I have added additional episode stills and behind the scenes images from Friday’s Hannibal live tweeting event. As well as other various images that were shared from the wrap party and more. Big thank you to the accounts that tweeted the images [@NBCHannibal, @lorettaramos, @BryanFuller, @neoprod, @David_A_Slade and @DeLaurentiisCo] as well as farfarawaysite.com. The trending on twitter included the following #Hannibal, #HannibalFinale, hobbs and garret jacob hobbs. If you are interested in seeing the ratings, you can do so by going to tvbythenumbers. 1080p captures were added from the episode to our photo archive earlier, you can view the post here. Curious about what the Hannibal tags on tumblr have of the episode so far? You can view the Hannibal tag here, the Hugh Dancy tag here and the Will Graham tag here. I have also updated the featured gif in our sidebar to be from a set by mydearbrotherholmes.tumblr.com, if you would like to reblog/like it you can do so by going here (the link is also included beneath the gif in our sidebar).
I have added 1080p captures to our photo archive from episode thirteen “Mizumono” of season two of the NBC television series Hannibal. Hugh stars as Will Graham.
Season 2 ends with a few twists… and lots and lots of blood. Dancy, who plays FBI special investigator Will Graham, discusses Hannibal’s ending and what’s next. [Warning: SPOILERS]
Fate and circumstance have returned us to this moment.
With those words, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, played with icy Euro cool by Mads Mikkelsen, unleashes hell. “Mizumono,” the Season 2 finale episode of Hannibal, the lyrical, mesmerizing, and criminally overlooked NBC series, flashed back to the season premiere and saw the cannibal doc stab Det. Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) in the neck, before unleashing—surprise!—the thought-to-be-dead Abigail Hobbs on Dr. Alana Bloom, shoving her out of a window to her (apparent) death.
If that wasn’t crazy enough, Hannibal then embraces his homicidal pupil, FBI special investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), and then opens up his chest with a banana knife. As Will bleeds out, Hannibal proceeds to slit Abigail’s throat, covering the two surrogate fathers in her blood.
“It is batshit, isn’t it?” said Dancy in an interview with The Daily Beast.
Indeed. If you aren’t watching Hannibal, the psychological thriller based on the events of the novel Red Dragon—and the subsequent Hollywood film adaptations—you damn well should be. It’s one of the best shows on television, and New York Magazine called it “bolder and more elegant than anything on pay cable right now, including HBO’s own serial-killer drama, True Detective.”
The Daily Beast spoke to Dancy, whose character is left in a very precarious state at the end of Season 2, to discuss the jaw-dropping episode and all thingsHannibal.
Hannibal’s finale is completely batshit—in a good way. Let’s talk about where we live Will Graham. He’s still very much under the control of Lecter.
In the same way that in the first season I had an image of Will vomiting up an ear to guide me through to the end, this season, it was always the notion of that embrace between Will and Hannibal where Hannibal cuts me open that seemed like the emotional endpoint. The reason for that is there’s no version of the incredibly complicated situation Will was weaving that was going to be a perfect outcome. The version in which Hannibal is apprehended and brought to justice wouldn’t be satisfying to one side of Will, and taking off on the horizon with Hannibal in a buddy-comedy wouldn’t be satisfying to another. So the ending—when Hannibal opens me up with a knife—seemed, in some strange sense, like the perfect consummation and something that was almost, in that moment, desired, in addition to being shocking and potentially deadly.
So you think Will wanted to be stabbed by Lecter?
I think Will had built up such a teetering tower of cards, that in the end, the only possible version in his conflicted state that might have worked is that embrace where Will was cut open. It felt like a moment that the clock of destiny was ticking towards from a long, long time back. And the final image that you have in the kitchen of Will lying in the kitchen bleeding out with his breathing slowing and seeing the stag also dying out in front of him seemed like a release. In being gutted by a linoleum knife, that dark image that Hannibal had instilled in him had been freed.
Right. The stag goes back to Will’s very first crime scene.
Right—the first episode of the first season with the lady impaled on the antlers. Something about that crime scene that Hannibal had created reached right into Will’s psyche, and from that point on, he started seeing the feathered stag leading all the way through the first and second season. So now, that particular thing has been released from Will.
And right after his stabbing spree, Hannibal goes outside in the rain—a baptism.
I watched Mads film that scene and it was also freezing water, so more power to Mads for looking non-shivery. There are two conflicting understandings of where Hannibal is left. There’s the spring in his heels version where he’s off on holiday—which calls back to what we’ve seen in the movies—and also that Hannibal has suffered a terrible betrayal where he’s been hurt. It was an attempt to reconcile those two things.
