Mindhunter Stars on Diving Too Deep Into Serial Killer Psychology, Hopes for Season 2

Stars Jonathan Groff, Anna Torv and Holt McCallany discuss David Fincher's new drama series.

by | October 24, 2017 | Comments

None of the stars of Mindhunter really had much knowledge of serial killers before signing on for the Netflix series, which follows a pair of FBI agents who delve into the psychology of serial murderers. The series, from Gone Girl and Zodiac filmmaker David Fincher and released earlier this month, is set in the late ’70s and chronicles the early years of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit.

Holt McCallany, who plays FBI behavioral science specialist Bill Tench, told a gathering of journalists this week that his main touchstone in preparing for his role was simply living in New York City at the time of the Son of Sam murders.

“I did have a recollection of the way that the hysteria gripped New York, and people were afraid to be sitting in their cars and stuff like that,” he said, but he mainly learned about the real-life murderers profiled on the show after he began filming Mindhunter.

You know, there's a lot more like him.

Posted by MINDHUNTER on Saturday, October 14, 2017

“There is an endless amount of research to do, because volumes have been written about these guys. You start talking about Charles Manson and the Tate-Labianca killings and stuff like this — there’s so much research to do,” McCallany said.

“So for me, I found it one of the most challenging things, because you want to understand who Ed Kemper was,” McCallany continued. “He was the Co-Ed Killer. What did he do? He killed these girls in Santa Cruz. What is his background? That he killed his grandparents. And then you are on to Jerry Brudos and then you are on to Richard Speck and you’re on to Monte Rissell. Each one of them are fascinating characters, but you have to familiarize yourself with all of them and so it was a challenge.”

(Photo by Netflix)

Then again, there’s a fine line between researching for a role and spiraling into a dark place. Anna Torv, who plays Dr. Wendy Carr, said she had to force herself to stop at a certain point.

“I read a heap in the beginning and then I just went, ‘I’m not going to do this anymore.’ I was scared, legitimately,” Torv said. “I just shut the books and I went, now I’m going to look into the personality disorders, and I’m going start looking at sociopathy and psychopathy and not the real stuff.”

I can't let these guys rub off on me.

Posted by MINDHUNTER on Monday, October 16, 2017

Mindhunter is based on the book Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E. Douglas, one of the first criminal profilers and the inspiration for Jonathan Groff’s Holden Ford. Douglas helped Groff and McCallany prepare for their roles, and even sent them a nice note after the show’s debut.

“He loves the show, and I think he’s very grateful to David [Fincher] for doing it,” McCallany says. “He’s a very gracious guy. He’s a very prolific writer; he’s written 15 books. He’s got an encyclopedia of knowledge of the subject. He’s got more experience than anybody in the world. He’s kind of the legendary FBI agent criminal profiler. He’s just always very forthcoming, getting it right to me, asking me questions, ‘Anything I can do to be helpful. If I can tell you about cases, or tell you about terminology, or just procedural etiquette or whatever it may be.’ He’s a good guy, he’s been a good resource for us.”

Toward the end of the season, Ford, Tench, and Carr begin to crack under pressure as they began to solve cases. And while it was hard for the actors on set, Groff says he knows their experience doesn’t even compare to the struggles real-life profilers face.

Motive? It just wasn't his fucking night.

Posted by MINDHUNTER on Sunday, October 15, 2017

“John Douglas talks a lot in his book about the emotional and physical toll that it had meeting with the serial killers and the victims and the victims’ families. We’re fictionalizing their stories, but I can’t even imagine what that’s actually like to be on the ground experiencing that in real life,” he says. “We’re actors playing parts and the serial killers are actors playing parts and there’s craft service around the corner, and Gigi behind the couch, ready to touch you up between takes. So, it’s a little bit of a different scenario.”

(Photo by Netflix)

While Netflix has yet to officially greenlight a second season of the series, Groff is excited about the possibilities of what it will explore.

“I think about The Crown, how everything in The Crown already happened, and it’s historical fiction,” he says. “You can read the Mindhunter book and John Douglas’ books. Granted our characters are based on real people, so the personal lives are different. But the cases and everything that we do is real. So, it’s interesting to me how intriguing David makes these cases that you could go so easily to Wikipedia and read about exactly what happened and how it all went down. But you kind of want to see the David Fincher version of how it all went down, instead of just reading Wikipedia. …I mean, I would watch it for what his point of view on all of it, which I don’t know what that would be.”

