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By Suzanne

Bryan Fuller

Interview with Bryan Fuller of "Hannibal" on NBC 5/21/15

This was a much better call than I'd hoped for. Bryan is a really smart guy and very enthusiastic about this show. He gave great, heartfelt, thoughtful answers to my questions. I don't love his show, but he certainly is 100% behind his vision, and you can't dismiss that.

Moderator: Akiva Griffith
May 21, 2015 12:00 am CT

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the Hannibal with Bryan Fuller Press and Media Call.

The presentation all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Afterwards, weíll conduct a question-and-answer session. At that time, if you have a question, press the 1 followed by 4 on your telephone. If at any time the conference you need to reach an operator, press star followed by 0.

As a reminder, todayís call is being recorded, Thursday, May 21st, 2015.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Akiva Griffith. Please go ahead, sir.

Akiva Griffith: Thank you, everyone, for joining us today. Weíre happy and pleased to have Bryan Fuller here with us to talk about Season 3 of ďHannibalĒ which starts Thursday, June 4th on NBC at 10:00 pm.

And so itís going to be an exciting season that Bryan will sure to fill you guys in on and then hopefully you all had an opportunity to watch the first three episodes in our press mailer. If you have not, please feel free to e-mail me . Iíll also have a transcript tomorrow to provide to those who need it.

Right now Iíll turn it over to Bryan to give his opening remarks.

Bryan Fuller: Hi, everybody. Thank you so much for - excuse me as I choke on my saliva. Thank you so much for getting on the phone with us and supporting ďHannibal.Ē We need all the support we can get and weíre thrilled that so many people are on the phone today to cover the show. So we really appreciate it and canít thank you enough.

Akiva Griffith: Weíll now start the Q&A.

Operator: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, once again, as a reminder, to ask a question, press the 1 followed by 4 on your telephone. And youíll hear three-tone prompt to acknowledge your request.

If your question has been answered, to withdraw your registration, itís the 1 followed by the 3. If youíre using a speakerphone, please lift your handset before entering your request. One moment, please, for the first question.

And we - to our first question is the line of Jamie Ruby with SciFi Vision. Go right ahead.

Jamie Ruby: Hi, thanks so much for talking to us today.

Bryan Fuller: Thanks, Jamie.

Jamie Ruby: So can you talk first - start out talking about the decision to bring Gillian Andersonís character deeper as his wife and kind of makes her more of an accomplice this season?

Bryan Fuller: Well, really it kind of boils down to this fabulousness of Gillian Anderson and more of her is always a good thing. And we had so much fun working together in the first two seasons and sheís such an iconic actress and brings such a specific energy to the show that it seems like a really logical next step for the series to flush out that relationship expanded and get more of the chemistry between Mads Mikkelsen and Gillian Anderson.

Jamie Ruby: Okay, great. And then can you talk a little bit maybe about a favorite scene thatís coming up that youíre waiting for people to see without spoiling too much?

Bryan Fuller: Oh. Oh boy, thereís quite a few in this season. One of the most fun things about this season is the departure from the crime procedural storytelling and this first chapter of Season 3 was really designed to do the show as a pure character-driven story.

And in adopting these books, there are so many lines that Thomas Harris has written that Iíve better sized and put into actorsí mouths and Iím always surprised that how they elevate them and ground them and make them their own in context of the story.

So far as the favorite scene with that, thereís a dinner scene in Episode 7. There are many scenes before that I adore but there is a particularly fun dinner scene in Episode 7 that Mason Verger is hosting that Iím excited for people to see because itís laugh out loud funny and Joe Anderson is so infectious in his portrayal of Mason Verger stepping in for Michael Pitt and he has brought so much of his own energy to the role but also marking the interpretation by Gary Oldman in Ridley Scott film. So Iím excited for people to see that scene in particular because I think itís one of our best dinner scenes that weíve ever filmed.

Jamie Ruby: All right. Great. Thank you so much.

Bryan Fuller: Thank you, Jamie.

Operator: Thank you very much. Weíll get to our next question from the line of Kelly Shah: with (Basel).

Go right ahead.

Kelly Shah: Hi, Bryan. Thanks again for talking to us. I am a huge fan of the show.

Bryan Fuller: Oh thank you.

