David Fincher is 'not tolerant of mistakes', say the stars of his new Netflix show Mindhunter

Tom Butler
UK Movies Editor

‘Fight Club’ director David Fincher makes a triumphant return to Netflix today with his new show ‘Mindhunter’, which sees two pioneering FBI agents interviewing serial killers to learn about their motives and hopefully prevent further crimes.

It’s the celebrated filmmakers second show on the streaming platform following the hugely successful ‘House of Cards’, and while Fincher has only directed four of the ten episodes that make up the first season, its stars say he’s just as meticulous and dedicated on set as he would be on his movies.

“[David Fincher’s] very driven,” Holt McCallany who plays the taciturn special agent Bill Tench, and also worked with Fincher on his first feature ‘Alien³’, tells Yahoo.

“He’s really passionate about getting things as good as they can possibly be. He’s not particularly tolerant of mistakes but, you know, why should he be? But at the same time he’s a collaborative person, you can always present ideas and ask questions and stuff.”

Holden Ford and Bill Tench help a local law enforcement agent with an unusual case. (Patrick Harbron/Netflix)

In 2013, while shooting ‘Gone Girl’, Fincher’s producing partner Ceán Chaffin told press that the director usually averages around 27-30 takes per scene. This is quite high for a film director. Clint Eastwood famously only likes to shoot one or two takes of each scene, because he feels actors “start killing [their performances] with improvements.”

Jonathan Groff, who plays special agent Holden Ford and is best-known as the voice of Kristoff in ‘Frozen’, thinks Fincher has the right approach. He puts his high number of takes down to the filmmaker being a perfectionist, not a tyrant on set.

Holden Ford visits a high security prison to interview real-life serial killer Ed Kemper. (Patrick Harbron/Netflix)

“It’s such a pleasure to work for someone that loves their work so much, and loves working so much,” Groff explains.

“That really is all it is. Sometimes we do a lot of takes, sometimes we don’t. It isn’t like he’s this insane person who just makes you do things over and over again and you have no idea why. That’s not it at all. He’s very pragmatic, and you understand why you’re doing it again every time you do it again. It’s not like some mad scientist that’s just putting you on a repeat.

“It’s so relaxing to work for someone who has such a vision, so you feel like ‘OK, they got it’. He’s gonna say jump, and I’m gonna say ‘how high?’ I love that.”

“You put your trust in him,” adds McCallany, “that he’s going to get it right, because he cares about the work. And I’ve had the misfortune on one or two occasions in my career to work with people who don’t really care as much, and let me tell you, it’s a lot better to be with a guy who cares.”

Alongside Fincher, the rest of ‘Mindhunter’ S1 is directed by Asif Kapadia (‘Senna’/’Amy’), Tobias Lindholm (‘A War’), and Andrew Douglas (‘The Amityville Horror’ (2005).

The first season of ‘Mindhunter’, inspired by the non-fiction book ‘Mind Hunter: Inside The FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit’ written by Mark Olshaker and John E. Douglas, as available to stream on Netflix now.

Watch a trailer for ‘Mindhunter’ below…


Read more
Directors who were fired on set
Directors who tortured their casts
Amazing Alien movies that never got made