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A Plea to "Hannibal" Showrunner Bryan Fuller

By Cindy Davis | TV Reviews | May 8, 2013 | Comments ()


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Dear Mr. Fuller,

First, I must thank you for enhancing our Thursday evening menu with the sumptuous feast that is “Hannibal. In one fell swoop, both palate and pallette have been expanded, and no words can properly express audience appreciation for the delicious Mads Mikkelsen/Hugh Dancy pairing. Giving Will Graham (and us) a view to each kill is brilliant. Dancy has the uncanny ability to play both sides of his detached yet empathetic investigator who feels the darkness inside, and is horrified by himself. Mikkelsen’s Lecter is sublime, from his outward composure to the subtle entendres, to a tilt of his head or the devilish way he breathes in the life he is choking out. With Mikkelsen’s performance and José Andrés’ eye, Hannibal’s food preparation and presentation scenes have become viewer favorites. “Hannibal” is beautiful and inspiring; it is grotesque and terrifying, and with this series you (and the cast and crew) have given longtime fans of the Harris character a real treat. But some recent news of casting plans have my stomach feeling a little…unsettled.

First, it was reported that should “Hannibal” be granted a second season, you plan on having yourself a little “Pushing Daisies” reunion by bringing on Lee Pace, Anna Friel and Kristen Chenoweth. Don’t get me wrong, “Daisies” was a lovely little show, and perhaps there is sometimes magic to be found in trying an old favorite with a new. I must admit, Raúl Esparza’s Dr. Chilton is wonderfully creepy.

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Just because you enjoyed those beans and liver with the Chianti, doesn’t mean it’ll pair as nicely with a delicate fish, if you know what I mean. Transferring Eddie Izzard from his murderous Munster mansion to a cell at the Hospital for the Criminally Insane may have been an innocuous move,

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but if all your former cast members begin parading through the FBI or Hannibal’s office, it will only detract from “Hannibal’s” best quality—its brilliant lead actors.

And while Lee Pace and Anna Friel could perhaps slip in and out without too much ado (okay, a little ado),

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Kristen Chenoweth…simply cannot.

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Musical theater lives and breathes in this woman, and delightful as that may be for certain fare, sprinkling Chenoweth over “Hannibal” would be the equivalent of dumping a pound bag of jellybeans atop—I don’t know—Boeuf Bourguignon? (I’m no chef!) Just Please No. If you are looking for an exceptional dramatic actress with impact (especially were she to have a scene with Mads) might I suggest Gwendoline Christie?

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Yes, I realize she’s already on “Game of Thrones,” but they’re dropping like flies over there—she could be freed up.

You know who else isn’t going to drop by unnoticed?

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David Bowie. Dream casting Hannibal’s Uncle Robert is one thing; having him as (cue that voiceover guy) A Very Special Guest Star, quite another. At that point you’re veering into “Law and Order” land, and while your series is on NBC, that’s the part we’re trying to forget. The fact of the matter is, “Hannibal” is better than NBC. (The one thing we’ve all had trepidation over is the network thing, because we all know—as do you—how little leeway new network series are given—how quickly they turn on their own.) Because of the strength of and the chemistry between Dancy and Mikkelsen, stunt cast additions are just unnecessary; they’d only distract and detract. So, Mr. Fuller, I make you this plea: Just keep doing what you’re doing and leave the stunt casting to the procedurals. Gold has been struck, no need to pour glitter on top.

Finally, should NBC have the sheer lunacy to do the unthinkable, the ridiculous…the unpalatable; should they fail to grant “Hannibal” a second season, I believe I can speak for your entire audience when I say, “Take it to cable.”

Keep your eye (as we do) on the dessert cart (Dancy/Mikkelsen).

Ever so sincerely,

Cindy Davis


Cindy Davis, (Twitter)



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Duley Dooly

    Here is my plea to Mr. Fuller. Read this: http://jeffreypoehlmann.hubpag...

  • e jerry powell

    Has anyone but me noticed that this week NBC is basically conceding that the whole reason "Hannibal" is getting its ass kicked is because of "Scandal" and "Elementary?" The campaign now is "Scandal and Elementary are done for the summer! Watch Hannibal!"

    Just wondering...

  • Ben

    No fuck you, Lee Pace should be in everything

  • Don Juan de Markup

    Chenoweth would be perfect for a "Zombie Kill of the Week" style guest spot especially if they had her doing the same "Hopelessly Devoted to You" show stopper from Pushing Daisies. A really good impalement with a halberd would do the trick or even better one of those south Pacific beheading club-swords used on the homunculus because you know Hannibal has something like that on his shelves.

  • Have we forgotten Kristin Chenoweth on West Wing? Yeah, she's always got a little spunk(y personality), but she can do non-quirky, non-musical quite well.

  • toblerone

    Phrasing!

  • Fixed?

  • toblerone

    It was fine the way it was, I'm just going through terrible Archer withdrawal.