We also see the return of Abigail, who’s fallen under the control of Hannibal just like the hold her father had over her.
And also for Will. One of the cruelest things that Hannibal’s done to Will is this removal of a person who’s become a surrogate daughter to him—and, in turn, removed a surrogate father to Abigail. It’s not answered overtly in the episode since there wasn’t room for it, but the idea was that he’s done something different to Abigail that he’s done to Miriam Lass. He hasn’t kept her locked in a basement and reprogrammed her, he’s just convinced her that he’ll do what’s best for her somehow. To put it bluntly, she’s fully conscious and terrified of what’s happening at the end of that episode.
We leave Will Graham and Jack Crawford both bleeding out in Hannibal’s kitchen. So… are you and Laurence Fishburne back for Season 3?
[Laughs] It’s a fair question! We will see who returns for Season 3. In the show, at this point we have an established tradition of people not dying when you think they’ve died, but there are only so many times you can get away with that. But the short answer is, yes, I am definitely back. And Laurence is back—per availability. He has a couple of other pots on the stove as far as other projects go, but there’s nobody on the show that doesn’t want him to come back. The show has to take on a pretty different shape at this point, I think.
Can you tease the “shape” of Season 3 a little bit?
I’d be getting ahead of myself because I don’t think the writers room has even convened yet, but Brian’s said it’s a version of Hannibal on the run. What needs to be defined is how Will is pursuing him, and why. At this point, we’ve run the gamut of motivations from desire for revenge through to warped love, but I think we’ll get outside of the confines of the limited environment we’ve been in so far—namely the FBI, Hannibal’s office, and Will’s house—and hopefully get on the road a bit.
When we last see Hannibal, he’s on a plane with Du Maurier, which is very similar to the ending of The Silence of the Lambs.
Right. And Hannibal gutting Will comes from the backstory to Red Dragon, but that’s the moment immediately before Hannibal is apprehended. As always, Brian is picking from different sources.
I also loved Michael Pitt’s Mason Verger. When we last left him, Hannibal convinced the pig farmer to eat his own face. Are we going to see more of him in all his mangled glory?
I think so. It will obviously be a reduced version of him now that he’s paralyzed and has no face, but he’s at least got a bucket-load of money. So the end of Season 2 is like the ending of The Silence of the Lambs, which then goes into the novel Hannibal, where Mason Verger features heavily since he and the FBI are the two groups pursuing him. So maybe! I don’t know.
Is there anything you’ve shot on Hannibal that was deemed too racy by censors?
[Laughs] When you look at what did make it in—we’ve chopped people, sliced people up—I don’t know where we haven’t gone at this point. That’s more about sex and nudity than it is about violence—it’s just true of this culture. Nudity is far more frightening to people than seeing people hurt. For example, in the few sex scenes you see this season, Brian had to be more inventive with the directors in managing those scenes with language.
It is pretty nuts that you can show a guy getting sliced open but can’t show a hint of nudity.
My feeling at this point, and I think this is actually true, is that there are body parts—particularly female ones—that you can never show on TV, but if you show a corpse where those particular parts had been cut off, then that would be all right. Now that is mind-boggling to me.
It’s crazy to me that a show this good is always on the chopping block.
People have noted that it’s surprising that it’s on NBC—that it’s something that was new for them, and they’re trying to figure that out. It has great numbers for a show that might have been on cable, but for a big, broad network show, not so much. That’s all it comes down to. Nobody making it or producing it is somehow in doubt of the quality of the show.
No argument here. What’s your favorite crazy Hannibal moment?
As a viewer, the beginning of Episode 2 when he rips himself out of being stitched into that human mural was, I think, the most revolting thing we’ve done—in a visceral, bloody way. But the end of the Season 2 finale I found, on an emotional and physical level, to be pretty insane. From the point of view of filming it, it was hours and hours of watching this hideous scene go down, and then splashing around in gallons and gallons of blood—which I enjoy, and wallow in that aspect of the show. But this scene took on a slightly different tone for me. It would have been a rich, emotional scene without Hannibal having cut Abigail’s throat and me with my guts spilling out—that was on top of everything else. Normally, the violence on Hannibal is so stylized to put it at a remove, but all of that went out the window in that last scene. Sometimes you go into scenes like that and look at them on the page and say, “Oh, I’ve only got four little lines here… this should be all right!” and seven hours later, you’re laying on the floor quivering in blood and watching someone’s throat get cut… and you have to reconsider.
What do you use for the gallons and gallons of blood?
