David Fincher is notorious for his relentless filmmaking style whereby he makes his cast shoot certain scenes for hours and hours until he captures what he set out to achieve. It turns out his work on the first season of Mindhunter was no exception.
Despite the faster-paced schedule of television, Fincher and lead star Jonathan Groff - who plays FBI agent Holden Ford - revealed the extent the filmmaker went to ensure the success of a particular scene.
Gathered at an FYC event on Friday (1 June), Fincher - who directed four episodes - detailed that the scene in question featuring serial killer Jerry Brudos (Happy Anderson) lasted for a hefty nine-and-a-half minutes and was shot using three cameras around 75 times.
IndieWire reports that while Groff and co-star Holt McCallany (Bill Tench) quickly adapted to Fincher's rigorous approach, Anderson was more taken aback.
“The scene with Happy [Anderson] was 11 pages,” he explained. “We had three cameras outside the cage, and we’d do a nine-and-a-half-minute take. Then I’d walk in with a yellow pad [filled] with single-spaced notes: [to Groff] ‘OK, that’s a joke, you can’t toss that off. And this? This is a statement. Make sure that’s a statement.’ And Jonathan would be there going, ‘okay, okay.’ Then we’d do another nine-minute take and he’d do all that stuff [I asked], and I’d go to Holt and go over four pages of notes with him. And Happy was like, ‘What? We’re really going to do this [every time]?’”
He continues: “We didn’t have a break, well we broke for lunch — I would say we did it 75 times in the day.”
Fincher is well-known for being a perfectionist with reports claiming he was averaging around 50 takes for each scene in films Zodiac and Gone Girl.
McCallany waded in stating he “didn’t mind,” adding: “I find when you do something over and over again, you discover things. When you guys would say ‘take 14’ or ‘take 20,’ suddenly something becomes apparent to you that you didn’t really realise. It’s not that we were making huge changes, but the subtle adjustments we made or small adjustments David will give you can make a big difference in the way a scene plays out. So I’m a fan of doing a lot of takes.”
Fincher also went to extreme lengths to ensure Cameron Britton's character Ed Kemper retained the eerie atmosphere required to make him the series' highlight.
“It became really obvious coming out of the first read-through that: ‘Make sure Cameron doesn’t talk to anyone. He can’t fraternise [with anyone]. I don’t want this to be a social thing. He has to literally come from Pluto and be in the show.’ He can’t be indoctrinated into what anyone else is up to. It has to be that this guy shows up, he’s got all the time in the world — 13 life sentences — and he’s going to tell you what you want to know.
Mindhunter is expected to unveil its second season on Netflix later this year
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies