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Raúl Esparza Teases Chilton's Plan: I'm Coming After Hannibal With a Vengeance

By Cindy Davis | Trade News | February 24, 2015 | Comments ()

**Warning: This post contains major season 2 Spoilers; if you’re not caught up, please vacate the area immediately (and watch it!)

While some of us are still reeling from the Hannibal season 3 trailer, and the news we won’t get back our favorite series until summer, never fear — Fuller and company are steadily dropping breadcrumbs to lead us back the way we came. Just in case your memory has lapsed, when last we saw Raúl Esparza’s Dr. Frederick Chilton, he’d suffered another terrifying attack orchestrated by Hannibal, this time a bullet to the head via Mariam Lass’ deluded trigger-finger.


Though I’d initially thought Chilton prematurely killed, last summer Bryan Fuller confirmed the good doctor’s survival, and now Esparza has spoken with Horror Hound about Frederick’s dastardly plans.

Horror Hound: “So, Raul… You got shot in the face. How did that feel? “

Raul Esparza: “Pretty upsetting, actually. Bryan said I’d come back, and I was like… Without a face? “

HH: “They do everything to you.”

RE: “Yeah, I mean how much can they torture this guy in two seasons? I rewatched some of the episodes before coming out here and the setup was so perfect. There are things that we shot that they went into editing and took from episode five and put into episode six for instance. How Abel Gideon is reintroduced. How I have memories of the shooting of it and where it takes place that were edited into different patterns. They set it up so beautifully.

The exit from Abel Gideon where he suggested Jack should be watching Chilton for instance. When you’re shooting it, you have no idea what sense it’s all playing together. So it’s incredibly well plotted.
When he said they were going to shoot me in the face but I would survive I was like alright… we’ll take your word for that, I guess, but we’ll see. They could kill off Chilton, and that would be a gigantic change to the whole mythology.”

HH: “And that’s why I was screaming, ‘NO!’”

RE: “Well, its just one of those things that suggests there are no rules anymore; you have no idea where the show is headed. I think it’s a very smart thing to do. You have no idea who’s going to go. Chilton’s role is to torment Hannibal. His role in the end is to be his captor and his tormentor. And now I certainly have reason for revenge. I remember when I said to Bryan, ‘I think I should have a scar or something. And he said, ‘I think a scar is a great idea, why don’t we earn it.’”

HH: “You’re going to have a colostomy bag.”

RE: “Yeah, obviously he’s going to have a colostomy bag… Scars. I think the more that happens to Chilton, the darker he gets. And certainly his sense of humor rises up because he thinks he’s better than everybody. I feel like the season taught him a lesson. And he’s coming back with revenge on his mind. But he’s not a fighter. “

HH: “What was the lesson he learned? “

RE: “Hannibal is smarter than him, and he’s playing against a monster. And that in order to deal with a monster, you have to become one.”

HH: “So Chilton was right the whole time.”

RE: “And no one would listen to him.”

HH: “The name rhymes, why can’t they see it?”

RE: “When he finally gets to be right is when he gets shot in the face. And he has that scene with Alana and he tells her, ‘You have no dea what you are dealing with. I’m not going to say a word about it.’ Right before Miriam shoots him.

I remember when we were shooting that scene, I decided to play it very small. Completely toned down. None of the jokes, it’s all flat. Which told me I wanted to play everything leading up to it in almost hysterics by the time he gets to the chase with Jack. Because I felt like he needed to have lost everything. So he gets to this incredible calm place as he goes down. But he is also a guy who realizes he is dealing with a poisonous monster.”

HH: “I thought it was brilliant the way you played it. And the fact you sounded like Anthony Heald from Silence. Did you plan it that way?”

RE: “No, no I didn’t. I certainly listened to it, listened to him. And I kind of hoped that it would have a little bit of osmosis. There’s a little of Hugo Weaving in there too. There’s a sort of faux southern accent that comes and goes.

He’s fake all around. Sometime’s he’s limping, sometime’s he’s not. Sometimes he needs that cane, sometimes he doesn’t. Sometime’s he’s putting it on. He speaks with this quality… Chilton’s key element is that he’s always watching himself.

Always with a purpose, but he’s watching himself. He wants to get something, so he always wants to know how he’s coming across. And that self conciousness was important to me. Other actors wouldn’t look at another actor’s performance, but I did watch Anthony Heald’s performances and sort of hoped that it would stick with me, you know what I mean? It will just kind of be there.

I think it’s kind of fun for an audience to just sort of catch it because then you know something… That it’s a hint. Because with this show if you think you see something, it’s there. You’ll go ‘Are they referencing?’ And yes, they totally are.”

Showrunner, Brian Fuller also answered a few questions about Hannibal’s Frankenstein parallels, and just who the show’s real monster is.

HH: “Can you talk about the Frankenstein vibe that a lot of people are getting from the show?”

BF: “Well, there’s a part of Will Graham that has arguably died by being gutted and bled out. And he’s kind of like Frankenstein’s monster. His journey is looking for the man who created him, as a result of his dealings with Hannibal Lecter. That’s where the Frankenstein aspect of the character comes from.”

HH: “So Will is the monster?”

BF: “In the sense of the literature. In the novel, Modern Prometheus, Frankenstein’s Monster was a very intelligent and very articulate and beautiful human being. He had wonder and awe at the world and it was his creater who was teh monster. So Will’s the monster in the paradigm.”

Read the full interview at Will Graham’s Official Tumblr

It’s going to be thrilling to see Fuller play with our expectations. Sounds like Chilton will be around a good while longer, and Esparza and Mikkelsen’s chest-puffing antagonistic relationship has always been so much fun to watch. Hurry up, summer!

Cindy Davis, (Twitter)

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