The first season of Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal wasn’t just one of the best new series last season, it was one of the best series on the small-screen, period. Although some were not initially taken with the idea of Thomas Harris’ ‘Red Dragon’ being adapted for network television, it was clear from the very first serving that Hannibal was something special. And shame on the doubters, those familiar with Fuller’s body of work would have known that the brilliant (yet twisted) mind behind Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies could deliver a unique, compelling and oddly beautiful take on the iconic villain. Oh, and the lesser known, but equally important, troubled hero as well. Here’s a tidy recap of Season 1…
The first season did an exceptional job weaving the episodic and serialized storylines, with the case of the week really just serving as a way to explore the budding ‘bromance’ between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham (portrayed to perfection by Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy, respectively) as well as weaken the latter’s state of mind with each dead body. An ongoing nightmare that pushed the boundaries of the procedural and brought horror with a delicious wit to network television.
Most of the creative team that made the first season such a treat will be back to ensure the quality doesn’t slip, including Fuller (of course) and co-writers Andy Black and Scott Nimerfro in addition to exciting staff newcomers like X-Files alum Jeff Vlaming. Hannibal’s aesthetically stunning style is also sure to continue, with Hardy Candy director David Slade (an executive producer on the show) one of a few filmmakers returning for seconds. And, as was the case with the writers, there are also exciting fresh eyes behind the camera including Vincenzo Natali (Cube) and Tim Hunter (Twin Peaks).
The first preview for Season 2 suggests that they assembled the right ingredients. And things are heating up. Sorry, I’ll try to lay off the puns from here on out, they’re just so tempting. Take a look…
The use of the MONA cover of Ben E. King’s ‘Stand By Me’ was an inspired choice for the promo, a little bit haunting and a little over the top. As gruesome as Hannibal can get, and as you can see, it’s only going to get bloodier, Fuller always keeps that tongue close to the cheek. I mean, just look at the charming Cooking with Hannibal tease made for the upcoming season. Or how he’s named all of the second season’s episodes after Japanese cuisine. (The first batch were all classical French.) Wonderful. The words and images that accompanied the eerie, bordering on cheesy, song were similarly powerful, especially those striking close-ups of our surviving characters.
Those that did make it out of Season 1 alive — Laurence Fishburne’s Jack Crawford, Catherine Dhavernas’ Dr. Alana Bloom, Hettienne Park’s Katz, Scott Thompson’s Price, Aaron Abrams’ Zeller and yes, Lara Jean Chorostecki’s Freddie Lounds — are all reprising their roles, however, the returning guest stars and several new faces are likely much more interesting. As far as the returning guest stars, Eddie Izzard will be back to terrify as Dr. Gideon, the murderer mistaken Chesapeake Ripper, and you can get a glimpse of both Gillian Anderson’s Dr. Du Maurier, Hannibal’s psychiatrist, and Raúl Esparza’s Dr. Chilton, the man in charge at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, in the latest trailer.
Here is another one from Sony Pictures Television for their South African channel that contains pretty much all the same footage without the annoying, bordering on parody of movie trailer narration. Just ignore the premiere date mentioned at the end…
The preview shows Dr. Chilton being as snively as ever, dying to get inside Will’s mind, while Dr. Du Maurier seems to be coming to our trapped, but now clear headed hero’s aid. Cynthia Nixon’s Kade Prurnell has probably the biggest arc of all the new characters coming to Hannibal, overseeing the investigation into any oversights concerning Will’s situation, however, she is hardly the most exciting. Sorry. It’s just that new crime fighters are boring. Villains and canonical figures are what audiences care about! And there are a few doozies. Now I feel bad. Nixon is a doozie! She always does great work and will be a great addition to to series’ rad array of female characters.
Jeremy Davies and Chris Diamantopoulos also have guest spots this season, the former playing an animal rescue worker slash suspect with the latter as his social worker who’s possibly pulling the strings. But by far the most intriguing additions to Season 2 are MIchael Pitt and Katharine Isabelle. The Boardwalk Empire star is set to play the sadistic socialite Mason Verger with Isabelle as his younger sister Margot, who’s forced to seek out counselling because of her brother’s abuse. Can you guess who she sees for therapy?
