s approach, it’s apparently all part of his process. “[David] Fincher is meticulous,” said Zodiac co-star John Carroll Lynch. “He’s after something. And it takes him 50 takes to get it.”
In Fincher’s defense, he doesn’t push for multiple takes to torture his actors. As he says in the interview below, the reason he does so many takes isn’t just to get the right performance from an actor – it’s to make sure every element of a scene, from the lighting, to the sound, and beyond, is as near-perfect as it can possibly be.
Mank follows the story of Herman J. Mankiewicz as he writes Citizen Kane, and the various real-world problems that arose around the film. Gary Oldman stars as Mankiewicz, while the rest of the cast – in addition to Seyfried as Marion Davies – includes Lily Collins, Tuppence Middleton, and Tom Burke, who plays Orson Welles. Mank is expected to arrive this October.
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