“You kind of had to not study the real lives of the victims at all,” Cameron Britton told The Hollywood Reporter of playing real-life serial killer Edmund Kemper in the Netflix series Mindhunter. “I started getting empathy for them, so I couldn’t do that. I had to be indifferent to their lives. That’s what makes sociopaths so interesting. They’re able to take someone’s life, right in front of them, with your hands, and yet still feel nothing for them.”
He added, “The weird thing about Ed is that while he has no empathy for human life, he cares what people think of him. Narcissists, they are experts on one subject.
“I’ve never met him and I’d never be interested [to],” Britton said of the real Kemper. “I think I’d be going to look at an animal in the zoo. I’d be there to stare at the freak, and he’s not a freak, he’s a person. My intentions wouldn’t be true enough. I wouldn’t feel good about that. I’d also be just as scared as anyone else to meet someone like that, and I wonder, because of that narcissism, would he enjoy to have somebody come talk to him about his ‘work.’ I wouldn’t want to give him the satisfaction.”
Britton spent a lot of time in character preparing for the role, saying he had to take his Kemper out into the real world, explaining that he felt that serial killers have to “develop these ways of gaining people’s trust.”
“Whenever I see a very cinematic serial killer, I think, how would you ever get a victim if they don’t feel that you’re just a regular Joe?” Britton said he believed his job “wasn’t to focus on the sinister element.”
“Nobody really thinks they’re evil. My job was to go to dog parks, and take Uber rides and go to the grocery store in character and see if people would enjoy his company.”
Britton’s guest actor nomination is Mindhunter‘s only Emmy nod, but the actor beleives that audiences will grow to love the show as it matures beyond season one.
Mindhunter has been renewed for a second season. Season one is available on Netflix.