David Fincher on ‘Mindhunter’: ‘I Don’t Know if It Makes Sense to Continue’

Patrick Harbron/Netflix

David Fincher isn’t giving up on “Mindhunter” just yet. However, the director admits that the Netflix series about the FBI’s initial attempts to profile serial killers may not have much of a future given its price tag.

“I don’t know if it makes sense to continue,” Fincher told Variety during an interview for a cover story on the making of “Mank.” “It was an expensive show. It had a very passionate audience, but we never got the numbers that justified the cost.”

Plus, the second season was a nightmare to produce. Fincher fired the initial showrunner and tossed out eight scripts, as well as the “show bible,” which outlined all the details of “Mindhunter’s” on-screen universe. He ended up moving to Pittsburgh to oversee production on the season.

“It was exhausting,” says Peter Mavromates, a co-producer on “Mindhunter” and “Mank.” “Even when he wasn’t directing an episode, he was overseeing it.”

“Mindhunter,” which starred Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, and Anna Torv as FBI agents who launch a task force to interview serial killers as a way of understanding their pathology, debuted in 2017. Fincher had hoped to have a new series appear every 12 to 14 months, but production headaches meant there was a two-year delay between seasons. The sophomore season focused largely on the “Atlanta Child Murders.”

“I certainly needed some time away,” says Fincher. “We had all hands on deck to finish [season two] and we didn’t have a ton of scripts and a ton of outlines and a bible standing by for season three. I’ll admit I was a little bit like ‘I don’t know that I’m ready to spend another two years in the crawl space.'”

Fincher is hoping that an indefinite hiatus might reignite his passion for the material and says he’d like the series to end with the FBI taking Dennis Rader, the real-life BTK Stranger played by Sonny Valicenti, into custody.

“At some point I’d love to revisit it,” says Fincher. “The hope was to get all the way up to the late 90’s, early 2000’s, hopefully get all the way up to people knocking on the door at Dennis Rader’s house.”

“Mank,” Fincher’s next feature film, is being released by Netflix in select theaters this month before heading to the streamer on Dec. 4 It looks at Herman J. Mankiewicz, the brilliant, but troubled screenwriter behind “Citizen Kane.”