Today is the much-anticipated premiere of Netflix’s Mindhunter, the compelling new serial killer series from executive producers David Fincher and Charlize Theron. But Mindhunter isn’t Seven or even The Silence of the Lambs: it’s a slower, more psychological study of murderers through the eyes of FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany). The series, which shot for 10 months in Pittsburgh with Fincher there for the entire production (he also directed 4 episodes), can be chilling but also oddly funny thanks to the chemistry between Groff and McCallany.
EW sat down with the pair to talk about working with the legendary Fincher and why you’ll probably never see a shootout on Mindhunter.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This show is so secretive. I don’t know what happens after season 2. Did you know where it was going or was it just based on David Fincher?
HOLT McCALLANY: No. There were scripts that were written and there was a bible for the first five seasons. Now it was just very broad strokes but it existed. We were permitted to read it.
Where is the Mindhunter bible kept?
JONATHAN GROFF: It’s now like destroyed and blown up.
McCALLANY: It’s completely irrelevant now. I think once David took control over the arc of the story, everything has changed considerably from the original scripts that were turned by a talented British writer named Joe Penhall but who is no longer with the project. From the point of Joe’s departure David sort of really began to rework the scripts and the bible and everything changed a lot.
There are so many stories about David Fincher and doing multiple takes. Jonathan, you had never worked with him before. How was it?
GROFF: There’s this mysterious aura about him going in. But then the revelation for me is that he just loves to work and wants to make something great. That’s it! Every time we would do another take — and sometimes we did a lot of takes and sometimes we didn’t — it would depend on the situation and the moment and he would do what he felt was needed to get as much as he could. I think perhaps the thing that’s unique about him is, we’re not going to leave until we get it. I would say nine times out of 10 you work with people who are like, Well we might not have gotten all of it but I’d rather go to dinner and go to sleep. David, I don’t know when he sleeps. He would go home and watch the dailies and come in the next day with rough cuts of the scene. He just is obsessive and loves working. We ended up having an amazing time for the 10 months we were there.