Kelly Shah: Yes. So I want to talk - I love what Iíve seen so far with the relationship between Hannibal and Bedelia. You know, itís very complex. Youíre not entirely sure, you know, like, whoís in control, is Hannibal thatís controlling her, whatís going on, is she - have a darkness to her. Would you say those are underneath at all? Thereís genuine feeling there for each other underneath that they share for one another?

Bryan Fuller: Well, the - there is a genuine connection between Bedelia and Hannibal. Itís different than the connection between Will and Hannibal as Bedelia states at one point in the season that Willís relationship with Hannibal is a much more passionate one than her relationship with Hannibal.

Yet, they have an intimacy that goes beyond the psychiatrist-patient relationship, yet I would say at its core Bedelia will always be Hannibalís therapist first.

And I wanted to make sure with her portrayal in the role that she did not all of a sudden become one of those women who write to serial killers in prison thinking that they can change the man and make him a better person because of their love. She is absolutely not on that course and she knows exactly who sheís dealing with. And I love the turns in this season where we see Bedelia, particularly in Episode 6, on what sheís done and also illustrate that sheís had a plan all along and sheís no dummy.

Kelly Shah: Absolutely. Well, Iím really looking forward to that. And can we expect any deaths? Obviously, thereís going to be deaths this season of like, you know, people that Hannibal encounters and stuff. But any, like, main characters should we be concerned about?

Bryan Fuller: I think itís always wise to be concerned about the main characters in the show. If not for the immortality, for their psychological well-being and one of the fun things in developing this season is that everyone who survived the Red Dinner of the finale of Season 2 has been broken and reborn in a way that has shifted their perspective. So thereís certain things with key characters where we get to see them transformed into new versions of themselves and - but yes, you should absolutely be worried for Will Graham always and the steps that he takes to resolve his relationship with Hannibal. If the first season was the bromance and the second season was the nasty breakup, the third season is really that point in the relationship where youíre looking back at what youíve lost and still needing a point of closure for that relationship and how drastic that point of closure is will be major part of Will Grahamís arc in this season.

Kelly Shah: Great. Great. And one final question and I just wanted to touch on what can you tell us about Richardís portrayal of the infamous Francis Dolarhyde and how is that different from the version weíve seen Ray Fiennes portray in Red Dragon.

Bryan Fuller: Well, you know, there have been a couple of great performances as Francis Dolarhyde. Tom Noonan in ďManhunterĒ is a strange man who breaks your heart because you really get a feel for how desperately he actually needed this human connection and how it may have actually saved him from himself and the great Red Dragon.

The shocking - I guess itís not shocking or surprising but a wonderful confirmation of Richard Armitageís ability as an actor and heís so thoroughly trained, excuse me, that he approached the character with such gravitas and earnestness that the tragedy of the story is really one that we wanted to bring to the forefront because the arc in the Red Dragon chapter of the season is very much a trouble between Hannibal and Will and Francis Dolarhyde because Dolarhyde represents something unique in the triangulation of Hannibal and Will and that he provides Will Graham a version of Hannibal that he may be able to save and provides Hannibal a version of Will Graham that he may be able to corrupt.

So each of them is getting something dynamic out of that relationship and we get to see how the triangulation through Dolarhyde changes the relationship between Will and Hannibal in a drastic way.

So I canít talk enough about Richardís presence on this production and how masterful he was, how he surprised the crew, how he elevated the material, how we brought that sense of tragedy to Francis Dolarhyde in a way that was both accessible and sheer madness. You know, in editing the different episodes, Iíve been in the post suite with an editor and watching scenes between Richard and Rutina Wesley, who plays Reba McClane, his - the object of his affection, and we were both wiping tears out of the corners of our eyes because he is just so heartbreaking.

And one of the things that I wanted to challenge the audience with is, yes, this is a horrible killer of families, yet he is so tortured by his madness that I wanted to confuse people with their sympathy for him and the revulsion by him and really deliver a different kind of serial killer story that you donít see on television that often.

Kelly Shah: Awesome. Well, Iím really looking forward to the rest of the season. I think itís such a great show and thanks so much again for chatting.

Bryan Fuller: Thank you for supporting the show. I really appreciate it.

Operator: Thank you very much. And weíll get to our next question from the line of (Abby Bernstein) with (Simonex).

Go right ahead.

Abby Bernstein: Hi. Thanks for doing this call.

Bryan Fuller: Hi, (Abby).

Abby Bernstein: Hi.

Bryan Fuller: Oh my pleasure.