Hannibal returns for its second season premiere, “Kaiseki,” on Friday at 10:00 p.m. ET on NBC. Created by Bryan Fuller and based on the novel ‘Red Dragon’ by Thomas Harris, the series stars Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Catherine Dhavernas, Cynthia Nixon, Gillian Anderson and Laurence Fishburne.
Fine. Here’s the premiere’s fantastic cold open flash-forward fight scene even though I recommend waiting to watch it as part of the actual premiere. Who am I kidding, I didn’t. Have at it…
‘Hannibal’ Cast and Showrunner Bryan Fuller Tease Surreal Season 2 Moments and Seeing the Devil Get His Due
The long, painful wait for more “Hannibal” is almost over (Season 2 premieres Friday, Feb. 28 at 10 p.m. on NBC), but you can’t start devouring the new season without a little prep.
Yahoo TV grilled “Hannibal” stars Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Laurence Fishburne, and Caroline Dhavernas (who play Will Graham, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Jack Crawford, and Alana Bloom, respectively), along with showrunner Bryan Fuller, and they were more than game to share a few tasty morsels… bon appetit!
That opening fight scene… just wow.
Fishburne: We shot that right away… for 21 hours. It was a lot of fun, and there’s stuff that we left out. It was longer.
Mikkelsen: Almost twice as long.
Fishburne: There were two pieces of it that we just had to leave out.
But we’ll get to see it eventually I assume?
Mikkelsen: It’ll be a director’s cut. [Laughs.] It’s nice though — it’s not everyday you get to do stuff like that in a TV show. You do it sometimes in films, and we love it, both of us, so it was like, yes! We felt young again! And then the next day, not so young. [Laughs.]
Fishburne: [Laughs.] “Are you sore here, too?” “Oh you remember, I had you against the wall!”
And the opposite of all that action is poor Will, stuck in a cell, only wheeled out in a cage for visitors. Is Alana still his only champion?
Dancy: Well, it’s kind of a half form of championing, because basically she’s saying, “I’m sure he didn’t mean to.” [Laughs.] Which is not full support really. Will is in jail and he’s totally isolated. All of these guys have written him off — including Alana, pretty much — as a killer. And, of course, the only person who knows that he isn’t is Hannibal. And Hannibal is also, against all the odds, still trying to persuade Will to be his friend. So yeah, he’s in a pretty desperate spot.
Dhavernas: Alana doesn’t question his heart — she knows that he was ill when he did what he did, and she wants him to just face what happened so he can heal. But yeah, I think there will always be a tension there… she’s drawn to him, she wants to help him, and she’s also very curious romantically, but she knows she can help him much better if there’s a distance there. But when we start, she believes that he was sick, and then things will happen where she will start questioning that again.
You all have collectively managed to bring this very well known psychopath to life in a whole new way. Who are your own favorite pop culture psychopaths?
Dancy: Anthony Perkins in “Psycho.” That was remarkable.
Fishburne: Larenz Tate as O-Dog in “Menace II Society.”
Mikkelsen: Buffalo Bill [from “Silence of the Lambs”] was an amazing character.
Fuller: And a great performance — he’d be fun to get on the show!
Dhavernas: More recently, I guess, is from “Batman”… Heath Ledger’s Joker [in “The Dark Knight”] was amazing.
Just from the first few episodes of Season 2, the characters have gone places I didn’t ever think they’d go. How have you upped the ante?
Fuller: Where we ended on the first season was such a delicious place that it’s a big springboard for the next season. First season, nobody knew who Hannibal was, and second season, one person knows who Hannibal is and is trying to convince everybody else who assumes that he’s guilty of the crime. That gives you this sort of Hitchcockian “The Man Who Knew Too Much” dynamic. Another Hitchcockian principle is that by starting with the fight between Jack Crawford and Hannibal, this is going to get explosive. So we’re essentially showing the audience: Here’s the bomb. It’s going to go boom. Who knows when it’s going to go? So every time Jack and Hannibal are in a scene together, you’re like, is this it?
