Jul 27, 2015 01:49 PM EST
Hannibal, The Red Dragon And A Cookbook?
Every once in awhile you come across an extraordinary show that fights incredible odds and even though it fails, unwilling to go into that dark night, it does so artfully, with heart and love for its fans. This is the case with Hannibal, the NBC series, which is now coming close, ending its third and final season. Just before Comic Con 2015 the cast and crew as well as the many fans around the world were informed this year was it for Hannibal. It seems as if Hannibal may be a causality of what's going on in television today. There is a revolution going on between cable broadcasting, and the contenders Netflix, Amazon and the many others who are changing the landscape of TV viewing for its hungry spectators. In a overwhelmingly busy world, most series watchers end up saving episodes on Tivo or just waiting till they end up on Netflix so they can binge watch the whole series. This is making the old way of financing TV shows much harder to stay on the air. Today you can have the most dedicated fan base in the market, but if you don't have the numbers to sell the advertising, your show gets cancelled. Now this isn't any different from what we know TV to be in the first place, but one has to ask with so many people starting to cancel their cable providers and moving to a pay per channel or rely on Netflix & Hulu or the internet to get their shows, is it realistic to think there is no other way to keep a show on the air? Or do we just have to assume that if you have an artistic series that is slightly over the head of the masses, who are watching The Bachelor & mind numbing, so called, reality TV shows, its lifespan will be extremely short.
As Comic Con approached, we were informed that the Press interviews would be cancelled, to which we all assumed was a direct result of the cancellation of the series. I mean why do press for a series that is going off the air right? And then another email came our way. "We heard you! Due to your overwhelming response, we have worked with NBC who has graciously agreed to our hosting a Hannibal press conference………. Thank you all for your interest in Hannibal. Our Fannibals are the best!!"
Now you have to know what the overwhelming questions were going to be about. Just the fact that we were going to get the chance to ask them in person was enough. And so it goes….
All at one table we had Executive Producer Martha De Laurentiis, Creator Bryan Fuller, Hugh Dancy who plays Will Graham and Richard Armitage who will be playing Francis Dolarhyde in the second half of season three as the Red Dragon storyline kicks into effect!
Right off the bat Martha De Laurentiis said "Its all open, It's not done" when asked about a possible movie, TV or otherwise. And when Bryan Fuller was asked about if it was picked up or a future project was being made, since his new series American Gods is starting up, how would you balance the two, he replied, "I will find a way!". This doesn't surprise anyone who knows just how attached Bryan Fuller is to this project. In answering a question by a Fannibal about why his series doesn't have a home he stated "once NBC passes on a fourth season, that kinda dismantles our international funding, so a lot of international channels need an American broadcaster to say this is the American TV show on this network, that gives them a platform to which they can sell the show, but without that we loose our Sony component, which is also or AXN channels and so we lost a lot of our channels all over the world so that's one of the big hurdles. We don't just loose NBC we loose AXN Latin, AXN Japan, AXN Korea, AXN Brazil, we loose all of those, so then its back to square one to figure out a financial model for the show."
Bryan went on to say that he had an "awareness for the sign over their heads, and while NBC has been so fantastic and supportive of us and allowing us to tell a story that no other network would allow us to do" and went on to say they had a "gentleman's agreement" letting them do the show they want to do, and NBC could protect the show as long as they were above a .5, and once they went below the .5 rating, Bryan knew the writing was on the wall. "Nobody's gonna buy advertising at top dollar rates for a .5 rating" so knowing this was going to be the last season he thought if he didn't get Red Dragon in now, he may not get to do it at all. That being said, Bryan said the idea for a season four would have been the reinvention of the Hannibal & Will Graham dynamic in a huge way, so there would be an opportunity to reinvent the show as well as well as the format itself.
Does the season three finale, serve as a series finale? As Hugh Dancy stated outright "YES, if it had to it could, it would be satisfying in that respect. It could also serve as a good jumping off point for another season"
Would they all come back if there was an extension or another venue for the show? The team have said no matter where or when, they would all come back to do a movie or another season, they are all extremely dedicated to Hannibal and their fans!
Richard Armitage got to talk a little about his upcoming role and said "Theres a lot of body…. I don't remember spending that much time without clothes on. You get six episodes of the story arc which really been explored in two movies probably 90 minutes at a time so its our chance to go to the book which is incredibly detailed and look at the back story where Francis Dolarhyde came from and how he's emerges as this strange this man that's complicated and dark at the same time innocent and romantic. Hopefully were gonna open that story up a bit." Bryan said "that while they were editing the Francis Dolarhyde scenes, they got emotional saying "It's heartbreaking, you feel so badly for this man who's struggling against his insanity to find love, its that thing that makes him so intimately relatable to the audience" and went on to say it's a great performance and he cant wait for people to see it.
When asked what the series meant to each of them, Martha De Laurentiis said it was the first thing she had worked on since Dino, her husband and Italian film producer, had passed away and she always felt as if he was on her shoulder and this happened for a reason, meeting Bryan when she did it all took off so expedientially. Hugh talked about how the experience was like no other he ever experienced or may ever experience again, that it was an incredible, unique collaboration. Bryan said that it was satisfying that it wasn't his material, so he could have the arrogance to say "this is the way its supposed to be" and that when he got stuck writing he could always talk to Hugh or Mads and they would help him figure it out.
Of course you know the question had to be asked about the rumors surrounding the possible introduction of Clarise and Bryan told us that the rights to Clarise and Buffalo Bob, characters that resided in Silence Of The Lambs" were owned by MGM and each year they went back to them and ask, and the first year it was a hard "No", then it was "ask us later", and since the formats are changing if somehow it was possible he sees Ellen Page as his Clarise, but also loves the idea of having someone who's not white play the role and have race play a factor in her background the way race plays a factor in everything
Who's the smartest person on the show? Bryan said he thought Bedelia was, and that he was excited to write for Gilian Anderson (as a big fan of Scully), but then Hugh argues that it was actually Hannibal, that while even Habbibal could slip up by virtue of his vanity or his affection for Will, he's always one step ahead……which makes me think. Maybe we need Hannibal to broker a deal to keep them on TV. Wouldn't that be delectable!
Later on that evening, I got to go to the NBC party and talk briefly with Hugh Dancy and I asked him if Mads Mikkelsen, who plays Hannibal, ever throws dinner parties and is it hard for him to get people to show up, and he laughed and told me that it is actually him that throws the dinner parties. "I'm the one that loves to cook." What's Hugh's specialty? "Stews!"
While on the subject, I got to have a few words with Bryan Fuller who was wearing his awesome Star Wars jacket (which he admitted to a fan that it was a throw he had made into a custom jacket) and I asked him if he ever thought of a Hannibal spin off cooking show to pitch to Food Network and he laughed and said that there will be a Hannibal Cookbook released in the near future. Of course I'm guessing there has to be some substitutes for the human parts! You know its much easier finding a nice Chianti than it is to find a clean liver these days! The one thing I'm sure of, it wont be vegetarian if Hannibal has anything to say about it! So Fannibals be on the lookout!
About Sean Ferguson
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