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About All That Homoerotic Subtext in 'Hannibal'? It's Intentional

By Dustin Rowles | TV | April 25, 2014 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | April 25, 2014 |

In an interview with the Back Lot, Bryan Fuller — who is gay, but says that he’d never pursue a straight man, because he finds that to be the ultimate in narcissism — spoke to the homoerotic subtext that is practically unavoidable in Hannibal, almost to the point sometimes where we just want to see Hannibal and Will Graham f*ck to finally break some of that tension.

Fuller, however, admits that while the homoerotic tension exists, and it is palpable, it’s not sexual. It’s more than sexual.

I think Hannibal is a very broadly spectrumed human being/fallen angel, who probably is capable and interested in everything humanity has to offer. Whereas Will Graham is very definitely heterosexual, but that does not necessarily prevent us from a homoerotic subtext. It’s practically text in a couple of episodes just because we really want to explore the intimacy of these two men in an unexpected way without sexualizing them, but including a perception of sexuality that the cinema is actually portraying to the audience more than the characters are.

Fuller spoke to one scene in particular, where the homoerotic subtext was particularly apparent:

There’s a scene at dinner where we were tackling in the edit bay because it was so transparently homoerotic. They were doing something that was not sex or anywhere near sex, but it was shot so suggestively that they may as well have been. I think that’s the fun of this show, is that particularly at the end of episode eight, which is a very intimate moment between Will and Hannibal where Will crosses a line of sorts, with his own psyche. And Hannibal is there to welcome him on the other side with open arms … There is hard to deny an attraction between these men.

Fuller further suggested that “anyone in the audience who is attracted to either of the men will feel that energy,” and though I never considered the possibility that I’m attracted to either men — I love the show, but it gives me the squicks — the energy is obvious.

I’m sure there are plenty who are excited about the possibility of three-way homoerotic subtext when Michael Pitt joins the show. Here’s our first look, as Mason Verger.


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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.