You can add Hannibal to the list of TV shows set to have a presence at San Diego Comic-Con 2013. I spoke to the show’s executive producer and showrunner, Bryan Fuller, today for an interview that will run after Thursday night’s Hannibal season finale. During our conversation. Fuller revealed to me that Hannibal will have a panel at Comic-Con on Thursday, July 18th at 6:45.
The panelists will include Fuller, Hugh Dancy (“Will Graham”), David Slade (executive producer/director) and Martha De Laurentiis (executive producer).
Fuller tells me they’ll be showing a sizzle reel highlighting what occurred in Hannibal: Season 1, followed by a Q&A about what to expect in Season 2 of the critically acclaimed series.
Will Hannibal‘s Will Graham eventually find love, or is he destined to go stag forever?
While the question is moot in the short run – at the moment, the guy’s a little busy recovering from brain-cooking encephalitis and being manipulated by a serial killer – it’s certainly something star Hugh Dancy is considering as his gory NBC drama reaches the end of its freshman season.
Can Dancy’s tormented profiler ever be a good, healthy match for Caroline Dhavernas‘ Alana? Here, the British actor gives TVLine his thoughts on the more-than-friendly pair and hints at what Dr. Lecter’s cooking up in the Season 1 finale (which airs Thursday, June 20 at 10/9c) and beyond.
TVLINE | What can you tease about the Will/Alana relationship in upcoming episodes? She’s repeatedly said they can’t have a romantic relationship, but they seem drawn to each other regardless.
Put it this way: Neither of us die this season. So there’s always a future. It was always interesting to me to imagine how the hell someone like Will Graham would have any kind of romantic life. That’s what we were scratching away [at]… Without giving too much away about how this season ends, the whole dynamic is going to be shifted next season. It’ll be interesting to see.
TVLINE | Will your character find out this season that Hannibal lied to him about the encephalitis? Will Will have any lasting effects from the illness?
I can’t tell you that! …There was a guy who was a profiler for the FBI, who was one of the people that [The Silence of the Lambs author] Thomas Harris talked to and based my character on, and also Jack’s character. And he did almost die of encephalitis. In the mind of [Hannibal creator] Bryan Fuller, that was absorbed and filtered and came out as what you see.
TVLINE | What can you tell us about this season’s finale?
It all comes to a head. We’re not going to leave you hanging.
TVLINE | Bryan Fuller has said next season will see the break-up of Will and Hannibal’s bromance.
[Laughs] Did he say that? It’s safe to say, we’re getting into that territory… Will is meant to be the most intelligent guy on the Earth and the best at his job. But he’s suffering. He hasn’t got all the cards in his hand. Whether that happens this season or next season, I don’t want to be too specific. But we’ll get there.
TVLINE | Will Will get a lot worse before he gets better?
[Laughs] Yes. He gets worse before he gets better.
Hugh will be a guest on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson tonight on CBS. Be sure to check your local listings.
The trickiest thing about Hugh Dancy’s series is that everyone already knows its twist ending.
The NBC series is “Hannibal,” after all, and it casts Dancy as FBI agent Will Graham and Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
Yes, that Hannibal Lecter. The infamous “Hannibal the Cannibal” created by novelist Thomas Harris and famously played by Anthony Hopkins in “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991) and two subsequent films. The master psychologist who, having turned serial killer, is imprisoned in a maximum-security facility where Graham, Agent Clarice Starling and other officers of the law occasionally turn to him for his unique insights into the darkest corners of the mind.
The twist: “Hannibal” takes place even before “Manhunter” (1986), remade as “Red Dragon” (2002), albeit later than “Hannibal Rising” (2007), which focused on Lecter’s youth. The audience knows that Lecter is a serial killer, but Graham doesn’t.
“We didn’t tell you right away on the show that he is a flesh eater,” Dancy said. “We had a lot of fun feeding that out in little morsels.”
As it were. Speaking by telephone from the show’s Los Angeles set, the 37-year-old British actor is in an antic mood, quick to joke about even the darkest aspects of his latest project.
And why shouldn’t he be? Life is good for Dancy, who is married to actress Claire Danes – who has her own hit series, Showtime’s “Homeland” – and has an infant son, Cyrus Michael Christopher Dancy, born in December. Throw in a highly touted midseason series, and it’s fun to be Hugh Dancy right now.
