Jonathan Groff talks 'Mindhunter,' 'Hamilton' and 'Frozen'

Groff appears on "Popcorn With Peter Travers" and shares how he's snagged some of the most sought-after roles.
19:21 | 11/22/17

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Transcript for Jonathan Groff talks 'Mindhunter,' 'Hamilton' and 'Frozen'
Let's move over research thing but research. You series of interviews. Chatting with. Individuals nuts. Unlike yourself. The Jews talking. I'm too good to gruesome pleas to the function tests. Tests as part here. Why. Well because I believe it is useful. Talking about woman. Here. He here. I guess. If you want to that is community have to talk about anything else he. Come on Tim. Ortiz who since you. Lieutenants and now attends. Hi everybody I'm Peter Travers welcome to popcorn we will tell you what is pop and in the culture and so I have an obsession. It's called mine and there. It's on Netflix you can watch it you'd it and go episode by episode you can been watch it. You can do anything that you will always be seen my guests today Jonathan got. We've he's never not in. Any moment in that your contract. I will be out yeah single moment exactly and that's it anyway welcome Jonathan I think you great to have you back here. Mr. T. With its try. A lovely looking you know oh my god will keep yes. It seniority did looking right this is a whole different thing so for those people that are out there. That haven't yet watched one episode. Tell us in a perfect. Way who now this guy is that your mind is that. Well this shows called nine hunt turn based on a book called mind hunter by John Douglas Eaton that my character is inspired by. And it's the story of the birth of criminal profiling in the late seventies. As well. That sounds very dry and Rick. At at a wedding you're the perfect I just yet in the perfect summary exciting show. And its ally it's going. Although relay and what else will light learn that education can kill entertainment and needs I know right yes. That actually has been the interesting thing about it because. David Fincher is the director. Creator genius behind the show and when he sat Ellis and a whose yeah right exactly. And when he sat me down initially and we were talking about it. He said you know the whole show. Is going to be people in rooms talking there's a violent moment in the first. Episode in the first team but other than that there's no gore it's a very cerebral psychological. Deep dive into the world of criminal profiling serial killers and crime in the late seventies and pat has been in the reception of the show it's been the most exciting thing to me because people are binge watching it like it's scandal. But it's this like psychological. Cerebral show it's it's it's very intellectual. It's not a show that you wanna watch while you're emailing or texting you gotta really like. Focusing you know it's like it's a drama it's the psychological drama but the response has been so amazing because people are. Are just eating in which has been really excited. This is 197. B what's sad is that something that at 78. And yet everything about it in the discovery. Of why people do this is so relevant to now he what is a guy in Vegas just get knocked out a window and Hugo these people why Italy. And that's I think your costar played has that line in in the show where he says something about. We will we have to learn to. At how crazy EAM in order to get ahead of. Yes exactly we get it how do we get ahead of crazy if we don't know how crazy things whole mentality is amazing please militants yet. Yemen know that line is very relevant today in a million ways and I think it's. Also why people are obsessed with serial killers he can is. There so they're humans but they're so different for months and it's. I think endlessly interest thing to try and figure out why they do what they do and this is like he said it's the late seventies so. John Douglas in real life in the late seventies had this idea. To go into jail cells and interviews he's incarcerated criminals. That the FBI up until the early seventies was Hoover so was very black and light go with the bad guy. Good and good vs evil don't ask why did exactly exactly and then John Douglas had this idea. That may be back talking to them we could learn something about them. And perhaps prevent crime from happening and understand the way they think and as they started talking to these people. You could see these its similarities. In in in some ways you could. Add up what it happened in their life to what they of the horrible things that they ended up doing. And so now the behavior of science unit is a huge part of the FBI and the gleaned a lot of information from these people. This seems you do with that Cameron Britain who plays Ed Kemper of this real serial killer yes. You couldn't eat that popcorn. Exactly do things he did do his poor mom and now now. Now and it's his fifth because you're also good at it that we did we describe. The description of it is so sensational. And so horrifying and so. Fascinating. And debilitating. And unfathomable. Now that he can just be conversation because. What has happened there were there realism of openness saint. And that also was one of David sort of mission statements was. There's been all these things than about serial killers and their they're seen as these sort of comic book violence. And he