American Gods and Hannibal showrunner, Bryan Fuller recently had a fascinating and very entertaining (he’s wonderful to listen to) discussion with filmmaker, Mick Garris on his Post Mortem podcast where, among the revelations are that he’s the youngest of five children to an electrician father and a floral designing mother, and grew up in a small town with a serial killer who drove a brown van. He also mentioned he — in high school — wrote (“started to write”) a sequel to “Alienssss”, and an adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. Fuller talked about taking an experimental psychological course and used Alien as his case study; his professor told Fuller that he didn’t belong in psychology — rather, film study. I highly recommend listening to the entire conversation; it’s, as I mentioned, absolutely fascinating (he also discusses American Gods), but Hannibal fans will certainly hone in on his comments about the series we all hope and believe (thanks to Fuller’s continued encouraging comments) will one day return.
Speaking again about a fourth season for Hannibal, Fuller got rather specific about some details aside from his desire to bring The Silence of the Lambs story to television. That, of course, depends upon producers’ ability to purchase the rights from MGM, which has thus far held up any use of the Clarice Starling character. Ever the provocateur, the pescetarian showrunner wants to expand on Margot Verger (Katharine Isabelle) and Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) in a meaty way … or should I say, in a very anti-meaty manner.
First, Fuller talked about the series’ fascination with meat:
That’s part of the reason I’m pescetarian — is that show (Hannibal). Relationships are in some way consuming, and represent consumption and you know, you want to soak in your friends, you want to soak in your lover, you want to … experience these people, so there’s something about, eating them is just one step further than loving them, and also, it’s such a … irony, in cannibalism, which is why it has always struck me as a quasi-comedic villain-ry, because it’s so perverse and broad that uh, somebody eating somebody else is — my first instinct might be to enjoy that … as opposed to be horrified. And I also think that there’s something hilarious with, as much meat as we consume, and the villainy of the meat-farming industry, that people get so squeamish about cannibalism. They just strike me as so out of touch with what is happening with their bodies and the world around them, that they would be horrified by a man eating another man … you see what happens in a slaughterhouse and it’s worse than any horror movie you will ever experience.”
Then he got specific:
The rights revert back to Martha in September, I believe, and then it’s a matter of do we do it with Gaumont [French film/distribution company]? Which, would be the only way to do it if we wanted to use those characters … I had a great idea for Season 4 … there’s an interesting next chapter in the relationship between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter that would be fascinating to unpack, and you know, I’ve shared it with the gentlemen and uh, they’re both keen on it, and … it’s also, speaking of vegan agendas, there’s a whole storyline that I want to do with Katie Isabelle’s character, Margot Verger, who now is mother of the Verger heir, and in control of the Verger meatpacking industry. I wanted her to be like Joan Crawford at Pepsi, saying ‘Don’t quit me, fellas’, and just humanizing all of the Verger meatpacking plants, and turn them over to [be] PETA approved … that would definitely be marbled through the season, would be Margot Verger taking down the meat industry, as a hot, powerful lesbian.”
On Mads and Hugh, Fuller again extolled the virtues of both actors’ collaboration with the series, and the value of that to him:
I can’t underestimate the value of that collaboration in making a showrunner’s job easier, having a great relationship with the cast, who make your work sing louder because of their contribution … particularly with Hugh because we were both kind of living out Will Graham’s dark side in different ways; him, you know, performing it, and me writing it and trying to understand it, and also trying not to go where other people had gone with the characters. So, there were so many orange cones about the previous adaptations; I was like, we can’t go there because that’s been done really well.”
On the limits of what they couldn’t do, because of rights, with Hannibal:
We couldn’t do Clarice, uh, how the rights worked, as far as I understood them was … Martha De Laurentiis owns the rights to Red Dragon, so she owns the rights to all characters who originate in Red Dragon, and I believe she has options or what have you on the book, Hannibal. But, MGM owns Silence of the Lambs, therefore, they control Buffalo Bill and Clarice, which were two characters — I was like, pleeease, please let us play with these characters.”
On the comedy of Hannibal:
Hannibal for me is an inherently comedic character, ’cause he’s so arrogant, and looks down on mankind to the point that they’re just cattle to him … and the entitlement makes me smile, and it’s also one of those things where it’s ‘Oh, I’m a relatively decent person, I wouldn’t be on his menu’. ‘Cause he has kind of a Eat the Rudes Law — there’s something hilarious about that …”
What Fuller loves to/is watch/watching: FX’s Baskets (“That’s a happy place”), Fargo (“Season 2 is a masterpiece”), Bob’s Burgers (I love that so much, it’s such a fantastic series; very subversive, very emotional”).
On whether there are gods that give him glee to write, realize and bring to fruition:
Yes. One of the most fun scenes that we had writing was a scene where Gillian Anderson manifests as David Bowie, so all of her dialogue is repurposed David Bowie lyrics, so for me as a massive David Bowie fan, that was very exciting to do, and you know, and it’s sort of, like a terror in knowing what Mr. World is about type of thing. And, uh, seeing Gillian — Gillian kills it in the show — she does Lucy, David Bowie, Marilyn Monroe, and Judy Garland and she’s different in all of them, so that’s a character that I love writing for … we love writing for Ian McShane, ’cause he can just give a big Mohawk of a speech and it’ll sing, Uh, Peter Stormare, who came in and played Czernobog, was so infectiously fun for the cast and the crew. He stomped onto the stage chanting ‘Czernobog, Czernobog … ‘ and Michael Green has video of him stalking the production offices in character.”