Bryan, I believe you’ve said before that Season 3 will be Hannibal on the run. Is that still the plan?
Mikkelsen: Not running that much, he’s just in the Bahamas. [Laughs.] Isn’t that the deal? We haven’t gone that far yet, so we can’t ruin that part. But it doesn’t look too good for Hannibal at this moment. But, as he always says: There are no problems, there are only challenges.
Fuller: That’s the great thing about Hannibal is he is very reactive. He doesn’t sweat. The very first meeting that Mads and I had, when we sat down, Mads was like, “He’s the devil.” So that has really informed a lot of the storytelling because we think, “Isn’t it fun to see the devil get his due?” And to see how he’s going to react — he’s unflappable — but there are also scenes in this season where you feel terrible for Hannibal. Mads can do puppy dog very well.
Fishburne: Yeah, why would you want to hurt this guy? [Laughs.]
Mikkelsen: It came as a big surprise to Hannibal how much he was attached to Will, and now he’s in jail. And for that reason, he’s struck, he’s curious — he’s not normally a man that becomes open like that, but there’s something about this man Will that makes him vulnerable as well, which is interesting.
The only other person Hannibal has been vulnerable with is his therapist, played by the fabulous Gillian Anderson.
Mikkelsen: Yep, and interestingly enough, we don’t necessarily know why I am, because there’s nothing to achieve for me in there, but it’s a little sacred place where I can do what I want to do. Those scenes are quite interesting.
OK, rapid fire: What is the weirdest thing your character does this season?
Fishburne: I get to save my friend’s life.
Dancy: Let’s put it this way: We show how Hannibal got Will to ingest the ear.
Dhavernas: I get to play a really fun song on a weird instrument.
Mikkelsen: I get to kiss someone that you didn’t see coming.[Editor’s note: The entire cast erupted in laughter after each person’s answer… delicious.]
Spoiler alert! Skip over this last question and answer if you don’t want to hear more details beyond the premiere episode.
Mads and Laurence talked about filming it, and we know there’s more than what’s in the premiere… what else might we see?
Fuller: We’ll see what happens to Alana when she walks in on it, and we’ll see… well, we continue the story. So we start that story in the first episode, and then we pick up what happens afterwards, and we keep reminding the audience that this is going to be bad for all of the characters.
“Hannibal” Season 2 premieres Friday, Feb. 28 at 10 p.m. on NBC.
“He’s totally on his own.”
One of the best shows on TV, Hannibal is back for Season 2 this Friday. When last we saw Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), he was in big, big trouble – framed by Hannibal Lecter for Hannibal’s own murders and locked up. Yet after believing he was going mad, and maybe even had committed these crimes, Will saw the truth – and knows Hannibal is the one responsible.
I spoke with Hugh Dancy about the second season of Hannibal, how Will is reacting to his situation and more.
IGN TV: Your character went through so much in the first season and things are dire for him now, as far as being locked up, but where is he at psychologically?
Hugh Dancy: Well, you know, the one thing he’s got going for him — the only thing he’s got going for him — in Season 2, is he’s finally playing with a full deck of cards. He understands who Hannibal is, or maybe not fully, but he understands what Hannibal’s done to him. Even though he’s totally isolated, he is in a position to start fighting back, fully informed. That kind of clarity is so important to him. I think the worst thing that happened to Will in the first season was his fear that he was losing his mind, that his personality was breaking down. So in that respect, strangely, I always imagined Will — even though he’s in prison, even though he’s locked up — being more powerful than he’s ever been before.
IGN: What your show did in Season 1, other shows might have done a few seasons in, which is the psychological unraveling of your character. We kind of met him while that was happening. So was it interesting for you now to take that step back and see him in a more focused state of mind?
