Herman Mankiewicz

Herman J. Mankiewicz was co-screenwriter of “Citizen Kane.”

Acclaimed director David Fincher, known for stylish fare like “Seven,” “The Social Network” and “Gone Girl,” plans to tackle the life story of “Citizen Kane” co-writer Herman J. Mankiewicz for his next film. Mankiewicz, the influential screenwriter who left his mark on Hollywood’s Golden Age, may have been inspired by his own childhood in Northeast Pennsylvania to pen one of the greatest films ever made.

The biopic “Mank” will star Academy Award winner Gary Oldman as Mankiewicz, the journalist-turned-scribe who worked on “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Pride of the Yankees.” But Mankiewicz is most famous for collaborating with Orson Welles on the script for 1941’s masterpiece “Citizen Kane,” and perhaps even moreso for the battle that erupted between them for writing credit. The two shared the Academy Award for best original screenplay for the film.

Mankiewicz, a New York City native, spent his childhood in Wilkes-Barre, where his younger brother, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, was born. Joseph would become a director in his own right, helming classic films including “All About Eve” and “Cleopatra.”

Herman Mankiewicz’s formative years in Wilkes-Barre stuck with the screenwriter. According to the biography “Mank: The Wit, World and Life of Herman Mankiewicz” by Richard Merryman, a 10-year-old Mankiewicz received a bicycle for Christmas. After Mankiewicz rode the bike to a library – believed to be the Osterhout Library in Wilkes-Barre – the bike was stolen. The biography claims Mankiewicz channeled the loss into “Rosebud,” the beloved sled referenced in the last words of “Citizen Kane” protagonist Charles Foster Kane.

Fincher’s “Mank” is set to start shooting this fall for streaming service Netflix.