‘Hannibal’: Bryan Fuller Got the Job Almost By Accident

The Hannibal Lecter story has been told and reimagined throughout the years. There have been many versions of the story about the cannibalistic psychiatrist told through books and adaptations. However, in 2013 writer Martha De Laurentiis sought out to tell a different story altogether about Hannibal and his profiler.

The story showed how two lives got intertwined through mutual insanity in a way that had never been explored before. Although the show lasted for only three seasons, it captivated audiences in a stylish and visually arresting manner. The show had some interesting facts, and one of them involved Bryan Fuller’s chance at the gig.

‘Hannibal’ was the only one of its kind that didn’t involve the original cast

Bryan Fuller
Bryan Fuller | Amanda Edwards/WireImage

Over the years, viewers have gotten used to associating Hannibal Lecter with Anthony Hopkins. Understandably so, Hopkins did justice with the character and managed to bring chills down anyone who watched the movies. Additionally, his profiler played by Jodie Foster seemed like a match made in heaven or hell, depending on how you want to see it.

When 2013’s Hannibal premiered, audiences and critics alike praised it. The reviews for the show were through the roof as publications such as Variety called it the “tastiest drama the network has introduced in a while.” Although reviews were primarily positive, NBC decided to call it quits on the show.

Critics failed to understand why a good show would receive the ax so soon. However, as CBR reports, the show’s cancellation was in part due to the abysmal ratings. Hannibal was without a doubt one of the greatest stories ever of the franchise, but Hopkins and Foster’s loud absence from the show might have driven audiences away.

Additionally, De Laurentiis believed that the show’s cancellation also happened because of high piracy levels. The writer admitted that about a third of the show’s viewers illegally watched it, which hurt the show’s ratings in the long run.

The details on the show were too good and too real

A psychopathic thriller like Hannibal needs to deliver visually captivating cinematic displays to make everything convincing, and Hannibal didn’t spare any expense in that area. Various publications praised Hannibal for its on-point attention to gruesome cannibalistic details.

As it turns out, there might have been more truth to what critics said than they realized. One scene in the show’s second season involved a gruesome mural of dead bodies. While the production team employed CGI to design how the bodies were laid, the filming was actual.

The production team reportedly got actual human beings who stripped down on the floor and played dead. They were painted on, and the ground got warmed to prevent hypothermia. Another thing that Hannibal Lecter was known for was his expertise in the kitchen.

For someone who enjoyed eating his kind, Hannibal sure did know his way around the kitchen. When they were making the show, the cast and crew sought the help of a professional chef to get the culinary aspects of the scenes down. The chef enlisted with the task helped Fuller break down every edible part of the human body and developed the recipes that made it to the show. Creepy.

Fuller got the job by accident

Fuller didn’t intend on being part of the cannibalistic psychiatrist show. He had, however, been an avid fan of the novels and had some insight to offer when his long-time friend Katie O’Connell asked for his opinion on the character. Mental Floss reports that Fuller bumped into O’Connell on a plane, and they discussed the character’s development.

Fuller asked O’Connell if her company had rights to Red Dragon because he thought one line in the novel had a connection to Lecter more than most people knew. His opinion of the cannibal ultimately helped him snag a meeting with De Laurentiis and NBC, and that was how Fuller became involved with developing Hannibal Lecter’s complex character.

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