The House of Cards executive producer/director David Fincher is expanding his Netflix portfolio with a second drama series, Mindhunter, we have learned. Like House of Cards, which Fincher developed with Kevin Spacey, on Mindhunter the Gone Girl and The Social Network director also is collaborating with an Oscar-winning actor, Charlize Theron. Also like with House of Card‘s Beau Willimon, we hear Fincher has recruited a playwright/screenwriter for the new series, Brit Joe Penhall (Sunny Afternoon).
Fincher and Theron will executive produce the series, which is based on the 1996 book Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, by former special agent John Douglas and Mark Olshaker. For years, Douglas pursued some of the most notorious serial killers and rapists, developing profiling techniques to catch them. The book goes behind the scenes of some of his highest-profile cases, including the man who hunted prostitutes in Alaska, the Atlanta child murderer, and Seattle’s Green River killer. To hone in his profiling methods Douglas interviewed and studied a skew of serial killers. Several book and TV characters have been based in part on him, including Jack Crawford in Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs, Will Graham on Hannibal and Jason Gideon on Criminal Minds.
Fincher, who is expected to direct, has tackled the subject of series killers and the hunt to capture them in two of his movies, Se7en and Zodiac.
The Mindhunter TV series project had been in the works for awhile. Six years ago, it was set up at HBO with Fincher and Theron executive producing and Fox 21, which had optioned the book, as the studio. (Fox 21 is no longer involved.) Scott Buck, who served as executive producer/showrunner on the last four seasons of another series killer drama, Showtime’s Dexter, was tapped to write the script. He is not expected to be involved in the Netflix incarnation of the project; Buck just landed another high-profile gig at Netflix as the showrunner on its Marvel’s Iron Fist series.
Theron is exec producing through her Denver and Delilah banner. Producer Jennifer Orme Erwin originally brought the book to her.
Netflix declined comment.
Mindhunter will mark Fincher’s followup TV series to the critically praised House of Cards, which helped launch original scripted shows on Netflix. Fincher recently worked on two series at HBO, Video Synchronicity and Utopia, which were ordered to production but subsequently put on indefinite hold.
Theron is coming off a starring role in the box-office hit and Oscar contender Mad Max: Fury Road.