wanted to. Show them as as real as possible as are the real sad. Humans that. Dave our talk about than for for a minute because. Whenever I talk to him I always say what you torture actors like you did you know Jesse Eisenberg that he did the first scene in social network. A hundred times and he used take number two you're right but so did he do that you. Oh gosh and I'm the wrong person to ask about torture because you love it nobody I'm a little Mexicans didn't know nobody expected. Coming from hiding her true you know that you get an advantage of the current do it a lot exact now yet seriously though I love. Doing it. Over and over and over and over. And in theater. To me the plate is in jail until at least three months then you know you've done it three months so I saw spring awakening to sin he probably. After did well other we were young that we elect camp. But it does it you know and in with Fincher like doing the scenes. Revelations happen when you and I mean it's so he's a mysterious he's very pragmatic. He's not torturing it's intentionally and he's not sitting with a cat like doctor evil like going through it again do it again I know I want it right. I mean at. Energetically sometimes you think then it. But no it's it's all of logical and everybody knows why they're doing it again it's finally here in this weird torture chamber where you're doing multiple takes its and as we don't do multiple takes but. When we do do them we know why we're doing them and for me personally as an actor and on mine hunter he's actually assemble a lot of people that got the start in the feeder. So were all so down for there is no eye rolling or we were all exhausted by. But it keeps you real sense of pride when you're working with someone bad. He's a genius and wants to get it right. I'm looking at this very earnest. FBI guy but I know inside as thing you Heath twisted his adult life that can never be Q where. I think it's just as innately I DNA kind of in ties though it's perfectly everything is that he sits fourth. Yet that way and yet. And your own susceptibility. To bank Yang but this is a fountain where. You know you're seeing the worst of human behavior made me think he's singing. Rangers are better than people and they got these people are really. You'd doctorate. And then I began I think of your career. As this. Association with twisted even when you with the king in Hamilton. New king George what does it if you think and I'll kill your friends and we do read and. You and I love. Dad and Adam. Channeling your friends in it and the you know. So this is a culmination for years. How does it he had kind of actually be playing a psychopath I mean honestly I'm just in the next step is the next step because. It and yet you do. I just the simple boy with the dream. Who came. Who came at a Amish country thrilled with a teacher oh yeah now. I don't know like parents. Dad is midnight yes yen and Pristina that will. Sometimes I listen to you wouldn't that at times and now and it sinks in and at that CN. Analysts are now you've. You've content to give them a serial killer show yeah you now what are what's so innocent people I know right. It's taking all your clothes off and there. And now unknown. Michael Mayer actually. Who's the director spring awakening. Emailed me actually whose husband emailed me and was like we're watching mine hunter. Eight right. Which you have gotten this episode yet but I do say that at one point in the show you it really. And I Chad. You know what it when you gave me totally and that and living and you. A beat the hell out of view that essentially in the so you you roomy forever so really like what do you expect these are used to actually it's funny when I moved to New York. From Pennsylvania and I didn't swear I'd never. Used swear words never in my life and when I started in spring awakening we were singing. And you know all that stuff and I would. Turn red. I would swear I when I eased to swear I would like completely blessed because. This seeing those words in where I was from was such like I just never did it. And so spring awakening changed all that for me. And. All I purchased that that show and ends you know yeah it's done that he has yet. What of the Americans and helpless look with that show and being under the effort get the year that you decide that you would coming out and yet I'm day. How did that go over an Amish country. At. Guided to stiff from with so many like Gail promise that I feel bad for Clinton and actually during sparingly inks that during spring awakening I was in the closet I had a roommates and who was my boyfriend. And we were together for three and a half years but we were only in you know. Four walls of our apartment him. And it really believe this the character that I play in spring weakening. Was. A rebel he was didn't let the world to find him stood up to his teachers that have to his parents. A brilliant thinker are really bold step for his friends whose very vocal. Which was the opposite of who I was at the time I was of people please there was a good soldier and never wanted to. You know push the boundaries of anything it's just you know a good little you know half men and Newton. And I bettors playing this role in terms that we referred through years. And when I left the show. He was as though this sounds so like hippie and so non entity in this