  • Nadine

    I actually desperately want Lee Pace to turn up. Anna Friel I adore but she is not for this show, same for The Chenoweth. But Lee Pace I think could do...wonderful, sexy things.

    I mean that very seriously as well. He can do some heavy, dark actoring when he needs to and I would love to see him as a recurring character, perhaps a second ongoing serial killer so he can appear a few times each season.

    Also, as to the stir it could cause. Chenoweth and Friel would just be so glaringly Chenoweth and Friel.

    I can actually see Bowie, if they half bury him in make up blending in but it would have to be enough make up to border into caricature territory.

    But, and I say this with almost ALL OF THE LOVE; Lee Pace isn't yet famous enough for it to make a huge difference if he's cast. I mean, for US, sure, yes, we would be like LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE(well, I would, you all who don't want to join me in HAPPINESSVILLE can suck it) but I think to a general audience, with writers and general set/costume/make up people of this skill I think he could have all the right kinds and none of the wrong kinds of impact.

  • KatSings

    Honestly, I don't object to reusing actors you have a relationship with as long as it's appropriate. Joss Whedon has made an entire career out of using and reusing the people he works with best (mostly to great success, occasionally not). It's not necessarily "stunt casting" to put someone on your show that people know from other shows. Stunt casting, to my mind, is putting a HUGE FRIGGIN STAR in a one off role and then moving on. Pace and Friel are not that. As to Chenoweth, whom I adore, she is, in fact, capable of a greater range than I think you give her credit for (she's been on West Wing and Good Wife), but it would have to be a really specific kind of part to work her in and have it be effective. And I tend to doubt that would happen. And I'm down with Bowie, actually.

    Basically, what I'm saying is that I refuse to object to casting people on the show just because they've been on other things - I'll save my objections for IF they are cast in the wrong kind of role.

  • koko temur

    Cake or death?

  • GirlWithABoysName

    With respect, I disagree. If we have learned anything from Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me et al, it should be that we can trust Fuller to do what what he does in the way he sees fit. If he sees a place for Chenowith, then let's give him the leeway he's earned to make it happen. Maybe it doesn't work out? But this guy has proven his deft hand at casting the right folks for the right story too many times to be second-guessed so early in his freshman season.

  • Mel C.

    Bowie can most definitely act. I would love to see him on Hannibal, but I feel like that's pretty unlikely.

  • I can agree with most of this, but not about Bowie. He can be so wonderfully creepy. He's my oldest unsettling crush. It really bothers me how enthusiastic my nethers are right now, just at the thought. I had this black and white poster of him in college that a lot of my friends refused to go near. I kept it on the back side of my door so I could make them feel uncomfortable anytime they stepped in for a private conversation (and yes, somehow how they all still speak to me). No Labyrinth bulges, and we're good, as far as I'm concerned.

    Having watched basically everything that Bryan Fuller's ever made, I have a viciously endearing faith in his vision, although, granted, he's never had more than two seasons to work with (Heroes obviously doesn't count since he left after that first season before it began to explode into an ever-expanding vacuous shit storm). With Molly Shannon, I imagined him telling her "just do what you do, but be earnest about it", and that worked. I adore the horror of watching someone who always kept pre-teen me laughing in this goofy-comfortable zone suddenly reappear to exhibit this quiet, desperate, manipulative rage. It's jarring and, where I'm concerned at least, highly effective. There's this kind of manic energy to everything Shannon does, and Fuller's been able to isolate and capitalize on that twice now. And the Gretchen Speck-Horowitz cameo was understated and just the most delightful nod to long-haul fans. I appreciate a sprinkling of those sorts of cameos. If he can maintain that balance and keep drawing the hidden creepy out of slightly unlikely people, I will start watching the show at initial airing, buy T-shirts, and gift the first season DVD set, forceably, to all my friends at holidays.

    I agree though that Chenoweth does not fit into the Hannibal universe. This is the Twilight Zone to where she belongs. I can't even envision her in the same color palette as the rest of the series.

  • I too love Bowie, but on this series, I don't want any distraction from the main course.

  • But he's so delicious! I realize I'm spoiling my appetite by diving in and eating the garnishes, but I have the dining sophistication of a five-year-old.

  • annie

    Love Kristin as I do for what she does, god, no, her voice (a great asset in many, many ways) would only shatter the atmosphere created on the show.

    Yes to Anna and Lee, though. Because pretty.

  • Anna von Beav

    "Gold has been struck, no need to pour glitter on top."

    I heart both this sentence and its sentiment. Also, this: "the devilish way he breathes in the life he is choking out." I mean, honestly; who else has ever made murder so sexy?!

    I'll agree with the Chenoweth assessment (I love her to death, but she is... not subtle), but I'm also leery of the Pace/Friel news. On the other hand, he managed to make Izzard blend in rather than stand out, so maybe it could work.

