1. Tench’s smoking is real—maybe too real
Mindhunter takes place in the late 1970s, meaning basically everyone smokes cigarettes just about everywhere. In the office, in diners, in the car—everywhere.
The character of Bill Tench is, as McCallany describes, a “chain-smoking, middle-aged bureaucrat” who isn’t in the best of shape. Tench drinks too much, shovels down greasy-spoon food, and spends most of his year on the road, so there’s not much time for staying in shape. McCallany transformed his body by adding 25lbs so he could more accurately portray the character, but his work didn’t end there. To keep things realistic, McCallany smoked real cigarettes—and not the herbal ones usually used on TV productions.
“I smoked like he smoked—and boy, I am not a smoker,” McCallany told Men’s Fitness. “I box, I lift weights, I’m a runner, so for me to smoke, like, hundreds of cigarettes a day was tough. I know that sounds like a made-up number, but if you ask my prop man he’ll tell you how many packs of cigarettes we go through on the show. [Director] David [Fincher] does a lot of takes, and like I said, you can pay a price when you decide to play a character a certain way. [Bill] is a big smoker, and it’s the ’70s, so I’m just smoking all the time while we’re shooting. We went through so many packs on the show, there were times when I was lightheaded. People say, ‘Can’t you smoke the herbal cigarettes?’ Well, no—they don’t look the same on film, and they don’t burn the same way. We wanted to be as realistic as possible.”
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