There are so many different versions of blood. Different departments vie to promote their own blood, so there’s costume blood, makeup blood, prosthetics blood, and more specifically, there’s eye blood, mouth blood, dry blood, arterial blood, you name it. A group of people convene about what’s most appropriate and by the end of that conversation they shrug, everyone throws their blood into a big bucket, and they make a blood cocktail that gets poured all over me.
I was a big fan of your wife’s [Claire Danes] show, My So Called Life, growing up. Did you ever watch it?
No, I didn’t. I don’t know if it was aired in the U.K. or not!
With Homeland, which is also fantastic, it’s strange that your wife’s crying has become an Internet obsession. What are your thoughts on this phenomenon?
I don’t really know! I’m so not exposed to that that I’m not that aware of it. But look at the character she’s playing. That’s what happens when she cries!
Hugh Dancy on the Explosive Last ‘Hannibal’ Episodes
Why Will Graham won’t be so triumphant at the end of this season after all — and what next year will bring
(Spoilers for the most recent episodes, obviously, herein.)
On the surface, Hannibal is the catch-me-if-you-can saga of Hannibal Lecter, a psychopathic psychiatrist portrayed by the mesmerizing Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, who dismembers and eats his victims with as much delight as he spouts off Shakespearean orations. But the bold, beautiful, and entirely transfixing NBC drama is so much more: At its core, the Bryan Fuller-conceived prequel to Thomas Harris’s acclaimed series of novels — Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, etc. — is a séance, a romance even, between Lecter and the man trying to catch him, Will Graham.
Graham, as portrayed by British actor (and Claire Danes’s hubby) Hugh Dancy, is the emotional heart of the show: an undoubtedly disturbed, obsessive, mentally unstable, genius criminal profiler. Graham exists to be Hannibal’s marionette. Or does he? As the show’s manic second season has so far proven, all bets are off. Does Will want to catch Hannibal, the man who framed him for murder last season? Or does he in fact want to learn his destructive ways? Or both? Is it all one big trap being set by Hannibal? And what the hell was up with Michael Pitt’s Joker-like performance? There are still many head-scratchers going into tomorrow night’s season finale. To that end, we turned to Dancy for some guidance. Or at least some semblance of emotional stability.
ESQUIRE.COM: So Hugh, I’d have to imagine it’s a little tough to recall what from the current season has aired.
HUGH DANCY: To a certain extent, yes. Because the last few episodes have cranked up the situation in terms of what’s going on in Will’s head. And I guess at the end of every episode, you’re left wondering with a slightly different perspective how far he’s gone. So yes. But we were shooting until fairly recently so it’s not like it’s off in the distant past.
ESQ: Speaking of traveling inside Will’s head, where is he currently at? On one hand, he’s clearly not entirely well. But then again he’s also seemingly tricking Hannibal into believing Will is, shall I say, coming over to the dark side with him.
HD: Right. So I mean, I think there are various possibilities. I think one possibility is Will wants revenge: We’ve seen fantasies where he kills Hannibal. One possibility is Will wants to just trap Hannibal in a traditional law-enforcement fashion and catch him red-handed. And one possibility is that he in fact has gone too far over to the other side and is seriously considering giving up [Laurence Fishburne’s] Jack Crawford and taking off with Hannibal. But what I think is that maybe all of those things can be true at once.
ESQ: He definitely seems conflicted. He had a chance to kill Hannibal when he was tied up in the menacing pedophile Mason Verger’s slaughterhouse, but perhaps that would have been too simple and obvious a death for such a horrible man.
HD: I think what Will says near the beginning of that episode is true and in a way is the most worrying thing about his state of mind at this point: He just wants to see what’s gonna happen. He’s surfing the moment in a way that we saw Hannibal doing so much in the first season in particular. But my feeling is there was a real pleasure for Will, and for Hannibal to a certain extent, standing up on that platform and Will looking at Hannibal thrust up and with a knife, and just for a moment both of them knowing what could happen. But also really knowing, in fact, what was going to happen. Which was that Hannibal would become Will’s means of revenge on Mason. I mean, there’s no ambiguity about the endgame: If he’s got a list of things he’d like to see happen in that moment, Mason getting his comeuppance is all right with him.
“TO HAVE MICHAEL PITT COME IN AND JUST SMASH THAT ALL UP WAS REALLY GOOD FOR US ALL.”
ESQ: Speaking of Mason Verger, Michael Pitt’s portrayal of him was incredible. It was so absurdly eerie and off-the-wall.
