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Interview with Bryan Fuller of "Hannibal" on
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 ohsogray.com.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 minglemediatv.com.
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: ...in terms of the beauty of the horror, if
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Bryan Fuller: Oh, thank you. Thank you.
Operator: Thank you very much.
And, ladies and gentlemen, we have time for one last
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
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
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
Have a great day, everyone.
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