Considering the popularity of Thomas Harris’ novels about Dr. Hannibal Lecter and the movies that have come from out of them, there’s already a keen interest in the planned Hannibal television series that NBC is producing with Bryan Fuller, whose writing on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Voyager led to creating his own shows Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies. (Fuller is also rebooting “The Munsters” for NBC.)
Unlike most television shows, NBC is skipping the “pilot” phase with Hannibal and has already committed to a full season of twelve episodes with plans to start shooting the first episode, directed by David Slade (30 Days of Night), in August, presumably for a mid-season launch.
At the moment, British actor Dancy is the only one who has been cast in the role of FBI agent Will Graham, previously played by William Peterson (in Manhunter) and Edward Norton (in Red Dragon).
While talking to Dancy in New York for his upcoming period comedy Hysteria, our brother site, ComingSoon.net, got around to asking him about the show and its direction, and they got some nice hints about what to expect.
“I’m really excited about it, the script is great, really clever,” he told them. “I’ve read the first episode, but it’s not directly adapted because you’d begin with the backstory of Red Dragon, which is when Hannibal is still out and about and before he’s even been identified as a criminal. It’s all extrapolated from their little bit of backstory in the first novel. Because the source material is there, Bryan has talked me through the first season and potential second season, and it’s exciting, it’s good stuff.”
He told them how he enjoys doing television since it allows him to spend more time developing his character. ”I think the characters in this story are really going to benefit from that, because the way that Bryan is painting it as a slow and quite elaborate dance between Hannibal and Will Graham, and the way these two circle each other and lock into each other. Obviously, you can do that in a movie, but I think it works particularly well seeing a character go through a very slow degradation… it’s just right for the medium.”
As far as developing the character even though he still has another month of his Broadway show Venus in Fur: “I’ve been thinking about it and I’ve been reading around the area and I’ve talked to Bryan a few times and I’ve actually met a couple of people.”
He continued, “What I really like about Bryan when I met him the first time is he said, ‘Obviously, there’s been great versions of this story told before. We’re not doing that. We’re doing our own version of the story – we want it to be definitive without trying to undermine anything that’s come before. So, that to me is a good ballsy way to go into it and I was very impressed by that.”
He wasn’t sure if novelist Thomas Harris himself would be involved at all in developing the show, and he’s just as excited as everyone else to find out who they’re going to get to play Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a role for which Anthony Hopkins won an Oscar.
Look for ComingSoon.net’s full interview with Dancy and his co-star Jonathan Pryce talking about Hysteria sometime next week.