A Plea to "Hannibal" Showrunner Bryan Fuller
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.
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,
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),
Kristen Chenoweth…simply cannot.
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?
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?
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,
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