Abby Bernstein: Where does Red Dragon, the Red Dragon arc come within this season? Is it at the start, the finish, in the middle book ended by original?

Bryan Fuller: Well, it is - thereís two chapters in Season 3. Thereís kind of the ďHannibal,Ē the novel, mashed up with ďHannibal Rising,Ē the novel, first chapter, that set primarily in Italy. And then the second chapter that begins with Episode 8 starts the Red Dragon story. And that is using six episodes to tell a broader, more in-depth version of the story than weíve been allowed to see previously on - in the film adaptation just simply because of the real estate that we have in six hours that they didnít have in two hours.

So the fun for us is really making that last - itís almost like a Red Dragon miniseries in the last half of the season and we tell that story to completion and find ways to weave in our existing characters and change up some of the dynamics that you may have been familiar with in the novels or the films and shifting them around so they feel fresh. And once again, the approach with this show has always been provide some familiarity and then shake it up, so the audience that may be familiar with the previous adaptations is getting a new experience that is somewhat familiar mashed up with the new incarnations of characters that weíve developed on the show. So thatís - youíll get a nice, fat six-hour Red Dragon miniseries at the end of Season 3.

Abby Bernstein: And is Bedelia essentially Clarice from ďHannibal?Ē

Bryan Fuller: No. Thatís an interesting question because, you know, in that novel, you know, we see Clarice being brainwashed and partially hopefully but the big question is how much is she in control of her own actions but she surrenders to the troll of Hannibal Lecter in the novel. And for our purposes, I always wanted Bedelia to be driving her own story. So it would have been very easy for us to say Bedelia has been brainwashed and this is why she has gone off into this adventure with Hannibal Lecter but the more interesting route for me as a storyteller is for that character who is a strong female character being in charge of her own story with her own drive, with her own curiosities about the human condition and a lot of what sheís doing is for her own edification. And that was a very important point for us to make with that storyline because I feel like we would be doing the actress and the character to service if we just made her a drug-induced pawn of Hannibal Lecterís plot.

So we very much did not want to tell that story even though we were looking at telling that story in a different way in this series eventually. But heís absolutely in control.

Abby Bernstein: And finally, are you having any conversations with Broadcast Standards at this point or have they just gone where often Bermuda could?

Bryan Fuller: No, actually I - Joanna Jameson, who is our Standards and Practices executive at NBC, is one of my favorite people. She has been such a doll with the show and her support of the show. She knows exactly what weíre trying to do artistically and also narratively with the franchise that weíre exploring in Hannibal the Cannibal.

And so I always make a point to reach out to her whether itís a sex scene and we have some very beautiful sex scenes in the show with Margot Verger, who is in the second season. We have this kaleidoscopic lesbian love scene that is beautiful. And I actually got a note from Joanna afterwards where she said the Standards and Practices Team all applauded this sex scene because it was so sensual and erotic but played within the parameters of what we could broadcast.

So itís absolutely a partnership. And we know that we are pushing the envelope and they know that weíre pushing the envelope and they want to facilitate us telling as rich and complex an adult story as possible but there are parameters because weíre living in a country that has some really backward views on how we can do terrible things to the human body but we canít do beautiful things to the human body and that is not NBC or any broadcast networkís role. Their role is to enforce those rules to the best of their ability and also allow for creative expression.

So I canít thank Joanna Jameson enough for how sheís allowed us to navigate these issues and actually has led us in on the process and told us ďThis is how you can get away with more,Ē ďThis is where we have to draw the line,Ē and there are things where Iím - you know, I always deliver a cut to the network that is reasonable but leaning towards assertive in its depiction of adult content. And Iím always met with a glad desire to make whatever we can work. And so whatever notes that we do get from Standards and Practices weíre very eager to do them because itís been such a collaboration, though itís such a unique experience for me working in television. There were things Iím pushing daisies that donít even breach the content that we do on ďHannibalĒ that would get shot down by ABC because of the Disney ownership of the network and the parameters were much more restrictive.

And the thing that I love about working with NBC, particularly Jen Salke, who has supported the show above and beyond meager ratings and has allowed us to continue to tell the story that we want to tell and we would not be able to do this show on any other broadcast networks and itís big thanks to Jen Salke for allowing us to tell the story and the way that we want to tell the story.

Abby Bernstein: Thanks very much. Canít wait.

Bryan Fuller: Thank you.