“It’s a wonderful, busy, tiring, joyful time in my life,” Dancy said. “Now I have a TV show that’s more than enough to keep me interested, test me and challenge me. I jumped right in.”
“Hannibal” explores the early relationship between Graham, the young and gifted FBI profiler previously played by William Peterson in “Manhunter” and Edward Norton in “Red Dragon, and the not-yet-infamous Lecter, who becomes Graham’s mentor before becoming his most famous case. Gillian Anderson and Laurence Fishburne co-star.
“Will is a unique character,” Dancy said. “In his mind he lives with demons, including a great proximity to death and violence. You could say that he’s humanity. Not to make too great a claim of the character, but he carries this violence within him, which I think we all do to some extent.”
“I went out to appear on Broadway in Journey’s End for five months. To do something very English, very British. Then my personal life changed and I ended up staying there. I made a movie and met my wife.” Hugh Dancy, the Oxford-educated actor son of a moral philosopher and an academic publisher, is telling me how he ended up in America, married to Homeland star Claire Danes and now father to their four-month-old son Cyrus.
The 37-year-old, who is set to star over here in glossy and gory TV drama Hannibal, grew up a long way from his current home in Greenwich Village. He was born in Stoke-on-Trent, brought up in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and went to boarding school from the age of 10, first at Dragon School in Oxford then at Winchester College, where he first got into acting. Another public schoolboy hogging the top roles, then? “I’m not embarrassed about it,” he says of Winchester. “I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing had I not gone there, both for positive and negative reasons. I was not having a good time at school otherwise, for lots of reasons. Partially because I was 13.”
He concedes, though, that “the other side of that coin was there was a theatre for me to stumble into, amazingly well stocked with people and enthusiasm and money, I guess. Those things served me well. I come from a family of teachers, primarily in public schools, so there is a sense of identity floating through my family.” Boarding school is good preparation for an actor’s life: “It makes it easier to live out of a bag. I never felt the need for a home in the same way [as others].”
He met Danes on the set of the 2007 film Evening. The conversation about where they would live “never came up. Claire grew up in New York and has lived there pretty much all her life, other than when she was a teenager working in LA [on My So Called Life, with which she first made her name]. So she was the one who had roots. Unlike me, in the sense that I hadn’t lived in London all my life. The hope would be that we can spend time here as well.” They recently brought Cyrus to the UK for the first time: “The priority was to see his great grandparents in Cornwall and Marlborough. I’ve hauled them all over. But they’re not the worst places in the world to be dragged to.” They are very private, and married in secret in France in 2009. But my female friends and colleagues are infatuated with the character of Carrie Mathison in Homeland, flawed but brilliant and cleverer than all the men around her. Perhaps they identify with her. And they are desperate to know what Danes is really like.
So, I say to Dancy, how are marriage and fatherhood treating you? “Ah, ha ha. It’s great,” he hedges. “They’re both treating me very well.” How does the family unit function, with you working on Hannibal and Claire embroiled again in Homeland? “If Hannibal comes around again, our schedules would overlap by a couple of months, which would mean either I could be with her or she with me, or neither of us would be working, and there’d be a period where we’d have to commute. It’s a complicated balance, like any marriage. We have got to be happy as a unit and I also want both of us to be happy independently and fulfilled in what we do, so there has to be some elbow room.
“You have to have, not rules, but things to aspire to, like not being apart too long, basic stuff. Don’t take a job in Australia without telling me!” He laughs. “Hah, that came out sounding a little personal. Neither of us has done that yet.” Tell me something about the plot of the new series of Homeland, I say. “Oh. Ha ha. Funny. No.”
They vet each other’s projects, though “not religiously. But if I want a second opinion, why should I look further? She is a magnificent actress. It is not always the same as it would be for me but it is completely committed.
“She tries to be very honest, without artifice, in what she does. And it is hard to do that and be interesting and create something big. I know from experience, and watching her now on set, that she is fantastic to work with, generous without trying to be generous.” Would you work together again? “Well, we obviously had a good time the first time around,” he says drily. “Why not revisit that if — I can hear the clichés coming out of my mouth — we could find the right material?” For Dancy the right material was Hannibal, which reimagines Thomas Harris’s cannibal antihero Hannibal Lecter and his eventual nemesis, investigator Will Graham, at the start of their relationship, tracking down murderers together for the FBI. Dancy’s sensitive, neurasthenic Will is worried that his ability to empathise with evil might make him a killer. Mads Mikkelsen’s arch Lecter tries subtly to encourage the idea.
