David Fincher: ‘Moviemaking is a rat f*ck, every day is a skirmish’

Matt Thrift
November 12, 2017
Little White Lies

The alchemist behind Fight Club and Zodiac discusses his newest true crime saga, the Netflix Original series MINDHUNTER.

Netflix has come a long way since the launch of its flagship in-house production, House of Cards back in 2013. The first two episodes of that landmark series saw one of American cinema’s most fastidious craftsmen make his first foray into television. Now David Fincher is back and doubling down, helming four episodes of 2017’s most anticipated binge-fest, an adaptation of the memoir by FBI agent John Douglas, the criminal profiler who served as inspiration for Jack Crawford in Thomas Harris’ bestseller, ‘The Silence of the Lambs’. Fincher gave us a call for an epic conversation about all things MINDHUNTER.

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With Mindhunter, David Fincher’s killer completes their journey

Netflix’s newest crime drama series is the culmination of a career-long obsession for the director.

Brogan Morris
October 22, 2017
Little White Lies

Mindhunter director Asif Kapadia on Ed Kemper and learning David Fincher’s style

Christopher Hooton
Nov 6, 2017
Kernels (Independent)

How do films make you feel? The Independent gets personal about cinema and TV with actors, directors, cinematographers and other people from the continually evolving world of “content” in a new fortnightly podcast hosted by Culture Editor Christopher Hooton.

Netflix‘s new original series Mindhunter has enrapt a legion of viewers with its smart, reserved style. Chris sits down with episodes 3 and 4 director Asif Kapadia to look at how it came together, how Brad Pitt‘s DVD of Senna led to his signing, directing an actor as serial killer Ed Kemper, learning from David Fincher on set, and how a season of TV’s episodes are carved up for different directors.

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David Fincher on the Music of ‘Mindhunter’

By Paula Parisi on October 23, 2017
Max the Trax

Director and producer David Fincher wanted a backing track that “didn’t sound like music” for his new Netflix series Mindhunter, which is exactly what he got in the 10-episode show’s original score by composer Jason Hill. Hill, a veteran of the early aughts indie rock scene with throwback style, invented a library of original sounds he processed into music. “I didn’t use any sound libraries,” said Hill, proprietor of the Department of Recording & Power. “I do use a computer, in terms of capture, but everything pretty much starts with a bunch of analog, weird stuff. I kind of get mad scientist brain when I press play.” Pitch perfect for a show about the genesis of the FBI’s elite Behavioral Sciences Unit, formed in 1978.  An inspired touch — the sound of Hill running his fingers around water-filled wine glasses — has become something of an audio signature for the series, which also features a rigorously curated complement of 1970s tunes.

Fincher is known as a meticulous craftsman who not only chooses great material, but applies his exacting style to bring it to the screen in a way that is both visually and narratively compelling. While his talent as a musical tastemaker has certainly been acknowledged, it’s emphasized to a lesser extent against the dazzle of his other gifts. But Fincher’s record stands: best score Oscars for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for 2010’s The Social Network, and a best soundtrack Grammy for the duo’s 2012 The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo as well as a nom for their work on Gone Girl.

Fincher received his own Academy Award nominations for directing The Social Network and 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (which also earned Oscar and Grammy nominations for composer Alexandre Desplat).  And that’s before even getting to the part about how in the ’80s he helped invent the music video genre as a founder of Propaganda Films (including Don Henley’s cinematic “The End of the Innocence” and helming entries for Madonna and Nine Inch Nails (as well as Loverboy and Rick Springfield, among many others. He’s collected his own Grammys for directing the 1994 clip for The Rolling Stones‘ Love is Strong” featuring the band and their friends as giants cavorting through Manhattan), and more recently, in 2014 for Justin Timberlake’s Suit and Tie (feat. Jay Z).  Fincher spoke to MaxTheTrax editor in chief Paula Parisi about the music for Mindhunter, his music video roots and (small!) contribution to Trent Reznor’s career as a film composer.

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DP Erik Messerschmidt on Shooting Netflix’s Mindhunter with a Custom Red Xenomorph

by Matt Mulcahey
Oct 26, 2017
Filmmaker

When mere mortals gear up for a job, they are restricted to selecting cameras currently in existence. Not David Fincher.

Fincher has long hated all the gak required to make a digital cinema camera functional: a wireless transmitter to get signal to video village, the add-ons to provide wireless iris and focus control, the assistant camera’s onboard monitor hanging off the side — all the things that turn a small, lightweight camera body into a labyrinth of cables and breakout boxes.