way but but I had like. Cultivated this side of myself through doing this character there when I left the show it was like I had this. Energy that I didn't have when I started this show and a month after leaving spring awakening. I came out in my name fan Malia came out to my friends. I broke up with that we've for an end in in my own apartment and my whole life changed and after I really credit a lot of it to doing. Spurring weakening and then I went right into doing hair and central park's it was like this. This like perfect kind of juxtaposition. And got to like you know have my and that there I've for the first time when I was doing here. With the growth which you can burger so really then my life kicked in here remember the last time we spoke you said something about your mom. The during the wake me. Yet bringing a busload of people Amish country and while you're on stage having sex game to him what were they thinking. Was at a good bus ride back. Well yes they cut that Michael Mayer called that the men and implies consumers like all the people from Lancaster coming up to see the shows whom were off probably at the Atlantic theater actually. It was only 300 seats that they were closer to at all film is better and that more they said it was allowed us clapping. Post sexy in that we ever had so I think it was like a good release. Sexual repression. It's really just Michael's life is to give people that she's. The holes to play in the N. With the midnight bus and and it's it's just that it needs to be done and told them right even by David French exactly how that's that might discuss it with my parents and my brother and my family over. So watch mind Unser right. And then there I am in the first episode of mine answer having sex with my girlfriend. And my mom you know called me after issues and listen I really love this show. But like why really it's like everything. It's like every they're just waiting for frozen to you know I mean so many of us are. But you gave them for those rights rights it you can't. He gave them you get to be reindeer ends this very manly. Chris you know it's quite. Said it was yet is still yes it will never never and it'll live way past me because there affords you would the new musical version. Dead. And change the image. Two in theory. Exactly but look that way and frozen is the most successful. Disney animated ever I think that then you sharpen him you know as king George which is for the 21 century what's bigger. It will be running into the twenty seconds you know so so is your head down loading. With your own gigantic. And control you. I'm rates. All. Look at what I've done all my god it is. It's it's so luck you know what I mean you have but now it's I wish that I guys who got credit for greater show of frozen and Hamilton and it. I just feel lucky to be an. See that's what they -- I was Lynn man plumber and that I probably would just be zero. Like have you just had ever. What did you I was king George for nine minutes. So what you're really saying though is that anybody out there that's watching this that needs to get through Hamilton should just contact you directly attached definitely. Aren't saying Jon Jonathan gruff and it's okay you can find me is usually Indiana and on and do you have any stock left there to. Actually now he built on guns yes but they say they. Just never enough packed them again I did when I was doing the show for the year in my contract. I had two house seats to every show him I use those two house seats. For every show I was like Santa Claus for years because I can Diaz thank you as the Oprah Isaac who once appeared to Tanzania which is amazing. Put our heads over now those days are. Over your those days are over you're there or you're letting friends have just completely diminished now nine that you could it was interesting though this many say that. The people. Coming out of the woodwork. I was like oh after I think yeah the ex boyfriends. No like people from elementary school even dated yet exactly. Exactly. I see it I am feeling for him. It thank you it is so Maria it was really hard and hope you know you can't go yet. Because we ended song away right class and you a year. You did that fabulous romantic ballad from me I told them that it is I think her son you know yes but why. Now in America at a U filled with an idiot my publicist is what you offered used to seeing as it overnight when an incident. Young women currently raissi with the year not on not that I wanted to pick the rights. But I can't I hope I remember the words. As he minds your feet or. Who can pack so to be very room. And I went she'd and minutes seem to test your music now islands CU zones in business. If you could read Madden. What its name. Went. Just slang get paperback in. The Condon the drones to us. In them and. Then and that the it's chains upon they. And name. You and. And you know that. And Anqunette LG. Now who is way if you could mean. When it's noon with Gordon Lightfoot yep okay. Which I love the Gordon Lightfoot version but council of the virus prisoners. And Estonia and album but let that's totally use that right it's it's Barbara if Barbara Santa Barbara and it's all you letting the sun. Our friends. Thank you got life he got at all he's got a job.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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