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

video Best Picture halloween tv comic cults Pacific Islander Calendar Countdown Crackle Fox News hispanic heritage month Reality Competition saw werewolf telelvision deadpool miniseries Baby Yoda new york Film Festival Fargo Masterpiece YouTube Premium SundanceTV Trophy Talk IFC toy story Exclusive Video Superheroes CNN 21st Century Fox prank Freeform cancelled television Extras Best Actor Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt FX on Hulu critics Disney streaming service based on movie archives composers The Purge Election Martial Arts latino BBC America 4/20 Turner basketball HBO Max canceled TV shows spider-verse war WarnerMedia romance james bond politics Lionsgate DirecTV Horror cooking twilight Disney Endgame quibi die hard CMT Infographic casting AMC know your critic Film vs. ghosts a nightmare on elm street Ghostbusters Music RT History AMC Plus Marvel Television target cancelled TV shows CBS All Access Mindy Kaling Opinion Creative Arts Emmys Superheroe australia Rom-Com art house Certified Fresh YouTube sag awards FXX National Geographic chucky disaster A24 Heroines Hallmark leaderboard superman Photos screen actors guild Spectrum Originals remakes hispanic rotten name the review witnail Funimation strong female leads The Arrangement Starz Adult Swim 20th Century Fox streaming MCU best king arthur Rocketman Lifetime blaxploitation debate spanish language ABC 2021 boxoffice Television Critics Association DC streaming service Elton John social media zombie TruTV olympics Crunchyroll Hulu 90s biopic slashers Columbia Pictures biography First Reviews foreign finale Classic Film zero dark thirty genre documentary TCA Awards critic resources docuseries adventure dreamworks Logo aapi stoner teaser anime Tarantino Vudu IFC Films worst movies Binge Guide VH1 hollywood worst dc stop motion sequel kids scorecard jamie lee curtis thriller Apple TV Plus football parents TIFF festival Pop travel Academy Awards Disney Plus Best Director toronto laika Pride Month spinoff Pet Sematary sitcom Super Bowl diversity American Society of Cinematographers OWN ABC Family 2017 Bravo mutant mob Musicals Fall TV singing competition richard e. Grant what to watch ratings international Cannes Mystery series Mary Tyler Moore marvel comics Lifetime Christmas movies Amazon Prime theme song Song of Ice and Fire Nat Geo Comedy Central Kids & Family nbcuniversal Spring TV BBC revenge Writers Guild of America Paramount Plus CW Seed heist movie vampires PaleyFest HBO Go mission: impossible Television Academy Premiere Dates rom-coms kong Holiday Apple TV+ space Drama legend TV renewals Set visit video on demand BET historical drama festivals Nominations posters french documentaries fresh superhero Netflix Christmas movies cancelled hist Tomatazos 71st Emmy Awards political drama First Look fast and furious Fantasy Sundance TV live event CBS 2018 HBO Watching Series Disney+ Disney Plus FX Apple comiccon YA 99% independent Comics on TV Animation Marathons Star Wars Walt Disney Pictures Pop TV Universal Comic-Con@Home 2021 period drama The Academy TV movies crime thriller BAFTA Chernobyl elevated horror supernatural Holidays 2019 Trailer TLC monster movies VICE razzies GoT children's TV psycho emmy awards ID game show concert South by Southwest Film Festival game of thrones The Walking Dead Marvel Pixar stand-up comedy dexter Turner Classic Movies DC Universe child's play Awards NBA Hollywood Foreign Press Association Winners trailers Grammys Mudbound wonder woman ITV action-comedy Black Mirror suspense psychological thriller king kong Reality free movies Netflix facebook MTV Mary poppins Arrowverse crossover golden globe awards true crime spy thriller USA Network APB Avengers 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Podcast Lucasfilm Image Comics comic books The Walt Disney Company X-Men television 73rd Emmy Awards The CW Thanksgiving Legendary Character Guide Family police drama sequels trophy romantic comedy young adult ABC Signature BET Awards dragons doctor who 007 scary movies E3 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TV Land Peacock harry potter dark Shondaland cinemax MGM zombies A&E all-time RT21 rotten movies we love book adaptation nature Sony Pictures cancelled TV series OneApp Year in Review rt labs critics edition streamig high school Amazon Prime Video news Awards Tour aliens Paramount Network Sundance docudrama adenture ViacomCBS History comic book movies 94th Oscars directors cops Acorn TV japanese Red Carpet movies royal family PlayStation HFPA USA See It Skip It TBS NBC technology renewed TV shows Country sopranos Star Trek medical drama IMDb TV animated book Emmy Nominations NYCC San Diego Comic-Con adaptation slasher WGN marvel cinematic universe Christmas Best and Worst Quiz Sundance Now Hear Us Out versus Interview Travel Channel crime Musical 24 frames Universal Pictures comic book movie The Witch pirates of the caribbean El Rey cartoon Rock godzilla SDCC films spanish robots black LGBT Pirates Cartoon Network Nickelodeon venice mockumentary Rocky indie Tags: Comedy kaiju 45 classics Ellie Kemper YouTube Red reviews natural history green book Tokyo Olympics rt labs SXSW Esquire dramedy Dark Horse Comics 2020 science fiction Marvel Studios Cosplay Box Office SXSW 2022 new zealand Summer binge black comedy Amazon TCA 2017 Neflix Sci-Fi cars women joker Western batman Teen spain 93rd Oscars blockbusters Toys PBS DGA dogs BBC One Anna Paquin Showtime sports Emmys ESPN Spike Wes Anderson 72 Emmy Awards live action TCM crime drama unscripted Valentine's Day cats 2016 mcc Oscars breaking bad Polls and Games obituary movie GLAAD indiana jones Sneak Peek Biopics italian Women's History Month screenings feel good obi wan satire President Prime Video DC Comics TNT dceu tv talk Schedule Winter TV christmas movies Disney Channel Oscar scene in color lord of the rings TV TCA Winter 2020 Stephen King reboot Trivia south america serial killer universal monsters VOD canceled LGBTQ Tubi jurassic park criterion Epix gangster justice league New York Comic Con Video Games halloween blockbuster GIFs award winner Comic Book Action 79th Golden Globes Awards hidden camera Broadway Syfy nfl Hallmark Christmas movies comics japan new star wars movies Shudder E! anthology Discovery Channel comedies Ovation spider-man Fox Searchlight asian-american Mary Poppins Returns Alien Instagram Live MSNBC popular Comedy Captain marvel scary Warner Bros. FOX Black History Month TV One streaming movies Tumblr discovery Brie Larson golden globes rt archives Best Actress boxing Paramount 1990s TCA transformers Britbox talk show Amazon Studios Food Network franchise 2015