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

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