HBO has to be kicking itself right now. The prestigious cable network had not one but two potential series in the works with master filmmaker David Fincher, both of which they let slip out of their hands when they refused to meet Fincher’s budgetary needs. Now, following the breakdown of those two projects, the director is going back to where he made his television debut: Netflix.
Per Deadline, Fincher and Oscar-winner Charlize Theron are setting up a TV series adaptation of the bestselling John Douglas and Mark Olshaker book Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Serial Crime Unit. The duo have actually been developing the property for quite some time, but now as Fincher is left with an open schedule, they’re finally setting it up with Netflix to get this thing going.
The non-fiction book goes behind-the-scenes of some of former special agent John Douglas’ highest-profile cases from his time pursuing serial killers and rapists, using his profiling techniques to catch the perpetrators. Douglas served as the inspiration for Jack Crawford in Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs and the character of Will Graham in Harris’ Red Dragon, as well as the popular CBS procedural Criminal Minds.
As with Fincher’s other Netflix series, House of Cards, the filmmaker has enlisted another playwright to pen the script: Sunny Afternoon’s Brit Joe Penhall. He is expected to direct but it’s unclear how extensive his involvement might be beyond the potential pilot. For the scrapped HBO drama series Utopia, he planned to follow in friend Steven Soderbergh’s footsteps and helm every episode of that show’s first season, so it’s possible he may still be eager to attempt that kind of feat with Mind Hunter.
Fincher and Theron will executive produce the series, which was first set up at HBO six years ago. That iteration never moved forward, but Fincher tried again to dip his toe into the HBO waters with the aforementioned Utopia and a half-hour comedy set in the burgeoning music video scene called Video Synchronicity. The latter was in the midst of production when HBO put it on hold, after which he and HBO couldn’t see eye-to-eye on the Utopia budget.
Fincher subsequently walked away from both projects, which was a major bummer, but I’m enthused to see he’s still eager to dive back into longform storytelling. He hasn’t settled on his next project yet, but here’s hoping Mind Hunter comes together sooner rather than later.