In an interview with EW, show writer Bryan Fuller (“Pushing Daises,” “Heroes” and the forthcoming “Mockingbird Lane”) spoke about how he’ll bring Hannibal Lecter to the small screen with “Hannibal,” while also revealing that they’re planning on reaching not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, but seven seasons (sorry for the Lebron reference).
Fuller is taking five pages of backstory about the infamous cannibal psychiatrist from Thomas Harris’ book “Red Dragon” and using it as the basis for the first couple seasons of his planned drama.
“Hannibal,” which has received a 13-episode series order, features Lecter teaming to solve crimes with empathic FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). For the first time, viewers will spend quality time with Lecter while he’s at large and before the world knows his secrets, working side by side with a similarly brilliant man who is destined to catch him.
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“It’s before he was incarcerated, so he’s more of a peacock,” Fuller tells EW. “There is a cheery disposition to our Hannibal. He’s not being telegraphed as a villain. If the audience didn’t know who he was, they wouldn’t see him coming. What we have is Alfred Hitchcock’s principle of suspense â€” show the audience the bomb under the table and let them sweat when it’s going to go boom. So the audience knows who Hannibal is so we don’t have to overplay his villainy. We get to subvert his legacy and give the audience twists and turns.”
He also speaks on the film’s romantic side: “It really is a love story, for lack of a better description, between these two characters,” Fuller says. “As Hannibal has said [to Graham] in a couple of the movies, ‘You’re a lot more like me than you realize.’ We’ll get to the bottom of exactly what that means over the course of the first two seasons. But we’re taking our sweet precious time.”
“Hannibal” will also be unusual because it’s planned as a 13-episode-per-season show. So though the drama won’t rush Hannibal’s story it also won’t feel like its padded with throwaway episodes either.
“Doing a cable model on network television gives us the opportunity not to dally in our storytelling because we have a lot of real estate to cover,” Fuller says. “I pitched a seven-season arc including stories from various [Thomas Harris] books.”
The show will include familiar characters from Harris’ novels, though he’s “Starbucking” the genders of a couple of them. FBI boss Jack Crawford will remain male, but Dr. Alan Bloom is becoming Dr. Alana Bloom, and tabloid journalist Freddy Lounds is becoming tabloid blogger Fredricka Lounds…