Dancy: Yeah, yeah, it started in episode one; that’s right. It was pretty bold. So that path that was tracked out for the season, I had a pretty clear understanding of it when we started. Not so much the case with Season 2. Bryan, he broke the first half, and then, as he said, we’ll get into the second half. So there’s a kind of mini-finale halfway through the season, and a lot of things come to fruition. But yeah, now, it’s almost like a reversal. It’s like a reversal of the first season in that Will is getting closer and closer to being a fully controlled version of himself. But in order to do that and in order to reengage Hannibal, he has to honestly turn inwards and look at the darker aspect of his own personality. So there’s a risk to him involved as well.
IGN: Right now the evidence is against him, and all he has is his word. So how is there anything he can do – because even someone like Alana is on his side, yet she thinks he’s guilty?
Dancy: Yeah, she’s only so much on his side, and it’s not that reassuring when your friend’s saying, “Hey, look, we just think you’re crazy. Maybe you didn’t know you were doing it.” That’s a pretty limited form of support. No, he’s totally on his own. What we play out from the moment the first season ended — I don’t mean that it opens up with the conversation between Hannibal and me in jail, but we don’t jump ahead. So we play out Will still trying to convince people, still telling Jack, Beverly, whoever — nobody’s listening. Nobody is willing to buy. So that’s the point that he realizes, “Okay, I’m going to have to be self-sufficient.”
IGN: Your character is physically confined as the season begins. As far as your acting is concerned — he’s in the cell, he’s in that therapy cage — is that horribly frustrating for you, or is it an interesting exercise for you because that’s where Will’s at?
Dancy: It’s helpful to come extent. I think it’s challenging in that therapy cage, in that hall — it looks fantastic — but you’ve then got to figure out, once you get into the scene, they have to do something with the camera to keep it interesting. It was fun watching different directors grapple with that in different ways. From my perspective, I kind of enjoyed it. It was nice never having to change costumes. [Laughs] But it’s also true that acting behind bars is a very specific thing, because the camera’s on the other side, and you’re always having to — you can’t vaguely hit your mark. It’s always about leaning one inch to the left or one inch to the right. So it makes it a little bit hard to get out of your own head. But that aside, it’s also very iconic. I think for a lot of people the association with Hannibal and Silence of the Lambs, it’s always about those conversations taking place from the cell, with the visitor. So I kind of dug that.
IGN: Hannibal was Will’s confidant and someone who was becoming his friend in the first season. So besides the fact that he obviously wants to get himself out of there, what does he think of Hannibal as far as the betrayal? Even if Hannibal, in his skewed mind, thinks he’s doing something for Will, Will understandably wouldn’t see it that way.
Dancy: No, and I think even Hannibal isn’t pleased with the fact that Will’s in jail. I mean, it was an inevitability because that was Hannibal’s defense, right? But he wasn’t plotting that from the word “go,” I don’t think at all. Now, if anything, Hannibal is just as upset as Will that Will’s locked up. I think Will despises Hannibal because of who he now realizes he is, but also, as you say, because of his betrayal. But again, out of that comes a kind of strength, which is the strength of self-reliance. Ultimately, not to get too far ahead or give anything away, but I think Will, after trying various tactics, realizes that the only way he’s ever going to outmaneuver Hannibal is by reengaging with him. You can’t lie to Hannibal — he’d see through it; he’s too clever. So the only way Will can do that is honestly recognize for himself that he is drawn to Hannibal, that there’s some part or some connection that still exists. So that’s where we are. We’re now filming episode eight, and I would say that we move into the season — so as we’re in that second half, that’s what we’re tinkering with, but I don’t want to give any more away than that.
IGN: If this show goes several years — knock on wood — Bryan [Fuller] has talked about how he wants to take it through the whole Hannibal Lecter story, including into the Silence of the Lambs era and beyond, which is very interesting because we’ve never seen Will Graham after Red Dragon.
