Holt McCallany, one of the stars of Mindhunter, has discussed the impact the show has had on him psychologically.
Mindhunter is the latest big thing from Netflix’s original series wing, a show – based on real events – that focuses on two FBI agents, touring 70s America while interviewing the country’s most deranged and infamous killers.
McCallany plays one of the two agents, Bill Tench, and has spoken to Vulture about his character and what researching into the depraved minds of these real life killers has done to his head.
“We do a tremendous amount of research on the show because you have to understand each of these killers and their histories and the crimes they committed. So, you’re reading about Ed Kemper, but you know that next week we’re going to start shooting Jerry Brudos. I’ve gotta understand who Jerry Brudos was, and I have to understand who Richard Speck was, and I have to understand Monte Rissell and, going forward, Charles Manson, David Berkowitz, and on and on and on. And volumes have been written about these guys. I can’t play those scenes unless I’ve really understood who they are and what they did and how they’re different from the other guys.”
And when Vulture asked him if this all messed with his head a little, the actor responded:
“No, look, it does. You’re looking at these guys and the emptiness of their souls and the depravity that makes them commit these horrible acts and it causes you sometimes to recognize certain emptinesses that exist within yourself.”
The show itself is certainly an intense ride, and the psychological nature of Mindhunter has a way of getting under the viewer’s skin, so it’s no surprise to hear that the actors themselves were also impacted.
Of course, this is nothing compared to the real men and women that had to deal with psychos like Kemper and Manson, but for us every day folk, these are minds that one does not want to dwell on for prolonged periods.
In any case, the research that McCallany put in certainly can be seen on screen, and surely contributed to the show’s success and early renewal by Netflix.