Operator: And weíll go to our next question from the line of (Courtney Valdari) of

Go right ahead.

Courtney Valdari: Hi.

Bryan Fuller: Hi, (Courtney).

Courtney Valdari: Thanks for talking with us today.

Bryan Fuller: My pleasure.

Courtney Valdari: I really enjoy ďHannibalĒ though every time I forget and remind myself not to eat while Iím watching.

Bryan Fuller: Wise word.

Courtney Valdari: What Iím wondering is you mentioned earlier how weíre transitioning away from the procedural approach of the show. How is that transition going to work and in terms of incorporating still your cast of characters from the SVI? And what kind of challenges or opportunities did that give you for this yearís storytelling?

Bryan Fuller: Well, the challenges were to keep our FBI personnel integrated into the story. And the first half of the season it was really about finding ways for this story to be personal to Jack Crawford and how he is functioning outside of the FBI. And thereís - once we tether that to a personal agenda with his connection to Will Graham and his connection to Hannibal Lecter and understand that he is operating outside of the law and his appearance in Italy, which Iím speaking ahead, all that will become clear in the fourth episode. So spoilers.

But it was really about doing what we were doing with all of the other characters which was finding the personal connection for them to the story that exists outside of their occupation and for Jack, since he had gone down this journey and recruited Will Graham and lost Will Graham and found Will Graham again is now worried has he lost him forever that gave him a very intimate connection to the storyline that we could unpack as opposed to having him in the FBI looking at evidence.

And, of course, in the second half of this season, which is a six-hour Red Dragon miniseries, the FBI has woven in more naturally because that is an active investigation and a return to the crime procedural but in a way that you donít often get on network television and that we are looking at one case over six episodes as opposed to one case per episode and having a killer of the week, which was a bit of our format in the first two seasons which was a lot of fun and we got to do some really wild, dysmorphic things with the human body and are storytelling.

But what a great relief it is to focus solely on characters as somebody who loves to write character, first and foremost, and has always resisted the crime procedural aspects of the story which is why dress them up in this very lynching and (unintelligible) stories that allowed us to do something visually dynamic that kind of provided a thematic umbrella under which we told a deeper part of Will Grahamís story.

Yet now with the first chapter in Italy itís all about the characters and them resolving their issues from the first two seasons, moving on into new issues and new complicated relationships.

Courtney Valdari: Is there any one character that you can look at and say ďItís really this personís seasonĒ?

Bryan Fuller: Oh, thatís a good question. It - in the first half of this season, you know, the story is always going to be about Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter at the center. And I think there are - what I love about this season in particular in the first chapter is how great the ensemble has come together.

And, you know, this is also spoilery. So please thread lightly when writing about this. But when we get into Alana Bloomís story in Episode 4, it was exciting for me to, A, have listened to some of the reaction to Alanaís story in the second season and there was a significant amount of feedback in terms of frustrations that she had been relegated to the girlfriend role, triangulated between Will and Hannibal and she wasnít necessarily following her own story. I was determined at the beginning of this season to make Alana as interesting a character as any of the characters in this season and her change is perhaps the greatest from the first two seasons and the link that she goes to deal with her own damage from being in that relationship and finding out new things about herself as a result.

So Iím thrilled with what Caroline has done with that character and having, you know, a long history with that actress going back to ďWonderfalls,Ē it was a delight to see her really shape the characterís arc in a new way, embrace these radical changes in her personality which having survived the Red Dinner gave us the motivation to really make a shift in her character.

So Iím thrilled with what we see of Alana and her story arcing out and - but I do think that Gillian Anderson has a great role in the first half of the season with her arc and better understanding her relationship to Hannibal and we go to places and answer questions in the second half about things that weíve hinted at in her history and we see those things come to pass in the second half as well as in the first episode.

So Iím, you know, Iím a big fan of the ladies and I love what Caroline and Gillian and Katie Isabelle have done with their respective roles in the first half of the season and thatís not even get into Tao Okamoto who is the new member of our cast and provides a different perspective on the story as what weíll discover as the first in a long line of Mischa surrogates that Hannibal has fostered from Chio to Miriam Lass to Abigail Hobbs and his instincts to both foster and corrupt, the young women in his life that remind him of his sister.

Courtney Valdari: Wonderful. Thank you. Iím looking forward to this season.

Bryan Fuller: Thank you.

Operator: Thank you very much. Weíll get to our next question from the line of Anne Easton with the New York Observer.

