Monday, August 31, 2015

Bryan Fuller Describes HANNIBAL's Version of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

It's enough to make you want to have some NBC programming execs with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

With the third and apparently final season of the NBC series Hannibal having concluded, CraveOnline spoke with showrunner Bryan Fuller in a Q&A interview about how the show would've handled the Thomas Harris novel The Silence of the Lambs if they had the rights to adapt it.

In the interview, Fuller reveals his dream casting for the book's Buffalo Bill, how Anna Chlumsky's Miriam Lass might factor in, and how to make his version of Clarice Starling different from Jodie Foster's take.  Here's the rundown...

CraveOnline: One of the things a lot of the fans wanted to see in Hannibal was The Silence of the Lambs. Obviously it never panned out in time. Do you still have any hope that you can adapt it someday, down the road, or will your plans lead you elsewhere?

Bryan Fuller: I absolutely do hope and would love to tell Silence of the Lambs with this cast. I love that novel and I think there’s fantastic ways to reimagine it for thirty years later, and… yes. Period. [Laughs.]

Crave: How would that have worked? You introduced Miriam Lass [in Season One]. Would you have brought her back in or would there just be a new character, a lot like Miriam Lass, named “Clarice Starling?”

Fuller: I adore Anna Chlumsky, and we talked about where Miriam Lass is now and what she would be doing, so yes, Miriam Lass would be - depending on Anna’s availability - as big a part as Anna’s availability would allow in a Silence of the Lambs arc.

Crave: But she would be separate from Clarice Starling?

Fuller: Yes.

Crave: I imagine, since you adapted Red Dragon by tweaking it and shifting certain plot points around, you would have to do the same with The Silence of the Lambs. What are your initial thoughts on how The Silence of the Lambs would work in a serialized format, since everyone knows the story already?

Fuller: I am imagining a parallel structure of Hannibal in the institution, with a severely scarred Chilton, now having returned to his post, and juxtaposing that, back in the heyday of Hannibal as a psychiatrist, perhaps even earlier than we met him the first time, when he had Benjamin Raspail as a patient, and weave that story in and around the modern day Silence of the Lambs tale as we know it.

Crave: We saw a dark version of Barney [Lecter’s guard] in Season Two. Would there be other plans for Barney’s character?

Fuller: If we got Silence of the Lambs we would be hitting Barney, we would be hitting Benjamin Raspail, we would be hitting Buffalo Bill… there would be the same kind of voracious need to fan fictionalize all of those characters [laughs] and reimagine certain specific scenarios that caused them to cross paths, or uncross paths as their stories were unfolding.

Crave: What about Ardelia Mapp [Clarice Starling’s roommate]? Would she have a role as well?

Fuller: Major. Major.

Crave: You’ve made excellent casting decisions so far… what would you have looked for in a Buffalo Bill?

Fuller: I would love to cast Lee Pace as Buffalo Bill. His first, most notable, award-winning career move was playing a transgendered person [in 2003’s A Soldier’s Girl], and I think it would be fascinating to return him to that side of his acting skill.

Crave: You’ve worked with him before [in Pushing Daisies]. Had Lee Pace ever come close to being in Hannibal before, in another capacity, or would you have reserved that role for him?

Fuller: Many, many, many times. Every season. We constantly asked Lee but he was always so busy, because he was making Guardians of the Galaxy and Halt and Catch Fire and the Hobbit films. So his dance card was full but we kept on asking. We had talked about him playing Francis Dolarhyde, and it was something that we were sort of hanging in the balance, to see if Halt and Catch Fire would have another season. So he wasn’t available. But I think it worked out amazingly well for us. [Laughs.]

Crave: What about Clarice? Do you have any dream casting for Clarice Starling in your version of The Silence of the Lambs?

Fuller: Well, there’s a couple of ways to go. There’s the Ellen Page way, which I think would be fantastic and more kind of in line with the Clarice that we all know. But I know I would also like to explore who Clarice would be from a different racial background. There’s something about being poor and white in the South but there’s something else about being poor and black in the South, and I think it could be the necessary gateway into the character, to make Clarice as much our own signature character as we tried to make Will Graham.

Crave: In The Silence of the Lambs and throughout the other books, Hannibal’s interest in Clarice becomes romantic. You’ve already done that with Will Graham in the show. Would Will be in that season or would Hannibal be moving on to a new romantic conquest?

Fuller: Well, I think that all depends on how Season 4 would have ended. [Laughs.]

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