Bryan Fuller: Hannibal Delivers a 'Heightened Quality of Serial Killer,' With 'Operatic' Deaths

Hannibal Season 1 SpoilersAre you feeling hungry?

This Thursday at 10/9c, NBC debuts Hannibal, executive producer Bryan Fuller‘s dark, introspective take on the budding partnership between the infamous cannibal (played by Mads Mikkelsen) and FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy).

And it all began with one sentence. “There’s a line in [the novel] Red Dragon where Hannibal says to Will Graham — paraphrasing here – ‘You caught me essentially because you’re crazy, too,'” Fuller recounted in a recent conference call. “And I just thought, ‘Oh, there is a great untold bromance that I would love to see, as an audience member.’”

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Below, we present six things you need to know about the delicious new series, courtesy of the imaginative EP and star Dancy.

HANNIBAL IS THE DARK ONE | Mikkelsen isn’t so much paying homage to past Hannibal performances as he is channeling another ominous figure. Describes Fuller: “One of the very first meetings that I had with Mads, he was talking…more about playing Lucifer and this very dark fallen angel who had an admiration for the beauty and art of the human spirit so much so that if you were not respectful of that beauty, he could be quite punitive and send you to hell in his own very distinct way.”

…BUT WILL’S DARK, TOO | One of the benefits of translating the Red Dragon book into a TV series: More time to really dig into the emotionally tortured character of Will Graham, who can (yet perhaps shouldn’t) tap into killer instincts of his own. Plus,Hannibal Season 1 Spoilers thanks to the small screen’s penchant for anti-heroes and troubled souls, the profiler isn’t as clean-cut as his movie counterparts. “He was traditionally played as a stoic leading man [by William Petersen and Edward Norton],” explains Fuller. “But because of the really complex psychology of the character that’s in the literature, we get to explore that in a way that nobody has before.” (For example, if Clarice Starling had lambs, Graham has his stags.)

THE CRIMES ARE ALMOST THEATRICAL | Although Hannibal can essentially be categorized as a crime procedural, Fuller points out there’s “a slightly more heightened quality of serial killer tale each week to honor the style and the genre that Thomas Harris has created in and of himself.” As such, many of the cases are “more grand” than the typical TV fare and have an “operatic quality” in their staging and the murderers’ motivations.

VIDEO | Hannibal Full-Length International Trailer

THE VIOLENCE IS…WELL, VIOLENT | While the series is not short on disturbing, graphic and gory visuals – if the second episode shocks you, brace yourself for No. 4 – Fuller “would love to be going a lot further. But NBC keeps on reminding me where the line is.” So there won’t be (much) “eye-gouging, seeing people’s intestines being removed from their bodies in great noodly clumps.” But for those who like some splatter, the EP assures that the network execs, while maintaining their responsibility as a broadcaster, also “recognize that they are doing a horror show and the show is called Hannibal. They have put us on at 10 o’clock for a reason, so we can maximize what show to honor the genre and also provide fans of the genre certain ingredients that they are expecting to see.”

DEAD AGAIN | Fuller has populated Hannibal with favorites from his other projects, like series regular Caroline Dhavernas (previously of Wonderfalls) and guest stars/Pushing Daisies alums Ellen Greene, Gina Torres, Molly Shannon and Raul Esparza, as well as Dead Like Me lead Ellen Muth. “What was interesting about having Ellen [Muth] on the show was that there was actually an opportunity to deconstruct our previous collaboration in a very unexpected way,” teases the EP. “Her character has the same name and is a reinterpretation of that character and, in fashion, that was sort of the Mulholland Drive-ing of Dead Like Me.”

THIS IS NO ORDINARY CAT-AND-MOUSE GAME | Since Will is no schlub when it comes to picking up on clues, will he catch onto to the fact that his new confidant has a murderous appetite? “There clearly has to be some movement in that area because I’m playing the world’s greatest detector of serial killers,” says Dancy, “and at a certain point you’d start to wonder how the hell I got the job. But at the same time, Hannibal is not just the most intelligent but, in a sense, the most quick-witted man in the show. He’s always that one step ahead.” Despite that, the actor notes “there may be moments when a little alarm seems to go off” for Graham.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. ruby says:

    Its going against SCANDAL and ELEMENTARY??wrong the sound of it,but scandal is my No.1 thursday show.I would check it out later

  2. Gonna record it for later consideration…I have learned not to get too involved in shows before I know if they are going to get canceled or not!

  3. Sam says:

    I think it needs to be moved too, not sure where since ABC occupies most of my DVR during this timeslot but it sounds like a pretty interesting concept of a TV show. Definitely original if nothing else.

  4. Aprilcot says:

    I am cautiously optimistic about this. But it *is* on NBC, so even if it is brilliant, I’m sure they’ll find some way to f it up.

  5. Tom says:

    Mads is always excellent in any role he plays.

  6. Joe says:

    Dvr it because I don’t want to get to investing in it , because it may tank in ratings

    • skytzo425 says:

      That’s exactly why shows tank in the ratings, people DVR everything. Why on earth would you watch a show live that’s already been renewed when you can DVR that and watch it after you’ve watched the new show live? If nobody gives these new shows a chance none will make it. I’ve heard 100’s of people say they can’t wait for Hannibal but they’re going to DVR it and watch it later. People have no common sense.

      • Joe says:

        If I watch it live or dvr it it does not matter I’m not counted in the ratings , only a select bunch of people are , and if the ratings tank I’m not going to get invested in it , like I have before

  7. Lola says:

    Because that’s what’s wrong with television today. Not enough operatic deaths! :-)

  8. Marco says:

    ‘A stoic man’? Has Fuller even SEEN Manhunter? Will in that movie was about to fall apart any second, and that was a big part of why it was scary!

  9. Nerdbot says:

    Oh crap! I didn’t consider it was facing Scandal and Elementary. I’ve been waiting for this series for so long that now I am afraid it will fail against ABC’s hit Scandal (show that I love too, BTW).

  10. GS says:

    Any other night but Wednesday or Thursday and I’d probably watch but against Scandal (my show of choice) and Elementary (that is scoring huge in ratings), NBC might as well stick a fork in it. Whoever runs NBC’s programming should be fired because they are absolute idiots at that network.

  11. Tinemi says:

    I’m going to watch it and DVR Scandal… and if it only lasts one season (at least that’s what I hope for) then I’ll have a hell of a season to re-watch. And if it lasts only a couple of episodes, It’ll remind me why I almost don’t watch NBC.

  12. Trent says:

    Every night of the week has shows people are loyal to, so criticizing NBC for scheduling this on Thursday is ridiculous. Personally, I can’t wait to see Hannibal!