News

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

Interview 2016 boxoffice Animation dc Fox News MSNBC E3 Lucasfilm Musicals period drama TLC The Arrangement FOX YouTube Premium Box Office HBO vampires Mary Tyler Moore Grammys Winter TV psycho doctor who CNN composers travel Paramount serial killer cops Ghostbusters golden globes MTV Adult Swim television streaming what to watch Esquire Disney President Britbox sports Comedy Sneak Peek Syfy DC Comics dramedy Shudder TBS American Society of Cinematographers Tumblr cats The CW VH1 Super Bowl Rom-Com Character Guide crime drama CW Seed Opinion docudrama Country BET crime thriller harry potter Premiere Dates Extras Rock romance First Look See It Skip It WGN Toys Sci-Fi Certified Fresh New York Comic Con biography social media Awards Tour YouTube Red CBS All Access Schedule PaleyFest FX Awards Spring TV AMC Valentine's Day zombie crime IFC National Geographic Walt Disney Pictures Disney Channel singing competition Kids & Family 21st Century Fox YA TCA 2017 Holidays mutant binge Christmas TruTV Nat Geo Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt political drama Tomatazos SXSW Apple Oscars PBS sitcom Pirates 45 Sundance Now police drama Horror war Star Trek hist A&E Universal TIFF Video Games E! Fantasy technology IFC Films Dark Horse Comics diversity ESPN blaxploitation Polls and Games VICE science fiction cults GLAAD Spike Superheroe unscripted Bravo Quiz Thanksgiving Netflix Western Pixar medical drama Crackle Trophy Talk thriller Trivia NYCC San Diego Comic-Con GIFs supernatural Mystery Marathons LGBTQ NBC Acorn TV Reality Summer Red Carpet cinemax Ovation OWN Star Wars Infographic DC Universe Comics on TV zombies Year in Review TV USA Network Countdown Epix TNT Mindy Kaling DC streaming service Song of Ice and Fire Columbia Pictures 20th Century Fox 2017 transformers SDCC ABC Family RT History Calendar GoT Musical Reality Competition crossover Biopics Comedy Central Fall TV Shondaland X-Men historical drama FXX Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Lifetime justice league SundanceTV Food Network Music based on movie Warner Bros. BBC Amazon Hulu Creative Arts Emmys Starz 24 frames adventure Superheroes Logo Podcast Set visit cooking TCA dceu ABC Drama finale Ellie Kemper politics Teen Election Freeform ITV CBS 2015 TV Land festivals Cartoon Network TCM discovery robots APB Marvel Writers Guild of America ratings Nominations Watching Series BBC America aliens CMT Best and Worst Paramount Network USA 007 Photos Comic Book Sundance DirecTV Trailer El Rey Pop comic Lionsgate Cosplay Winners Emmys talk show spy thriller jamie lee curtis Martial Arts Action Nickelodeon History Rocky anime Sony Pictures comiccon Masterpiece Showtime