Dancy: No. I think he’s mentioned in Silence of the Lambs and in Hannibal — in the books, that is — as having been this kind of legendary profiler in the FBI who basically got burned out and is now an alcoholic, like, a Diesel mechanic; he’s retreated down to Florida, and he’s boozing. I’ve heard Bryan voice various, different versions of where he might get to. We would obviously have to get through Red Dragon, first of all. I think there’s a question as to how fully you would dive into the books, because it’s one thing for people to know the canon and to enjoy seeing us move away towards it. It’s another thing to then just go back and slavishly reenact it, having created such a rich world of our own making. So my guess is it would become part of a bigger story perhaps. But yeah, once we get out of Red Dragon, your guess is as good as mine. Whether Will sticks around, whether he does indeed vanish, whether we ever get Clarice — because there’s still a rights issue. So yeah, I don’t know. I’m in it for as long as I can be.
Hannibal: Season 2 premieres Friday, February 28th at 10pm on NBC.
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LOS ANGELES | “Hannibal” may be one of the darker shows on network television, but it doesn’t depress – or scare – star Hugh Dancy.
“The predominant feeling when I go home is, ‘God, this is so great. I get to do this again tomorrow,’” he says.
Never mind he’s playing a cat-and-mouse game with an intelligent serial killer named Hannibal Lecter. “We’re making a show about really well-dressed cannibals,” Dancy says. “Comedy comes pretty easily.”
Even in those scenes of mass murder. “The reality is, you’ve got 35 or 40 naked, sweaty, farty people lying on the floor. When we’d be doing those scenes, we’d heard a stomach rumble and realize at least four of them were asleep. That takes some of the edge off the horror.”
Still, Dancy knows “Hannibal” is traveling in uncharted network territory. Based on “Red Dragon,” the novel that led to “Silence of the Lambs,” it doesn’t mind creeping people out.
“I look at dog videos all day to put me in a happy place to combat where we work,” says Executive Producer Bryan Fuller. “Part of it is stylizing the violence so it’s heightened and not real. What we do on the show is sort of purple and operatic because, if it were real, I couldn’t watch it.”
Dancy – who plays the homicide detective-turned-teacher tracking Lecter – got a range of emotions in the first season.
“That spiral, that progression over the course of the 13 episodes was so well charted out…I knew where I was going. Dark as it may be, it was incredibly fun and rewarding.”
His wife, Claire Danes, went through a similar journey on “Homeland.” At night, the two would compare notes.
“There’s a real insecurity that comes from playing a character who’s on the edge and sometimes going over the edge,” he explains. “We both ended up the first seasons of our shows being institutionalized. It’s like nobody’s trusting us. I’d go home and say, ‘You’ve gone through this. I’m not completely overdoing it, right?’ And she understood. It can be quite a lonely place as an actor doing that. We’re moving very fast in television. You really have to trust that you’re judging it right.”
In the second season, Dancy’s Will Graham is locked in a mental institution accused of Lecter’s crimes.
“He’s incredibly elastic,” Dancy says. ‘He can go off in any direction, so I don’t exactly get surprised. But, by virtue of being a prequel, we kind of know where we’re headed. There’s only so far we can veer off track.”
When Graham discovers he can’t just say, “Hey, Hannibal did it, it wasn’t me,” he realizes he has to find a different way out of his situation. “Will is a very smart guy,” Dancy says. “You’ll see him embrace the side of himself that can be manipulative.”
As an actor, “the worse it got for him, the more I enjoyed it. This season, it’s even worse. So I’ve been very happy.”
The 38-year-old British born star of such films as “Black Hawk Down,” “Ella Enchanted” and “Martha Marcy May Marlene” was drawn to “Hannibal” by Fuller, who clearly explained what he wanted to do with the Hannibal Lecter story.
“I went back and read ‘Red Dragon’ and thought, ‘Oh, hell, what have I gotten into?’ and then I realized he was going to challenge me and push me into difficult place. That’s been the job. And I’m very happy for that.”
Tortured? “It’s just acting,” Dancy says with a smile.
To succeed at playing all of his character’s quirks, “you have to get all the beats right. Filming is quite technical. It’s not like a normal scene.”
Even something as seemingly simple as working with dogs becomes a challenge. “I love that side of Will,” Dancy says. “He’s such a superficially unsympathetic character because he keeps everyone at arm’s length. And then you see him in his home with his dogs and that instantly lets you understand who he is, for real.”
