SDCC 2013: NBC TV’s ‘Hannibal’ Panel


I have been hooked on Hannibal since the first episode premiered on NBC.  I was blown away by each and every episode and the amount of detail and work that went into each one.  I found it surprising that this is a NBC show considering its content and imagery.  The show was at one time threatened with cancellation, but Hannibal made it through.  The second season is going into production very soon.  And as a so-called “Fannibal,” this was the one panel at San Diego Comic Con that I had to see.

The panel was relegated to a small room following’s Hobbit panel.  I showed up a couple of hours before the Hannibal panel started to get in line.  Imagine my disappointment when I was told the line was capped, and I could wait in a stand-by line.  That I did, and luckily the room emptied out a lot after the Hobbit panel.  I was in the back, but I did not care.

The crowd was insane for Hannibal.  I think NBC and SDCC underestimated the fan base for this show.  This was definitely at least a Ballroom 20 crowd.

Aaron Abrams who plays Brian Zeller in Hannibal introduced the panel and the Season 1 recap to the crowd.  He did not participate in the panel, but was a nice “appetizer.”

The Season 1 recap video got loud cheers for all the characters and actors we love and hate.

The panel arrived and it was comprised of Hugh Dancy (Will Graham), Bryan Fuller (producer/writer), Martha De Laurentiis (producer), and David Slade (director/producer).

The leftover food after a shoot (if it is still safe to eat) is consumed by the crew.

The cryptic smile displayed by Hannibal Lecter at the end of the season finale goes back to scenes in Episode 2 where Will had his first therapy sessions with Hannibal.  He keeps getting closer and he finally has him in a cage at the end.

Martha De Laurentiis comments that the Hannibal series comes in right before the book Red Dragon.  She hopes that there will at least be seven more seasons.  She was looking for someone from Easter Europe for Hannibal.  Mads Mikkelsen did screen test as he was not as well known as he is now.

Bryan Fuller was most interested in exploring the Will Graham character from the books, as Hannibal had been done in many films before.  There is a Kubrickian influence as well as some from David Lynch.  The ear in the final episode is a reference to Blue Velvet.  He was originally thinking about a finger, but thought it would be harder to throw up than an ear.  Bryan wanted to find an actor with a very specific view on Hannibal, not wanting to reprise what had already been done by other actors.  Mads Mikkelsen said he did not want to play Brian Cox or Anthony Hopkins, but Satan.  Bryan also talked about Mads’ skill for having micro-expressions.  Director David Slade was asking him to smile in a scene in the pilot and Mads was smiling in his own way.  He said it was interesting writing about a character (Will) that is descending into madness.

David Slade already had the first screenplay for the first episode when he met with Bryan Fuller.  He does not see the series as a prequel, but a reimagining.  David described Mads’ talent for dropping a tear on his face almost perfectly on time.  BUT he tends to fidget a lot below where the camera is focused.

Hugh Dancy had seen the films, but had not read the books.  He wondered why they would want to revisit the same story of sorts, but meeting with Bryan  Fuller and hearing him eloquently and passionately describe his vision of moving forward is what sold him on the project.  He then read Red Dragon, and it became his bible of sorts for his character.  Has not seen Manhunter, and did not have other actors’ performances influence him.  Will is someone who cannot stop himself from stepping into horrible killers’ shoes.  Hugh tries to not let it affect him after leaving set.  He is also really adept at stepping away from his character in between takes.  He is not a method actor who has to constantly be in character.

The pendulum swinging that is on screen right before Will Graham embodies a killer is actually from the book.  Will talks about going into the Leeds’ house and calming and centering his mind and hen a pendulum swings.

One very smart audience member asked about if Will’s disease was caused by cannibalism and also if Hannibal takes any precautions when eating human flesh.  Hugh Dancy’s comment to that was “You can just leave us with that one if that would be okay.”  Bryan Fuller’s response was a hesistant “yes” as he probably never thought of that element before.

The stag was used because that was Will’s first taste of Hannibal’s crimes.  Victim Cassie Boyle was impaled on antlers and being pecked by crows.  Will amalgamated all those elements into this stag with crow feathers.  It eventually molds into a man stag when Will sees Hannibal for what he is.

Considering this is a network show and not cable, there were only a couple of times that NBC said no to something.  The most memorable involved the killer that created angels.  NBC did not like seeing the butt crack on the victims, but was okay with it once some blood was put in the crack to not make it so apparent.

The first season was shot in six to seven months.  The second season will begin shooting in September.

Season 2 arc is already written, and episode 3 was just broken before SDCC.  Episode 3 deals with a trial.  Bryan Fuller comments that Will had hit rock bottom in Season 1 and now he is looking forward to a Will that is scrappy and feisty and is coming out swinging.  The first two episodes are a Part 1 and Part 2.  Will knows something that no one else knows.  The first episode will also show how that ear got down Will’s throat.

At the end, we were treated to the gag reel that will be on the DVDs of Season 1.

Those who attended got a little gift.  We got one of Hannibal’s drawings on some nice high-quality paper, and it will definitely be going on my wall.

Hannibal SDCC

Source: Lost in Reviews

by Sarah Ksiazek

About Sarah Ksiazek

Sarah is a Zookeeper extraordinaire who writes, edits, and is the resident trailer addict for Lost in Reviews. Do not underestimate her snobbery when it comes to trailers. She also owns/runs The Host Movie News which is a fan site for The Host movie adaptation.

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