Go right ahead.

Bryan Fuller: Hi, Anne.

Anne Easton: Thanks again for - hey. Hi. Thanks again for doing this call.

Bryan Fuller: Very happy to.

Anne Easton: Iím curious about - apparently because youíre giving great answers, I just want to say.

Bryan Fuller: Thank you.

Anne Easton: This is such a complex, intricate series and show and everything. What was the hardest part of the creative process for you especially this season, like, in the writing process?

Bryan Fuller: You know, the writing process is always complicated on this show because it is something that is very hard to guide because I feel like with every - every time I sat down to do a pass at a script, Iím teaching myself how to understand this show and I think that is a good thing in a way because it always feels fresh and challenging and utterly daunting to make significant something that has been thoroughly explored in the past. But I think the key to this show is - and to every scene, something that Iíve - I tell the writers that every scene has three major components.

One is Thomas Harris that we have to honor the literature. We - I scour the novels. If Iím stuck in a scene, I scour the novels for a turn of phrase or quote that we havenít used and sort of sampling Thomas Harrisís DNA and injecting it into this scene, so it feels true to his vision of the world even though we were taking such radical departures in certain ways that we have 1/3 Thomas Harris.

A third psychology, like some sort of psychological philosophy that we are exploring with the relationship between the characters, I do a tremendous amount of research in psychological journals to see whatís current, what are people exploring in terms of belief, perception, reality, senses of self. All of those issues, I think thereís - itís exciting for me as somebody who set out to be a psychiatrist before I understood just how much schooling it involves and it scared me away to Hollywood.

So Thomas Harris - 1/3 Thomas Harris, 1/3 of contemporary genuine psychology, and 1/3 of our own magic sauce for what we are exploring in this very complicated world of relationships with a serial killer. And that was one of the things that excited me about doing this series the most, is that we had seen Hannibal in the previous adaptation as very much a lone wolf. And this was an opportunity to see him with friendships and to see him interacting with his fellowmen or actually not his fellowmen because he sees himself as more than a man. But telling a story of the Hannibal Lecter who can actually care about another human being. And even though heís doing atrocious things to those other human beings, part of him is doing it because he feels that it will access a truer, more honest sense of that personís self in his dastardly deeds.

So I donít know if that answers the question. I may have gone off on a tangent.

Anne Easton: No, I think that was pretty good.

Bryan Fuller: Okay.

Anne Easton: I - obviously, you love talking about the show. Everyone here loves the show. It hurts me that itís not more popular and more in the, you know, in the pop culture realm. What do you think we can do? Whatís your best sales pitch to get people to commit to this given that thereís so much other content out there?

Bryan Fuller: Well, you know, really, I feel like youíre doing it and writing about the show and talking about the show. That is for me the fan reaction to the show. And the critical reaction to the show means so much more to me as an artist that - than big ratings. Yes, big ratings would be amazing. But being understood is an even more amazing thing.

And so I think what we can do is just continue talking about the show, talking about its merits and also using Season 3 as a brand new entry point that if you havenít seen ďHannibalĒ in the first two seasons, Season 3 is actually a great way - a great place to jump in and allow yourself to be swept away.

Anne Easton: Now that was a great answer.

Bryan Fuller: Okay.

Anne Easton: I just have one other quick question. And you can say no comment if you want. But I just wondered, how do you feel about ďHeroesĒ coming back and ďHeroes RebornĒ? I know youíre involved in the first season of that show. And I just thought Iíd ask.

Bryan Fuller: Iím actually very excited about it. Itís funny because theyíre filming in Toronto. So - and Iím good friends with Jack Coleman and Zach Levi. So Iíve been getting to see those guys. Weíve had breakfast in a few times and loving catching up with them and hearing about the show. And it sounds fantastic and exciting.

And I love that experience. That first season of ďHeroesĒ was one of the best television experiences Iíve 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.

And so I have really good feelings about ďHeroes.Ē And I hope that the ďRebornĒ connects with the audience in a wonderful way. And, you know, 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. And, you know, if my dance card wasnít 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 canít 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 ďHeroes.Ē

So Iím hoping it connects again.

Anne Easton: Great. Thanks so much. Thanks for your time and...

Bryan Fuller: Okay.

Anne Easton: ...for answering our question.

Bryan Fuller: Oh, my pleasure.

Operator: Thank you very much.

