How David Fincher Nailed ‘Mindhunter,’ from Charlize Theron to Jonathan Groff

Holt McCallany, Anna Torv, Erik Messerschmidt (Director of Photography), Laray Mayfield (Casting Director), Cameron Britton, Jonathan Groff, Jennifer Starzyk (Costume Designer), Steve Arnold (Production Designer), David Fincher (Director/Executive Producer). (Patrick Lewis/Starpix for Netflix/REX/Shutterstock/IndieWire)

Take some people obsessed with serial killers, and a detail freak like David Fincher, and the alchemy is undeniably compelling.

Anne Thompson
June 4, 2018
IndieWire, Thompson on Hollywood

There are manifold reasons why Netflix’s chilling series “Mindhunter” breaks the mold, from David Fincher to the bromantic chemistry between boyish FBI agent Holden Ford (“Hamilton” star Jonathan Groff) and gruff, chain-smoking G-man Bill Tench (Fincher veteran Holt McCallany). Here are a few factors that pushed this series to the top of the competitive drama Emmy contenders.

1. Charlize Theron

The series may never have existed if executive producer Charlize Theron hadn’t recognized a fellow serial killer buff in Fincher. When the actress was researching her Oscar-winning role as sociopath Aileen Wuornos in Patty Jenkins’ “Monster,” she read John Douglas’s “Mindhunter,” about the groundbreaking ’70s FBI unit that pioneered research into serial killers.

“This guy had an incredible life,” she said. “What he does is so rare and mind-blowing. I’m fascinated by books on neurology and brain development and why people are sociopaths: They cut off all emotion in order to do horrible things. I bought the rights to his book. I thought about Fincher, who loved ‘Zodiac’ and ‘Seven’ [and thought] ‘He must be obsessed with this stuff too; he must know who John Douglas is.’ People said, ‘You have never produced television.’ I asked David to lunch and he knew about Douglas and was on board: ‘Let’s make it into a series.’ Dream big, motherfuckers!”

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Charlize Theron craves Sushi
Fincher and Theron, after their meeting in 2012 (Bauer-Griffin, AKM-GSI)

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Charlize Theron and David Fincher, ‘Mindhunter’ delves into the darker corners of the criminal mind

Meredith Blake
October 12, 2017
Los Angeles Times

To meet Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany, stars of the Netflix series “Mindhunter,” you’d never suspect they recently spent 10 long months consumed with the darkest reaches of the human psyche.

Groff, a charmer known for playing the lead in HBO’s “Looking” and King George in the original Broadway version of “Hamilton,” laughs generously as McCallany, a seasoned character actor and gabby raconteur with a booming voice, shares a story about training to throw out the first pitch at a Mets game.

Yet given their obvious rapport, it’s easy to see why they were cast as the leads in “Mindhunter,” which debuts Friday. The psychological drama, executive produced by David Fincher and Charlize Theron, follows a pair of trailblazing FBI agents as they interrogate notorious real-life murderers in an effort to understand — and maybe prevent — the senseless urge to kill.

Groff stars as Holden Ford, a clean-cut but open-minded young agent intent on shaking up the hidebound agency, while McCallany plays Bill Tench, a cynical veteran who asks what might be the series’ central question: “How do we get ahead of crazy if we don’t know how crazy thinks?”

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MINDHUNTER Production Notes

MINDHUNTER, A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES

By Netflix Media Center

David Fincher returns to Netflix with MINDHUNTER, a rigorous study of the damaged psyches of serial killers and the innovative FBI Agents who attempt to understand and catch them.

Fincher made his Netflix debut with the Emmy ®- and Golden Globe ® -winning political drama House of Cards and his return to long-form storytelling is highly anticipated.

MINDHUNTER follows ambitious FBI agent Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) as he struggles to comprehend incarcerated killers, so that he might use this knowledge to catch others.

He’s teamed with experienced agent Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) in the Behavioral Science Unit and will work with his sometimes reluctant partner to find new methods of investigation.

Together they will meet some of America’s gravest killers – and face the cynicism and scorn of the tradition-bound hierarchy of the 1970s’ Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Ford will risk empathizing with ‘evil’ in order to save lives. But, as Tench says, when arguing the case for their work: “How do we get ahead of crazy if we don’t know how crazy thinks?”

Written by Joe Penhall (The Road) and Jennifer Haley (Hemlock Grove), MINDHUNTER was inspired by the memoir of FBI veteran John R Douglas, Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit (written with Mark Olshaker).

All 10 episodes of MINDHUNTER will become available to Netflix members worldwide on Friday, October 13, 2017.

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New Mindhunter Clip Teases a Meeting with a Real-Life Monster

Meet Edmund Kemper.

By Phil Nobile Jr.
Aug. 29, 2017
Birth. Movies. Death.

Mindhunter is a new Netflix series executive produced by David Fincher and Charlize Theron and we can’t wait to check it out. Today we have a clip teasing protagonist Holden Ford‘s meeting with serial killer Edmund Kemper. While Ford (played by Jonathan Groff) is a fictionalized version of FBI behavioral expert John E. Douglas, Edmund Kemper (Cameron Britton) is real as hell.

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Warning: It turns out that “… and then he’s gonna have sex with your face” isn’t just a funny remark, so reader discretion is advised.

2017-08-29 Mindhunter - Edmund Kemper 02

David Fincher’s “Mindhunter” gets its release date on Netflix

Netflix has set the official premiere for the series “MINDHUNTER“, its second partnership with David Fincher and the director’s first finished project since the 2014’s devilishly brilliant “Gone Girl”. All 10 episodes of its first season will be available to stream on a very pertinent date: Friday, October 13th.

“Mindhunter” is based on the already influential book “Mind Hunter: Inside FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit” written by Mark Olshaker and John E. Douglas, founder of the FBI’s Criminal Profiling Program. It was first optioned and developed as a series for HBO by Charlize Theron, who teamed up with Fincher. They both executive produce the series written by the British playwright and screenwriter Joe Penhall.

Fincher has directed episodes 1.1, 1.2 and 1.10. Andrew Douglas, Asif Kapadia and Tobias Lindholm, the other seven.

Set in 1979, it follows two FBI agents, played by Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany (“Alien 3”, “Fight Club”), who interview convicted serial killers and other violent sex offenders in an effort to help them solve current murder cases. Anna Torv plays a psychologist.

Netflix has already manifested its confidence in the potential of the show by picking it up for a second season.

Here’s the teaser trailer released in March: