Anna Torv: “Serial Killers are real, not monsters that live under the bed”
The actress stars in “Mindhunter”, a show that explores the origins of applied criminal psychology.
Television and cinema have given shelter to some of the most perverse minds of humanity. Stories about serial killers, mobsters or criminals of any kind have fascinated current viewers as crime novels and noir did at the end of the 19th century. Various numbers of fans of shows like ‘C.S.I’, ‘Criminal Minds’, ‘Cold Case’, ‘Law & Order’ know professional terms such as ‘crime scene’ or ‘profiling’.
But everything has an origin. “Mindhunter”, the latest Netflix phenomenon, travels to the late seventies to discover how psychology began to be applied to criminal investigations. At a time when everything was yet to be discovered (such a common term today like ‘serial killer’ didn’t exist back then and investigators invented ‘sequence killers’) two FBI agents decided to think ‘outside the box’ and search for new police methods. They were advised by the researcher Ann Wolbert Burgess, to whom the actress Anna Torv gives life. The actress, who is under David Fincher’s command in this production, spoke to ABC about the show and how digital platforms have ‘radically’ changed how we watch TV today.
Q – ‘Mindhunter’ has become one of the best reviewed TV shows of the year. What’s the reason behind such impact in its first season?
David Fincher (creator and director) has a very special way of creating stories. It’s fascinating because his way of working fascinates the entire team when he’s around and they work close to him. What also makes it special is the fact that it’s shot at the end of the seventies, that aesthetic is very special and it has reached a lot of people.
Q – You’ve worked with real cases of some of the cruelest murderers in history. Does it scare you knowing that they exist and knowing their cases so closely? Which one scares you the most?
They all scare me. I can’t choose because they all terrify me. I can’t understand them. They’re people like us, real people, not monsters that live under the bed, and they’re around you. When I read the book in which “Mindhunter” is based on, and read about all those murderers that you have to worry about, I had to stop reading. I had to stop because I was terrified so I searched for other types of books (laughs).
Q – Netflix, Amazon, HBO… the industry of television has changed, directors like David Fincher live between TV shows and cinema. Do you think the change has been positive?
Digital platforms like Netflix changed everything from top to bottom in a radical way, but I think that what’s interesting about this change is the conversation that emerges among viewers. You have to quickly watch the episode, be careful with spoilers… People ask you on what episode you’re on and you don’t want to be left behind. Everyone goes at the same time and I think that’s something nice. The way the industry changes makes us focus more on what we see.
Q – On Fringe, you worked with another prestigious director, J.J. Abrams. What are the differences between them?
I think it’s really interesting because when you’re working on TV shows like this you end up living in a bubble where everything is about the show, it doesn’t matter what kind of topic each one deals with. Of course “Fringe” was a different group of people from “Mindhunter”, with its different dynamics… We made it with a totally different foundation because of the subject we were dealing with, it was broadcast every seven days… a lot of work.
Q – We barely know anything about the private life of your character, however we know everything about her partners Holden and Bill. Why?
Yeah, but you’ll see a little more in the next seasons. I think we’re closely following their lives to discover about it while they discover their research. But I invite you to discover a bit more of her later on.
Q – So far we only have one season of “Mindhunter”. Do you like shows that wrap everything up or do you like stories that develop across many seasons?
When you work in television you hope to make more than one season, to shoot at least a few. The work here is very different from cinema because of what you do and in the way that you do it. Here you shoot ten hours of a story, and not ninety minutes. In a short season like “Mindhunter”, the show seems to move forward like a novel and not like the pages of a magazine. And I enjoy that a lot more: You have the depth of the character, you grow with it and that’s something that I love as a spectator.