Weíll get to our next question. Itís from the line of Stephanie Piche with

Go right ahead.

Stephanie Piche: Thank you.

Bryan Fuller: Hey, Stephanie.

Stephanie Piche: Hi, Bryan. I just have to say youíve - listening to you talk about, you know, your passion project, if you will, is - we - I have to say we in this office call ďHannibalĒ a masterpiece...

Bryan Fuller: Oh, thank you.

Stephanie Piche: terms of the beauty of the horror, if you will.

And one of our folks has been dying to know if you ever thought about putting together a bodies exhibit of all the artfully done kills that youíve done over the past couple of seasons.

Bryan Fuller: I would love to do that because I would love to see a bodyworks exhibit of FranÁois Dagenaisí work on ďHannibal.Ē He has created such unique pieces. And the scope of them is often hard to translate on screen when youíre looking at them in person. And 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. And then they have to reapproach it from a craft perspective to get back into the scene.

You know, the big obstacle in that exhibit is that we reused a lot of the same bodies over and over again. And weíll cut off heads and put like a (unintelligible) head on the body and that sort of things. So theyíve been cannibalized, for lack of a better word, in...


Bryan Fuller: ...their revisitations in the show.

But Iím so glad that you think that way about the showís representation of this body dysmorphia artwork which is very Cronenbergian in its inspiration. And I do look at them as pieces of art.

And oftentimes they are inspired by art where Iíll 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. Itís wonderful. And they had these paintings that were botanical and - basically botanical meat. And so those things have a tendency to stick in my craw than Iíll 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. And a lot of the instinct is just to share things that I think are cool and hope that the audience isnít too freaked out.

Stephanie Piche: All right. Well, we, in our office, the Blood Angels and the Treeman, those were our favorites. What was your favorite so far, presentation?

Bryan Fuller: One of the favorites would be the Cello Man because the nature of that - you know, I love the cello as an instrument. I think itís 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.

And 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 thereís something almost primal in music coming from the body, traveling through the body and elevating into an artistic experience.

So thatís probably my favorite for a lot of reasons.

Stephanie Piche: Okay. And then one quick question. There was a - in an early episode, there was a young girl at Quantico in Willís class. She walks up to him like sheís going to ask him something and then walks away. Was that Clarice Starling?

Bryan Fuller: You know, there was a - we wanted to - in that moment, I know exactly what - the moment youíre talking about. There - we had talked about is this her class? Is this Clarice Starlingís class? And there was the motivation there to hint at of Clarice-type character. But also there was a little bit of ďIndiana JonesĒ and ďRaiders of Lost ArkĒ of the...


Bryan Fuller: ...young woman (who painted) ďLove YouĒ on her eyelid and...

Stephanie Piche: Right.

Bryan Fuller: ...Will Graham bringing such a charmer in his own strange way that he was eliciting that response from his student as well.

And, you know, thereís - you know, we talk about Clarice quite a bit on the show. And as you may know, thereís certain rights issues tangled up in it. But thereís something about if we do ever tell the Clarice Starlingís story, I think it might be, you know, interesting to change ethnicities on Clarice and get a different perspective of a southern young womanís experience and put race as a component in that womanís 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 havenít seen because itís 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, Iíd like - you know, Iím hoping if we ever do that that we donít cast a white actress. But if we do, I hope itís somebody like Ellen Page.

Stephanie Piche: Okay. Thank you. Itís been thrilling to talk to you. I canít wait to see more.

Bryan Fuller: Thanks, Stephanie.

Stephanie Piche: Youíre welcome.

Operator: And weíll get to our next question. Itís from the line of Suzanne Lanoue with The TV MegaSite.

Go right ahead.

Suzanne Lanoue: Hi, good morning.

I was really impressed with how you had the season finale where all these people are left for dead. And then when you picked it up for the season opener, you donít really tell us what happened until the next episode.

Bryan Fuller: Right.

Suzanne Lanoue: Do you always plan that right along or did you come up with it last season or how does that come about?

Bryan Fuller: No, that was always the intention all along because I wanted the audience to - we left the audience with Hannibal and Bedelia. And 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 thatís right in front of us.

So in a way, holding it off is I guess the - itís narrative-edging, if that makes sense, not to be too crude. But hopefully with the anticipation, theyíll be more excited to see Will in the second episode after being denied him in the first.