“I have stuck my hand in someone’s chest cavity,” says Dancy, talking of his preparation for the part. “At some point I may have had my thumbs in an eye socket.” He says that “in no sense” was he seeking a leading TV role, having played a supporting part in Laura Linney’s comedy-drama The Big C last year, as well as appearing on Broadway, playing sexy power games with Nina Arianda in Venus In Fur. But he concedes TV is where a large slice of the action is. “In America, there’s an interesting, really ambitious group of young people making independent movies for zilch money,” says Dancy. “But studio-wise, you have to be wearing a cape. No one is making decently budgeted, not-crazy-money movies, so that middle ground has been occupied by television.” Not that he’d mind playing a superhero, he adds.
I sense Dancy isn’t that fussed about future projects at the moment. When I ask what he does when he’s not working, he gets visibly enthused: “I change nappies!” Sometimes, he recently told an American magazine, not fast enough. “Oh yeah, that can happen. That is an absolute part of the deal — don’t imagine you are going to catch every explosion. It’s a new world and a wonderful one. It’s finding ways to also live our life as a family and not be completely overwhelmed by keeping this tiny creature alive, and cooking a normal dinner. Simple stuff.”
So, yes. On screen Hugh Dancy and Claire Danes catch serial killers and terrorists. But off screen, this is what they are really like.
Hannibal begins at 10pm on Sky Living on May 7.
One of the strongest US drama imports to hit these shores in a long while, Hannibal makes its UK debut courtesy of Sky Living early next week.
This televisual take on Thomas Harris’s cannibal killer Dr Hannibal Lecter is from Pushing Daises creator Bryan Fuller and stars Casino Royale’s Mads Mikkelsen as the title character.
Digital Spy spoke to Hugh Dancy – who plays Lecter’s friend, confidante and future nemesis Will Graham – about what to expect from the new horror series, the spectre of Anthony Hopkins and the path to Red Dragon…
How did you feel when you were first approached for Hannibal? Were you aware of the Lecter movies?
“I had actually seen Red Dragon – the Ed Norton version – but quite a long time ago, and because they were filmed out of order, I think I had lost a sense of where everything fell. I’ve not seen Manhunter.
“Before I read anything or had seen anything, I wondered… why revisit the characters and the world, and why do it as a TV show? I wanted to know, were the motives good?
“I read the first script and it seemed to be ambitious and interesting – it was well-written, with good dialog, and raised lots of interesting possibilities… but that was as much as I had.
“I met with Bryan Fuller, I said pretty much exactly what I said to you to him, and he laid out the first five seasons of the show as he was carrying them around in his head. That basically answered all my questions!
“He not only made it clear that there would be a lot for me to do, but made it clear as to why one might want to do [this show] on a broader level. People love the books and the movies – and so does Bryan, incidentally – but he explained why we were going back to them and why we were doing it in a long-form way.”
What do you think Bryan brings to Hannibal as showrunner?
“Well, he’s a f**king great writer! He can have these hallucinogenic insights into character and he can write a type of heightened dialog which very few people can get away with, because as an actor, there’s just enough underpinning there for you to ground it. It’s really fun, meaty stuff – that’s the first thing.
“Secondly, for such an open, genuine and very sweet man, he has such a dark mind. But he doesn’t do it to try to be dark. I never got a script and thought, ‘Oh I see, this is the part where they’re trying to be gross’, – he’s coming at it from a genuinely interested, character perspective.”
Your character Will Graham is an unusual protagonist – you get the feeling that he could flip to the dark side at any time…
“Yeah, and that was a big part of the appeal. That wasn’t particularly how Bryan sold it to me, although I understood the trajectory of the first season, which definitely raises that question. That’s the fulcrum, if you like, in Will’s mind that Hannibal is leaning on.
“But yeah, as a protagonist, he has this capacity for empathy, which we normally think of as such a kind thing – but for whatever reason, in him, it’s particularly directed towards violent criminals. That was an interesting place to start.”
Mads Mikkelsen is such an interesting screen presence – what is he like to work with?
“Wonderful. I worked with Mads before, about nine years ago on [2004 film] King Arthur. It was pretty broad – every so often we’d kill an ancient Briton and then we’d carry on chatting and hanging out! We had six months to get to know each other and became friendly, but it was a very different type of job.
“What can I say about Mads? He’s detail oriented. Once he’s got his teeth into something… that sounds like a bad pun! But once he gets his teeth into something, he won’t let go.