I typed out the interview from the issue featuring Hugh of August Man. Thanks to supaaah.tumblr.com for posting great quality of the scans publicly for the fans.
At the time of interview, The Emmy Award nominations were due to be announced in just two days. Critics and TV addicts alike were all pretty riled up that the chilling Hannibal which made its debut on NBC earlier in the year would surely make the cut. As can be inferred by the title of the drama, the series delves into the sinister mind of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the psychiatrist made iconic by Anthony Hopkins’ Oscar-Winning performance in Silence of the Lambs.
It is hard to imagine performances that top that of the film but, if possible Hannibal has provided some pretty disturbing moments, even surpassing that of the movie. It thus should come as no surprise then that fans anxiously awaited the industry recognition that they feel the show deserves. In particular for the shows lead Hugh Dancy who plays not Lecter but Will Graham, a gifted profiler who seeks the help of Lecter to track down some of the most gruesome serial killers.
Dancy however appeared unperturbed by the anticipation surrounding the awards.
“I honestly had no idea about the nominations.” he chuckled, with a hint of exasperation. “I don’t know if we’ll get one. It’s a very competitive field.”
As it turns out, the actor was right. Dancy-who was nominated once before in the supporting actor category for this portrayal of the Earl of Essex in Elizabeth I-didn’t receive a nomination, which critics have described as one of the biggest omissions of the 2013 Emmys.
But he has other things on his mind. He is currently in the thick of finding a new apartment for his family (wife Claire Danes and 9-month-old son, Cyrus) in Toronto, where he’ll soon begin filming the much anticipated second season of the drama. As the subject matter suggests, the show is pretty provocative, for television, that is. A network is Salt Lake City in the United States even refused to air it.
Much of the “shock factor” can be attributed to Lecter, played by Mads Mikkelsen. But fans of the show attest that it is Dancy’s take on the profiler who is tasked with having to work with Lecter that viewers find engaging.
“A professor with a unique gift to get inside the heads of serial killers. Graham steals the show through his social awkwardness and seemingly divine cunning that allows him to make leaps and connect dots within a case that mere mortals may not have.” Is how the website Policymic describes his performance.
Alongside Graham and Lecter is FBI agent Jack Crawford played by Laurence Fishburne. Together the trio share a chemistry that have kept viewers tuned in.
“They’re both relaxed and confident.” He says “Two of the best screen actors around.”
Dancy’s character is indeed an interesting one. Though highly intelligent, there is a suggestion that he is autistic or perhaps suffers from Asperger’s, a suggestion that Dancy rejected at Comic-Con this year.
“The way I came to think about it is…if there is a spectrum with autism at one end—people who can’t read anything of another person—and then most of us are somewhere [in the middle]…then if you imagine the spectrum extending to the other side, to people who have no control over the information they receive and have no floodgates at all—that’s where Will is,” he explains, “In order to protect himself, he has consciously and deliberately adopted some of the mannerisms of a person with Asperger’s. He’s chosen to block eye contact, he’s chosen to become antisocial and no engage.”
The explanation in itself proof of just how complex the character is. In researching the role, Dancy explored the subject of behavioural science, the discipline that pioneered the subject of profiling.
“I read some of the stuff written by people who work in behavioural science, people who really created that idea of ‘profiling’ serial killers. I building up that science, they do this strange combination of intuition and detective work, and Will is that character, but pushed a little bit further.” He explained at Comic-Con.
It perhaps isn’t surprising that Dancy takes a cerebral approach to his characters. He studied at Oxford and as a young child growing up in Newcastle, located in the North of England, must have been exposed to the intellectual musing of his parents. His mother worked in academic publishing and his father Jonathan Dancy is a philosopher, now Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin.
His foray into acting began as a way of taming a rebellious streak that surfaced while attending boarding school.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Dancy said, “In the theater, suddenly all the hierarchies of school were out the window. The other attraction was that girls from a local school were involved in productions, not because I was desperately lustful, although I’m sure I was, because I was a 13-year-old boy, but I just liked having girls around”.
