Bryan Fuller Talks HANNIBAL Season 3, Trying to Get David Bowie on the Show, Network Support, and More at the Saturn Awards

     June 28, 2014


The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror recently held the 40th Annual Saturn Awards, celebrating the best of genre film and television at the Castaway Starlight Ballroom in Burbank, Calif.  Gravity took home the most awards, with five statues, while Marvel’s Iron Man 3 won the inaugural Best Comic-to-Film Motion Picture award, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead both won three, and Hannibal took home Best Network Television Series.  Special Saturn Awards recognitions when to writer/producer Bryan Fuller (Dan Curtis Legacy Award), Greg Nicotero (George Pal Memorial Award) and Malcolm McDowell (Life Career Award).

While at the event, Collider chatted with Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller, who talked about how they get away with what they get away with on Hannibal, why he considers it an art show, the directors that influence him, both in the past and for the upcoming season, the metaphor of Will Graham being a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster, that they’ll be breaking Season 3 into two chapters, that they were told by David Bowie’s people to check in again about his availability once they have the filming schedule for the third season, that he would love to get David Thewlis on the show, and how he’s been trying to get his Pushing Daisies cast on, as well.  Watch the video and/or read the transcript after the jump.

Here’s the video with reporting by Tommy Cook and Christina Radish, followed by the full transcript.

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bryan-fuller-hannibal-season-3Collider:  How are you this evening?

BRYAN FULLER:  I’m great!  I’m wonderful!  We got a nice award. 

How do you get away with Hannibal on network television?  How does this show exist?

FULLER:  We get away with it, with an incredible amount of support from a network and a studio that has given us not only creative license, but actually has just embraced and supported us as storytellers, in a way that I’ve never experienced before, in my career of writing for TV.  It’s really a testament to the studio and the network for being hungry for something different.

Alan Sepinwall has described your show as an art show, and that’s probably right.  It’s one of the only art TV shows.

FULLER:  I love that he considers us an art show.  I consider us an art show.  I love that we are a pretentious art show.  I love pretension and I love art.  Under the Skin was my favorite movie of the year.  I love to be as pretentious and arty as we can be.

When you look at this past season, there are Cronenberg and Lynchian vibes.

FULLER:  All over the place. 

hannibal-hugh-dancy-mads-mikkelsenWhat type of filmmakers are you looking to, for this new season?

FULLER:  For the new season, we have actually been talking a lot about classic horror and Universal horror, and the metaphor of Will Graham being a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster.  He dies, essentially, at the end of the season, and comes back from that stitched together a new man.  Who that man is and how he’s seeking his maker is going to be the thrust of the season. 

Since Hannibal is going to Europe, will any European filmmakers influence it, like Nicolas Roeg or Ken Russell?

FULLER:  I think Dario Argento is a big influence on the show, in terms of our production design.  There is something so purple and operatic about what he has always done, particularly his use of colors and never being afraid of the garish and embracing that as part of his vocabulary.  So, there is going to be a bit of Dario Argento there.  There has been, and I think we’re going to continue to embrace that aesthetic. 

How did casting come about?  How did you come to the decision of Mads Mikkelsen?

FULLER:  Well, it came about because one of the things that was very important was that Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter have a likeability, not only on screen but with each other.  The fact that Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen are very good friends in real life cinched the deal, in my mind.  That was important because I knew it was going to translate to screen.  We wanted the audience to like these two men liking each other.

hannibal-caroline-dhavernasStructurally, you divided this last season in two.  What prompted that structure?

FULLER:  The chapters of the storytelling felt like it was organic.  We would have our first chapter of the asylum story, and then the second chapter of Will on the loose, seducing Hannibal in a way that he felt was natural to that relationship.  We’re going to have something similar in the third season, where we’re breaking up the season in two chapters.

Are you any closer to tracking down David Bowie and getting him on the show?

FULLER:  We were told by his people, when we got the pick-up for the third season, to make sure to ask again about his availability.  So, once we have our dates, we are going to ask again.  I think the man walks on water, so I would love to be in his orbit, in some way.

So, do you know if anyone has actually told him that you want him on the show?

FULLER:  Yeah, he knows.  He’s aware.  He’s very aware.  But, he’s also very, very busy.  He’s got lots of exciting things coming out, musically.  That was the block to the second season.  He’s incredibly busy.

Hannibal-season-3-david-bowieAre there any other dream people that you’d want to cast?

FULLER:  There are so many because I’m such a fan of actors.  Even tonight, seeing the wonderful actors being honored here, like Malcolm McDowell and getting Lance Henriksen back on the show.  I’m a huge fan of David Thewlis.  I would love him to come and play with us.  And Brad Dourif.  So, there is no shortage of people on that list that I’m desperate to get on the show.

You also like to bring former cast back that you’ve worked with before.  Are there actors from your past resume that you’d love to bring onto the show?

FULLER:  I would love to get Kristin Chenoweth on this show.  I would love to get Lee Pace.  I would love to get Anna Friel.  Those are all people that we’ve gone down roads with, to try to secure them in the past, but scheduling hasn’t worked out.  But, I’m never going to stop trying. 

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  • Dpw

    Into middle of season 2 on this. Always avoided it because of the gore, but this show absolutely rocks. Elegant production that challenges viewers. The interplay between Will and Hannibal is amazing and this is the best I’ve seen Laurence Fishburne in years. Can tell everyone is having fun. NBC deserves a nod for sticking with this show and the creators deserve to be recognized for top to bottom phenomenal work. Highly recommend for Collider readers.

    • DarkFluffy

      The gore factor is also a bit much to me but necessary I think to remind us of Hannibals true nature. He is played so well that you begin to pitty him in his desperade quest to find friends.

      BTW I wonder nobody mentioned Gillian Anderson so far. She looks even better than in X-files.What a lady! And as she said to Wil “I believe you” I thought at Mulder and how badly he wished to hear this 3 words from the always sceptical Scully. Could it possible intended to be a hommage to the X-files?

  • DEADP00L

    David Bowie….wow. I will be really surprised if they managed to get him on. I went nuts when I saw him in the Prestige and to this day I am in awe they managed to get him to do it.

  • DoremusJessup

    Please, Bryan Fuller, be as pretentious as you possibly can. Shoot for the sky. We’re with you every step of the way.

  • Bhammer100

    Brad Dourif. Yes!

  • Bill Meunier

    I would actually love to see Charity Wakefield on the show at some point.

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  • kemo

    “Yeah, he knows. He’s aware. He’s very aware. But, he’s also very, very busy. He’s got lots of exciting things coming out, musically. That was the block to the second season. He’s incredibly busy.”

    that’s better for us Bowie fans but love to see him on the show

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  • twincaster

    what about David Tennent ? he was supposed to come in as a serial killer

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  • LEM

    Off screen deaths usually means they’re alive. Occasionally it can be a contract/availability problem so unless I see them dead I assume they could always come back.

  • LEM

    You consider the finale cliffhanger as a fake out? It left you wondering who will live so isn’t that the point? Other than Abigail Hobbs and Miriam Lass there really wasn’t a fake out death I can think of.