'Mank': Tuppence Middleton found Fincher's countless takes 'quite relaxing' (exclusive)

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·3-min read

Watch: Trailer for David Fincher drama Mank

Tuppence Middleton said that David Fincher’s regime of constant repetition on the set of Mank was actually “quite relaxing”.

The filmmaker’s new movie follows Gary Oldman as screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz during the time he spent working on the screenplay that would become the untouchable Orson Welles classic Citizen Kane.

In an interview with Yahoo Movies UK to promote her role in horror movie Possessor, Middleton said she enjoyed the experience of playing Sara Mankiewicz — wife of Oldman’s character — despite Fincher’s love of deploying dozens of takes.

Read more: Oldman calls Mank his most challenging role

“It is intense in the sense that you feel like you're working with one of the best,” said the 33-year-old.

“But actually I found it quite relaxing. It didn't feel arduous. Yes, he does a lot of takes, like everyone says, but it never feels like a lot of takes.

Tuppence Middleton as Sara Mankiewicz in 'Mank'. (Credit: Netflix)
Tuppence Middleton as Sara Mankiewicz in 'Mank'. (Credit: Netflix)

“He almost keeps the camera rolling and does take after take very quickly, so you can do something 20-30 times and it doesn't feel like you've been standing there for half a day doing it. It's quite quick.”

Amanda Seyfried said that one particular scene of the film was shot 200 times over the course of a week, while Oldman reportedly questioned Fincher on set after filming a dinner party sequence more than 100 times.

Read more: Film directors who went power mad on set

Middleton said that Fincher’s intense style is mitigated by the “very specific” notes he is able to offer his actors in the moment.

“He will come on to set and tell you [notes] right after the take,” she added.

“It's almost like he takes out some of the time between takes where you would normally be over-thinking the notes or over-thinking the way you're going to do it next.

David Fincher speaks onstage during the 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival on January 22, 2020. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF)
David Fincher speaks onstage during the 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival on January 22, 2020. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF)

“What it does is it forces you to be more playful and more instinctive and more immediate in your performance.

“I really love that. I wonder if it has a different effect on different actors, but I really loved it.

“It kept the momentum going and there was always quite a sense of adrenaline on set, which is often very useful.”

Read more: Fincher says he should’ve made more movies

Mank also stars Seyfried, Charles Dance and Lily Collins, with Tom Burke playing Welles.

The movie has attracted almost universally positive reviews from critics, with its current approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes up at a lofty 90%.

Tuppence Middleton as Ava Parse in 'Possessor'. (Credit: Signature Entertainment)
Tuppence Middleton as Ava Parse in 'Possessor'. (Credit: Signature Entertainment)

In Possessor, Middleton plays one of the targets of an assassin capable of possessing the body of different people in order to gain access to those she has been tasked with killing.

It marks a return to the horror genre for the star, who made her name with the darkly comedic genre tale Tormented more than a decade ago.

Read more: Sinister crowned scariest movie of all time

“I felt comfortable back in the horror genre,” she said. “It’s nice when you get to be in films that you would love to watch if you were nothing to do with them.

“It’s absolutely the film that I would go to the cinema and be really excited about seeing, so it’s really cool when you’re a part of something like that.”

Mank is available on Netflix worldwide from 4 December and Possessor is available from 27 November on digital platforms.

Watch: David Fincher signs exclusive Netflix deal

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