Red Digital Cinema responded by making Fincher his own set of custom Weapon Red Dragons for use on the new Netflix series Mindhunter—each with the features listed above built into an ergonomically friendly camera christened the Xenomorph. Put a lens on the front and a battery on the back and the Xenomorph is ready to rock and roll.

On Mindhunter, cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt reaped the benefits of that smaller camera footprint. Messerschmidt spoke to Filmmaker about his work on the new series, which follows the fictionalized story of the agents (Jonathan Groff’s Holden Ford and Holt McCallany’s Bill Tench) who started the FBI’s psychological profiling program in the 1970s by interviewing incarcerated serial killers.

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2017-09-22 Alison Leigh Evans (Instagram) - Mindhunter Camera Department Xmas Decorations [EDIT]Mindhunter Camera Department Xmas Decorations (Alison Leigh Evans, Instagram)

Art of the Shot: Mindhunter cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt

Reported by Joe Frady

Working with David Fincher, the RED XENOMORPH, CW Sonderoptic Leica Summilux-C lenses and shooting for Netflix

By David Alexander Willis
October 23, 2017
ProVideo Coalition

Shot with a tailor-made RED camera, the RED XENOMORPH, auteur David Fincher chose cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt to helm camera for his latest, and possibly most ambitious project, the 10-episode Mindhunter series. Based on the novel Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, Messerschmidt lensed actors Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany during the extended production as they play FBI agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench. Focusing on the precocious criminal psychology work of the 1970s, the show centers on the duo as they attempt to understand the mind of a serial killer. Mindhunter is available to watch via Netflix now.

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A monitor grab from a scene appearing in Ep. 3 of Mindhunter @netflix… Scheduling necessities required several sequences for Episodes 3 and 7 to be fitted into the schedule for our Eps. 1 and 2 "pilot block" shooting schedule. This scene takes place in the Sacramento storyline continued from Ep. 2, where our intrepid heroes (@holtmccallany and Jonathan Groff) help catch a killer of elderly women. This scene and others in the detective's bullpen downstairs, and outside (where their car has its wheels removed) were all shot in the former Daily News newspaper headquarters in McKeesport, PA. This shot was lit almost entirely with the selective use of practicals. I had the overhead bulbs switched to legacy Warm White tubes, added some desk lamps and used a fair amount of haze on set… In fact, a little more about the look: During prep, I created master visual bible for the evolution of the series, which will ultimately span three decades, and laid out an evolution in the visual design of the show. The 1970s would use Warm White tubes and Sodium Vapor streetlights outside, as well as heavy use of atmosphere from cigarette smoke. We also had custom 92mm screw-on 1/2 Low Con filters from @tiffencompany made for the @cwsonderoptic Leica Summilux-C lenses to be used throughout the first season… The 1980s in future seasons would see a progression toward Cool White fluorescents, Mercury Vapor streetlights and losing the low cons. The 1990s, would switch to color corrected fluorescents (no green) and neutral street lighting. Resolution and gamma may also evolve as the show progresses… w/ @camgrip @mtnbikethis @alex_w_scott @murnorama @reddigitalcinema. . #mindhunter #davidfincher #reddigitalcinema #redxenomorph cameras

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The Empire Film Podcast – David Fincher Interview Special

John Nugent
19 Oct 2017
Empire

David Fincher is one of the greatest filmmakers working in Hollywood, with a CV that includes some of the best dramas and thrillers of the past thirty years, from Seven to Fight Club to Gone Girl to The Social Network. Now he’s returned to the small screen with Mindhunter, a tough new Netflix TV drama that deals with the FBI agents trying to get under the skin of serial killers. To mark the occasion, we sat down with the man for a forty-minute conversation about his approach, his style, and his future projects.

You can listen to the Empire Podcast via our iTunes page, our SoundCloud page, or by pressing play below.

David Fincher Is Still Fascinated by Serial Killers

(Merrick Morton, Netflix)

The director of Seven returns to familiar material with his new Netflix series, Mindhunter.

Adam Grant
Oct 13, 2017
Esquire

The first rule of interviewing David Fincher: Don’t talk about Fight Club. He directed that movie, along with Seven, Gone Girl, Zodiac, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and The Social Network. He’s also an executive producer of House of Cards. One of the most meticulous creators in film and television returns to familiar territory on October 13 with Mindhunter, a Netflix drama about how the FBI first developed techniques to catch serial killers and rapists.

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