Dancy was soon cast as Ariel in The Tempest and the rest—as they say—is history. Like most British actors, his early work consists of period drams playing literary characters Daniel Deronda and David Copperfield. Since then he has embarked on more diverse work starring in Black Hawk Down, the cult classic Martha Marcy May Marlene and Hysteria in which he played Mortimer Granville, the inventor of the vibrator. There was also the chick flick Confessions of a Shopaholic.
Will Graham now adds an interesting dimension to a range of roles taken on by the actor. In this interview with August Man, he divulges what it’s like to get into the head of a serial killer.
How are you enjoying your return to episodic television?
Very much so. Episodic TV is its own beast, but unlike The Big C, I’ve really been involved from the start with Hannibal. It’s developed and changed almost as a reaction to what I’m doing on the show. [Producer] Bryan Fuller is very sharing and generous to the degree he wants to involve the actors. One night, I called him with a simple question about the script and I was still on the phone an hour later, as he’s describing the plots seven episodes ahead. Make no mistake: Bryan is the brain of this machine.
The show is based on the Thomas Harris’ book, Red Dragon, in which your character is introduced. How heavily did you reference the novel?
I first began reading Bryan’s description of Will, mainly how he saw the relationship developing between him and Hannibal. It was only after reading Red Dragon that I truly realized Bryan was coming from a place of real loyalty. Once you get past the first episode of the show, the DNA of the thing very much comes from the brain of Thomas Harris.
The graphic nature of the show has not been without controversy. Do you ever read the script and think, “Okay, this is too much”?
Well, let me first say I don’t think you have to push the envelope too far in Salt Lake City to make a scene [laughs] Yes, it’s a bit gruesome, but I have no problem with that as long as it’s in context, serves a purpose and comes with some consequences—and Will certainly suffers those. I do feel like you can have too much of a good thing, but Hannibal has a nice balance, particularly in the second half of the season. The show is character-driven and grown-up in terms of what it asks of the audience—that combination seems fairly new to me compared with what else is on television right now.
One of the creepiest, most impressive, aspects of the show has got to be the food styling. Don’t you agree?
Completely. Will only eats with Hannibal on occasion, so I’m always surprised when I arrived on set. Once, I’d just sit down and this little bird skull arrives on the plate and I’m thinking, “Has nobody considered that Hannibal might perhaps be a little strange?” [laughs] Or the other time when he brings me black chicken soup and it has a tiny bird claw in there. It all speaks to the level of Bryan’s detail.
It really makes the difference between a good show and a great show…
At this point in my career, I have a fairly good bulls**t detector. When Bryan described not just the first season of Hannibal, but how he saw it developing three and four years later, I knew he was for real. I wasn’t just interested, but eager, to be a part of it.
You’ve dabbled in a bit of modeling, as the face of Burberry several years ago. Does style interest you?
I wouldn’t say that it’s a major part of my life, but there’s definitely an overlap between the world of fashion and the world of acting. I own quite a lot of Burberry as a result of that collaboration (and Christopher Bailey). And I do love a good suit. I’m an Englishman, after all.
If you notice an error, please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org — Thank you!
We have received confirmation about the date Hugh’s issue of August Man will be released via the photographer’s twitter. You can view that below:
— Chiun-Kai Shih (@MrChunkyExpress) August 23, 2013
Remember to mark your calendars and pick up your copy of the magazine! The date has also been added into our ‘Important Dates’ section on the site.
We have added two additional teasers for August Man to our photo archive.
Magazines > [September 2013] August Man
Hannibal wowed critics and viewers alike when it debuted earlier this year, satisfying both Thomas Harris aficionados and new fans with its vivid visual style, conflicted characters and a dark moral complexity rarely explored on network television.
At Comic Con 2013, Digital Spy and others spoke with Hugh Dancy – who plays the tortured Will Graham – to speak about his experiences playing the role, his hopes for season two and the show’s dedicated fans… or ‘Fannibals’!
Some people have suggested that Will Graham has Asperger’s syndrome – do you agree?
“There’s a moment in the first episode where Laurence’s character asks Will, when they first meet on screen, ‘Where are you on the spectrum?’ or something like that, and I think there may even be a mention of Asperger’s… I can’t remember.