Suzanne Lanoue: Yes, I thought it was really brilliant, though, I mean, just so the whole idea of it because, you know, usually they pick up right after, you know, the cliffhanger. It just blew my mind.

Bryan Fuller: Well, good. Well, 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 itís like no, we really need to do it this way because itís 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 weíve done on the show. And I love pretension. I love cinematic pretension. I think itís a lot of fun.

Suzanne Lanoue: Yes.

Bryan Fuller: 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 donít know or if youíre awake or if youíre still dreaming.

Suzanne Lanoue: Right. And that actually leads into what I was going to ask you because you mentioned dreaming. And there were things in the - I saw the three episodes that there were parts where I wasnít sure, now, is this really happening or, you know, like the one part that I really wasnít sure when he was eating the guyís arms. Is the guy really there or is he just imagining him? Do we know that?

Bryan Fuller: Eating the guyís - oh, in the - when he makes it into that beautiful feathered wing.

Suzanne Lanoue: Right, I think.

Bryan Fuller: Thatís - yes...


Bryan Fuller: ...heís eating the guy that he stuck an ice pick in his temple and feeding them to his colleagues. So that really happened.

Suzanne Lanoue: Oh, okay. Okay. So the guy is actually still there talking to him while he...

Bryan Fuller: Yes, there - well heís probably in the meat locker having been broken down and prepped. So, yes, Hannibal disposes of his victims and by digestion instead of burying them.

Suzanne Lanoue: No. What I mean is when heís talking to the guy as heís eating, heís serving him up.

Bryan Fuller: Oh. Oh, youíre talking about Eddie Izzard.

Suzanne Lanoue: Yes, Iím sorry. I didnít get the name of the...


Bryan Fuller: Oh yes, yes. Yes. No, heís actually there. One of the - I love the chemistry between Maz and Eddie and for Dr. Gideon at the table in the black and white flashbacks.

So that was basically a way for - you know, one of the themes of that episode is the nature - is exploring the nature of Hannibalís relationships outside of the Will Graham relationship. So contrasting how he deals with Bedelia, with how he deals with Gideon whoís a bit of a brat in his home and, you know, making noise with snail forks and that sort of thing. So, yes, he was there unconscious and being forced to eat himself as part of his punishment for pretending - for being a pretender to the throne in the first season.

Suzanne Lanoue: Oh, okay. Well thanks for clearing that up. Itís a little confusing.

Bryan Fuller: All right. Youíre welcome.

Suzanne Lanoue: All right. Thank you. I look forward to rest of it.

Bryan Fuller: Oh, thank you. Thank you.

Operator: Thank you very much.

And, ladies and gentlemen, we have time for one last question.

And our last question is from the line of Mary Powers with TV Geek Talk.

Go right ahead.

Mary Powers: Hi there.

Bryan Fuller: Hi, Mary.

Mary Powers: Hey. One character that Iím actually looking very forward to seeing again is Dr. Chilton which I guess was revealed last summer at San Diego Comic-Con. Any hints on when we will finally get to see him again? And secondly, in what way should we expect him, the character, to be changed compared to the old Dr. Chilton given all this crap that has happened to him now?

Bryan Fuller: Right.

Mary Powers: Yes.

Bryan Fuller: Yes, the - we reintroduced Chilton to the show in Episode 4.

Mary Powers: Okay.

Bryan Fuller: And he has a very big role in that episode. And we actually - you know, 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 Izzardís character. And in the second season, he was shot in the face by Anna Chlumskyís character. And so heís a bit of arcane for this series that we do something absolutely horrible to Dr. Chilton in every season. And 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 Raķl 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 donít just sort of magically have him show up and everything is fine. We see exactly what happened from a bulletís point of view and how we survived.

Mary Powers: Great. Iím really looking forward to it. And thank you.

Bryan Fuller: Oh, thank you.

Operator: Thank you very much.

And, Mr. Griffith, Iíll turn the call back to you.

Akiva Griffith: Yes. Thank you, everyone, for joining us.

And thank you, Bryan, for taking the time. Again, if you need a transcript of the call, they will be available tomorrow afternoon.  Thank you, everyone.

Bryan Fuller: Thank you, everyone. I canít tell you enough how much I appreciate the coverage of the show and getting us out there. So Iím very grateful. Thank you.

Operator: Thank you very much.

Ladies and gentlemen, this conclude the call for today. We thank you for your participation and ask that you disconnect your lines.

Have a great day, everyone.


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