David Fincher’s directing style designed for a demanding few days on the set of Mindhunter
In an interview for Vulture, McCallany, who plays Tench, explains how Fincher is able to get such precise emotion out of him and the rest of the cast. At a particular point in Season 2, Tench interviews Kevin Bright, the man who survived an attack by BTK’s killer (Dennis Rader) but couldn’t save his sister who was murdered by Rader in the next room. . It’s a tense moment as Bright only agrees to talk in a secluded area and won’t allow Tench to look at him, even in a mirror.
Fincher is known for his love of multiple takes, and according to McCallany, filming this scene was no different. McCallany recalled filming “a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot” of his scene with Andrew Yackel, the man who plays Bright, saying, “You have to remember that it’s not just the number of shots; there’s also the number of configurations, you know what I mean? There’s a wide angle, there’s a wider angle, there’s a two-plane, there’s a three-plane – there’s has a lot of different covers, and then there are multiple takes in those setups.He explains that Fincher “very clearly cares about the job” and that this dedication to getting it right is what makes the director’s job so engaging.
“David likes to do these things right. So you don’t break it to pieces. You do the whole scene every time. And then we do it again, and we do it again, and we do it again, and again, and again, and again, and again until he feels we have him from this angle.”
IndieWire also reported on Fincher’s multiple takes method, detailing how Fincher explained at an FYC event for “Mindhunter” that he had already taken 75 separate takes of a single scene between Tench, Ford and the killer, Jerry Brudos (Happy Anderson). That’s a lot of time to spend in the mind and presence of a single murderous man, even if it’s just pretending.