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‘Mindhunter’ Season 3 Remains a Mystery, but Fincher’s Cinematographer Wants It Back

Cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt also calls "Mank" unlike any movie David Fincher has ever made.


Netflix’s “Mindhunter”

Patrick Harbron/Netflix

David Fincher fans know a new project from the director is on the way thanks to his Netflix movie “Mank,” but a potential third season of “Mindhunter” continues to be of upmost interest. News broke at the beginning of 2020 that “Mindhunter” cast members Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, and Anna Torv were released from their contracts, putting a third season in doubt. The crime series, in which Fincher serves as a producer and directs several episodes, is a critical favorite. Netflix has not canceled the show. Instead, Fincher released the actors from their contacts to free up their schedules since he’s working on “Mank” for much of 2020 and not actively developing “Mindhunter” Season 3 at the moment.

Whether or not “Mindhunter” ever returns for a third season remains a mystery, even for cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt. The DP worked on all nine episodes of the crime drama’s second season, collaborating not just with David Fincher on three episodes but also directors such as Andrew Dominik and Carl Franklin. In a new interview with Collider, Messerschmidt said the only thing he knows for sure about “Mindhunter” Season 3 is that it’s on hold.

“We just finished [‘Mank’] and I’ve heard things are on hold for a little bit. We’ll see. Who knows?,” Messerschmidt said. “But it would be an honor to go back. I love working with David and adore the cast and the crew, and it’s been an incredible period of my life for certain. I’ve been really blessed to have the opportunity to work on it and contribute to it. It’s been particularly important and poignant in my career. But yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on.”

A Netflix representative said in January that Fincher was spending the year working on “Mank” and the second season of the Netflix animated anthology series “Love, Death and Robots,” which he produces. The spokesperson added that Fincher “may revisit ‘Mindhunter’ again in the future, but in the meantime he felt it wasn’t fair to the actors to hold them from seeking other work while he was exploring new work of his own.”

Fincher and Messerschmidt clearly worked well together, as Fincher selected him to serve as cinematographer on “Mank.” Fincher worked with his longtime cinematographer Jeff Cronenworth on his last three movies, and before that worked with the likes of Darius Khondji, Claudio Miranda, and the late Harris Savides. Fincher and Messerschmidt shot “Mank” in black and white as the film tells the story of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz’s efforts to get “Citizen Kane” made.

“I think it’s absolutely a different film for him and that’s a really great thing for filmmakers to undertake I think,” Messerschmidt said of “Mank.” “As creative people, I think we all want to challenge ourselves and take on ideas and approaches to things we haven’t done before. And this is an important film to him. For a long time he’s been trying make this movie and I think it was great to be next to him for that process. It’s definitely different, but it of course has his handwriting all over it obviously. It was an amazing process to participate in.”

Netflix has not yet announced a release date for “Mank.” Read more about Messerschmidt’s work on “Mindhunter” over on Collider’s website.

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