    In any event, Dear NBC: PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY give this show a second season. The pacing is phenomenal, the mise-en-scene is STUNNING, the actors are doing top-notch work. I adore it. Adore.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Totally agreed. Chenoweth would be a serious miscast, and so would Bowie (can he even act? let's be honest here, he's only ever played David Bowie, even in Labyrinth). Fuller says he wants Lee Pace, whose eyebrows are doing a very good Thranduil on The Hobbit, but he also cast David Tennant? If you want to give the internet joygasms, that would do it. And then you could STOP.

    "Hannibal" looks like it should belong on HBO, but I'd be happy to see it continue on NBC, primarily because they seem to have no idea what to do with a show of that kind and have a laissez faire attitude towards it.

  • Bowie was Nikola Tesla in The Prestige, if I recall correctly.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Yes, but did he seem less Bowie to you?

  • It actually took me a minute to recognize him. I remember whispering to my brother "Is that... is that Bowie? That's Bowie!" So, yes.

  • He seems to be Jesus in his new video.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Was he Jesus or was Marion Cotillard Jesus?

  • He's my own, personal Jesus.

    No, but seriously, that video - WTF? It took me a second to realize that Gary Oldman was the priest.

  • Cool, huh?

  • Feralhousecat

    Kristin Chenoweth. What that woman needs is a long term performance contract with Dollywood.

  • FrayedMachine

    Wow. That's Lee Pace? I seriously thought it was Enrique Inglesias. It took a very long while for my eyes to adjust to all of that stubble and mood lighting.

  • Some Guy

    My only concern is what might happen with a season 2. We've already started what appears to be an end-game scenario leading up to Will discovering Hannibal's secret. At least that's what the previews are hinting at.

    My concern is that they'll stretch out the story to fill another season, or two, or three, thereby diluting the story and show into more of what you described as a procedural akin to Law and Order.

    Granted, we can certainly continue to make TV shows based on the later works post-Hannibal's capture, ala Manhunter/Red Dragon, and even Silence of the Lambs, but will it be worth it?

    At this point, I think two seasons, tops, would be ideal for a show of this caliber.

  • He's already mapped out five seasons: http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/i...

  • Guest

    Let's get to Season 2 before looking at 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.

  • RilesSD

    I've actually seen articles saying Fuller has 5, 6 and/or 7 seasons planned. This one gives the best breakdown, which would be fantastic if NBC lets him do it:

    "In the first season we have this weird bromance between Will and Hannibal, season two is the nasty break up and the third season would have a fugitive angle to it, the fourth season would be 'Red Dragon,' the fifth season would be in the realm of 'Silence Of The Lambs,' the sixth season would be 'Hannibal,'" Fuller says.

    He continues, "In the seventh season it would be interesting to see Will Graham and a Clarice Starling type character come together for an adventure with their nemesis, Hannibal Lecter."

    http://blog.zap2it.com/fromins...

  • toblerone

    Cindy, I could not disagree more with you on this. Please god yes I want Pace, Friel and the rest of the casts from Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls to appear in Hannibal.Gretchen Speck-Horowitz's appearance gave me endless joy at the thought that Jaye, George, Ned, Chuck and all the other characters from Fuller-verse are out there somewhere and that Hannibal is apart of it. I just don't want them to end up as dinner.

    I am still waiting for them to explain why Jaye is now Alana (did the Wax Lion tell her to assume Alan Bloom's identity? Was she one of his patients? Did she kill him? Is she a serial killer too? So many possibilities).

  • Did you realize that the pharmacist in the same scene with Gretchen Speck-Horowitz was also in Wonderfalls? He was the priest that discovers he has a daughter. (God, I miss that show SO, SO MUCH.)

  • toblerone

    Yep Stammetz! Plus in the last episode Jack Crawford's protégé was named Miriam LASS (as in Georgia Lass?).

    Could it have been Reggie? That probably is projecting and was a bit distracting so crossing universes can definitely be detrimental for anal retentive hardcore Fuller fans like myself.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Stop projecting, create a kickstarter for a Pushing Daisies movie and let Hannibal be it's own show.

  • toblerone

    Better off Ted would be first on my Kickstarter to do list.

    All of Fuller's shows have had fantastic casts but for whatever reason they (actors involved) have not had success afterwards, It's not unknown for people who have worked together before on a show to work together again on another and Pace's and Friel's talents would be put to good use regardless of the past associations in the Fuller-verse.

  • lowercase_ryan

    With you on Better Off Ted. That show was a GD delight!

  • Forty-two

    Can I get an AMEN?

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  • denesteak

    that was sooooo not an amen, katelyn.

  • lowercase_ryan

    God I shudder to even think about Chenoweth's impact on this show. You're absolutely right, this needs to just be a NO and move on. I hope they add very few characters, and even then only on the periphery. Just let the leads run wild with it and I'll continue to watch.

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