“The filming of ‘Mank’ was a film class every day”

While Amanda Seyfried will most likely go home empty-handed after competing for the Oscar for the first time, anything is possible in the Best Supporting Actress category. It is that although the favorite is the Korean Yuh-Jung Youn, after taking the award from the actors’ union and the BAFTA, this would be a good opportunity for the Academy to settle accounts with Glenn Close, who has lost in the 7 occasions in which has been nominated. Bulgarian Maria Bakalova triumphed at the Critics Choice Awards and won numerous awards from critics associations in the United States. And although Olivia Colman usually wins in every competition she participates in, this time she has a losing streak. In Seyfried’s case, the nomination is itself an award. With a vast career in which her participation in commercial cinema abounds and an unforgettable role as Cosette in the multi-award-winning The Miserables, who began her career in soap operas at age 15 has just received an accolade that will surely open new doors for her now that she is a consecrated Fincher actress.

How much did you know about Marion Davies before you played the role?

He had heard her name but didn’t know too much about her. My father was a huge movie fan, he collected 16mm black and white films. And I knew a lot of stars from that era. I grew up watching Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and James Cagney, but I had never seen a Marion Davies movie. I don’t think my father had one in his collection. While I had a pretty comprehensive Hollywood Golden look, I didn’t feel like she was a big star. But when I began to investigate I realized that he was, although he did not always receive the credit he deserved for his work. She was an incredible actress. But what caught my attention while reading about that world is that we have a fairly one-dimensional impression of the figures from that time. That’s why turning him into a person of flesh and blood was a challenge, because she really existed, it was not just a myth.

Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman in a still from ‘Mank’


Do you feel like most actresses in the 1940s had certain characteristics in common?

Yes absolutely. The truth is that we only know these actresses by their performances and there is always something imposing about them. That’s something that could also be seen in Marion Davies, who started out as a comedian and was noted for her delusional roles. I didn’t want to explore that side of him, because I wasn’t really showing him how he looked on screen, but what he was like behind the scenes. But for our story to work, I had to keep something of that essence that united all the actresses of that time. I definitely wanted to try to break the mystery behind Marion Davies because we don’t know much about who she really was.

Do you admire that strength they had?

Of course. Just look at the characters of Katherine Hepburn, who are so sure of themselves, and who know they can outsmart any man. Now I know that I can also have that same strength, but it took me 35 years to acquire that confidence in myself. At least I have it today. That’s why I really enjoyed playing a woman like Marion Davies. I’ve played a lot of women like this lately and I think that has had an effect on me.

Lately I have played a lot of women of great strength like Marion and I think that has had an effect on me.

What would you say was the most difficult part of interpreting it?

Try to capture who she was in a few scenes. When I first read the script I felt that if Marion Davies had lived today she would be my friend. She was very funny and very humble. He was a movie star and he had all the money in the world but he was very accessible. The truth is that I had very few opportunities to show who she was and for the audience to connect with Marion. People who know who she was will surely be surprised by how we portray her in the film, because she was as quirky as she was smart. I wanted people to know when they finished watching the movie that Marion Davies was a person with many facets, and I think the script allowed me to do so even though I don’t have that much screen time.

How would you define the relationship that united you with William Randolph Hearst? They were lovers, but they had a son and they spent 20 years together …

They trusted each other. They were good friends. This is how me and Charles Dance interpreted them. She showed in many ways that she was dedicated to him, that she loved him and that she was never going to leave him. It is that he gave her a security that she had never been able to find in another man, and at the same time reminded her of her father. She felt cared for and respected with him. Even though he did not have much consideration for her career, he was much older than her and could be boring, they had an emotional connection that was very strong.

Seyfried as Marion Davies in 'Mank'

Seyfried as Marion Davies in ‘Mank’


How complex was it to film Louis B. Mayer’s birthday scene where the entire cast is in one room?

It was complicated and it took us a long time. It’s just that there were too many people. Never before have I filmed a scene with so many actors talking to each other. My biggest challenge was saying my lines when it was my turn, because many times I couldn’t hear the other actors. We were there like 4 or 5 days, in a huge room. And until the last moment I was terrified of getting confused and speaking at the wrong moment. That happened to several actors, because we did not listen to each other. It was a real marathon, and it took place on my birthday. One day they brought a cake for me, instead of Louis B. Mayer, and they all sang happy birthday to me. It was a very beautiful moment. But yes, it was a marathon, which is what defines a David Fincher film, which is in turn what allows you to perfect your interpretation.

What other things define you?

He is someone who has a very clear vision of what he wants. What is the tone you are looking for, what is the story you want to tell. He is very disciplined, prepared and passionate. He helped me a lot to understand my character. He guided me through the scenes, and explained his feelings and emotions at all times. It is wonderful to be able to have someone who has everything so clear that they can help you to be in the exact place where you need to be in each scene. It is not as common as you might think. It’s David Fincher. I don’t know of any actor who wouldn’t give it his all to be able to act in his world. He’s a teacher and filming Mank it was a movie class every day. We always learned something new.

David Fincher has a very clear vision of what he wants. He is very disciplined, prepared and passionate

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“The filming of ‘Mank’ was a film class every day”