“For me, that was misdirection – I definitely do not think that Will has Asperger’s syndrome. In fact, what I think he is is almost the polar opposite of somebody with Asperger’s syndrome…
“The way I came to think about it is… if there is a spectrum with autism at one end – people who can’t read anything of another person – and then most of us are somewhere [in the middle]… then if you imagine the spectrum extending to the other side, to people who have no control over the information they receive and have no floodgates at all – that’s where Will is.
“In order to protect himself, he has consciously and deliberately adopted some of the mannerisms of a person with Asperger’s. He’s chosen to block eye contact, he’s chosen to become antisocial and not engage.”
Did you take inspiration from any real-life figures in playing Will?
“I don’t know that there is anybody like Will, really – just like there isn’t really anybody like Hannibal Lecter… you hope… you have to hope, right?!
“They’re fictional creations, but that said… I obviously read Thomas Harris’s novels – that’s the best place to start – but then after that, I read some of the stuff written by people that Harris had spoken to [in researching his books] – people who work in behavioural science, people who really created that idea of ‘profiling’ serial killers.
“In building up that science, they do this strange combination of intuition and detective work, and Will is that character, but pushed a little bit further.”
Hannibal is a daring show, particularly for network television – have you been surprised by some of the content that you have managed to get on screen?
“I think probably what you’re saying when you ask that is the amount of blood and the bodies and so on, but what I found to be more daring about it – and certainly more interesting – was the format. It’s hour-long, pretty psychological, complex, advanced and grown-up.
“The blood and the guts of it, other than just being intrinsic to the genre, served all of that other stuff – it served your understanding of who Will was and his relationship with Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen), and why Will is so messed up, because he carries that stuff around with him.
“I think partially that’s why we got away with [the gore] – because it has context and it was designed to be part of the aesthetic of the show. It’s not just, ‘S**t, we’ve run out of story – let’s kill someone’.”
Did you ever have reservations about committing to what could be multiple seasons of a TV show?
“I spoke to [showrunner] Bryan Fuller and he described the first five years of the show – it was very rich and very different, and I was very happy to sign that contract. I think I will be interested and enthusiastic [about this show] five years from now… maybe I won’t be, but I made that guess.
“I’m absolutely positive about it – I can’t wait to go back [for season two]. I was very invested in the show, I really thought we were doing something good.
“As it was airing, the audience was petering along… and then it started to grow – I care about the series, so I’m delighted.”
Will Graham doesn’t feature in the latter Hannibal Lecter novels – are you worried about your role on the show being reduced?
“No, I don’t have that concern. You could have a show based entirely around Hannibal, but I think it would be tricky – he needs a foil. But if that balance changes a bit in season two, I’m good with that, as well. I think that we’ve set it up for a very different and very interested trajectory in the second year.”
Will has this twisted dynamic with Hannibal – do you think he’s capable of a normal, healthy relationship?
“I think that’s a really good question. The most intimate relationship that he has is with Hannibal. But if you know the books, you know that in Red Dragon, Will is in a relationship at the beginning when Jack Crawford comes to pull him back in and get him to work for Behavioural Science, and that relationship is tested…
“But even in the books, that question’s always being raised – is he really capable of sustaining a relationship, in a grown-up, normal way? The honest answer is, I don’t know.”
Have you been surprised at how quickly Hannibal has acquired a dedicated fanbase?
“You always hope for the best. If there was any upside to the fact that for a while we were struggling to get good numbers in terms of TV viewership, it was that this other audience came out of it, who not only were watching the show but really actively supporting it and working towards it, spreading the word.
“That’s a great feeling – it’s really nice to be appreciated, because I felt like we were doing something good. For myself, it felt different and fresh. It’d be lovely to hear that however many million people watch our show on Thursday nights, I’d be really delighted about that, but mainly just because [it means] we get to go on for a while.
“But when I see these people who invest so much time and energy [into the show]… it’s great, it’s really great.”
Hannibal airs on NBC in the US and on Sky Living in the UK.