HD: Yeah. I thought it was very bold and very valuable for the show as a whole. Because we operate in such a kind of rarified atmosphere in a sense, there is a very particular tone that we strike. So to have somebody come in and just smash that all up was really good for us all. And yeah, I think Michael did that par excellence. When you come in and give that kind of performance you’ve got to do it with the confidence that you’ll be well-edited. That’s not meant to be a backhanded compliment. I think that’s exactly how you do it. You throw it all out there and see how it will end. And that takes real bravery. Which he definitely had.
ESQ: I’m still trying to grasp how Will feels about Hannibal. This is after all the man who framed him for murder. Yet these two are clearly loners and in many ways the only people who understand the other.
HD: As it gets closer to a point of no return, it’s going to get harder for Will. I know that because obviously I know what happens [laughs]. But here’s what I mean: At the point we’re at now, in terms of the episodes that have aired, none of the potential outcomes are really perfect for Will or can be perfect. I mean there’s a version in which Hannibal gets his comeuppance and I don’t know that that would be purely satisfying for Will. And there’s a version in which Will embraces his new self and really takes off with Hannibal. I don’t even know what that would mean exactly. Would they leave together? Would they embark on a series of murders? I think that Will has gone in some ways down that path and there’s actually been a part of that that’s been liberating. But could he totally embrace it? I don’t think so. So he’s basically stuck between a rock and a hard place.
ESQ: So is Jack Crawford. Will has committed a murder while, I guess you could say, on assignment for the FBI to lure Hannibal.
HD: Right. He thinks “What am I going to tell human resources?” [Laughs] Jack has always been the character who will unleash whatever is his best weapon. Regardless of the cost to that weapon. Which obviously up to this point has been Will. And at this point we’ve struck a bargain, I think me and him, we’ve been in cahoots more than was previously understood. But the final episode will clarify this to some extent — how much Jack was along for the ride, how much he was aware of. But there’s no question that Will is holding back to a certain extent as well. And the final scene in episode twelve there, I thought was so well-pitched by [showrunner] Bryan [Fuller], so well-balanced, that it’s very hard to know what direction Will is trying to tip Hannibal. [Eds. note: In that scene, Graham speaks with Lecter about their friendship. Warning that they will soon be caught, Graham suggests that Lecter “reveal” himself to Crawford.] ‘Cause you really believe that Hannibal might reveal himself to Jack because he thinks he could get him to commit an error. Or is that just very straightforward code for “Go and kill him”? I didn’t try and answer that for myself before we played it. In a sense I’m not sure Will knows which one he’s pushing for either.
“I DON’T THINK THERE’S EVER A COURSE OF EVENTS THAT WOULD SUDDENLY LEAVE WILL AS AN UNCONFLICTED PERSON.”
ESQ: Of course you won’t be revealing any spoilers for the finale. But does Will get any sense of closure in this season’s final episode?
HD: Let’s put it this way: I don’t think there’s ever a situation in which one episode you could describe a course of events that would suddenly leave Will as an unconflicted person. We really need four seasons of therapy — with different psychiatrists. How can I put this? I think that question hangs over the final episode right up until the last moment of the last scene.
“THE SHOW IS ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WILL AND HANNIBAL. AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE SO.”
ESQ: With this show it could be no other way.
HD: Exactly! The show is about the relationship between Will and Hannibal. And will continue to be so.
ESQ: Let’s talk a bit about your process of becoming Will Graham. In previous interviews you’ve mentioned that you thought he existed somewhere on the autistic spectrum. Is that correct?
HD: Well, actually to be clear about that, I don’t think I said that I believe Will is autistic, I really don’t, I think quite the opposite. There’s a bit of almost misdirection in the first episode of the first season when Jack Crawford comes to me in my lecture hall and asks me where I am on the spectrum. I guess maybe Will chooses not to disabuse him of that notion. In fact, if somebody on the autistic spectrum is somebody who has trouble reading other people and doesn’t glean the kind of information from others that most of us do, Will has exactly the opposite problem, right? He has a flood of information coming into him that he can’t really control at all. He doesn’t have the filter that stops us from receiving information. And he’s chosen to protect himself by adopting some of the behavioral qualities of the person on the spectrum.
ESQ: This is some in-depth stuff.
HD: I know. It sounds really overly complicated but basically it means he has chosen to shut himself down a bit. He has chosen not to make eye contact. He has chosen to be a bit of a loner so he appears to other people like he might be on the spectrum. I did play someone on the autistic spectrum a few years ago so I kind of understood. I was coming at it from that point of view. And I guess thinking about Will expanded my notion of what that spectrum might be, to include the idea that it might extend in the other direction. So rather than it be being “us” on one end and autistic people at the other, if you imagine you and me kind of somewhere in the middle and then an autistic person down on one side and then down on the other direction there are people who are far more open to sort of just receiving more information at all times. And maybe that pushes them toward what we call psychic. I don’t think Will is psychic but that was the overall understanding I came to.