What happens to these men is normal, but the way they process it is not.

Posted by MINDHUNTER on Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Plus, there’s plenty to explore with Ford’s major meltdown.

“I think one of the great things about the show, and sort of the balls that it takes to really be a writer in television is that to really end on something where it’s hard to imagine where you pick up and go from there,” he says. “A lot of people I think like to create safer narratives where it makes more logical sense that you would end something here, but to kind of blow it all up in the way that they did at the end of the show I think is really ballsy. I’ll be so excited and interested … to see how they pick up the pieces and move forward.”

Mindhunter is available to stream on Netflix now.

Tag Cloud

Crackle psycho Awards Tour Amazon Prime Spring TV Fall TV GoT American Society of Cinematographers cops Nickelodeon Character Guide period drama movies Anna Paquin spinoff FXX toy story Opinion Drama historical drama binge Summer Nominations natural history Pet Sematary MSNBC Grammys crossover Shondaland Walt Disney Pictures Chernobyl Reality NYCC Rocketman BBC GIFs tv talk FOX crime MCU Sundance Showtime comiccon SundanceTV Rocky San Diego Comic-Con miniseries finale Acorn TV Election TruTV zombie Extras Emmys SXSW ABC Awards Amazon Prime Video Podcast kids Hulu series Amazon Countdown Year in Review 2017 2015 WGN supernatural Premiere Dates green book DGA Oscars Superheroe 45 Music DC Comics Box Office Rom-Com Thanksgiving Sci-Fi Lionsgate SDCC adaptation MTV TLC Teen El Rey adventure cats spider-man war revenge docudrama 2018 Starz Mystery Tumblr Captain marvel award winner Cannes Columbia Pictures New York Comic Con diversity facebook Martial Arts The Arrangement Nat Geo HBO animated vampires dramedy elevated horror IFC Brie Larson CW Seed political drama Musicals Song of Ice and Fire crime thriller Winners Pride Month Kids & Family TNT golden globes TV Calendar 21st Century Fox Polls and Games anthology Esquire doctor who festivals Red Carpet television Christmas Super Bowl HBO Max TCA DirecTV Black Mirror ghosts Dark Horse Comics Winter TV Rock casting Schedule Mudbound Binge Guide Shudder Mary Poppins Returns based on movie TV Land NBC Logo harry potter sitcom Biopics Pixar Infographic romance Action Elton John Lucasfilm Pirates social media PBS Valentine's Day Adult Swim comic Star Wars zombies Comics on TV BET 2019 Western zero dark thirty USA politics mutant children's TV Marathons AMC Disney Channel Stephen King President Netflix Britbox Universal A&E TBS The Witch witnail Watching Series mockumentary technology YouTube Premium Certified Fresh anime Trophy Talk Ellie Kemper Disney National Geographic boxoffice RT History APB true crime E3 Musical crime drama Quiz Comic Book Mary poppins Bravo YouTube Red YA Heroines WarnerMedia Apple CNN Sony Pictures Tarantino TCM book Paramount Network FX travel PaleyFest composers cinemax The CW Superheroes streaming Spectrum Originals E! LGBT BBC America 2016 dceu richard e. Grant Vudu Comedy Comedy Central thriller Holidays science fiction Syfy robots spy thriller quibi Sneak Peek Ovation Toys theme song Pop disaster RT21 Food Network Spike cars cults VICE Emmy Nominations transformers IFC Films justice league Interview CMT dragons sports CBS All Access Sundance Now DC streaming service 007 Cartoon Network cooking Masterpiece GLAAD Film Festival Paramount Freeform game show what to watch medical drama teaser biography Country Disney streaming service See It Skip It Mindy Kaling TIFF discovery Fantasy LGBTQ Warner Bros. History Horror Tomatazos 20th Century Fox Epix Fox News nature USA Network Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Trivia sequel Lifetime ABC Family Set visit Film Cosplay First Look ITV Women's History Month Mary Tyler Moore Video Games CBS Best and Worst Reality Competition Star Trek jamie lee curtis Marvel psychological thriller Family singing competition aliens talk show OWN Animation space DC Universe Photos X-Men police drama Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 24 frames serial killer TCA 2017 Trailer hist Ghostbusters ratings Creative Arts Emmys blaxploitation ESPN Writers Guild of America strong female leads unscripted dc VH1