This week, Bryan Fuller won two Saturn Awards from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. His current television series, Hannibal, tied for Best Network Television Series with Revolution, and Fuller himself won the Dan Curtis Legacy Award. When Fuller came back into the press room to pose with his awards, Shock Till You Drop landed a one on one with him to talk about Hannibal.
I’ve been into the first two seasons of the Red Dragon prequel, and Fuller has said publicly that the third season will incorporate the books Hannibal and Hannibal Rising into its storylines. Since we’re still pre-Francis Dolarhyde, that changes things up a bit.
The third Thomas Harris book chronicled Hannibal Lecter’s life on the lam after escaping at the end of Silence of the Lambs. Hannibal Rising, meanwhile, was a prequel about how young Hannibal became a cannibal.
Spoilers for the first two seasons of Hannibal and all the books and movies follow, but if you’re as into Hannibal as we are, you’ll want to know how the show is going to handle these storylines. For example, will Katharine Isabelle have to bulk up to play bodybuilder Margot Verger?
Shock Till You Drop: You’ve said for season three you want to incorporate the later books, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising. Does that mean we could have Dolarhyde and Mason Verger and characters from the past all in one episode?
Bryan Fuller: Absolutely, absolutely, and we will. We’ll definitely be seeing Murasaki. We’re hoping to see Mason Verger again this season. We are developing the Francis Dolarhyde story so that’s a very exciting thing for me because Red Dragon is my introduction into the Thomas Harris world.
Shock: I asked you on Twitter about the credit based on “characters from Red Dragon,” do you not have to credit the third book for Mason Verger? You told me you rent those characters per episode.
Fuller: Yes, we do.That’s very interesting business-wise.
Shock: Are there now going to be deals in place for those books for the entire third season?
Fuller: I think it is going to be character by character, so the ones that don’t originate in Red Dragon, we are absolutely going to be renting for the episodes that we have them in.
Shock: Are you allowed to mess with the timeline of things, if other things happen during the Dolarhyde era?
Fuller: Absolutely. We sort of have carte blanche in what we interpret and how we re-imagine it. We see ourselves as Thomas Harris mashup DJs and are able to basically spin tracks from different books with vocals from other books, so that’s the exciting thing about the show.
Shock: Does that mean Clarice Starling and Buffalo Bill are off limits still?
Fuller: For now, we have to try to secure those rights.
Shock: But you’re pursing them?
Fuller: Yes, absolutely.
Shock: Why is that different, because Silence of the Lambs was at a different studio?
Fuller: Yes, that’s MGM.
Shock: Dino De Laurentiis let those rights go, didn’t he?
Fuller: He did because Manhunter wasn’t necessarily a financial success so they didn’t think that another one would be viable. It turns out, it was. Hopefully MGM will see the value in adding their characters to your world. I would love that.
Shock: I wanted to ask about Mason Verger’s face in season two. Was it out of the question to do a prosthetic?
Fuller: It was one of those things where with the trials of doing a television show, we were worried about the time and being able to pull it off. Also, I thought it was cool to save that for season three.
Shock: So, you do hope to show his new face?
Shock: I thought it was an interesting take on Mason and true to the spirit of that character to have him hide behind that artifice.
Fuller: Yes, and that was actually interesting because we did that whole face in post because what we had on stage didn’t quite work. It looked like a dish towel wired to his face because we had no time to do it, so all of the face stuff was a visual effects appliance that we did all in post. That was completely in post.
Shock: Didn’t Mason’s sister become a bodybuilder by the time of Hannibal?
Fuller: Yes, yes, what’s interesting about the Margot Verger character in the book, as a fan of the literature, I was kind of perplexed because it was a very bizarre interpretation of a woman’s homosexuality as a result of severe psychological trauma. So, in the process of doing the show and creating that arc, we’ve desexualized the relationship. Essentially in the literature, he raped her from the age of four into adulthood and I didn’t want to tell that story because I felt like it was so bleak that I didn’t know how to find Mason Verger likable.
Shock: Too bleak for Hannibal?
Fuller: We don’t necessarily do sexualized violence and I think it’s something that is overdone on procedural television.
Shock: Although isn’t that what Dolarhyde and Buffalo Bill are?
Fuller: Dolarhyde, not Buffalo Bill. In Dolarhyde, there will be a distinction for us I think that will be presented that there is something that I am rationalizing of necrophilia versus rape. So, that’s kind of the narrow chasm which we’re going to try to navigate.
Shock: You’ve done the flaming wheelchair with Freddie Lounds already, so does that mean Dolarhyde will have a different mode of attack?
Fuller: Not necessarily. It might be Hannibal Lecter giving him the idea on how this woman who faked her death deserves to go out. That’s kind of the exciting part of when we get to that story.
Shock: Do you anticipate you’ll get Hannibal into his cell by the end of season three?
Fuller: Stay tuned. Stay tuned.
Shock: Right. So while he’s on the lam, will some of that come from his travels in Hannibal, even though that took place after Buffalo Bill?
Fuller: There’s definitely stuff from the novel Hannibal that we are incorporating into the first part of this. We kind of mix it up in a way that, since we are telling a fugitive story now, after Red Dragon, because in the novel, once Hannibal guts Graham, he’s immediately apprehended. In our timeline, he gets away so we are pulling that story up. Then telling a different story when we get to that storyline after Silence of the Lambs.
Shock: Do you have a vault of clever artistic murders that you can draw on for future seasons?
Fuller: There are a few. There are writing staffs present and past who are frequently pulling up images and saying, “You have to do this one. You have to do this one.” It’s pretty fertile imaginations that we have at our disposal.
Shock: Heroes is actually coming back. Has anyone reached out to you?
Fuller: No, no, I think it’s a new team. I think it’s Tim Kring leading a new team because so many of the people that were wonderfully instrumental on that first season, Jesse Alexander, Michael Green, Jeph Loeb, Joe Pokaski and Aron Coleite, we’ve all moved onto different projects and I’m very curious and excited to see what’s done.
(Photo Credit: WENN.com)