Hannibal fans were left hanging at the end of season 2 with the aftermath of the Red Dinner. OHSOGRAY recently participated on a press call with Executive Producer Bryan Fuller who talked about what’s coming in season 3, what challenges Bedelia will face now that she’s Hannibal’s wife, how everyone stateside is going to pick up the pieces, and the arrival of the Red Dragon (Richard Armitage). Below is part 2 of the interview.
There are *Spoilers* below, so if you don’t want to know anything about season 3, stop reading.
Hannibal returns June 4th at 10/9c on NBC.
How do you feel about “Heroes” coming back and “Heroes Reborn”?
I’m actually very excited about it. It’s funny because they’re filming in Toronto. So – and I’m good friends with Jack Coleman and Zach Levi. So I’ve been getting to see those guys. We’ve had breakfast in a few times and loving catching up with them and hearing about the show. It sounds fantastic and exciting. I love that experience. That first season of “Heroes” was one of the best television experiences I’ve had. It was such an amazing collaboration. There were so many wonderful writers working on that season. And everyone had such a passionate voice in the direction of the storytelling. And I think that translated to the screen.
I have really good feelings about “Heroes.” And I hope that the “Reborn” connects with the audience in a wonderful way. Of course, there is a part of me that would love to write for Hayden Panettiere again. I had so much fun writing for her in that first season. If my dance card wasn’t full, I probably would have been very aggressive with Tim Kring and NBC in saying, you know, let me collaborate on something with Hayden and let us, you know, write a great episode for Claire, because I can’t tell you how – what a great gift it was to be a part of that first season and what wonderful energy it was and to have the network behind the show and the way it did. I have incredibly fun memories of “Heroes.” So I’m hoping it connects again.
Have you ever thought about putting together a bodies exhibit of all the artfully done kills that you’ve done over the past couple of seasons?
I would love to do that because I would love to see a bodyworks exhibit of François Dagenais’ work on “Hannibal.” He has created such unique pieces. The scope of them is often hard to translate on screen when you’re looking at them in person. There have been several times where the cast has actually had to look at the piece and then walk out because they were sort of horrified by it. Then they have to reapproach it from a craft perspective to get back into the scene. The big obstacle in that exhibit is that we reused a lot of the same bodies over and over again. We’ll cut off heads and put like a […] head on the body and that sort of things. So they’ve been cannibalized, for lack of a better word…their revisitations in the show. But I’m so glad that you think that way about the show’s representation of this body dysmorphia artwork, which is very Cronenbergian in its inspiration. I do look at them as pieces of art. Oftentimes they are inspired by art where I’ll see a painting in Paris and take a picture of it on my iPhone and then bring it in and say like how do we do this, like the Treeman from Season 2, there was this wonderful exhibit in the Museum of Hunting in Paris which is a spectacular museum if you get a chance to go see it. It’s wonderful. They had these paintings that were botanical and – basically botanical meat. Those things have a tendency to stick in my craw than I’ll say, like, how do we bring this to life, how do we – how do I communicate how struck I was by seeing this image for the first time to the audience and share that with them. A lot of the instinct is just to share things that I think are cool and hope that the audience isn’t too freaked out.
What are your favorites so far?
One of the favorites would be the Cello Man because the nature of that – I love the cello as an instrument. I think it’s gorgeous and sumptuous and creates such a resonant sound that the idea of turning a human being into that beautiful of an instrument even in its horror and stringing a cello with the vocal chords and playing them with a bow was kind of delightfully perverse. Also in the development of that story, the conversations that I had with Brian Reitzell about the first instruments – the first musical instrument being made from bones, you know, bones hollowed out to become flutes and things like that that it felt sort of connective in a way that when you listen to a piece of music and it travels right through your sternum and you feel connected to it and you have an emotional reaction, it feels like there’s something almost primal in music coming from the body, traveling through the body and elevating into an artistic experience. So that’s probably my favorite for a lot of reasons.
In an early episode, there was a young girl at Quantico in Will’s class. She walks up to him like she’s going to ask him something and then walks away. Was that Clarice Starling?
You know, there was a – we wanted to – in that moment, I know exactly what – the moment you’re talking about. There – we had talked about is this her class? Is this Clarice Starling’s class? And there was the motivation there to hint at of Clarice-type character. But also there was a little bit of “Indiana Jones” and “Raiders of Lost Ark” of the…young woman who painted “Love You” on her eyelid and Will Graham bringing such a charmer in his own strange way that he was eliciting that response from his student as well.
We talk about Clarice quite a bit on the show. As you may know, there’s certain rights issues tangled up in it. But there’s something about if we do ever tell the Clarice Starling’s story, I think it might be, you know, interesting to change ethnicities on Clarice and get a different perspective of a southern young woman’s experience and put race as a component in that woman’s view of the world. And, you know, it is such a – you know, race is oftentimes a tricky subject just because it makes some people cringe. But I think it is absolutely a defining trait of people and characters and fictions.
So part of me wants to do a Clarice that would be a non-white Clarice and have a different angle into that story that gives it layers that we haven’t seen because it’s going to be really hard to top Jodie Foster. And I think that – so when you said Clarice about that young woman, you know, that young white woman, I always – my reaction was first, I’d like – I’m hoping if we ever do that that we don’t cast a white actress. But if we do, I hope it’s somebody like Ellen Page.
Can you discuss the process of coming to last season’s finale?
[T]hat was always the intention all along because I wanted the audience to – we left the audience with Hannibal and Bedelia. I thought it was very important to continue that telling that story in the first episode of this season and almost giving the audience permission to move on from the first two seasons in a way that would both provide a yearning for needing to know what happened to those characters and also just plunge right into the story that’s right in front of us. So in a way, holding it off is I guess the – it’s narrative-edging, if that makes sense, not to be too crude. But hopefully with the anticipation, they’ll be more excited to see Will in the second episode after being denied him in the first.
Our episode 4 is actually the episode that kind of picks up after the events of the finale. And so that – and that was one that, you know, we – there were conversations being had about like maybe Episode 4 should be Episode 1. And it’s like no, we really need to do it this way because it’s emotional storytelling as opposed to plot storytelling. And I think a lot of the dream-like images on the show and the way stories unfold surreally is really about embracing a posttraumatic shock. So that second episode for me, which is probably the artiest, artiest thing that we’ve done on the show. I love pretension. I love cinematic pretension. I think it’s a lot of fun. But it was really about a poem to grief and what it is for Will Graham to have survived the first two seasons and really getting his head to the point that you don’t know or if you’re awake or if you’re still dreaming.
Are we going to see Dr. Chilton again?
Yes, the – we reintroduce Chilton to the show in Episode 4. He has a very big role in that episode. One of the things that was interesting in talking about how Chilton would be changed, you know, we saw him in the first season being, you know – he was gutted by Eddie Izzard’s character. In the second season, he was shot in the face by Anna Chlumsky’s character. So he’s a bit of arcane for this series that we do something absolutely horrible to Dr. Chilton in every season. What happens to him in this season is probably the most horrible.
But the fun of it in doing it with that character is that Raúl Esparza brings such a different energy to the show, a vital energy to the show where he understands his role as comic release in this world and provides a perspective of the madness that is grounded at the same time as witty. And so we do some very fun things with Dr. Chilton this season. And Will is always cracking the stage up with his antics. And the blooper reel for this season is – he definitely is the highlight of that.
And so, yes, he comes back in and plays a pivotal role in both chapters, the first chapter and the second chapter. And we understand – we will see very clearly how he managed to survive those things, so we don’t just sort of magically have him show up and everything is fine. We see exactly what happened from a bullet’s point of view and how we survived.