“He has amazing technique, but primarily he will interrogate something until it makes sense to him and nobody’s going to question it as much as he will. I think when you’re taking on a character that’s already iconic, that people already think they know, that’s absolutely the best type of actor to come at it.”
Hannibal has attracted an amazing cast – Laurence Fishburne, Gillian Anderson, Eddie Izzard…
“I don’t know if you’re Jewish or not, but there’s a bit in the Passover ceremony where they say, ‘It would’ve been sufficient’ – it felt a bit like that!
“It was like getting a ticket to watch Oprah tape one of her shows… and then getting a free car! It really is an astonishing cast. I’ve admired Laurence for years – his first work was Apocalypse Now… which is ridiculous!
“And if one has a mental list of people you’d like to work with, Mads is right at the top of it, so for me it was wonderful.”
There’s been a lot of talk about how Hannibal and shows like The Following are pushing the boundaries for violence on network television – what are your thoughts on that?
“Well, I haven’t actually seen The Following, I’m ashamed to say. I think that what’s new is the positioning of violence, what’s new really is the genre – horror – rather than the violence.
“I can only really speak about our show and I never question the fact that the violence on Hannibal serves as a vital insight into Will’s mind, and ultimately into Hannibal’s mind.
“But particularly Will, because he’s somebody who lives with it – that’s what he has to carry around every day. Without that, he’s just… grumpy! So you need to understand what his burden is. I’ve got no problem with violence in entertainment as long as it has purpose and consequences.”
A show like Hannibal could easily become procedural, killer-of-the-week stuff, but there’s an ongoing arc here…
“Oh, I think it’s all about the ongoing arc. When you’re tuning into something week after week, with a week in-between, you do need a little something to get you through. You need a weekly pay-off.
“But for me the engine driving the show is the developing relationship and the situation between Will and Hannibal, and the tipping balance in Will’s mind. That’s what’s going to pull us through, that’s what’s going to hook people.”
Since people know on some level what’s going to happen to Will and Hannibal, does the show have the feel of a tragedy?
“Well, do people know what’s going to happen? I don’t know. To some extent, that’s true, but we’ve got a long way to go before we reach Red Dragon – it’s not like we finish this first season and, bang, it’s Red Dragon…”
I think Bryan Fuller has said that Red Dragon would be your fourth season…
“Exactly, so before we get there, Will is going through the wringer. If you go into it thinking you know where we’re heading, you’re in for a surprise!”
Hannibal begins on Tuesday, May 7 at 10pm on Sky Living
Hungry to know more about Hannibal?
We spoke exclusively to star of the show Hugh Dancy, who plays Will Graham in our gripping new crime drama series.
Watch our video to find out more then tune in to the premiere showing from Tuesday 7th May at 10pm.
And if you’re a Sky customer, find out how you can watch nearly a week before everyone else by clicking here.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s NBC’s newest drama, “Hannibal”—Thursday nights at 10 p.m.
Hugh Dancy stars as FBI Special Investigator Will Graham ,who is haunted by his ability to empathize with serial killers.
He is drawn into the investigation of a series of missing college girls by Agent Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne), who has a special interest in Graham’s ability.
As Graham struggles to create a profile, Crawford enlists the help of noted psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), who takes an interest in the case and particularly in Graham, in whom he senses a like-mind.
This morning on Larry’s Look, Hugh Dancy was our special guest. He talked about the series and how much he enjoyed working with Fishburne.
Larry actually surprised Dancy with a question about the British actor’s “connection” to Charlotte!
For more about “Hannibal”, go to: www.nbc.com/hannibal.
What’s the first information you consume in the morning?
I like The Guardian online because I feel like I’m getting a sense of what’s going on back home. I’m trying to get out of the habit of waking up and immediately turning on my phone and opening up The Guardian, but I have that slightly morbid desire to know if anything awful has happened in the world while I’m asleep.
What occupies your mind in the car or on the subway?
I’m kind of a news junkie, so on the subway, I find myself waiting until I get to a station that has 3G and then refreshing The Guardian to see if any news item has come up.
How do you listen to music?
Usually just iTunes. Listen, I’m a child of the ’70s and grew up in the ‘80s, and at this point, I think it’s just a little set in stone.
Anything good you’ve been listening to lately?
Plenty. Sbtrkt—that’s been rattling around in my head for a while now.