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Bryan Fuller on 'Hannibal,' Honoring the 'Most Cherished Villain in Pop Culture' and the Likelihood of a 'Pushing Daisies' Movie Kickstarter

By Scott Neumyer | http://www.scottwrites.com April 1, 2013 at 11:44AM

If you had any doubts that Bryan Fuller could not only revitalize two of Thomas Harris' most memorable characters, Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham, in a meaningful way and also do it with his signature flair fully in tact, put them to rest right now. NBC's "Hannibal" (premiering on Thursday, April 4 at 10pm) is one of the best new shows of the summer and it's also, quite possibly, the very best thing Fuller has ever done -- and that's saying a lot when you're talking about the guy that created shows like "Dead Like Me" and "Pushing Daisies."
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Laurence Fishburne and Mads Mikkelsen in 'Hannibal'
Brooke Palmer/NBC Laurence Fishburne and Mads Mikkelsen in 'Hannibal'

It seems like Hannibal is having a lot of fun in this show. It's like he's playing with his toys.

He is! That's where I go back to the Lucifer thing. He is having a good time and he is very curious about how people will react to situations. On top of that, he genuinely has affection for Will Graham and I think he genuinely respects Jack Crawford, but he's also tormenting and taunting Jack while he's trying to break Will of who he is right now and get him to accept that he could be a killer -- then they could start their friendship in earnest.

"Hannibal Lecter is the most cherished villain in pop culture."

Who do you worry about pleasing more with "Hannibal"? Is it the hardcore fan or the person that doesn't have any emotional ties to these characters already?

I want both to be happy walking away with it, but probably more so the fan because, being given the responsibility of honoring the character, I want those who feel as dedicated to the character as I am to be satisfied with how we're raising him. My responsibility to the show (and to the audience) comes before even my responsibility to my bosses at the studio and the network. Hannibal Lecter is the most cherished villain in pop culture. This is not a job. This is our responsibility to honor a mythology that has touched a lot of people for a lot of different reasons and resonates with them.

Will we see other characters from the Lecterverse on "Hannibal" at some point?

Absolutely. One of the interesting things about developing this first season is that one of the episodes that I was dying to do was exploring Lecter's relationship to [former patient] Benjamin Raspail and Jame Gumb [aka Buffalo Bill]. I was so excited about that, but how it works legally with who we get to play with and who we don't is this: If a character was introduced in "Red Dragon" or "Hannibal," we have full access to them. If they were introduced in "The Silence of the Lambs," MGM has full access to them.

Hannibal 7

We had plotted out a multi-episode arc with Benjamin Raspail and the Jame Gumb character. It was exciting because I really wanted to see Lecter put that head in the jar and park that car in the storage unit. Unfortunately, MGM told us no, that they own that character. We even tried to trade with them and went back to them three or four times -- they still said no. My secret hope is that they'll see the show and think it's really cool and say, "Okay, we'll partner with you and let you use the Clarice Starling character and this will become the definitive Hannibal Lecter story." That's my dream.

So you're saying that people should start writing to MGM now?

Yeah, start writing letters. You'll see a lot of familiar characters though. Chilton is there. I would love to have Barney involved in the future. As many of those people that we can craft into the story, we will -- if we have the rights to them, we will use them. That's absolutely the intention of the show.

The "Veronica Mars" Kickstarter was, obviously, extremely successful. What does that mean for a possible "Pushing Daisies" movie?

'Pushing Daisies'
ABC 'Pushing Daisies'

I am having those conversations with my agent right now. I'm trying to find out how realistic it is, but I'm taking it very seriously because I would like to revisit that world and I think that there is a great zombie movie to be had in the world of "Pushing Daisies." I love that cast and, as much as I've enjoyed writing "Hannibal," it's really dark. [laughs] I could use a palette cleanser before diving into a second season (knock on wood).

I've reached out to the cast and everybody is very excited about the prospect. It's not just a whimsical thing. I've already been in contact with someone at Kickstarter and Rob Thomas, and I have so many questions for them. Now I just have to figure out what we would need, how we would pull it off, and hopefully set the wheels into motion.

Is "Mockingbird Lane" done for good or is there any chance it'll work on another format like Netflix, for instance?

I don't know if they were just letting me down easy, but NBC was like, "Well, maybe we'll redevelop it." So who knows what that means, but I was absolutely heartbroken with "Mockingbird Lane." My first loves as a child, where I was recognizing entertainment as soul-stirring, were the Universal monsters and "The Munsters." Both of them spoke to me in a way that was above and beyond. It was like a quickening in my artistic soul. I had so much figured out about where we were going and what we were doing. I was so excited about the stories we were going to tell on "Mockingbird Lane." I was really disappointed that they didn't pick it up, and still am.


This article is related to: Television, TV Interviews, Interviews, Hannibal, Bryan Fuller, NBC , Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Laurence Fishburne, Pushing Daisies