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Inside the TV Mind of ‘Hannibal’ with Bryan Fuller

5 years ago by Reg Seeton
Hannibal iars Thursday nights on NBC, with Mads Mikkelsen in the role of Dr. Hannibal Lecter - Photo: NBC

Hannibal airs Thursday nights on NBC, with Mads Mikkelsen in the role of Dr. Hannibal Lecter – Photo: NBC

Hannibal executive producer and writer Bryan Fuller recently discussed bringing Hannibal Lecter to television in the new NBC series based on the books by author Thomas Harris.

Although four books by Thomas Harris about Hannibal Lecter have been turned into films, most notably Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon, former Dead Like Me and Pushing Daises creator Bryan Fuller accepted the task of bringing Hannibal to life on the small screen, with Mads Mikkelsen in the role of the infamous character.

“Given what’s already been written,” Fuller told The Deadbolt on a recent conference call ahead of the Hannibal premiere, “I thought there was a lot that existed that hadn’t been explored yet. So, I was really excited at the opportunity to really explore things that didn’t make it to any of the movies.”

In the TV version of NBC, Dr. Hannibal Lecter is enlisted by the FBI to ensure the well-being of criminal profiler Will Graham, played by actor Hugh Dancy. As Graham hunts for a serial killer known as the Minnesota Shrike, Hannibal has specific insight into the horrible crimes and the psychopaths who commit them.

As Will hunts down brutal killers, he is unknowingly sitting across from the most gifted killer of them all. As Bryan Fuller recently revealed, the new series is as much about Will Graham as it is Hannibal Lecter.

“Because of the limited real estate that you have in doing a movie,” Fuller continued, “we’re doing a television series that gets you 13 hours a season. We were able to get into much more specifics with the character, particularly Will Graham’s character, who Hugh Dancy plays so magnificently and wonderfully neurotically.”

Mads Mikkelsen (left) plays Dr. Hannibal Lecter opposite Hugh Dancy (right) as criminal profiler Will Graham in Hannibal on NBC - Photo: NBC

Mads Mikkelsen (left) plays Dr. Hannibal Lecter opposite Hugh Dancy (right) as criminal profiler Will Graham in Hannibal on NBC – Photo: NBC

In the film adaptations of Manhunter and Red Dragon, Will Graham was portrayed by William Petersen and Edward Norton. In NBC’s Hannibal, Hugh Dancy breathes new life into Graham to show grittier, perhaps more tortured layers of the gifted criminal profiler that fans have never seen.

“He was traditionally played as a stoic leading man,” Fuller said about Will Graham on the big screen. “What we get, because of the really complex psychology of the character that’s in the literature, we get to explore that in a way that nobody has before. So that was very exciting.”

Hannibal airs Thursday nights at 10/9c on NBC.

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Reg Seeton

Reg Seeton created The Deadbolt in 2005 after working for the pioneering movie news website, Coming Attractions. Reg has over 15 years experience as a top online entertainment journalist and interviewer, has worked with several award winning actors, musicians and writers, and has managed entertainment networks in New York and Los Angeles. And he's done it all with one eye!