ESQ: Okay. I think I understand. Although my brain admittedly hurts. But this is why I love the show. It might appear to be of the slasher-flick variety, but it’s so deep and psychological.
HD: For sure! I guess you could see it as people just dying left, right, and center. But we love talking so much.
ESQ: Exactly. The best scenes for my money are when it’s just Will and Hannibal talking in Hannibal’s office.
HD: And it’s so unlikely that that should ever happen on a TV show. Or certainly this kind of TV show. That at the center of every episode you’d have just two guys sitting opposite each other in chairs mouthing off. I love all the different elements of the show but I think that probably is the most enjoyable.
ESQ: Your acting skills — especially on a physical level — were put to the test earlier this season when Will was largely confined to a small jail cell.
HD: It’s challenging. In one sense it helps you because it focuses the intensity of the situation. And it focuses your own choices because they’re limited. In another sense, it is kind of restricting. We had [jail cell] bars as well. I think it was for sound purposes that they decided we couldn’t do what they had in Silence of the Lambs, which is a big glass screen.
ESQ: Ah, okay. That makes sense.
HD: When you’ve got a bar every six inches or whatever it becomes really technical and somewhat unspontaneous. Because most of what you’re doing is trying not to get a bar in the middle of the shot. I guess there was a kind of pleasure to that, but it does get a little tedious after a while. I remember in the first season, we had more like “cases of the week,” and you try to find a different way to approach each one and to still feel like you’re in the wheelhouse of the show and the character and that it means something personal. And after a while that can get a bit challenging. But when I got out of jail this season and I was off, I guess it’s the eighth episode when the lady has been sewn inside the horse, and I got to do all that again. I got to stand there and pluck all of this information out of the air. That’s a tricky thing to do as an actor, to make it seem that you really are arriving at all of these conclusions, and for it not to seem preposterous. And I thought, “Oh, I remember this! I really missed this.” It brought me back. It was like, “Ah, maybe I should not have complained so much about this the first season because the alternative is being in a small box.”
ESQ: Before I let you go, I want to give you a major congratulations on the show being picked up for a third season.
HD: It’s great! I would have been sad to leave it where we do leave it. Because the story isn’t done. And one of the nice things about TV, I suppose, is that you sense the support while it’s still being rolled out. You feel that people are out there rooting for you. And that’s great. I’ve never been involved in something that people have taken such an active interest in and responded to with their own thoughts and their own pieces of art and whatever it may be. So yeah, I’m thrilled. I feel like we’re in a pretty good place with the viewing numbers, they’re creeping up. And slowly but surely the word spreads outside of that really great fanbase that we have. So it’s a nice way to go into the third season.
I have added an addition to Session 115 to our photo archive that TV Guide posted to their Instagram earlier in light of the Hannibal season two finale airing tonight on NBC.
The official NBC Hannibal tumblr (nbchannibal) posted a clip to their page from the finale. You can view the clip by clicking on the photo below to go to their tumblr. Remember to use the hashtag #HannibalFinale tonight!
Few roles on television require more intense concentration that Will Graham, especially throughout Hannibal Season 2.
But don’t worry, the actor behind this fascinating character assured us at the NBC Upfront in New York City last week, he doesn’t go home and have a “psychological breakdown” every night.
Typically, a beer suffices.
We caught up with Hugh Dancy at the network event and asked about changes ahead for this NBC drama next season, while also chatting with the star about co-star Mads Mikkelsen and creator Bryan Fuller.
Might Hannibal soon turn into a comedy? Not exactly. But look for things to lighten up a bit down the line…
Last good laugh
We went to the MET Ball recently and sat with former Mayor Bloomberg, who turned out to be surprisingly funny. It’s not necessarily the first adjective that would spring to mind for him.
Last time I saw the sunrise
I have a young baby [Cyrus, 1, with wife Claire Danes], so I’ve seen the sunrise on several occasions, but they’re all sort of blurred into a haze of slightly painful memories.
We just went on a brief vacation to Bermuda with some friends. We had, like, five days, and when you become a parent, you really realize the value of a beach. And they know how to make a rum drink!
Last book I read
The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham. I think it just officially came out, but he’s a friend of ours, and it’s just wonderful. I did get my hands on it early – one of the perks of befriending novelists.