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

police drama See It Skip It NYCC a nightmare on elm street Premiere Dates talk show Walt Disney Pictures hollywood Hulu Super Bowl CBS chucky Marvel Awards Tour Character Guide Anna Paquin Heroines FXX The Witch BET Awards TV Schedule nfl 45 TCA Awards The Arrangement reviews award winner SundanceTV spider-man cancelled TV series Winners Tomatazos disaster streaming SXSW TV renewals TCA 2017 Warner Bros. Funimation VOD anime Tubi game show 2015 Black Mirror biography Countdown spy thriller animated Hallmark Mary poppins Travel Channel spinoff foreign Marvel Studios Britbox festival 2020 Cannes Martial Arts Amazon Prime Video OneApp dogs zombies dramedy travel golden globes independent Rocky television trailers cooking Showtime Oscars classics archives ABC Family Animation critics dc Pop indiana jones Bravo Trailer President Syfy cinemax blaxploitation renewed TV shows satire mockumentary films best boxing Fall TV die hard VICE Starz 2019 Paramount Plus tv talk Rom-Com psychological thriller Broadway Grammys franchise 2016 Turner Classic Movies TV One Pop TV Year in Review Sneak Peek Disney Plus MTV versus Captain marvel Valentine's Day Superheroes sequel Paramount universal monsters screen actors guild hispanic Lifetime Christmas movies Marvel Television monster movies cops Photos Holiday cancelled TV shows news halloween Elton John sag awards Pirates Mary Tyler Moore The Purge concert kids australia Teen Exclusive Video WarnerMedia PlayStation Tarantino Winter TV child's play Polls and Games GoT romance El Rey Awards Tumblr Freeform popular dragons spanish Disney Channel Shudder south america hidden camera CW Seed supernatural Comedy Central Ovation Holidays VH1 superman romantic comedy Rocketman San Diego Comic-Con Reality Competition screenings harry potter comedies italian Summer TNT Family all-time indie TLC WGN Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Western OWN Marathons The CW Musical Action canceled TV shows black Dark Horse Comics dceu Logo free movies Sony Pictures movie Nominations kong criterion dark Trophy Talk transformers History ABC Food Network obituary game of thrones werewolf Ellie Kemper Black History Month blockbusters rom-coms Interview Mindy Kaling 72 Emmy Awards Spring TV sitcom Stephen King docuseries Nat Geo crossover mission: impossible BBC One Trivia rotten historical drama james bond spain TCA Winter 2020 finale APB halloween tv Esquire USA Network Film Festival Television Academy casting DirecTV documentary Spike A&E Brie Larson The Academy 99% children's TV Fox News Kids & Family SDCC IFC Films FX on Hulu Baby Yoda movies worst movies serial killer spanish language twilight jamie lee curtis BET MSNBC adventure Alien American Society of Cinematographers ITV book Acorn TV worst Set visit period drama Adult Swim cats Endgame DC streaming service Epix Apple TV+ witnail Pixar Infographic nbcuniversal Quiz french TIFF GIFs USA GLAAD X-Men medical drama joker women DGA directors Sundance Now king kong justice league richard e. Grant Crunchyroll Paramount Network space Disney comiccon reboot Certified Fresh emmy awards scorecard golden globe awards venice Toys TruTV Country HBO Go Thanksgiving discovery Comics on TV E3 ghosts festivals YA MCU stand-up comedy singing competition Drama Discovery Channel Election The Walt Disney Company Superheroe prank Turner revenge fresh toy story Arrowverse crime theme song 2021 Binge Guide Horror psycho Pet Sematary Chilling Adventures of Sabrina what to watch kaiju superhero zombie football series toronto Television Critics Association Disney+ Disney Plus razzies Opinion diversity 24 frames doctor who canceled natural history elevated horror HBO Mudbound Nickelodeon LGBT 20th Century Fox Lucasfilm sequels jurassic park science fiction Universal Amazon sports video on demand A24 Cartoon Network Netflix Christmas movies TCM binge latino Academy Awards Vudu Biopics Fox Searchlight RT21 adaptation YouTube Red Lifetime hist fast and furious BBC America Creative Arts Emmys politics cars Apple E! true crime 21st Century Fox New York Comic Con asian-american boxoffice CBS All Access National Geographic 2017 ESPN Ghostbusters AMC Fantasy Calendar Apple TV Plus Comic Book Avengers Mary Poppins Returns stoner Chernobyl anthology PBS stop motion FOX godzilla YouTube Premium Comedy Disney streaming service ID blockbuster FX deadpool Classic Film social media CNN telelvision miniseries Extras Lionsgate Amazon Prime mutant based on movie breaking bad technology Columbia Pictures comics HBO Max robots crime drama rotten movies we love cults name the review 71st Emmy Awards Crackle teaser Reality thriller Masterpiece Peacock cartoon Hear Us Out laika Netflix RT History christmas movies Video Games IFC crime thriller cancelled YouTube Women's History Month nature comic books vampires remakes rt archives Sundance LGBTQ Legendary Amazon Studios Music Watching Series political drama batman Emmys Emmy Nominations DC Comics video Musicals 007 CMT Hallmark Christmas movies The Walking Dead ABC Signature First Look NBC Cosplay Spectrum Originals Sci-Fi TCA japanese zero dark thirty green book ViacomCBS Podcast PaleyFest scary movies pirates of the caribbean comic Writers Guild of America documentaries parents Box Office Red Carpet Star Trek aliens First Reviews BAFTA docudrama Shondaland 2018 ratings TBS unscripted BBC 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards strong female leads quibi Christmas Best and Worst slashers facebook Pride Month DC Universe Mystery war Rock 4/20 Star Wars Film Song of Ice and Fire Sundance TV cancelled television TV Land composers