Exclusive Interview: Bryan Fuller on ‘Hannibal’ Season 3 & ‘American Gods’

Bryan Fuller Hannibal Season 2 Mads Mikkelsen Laurence Fishburne

It was a big day for Bryan Fuller. Not only was he doing interviews for the Blu-ray release of his critically-acclaimed TV series “Hannibal,” based on the novels by Thomas Harris, but the internet was all aflutter about a picture of Fuller and Silence of the Lambs star Jodie Foster. Would she direct an episode? Appear in an episode? It was the first thing we talked about, naturally, but by the time the interview ended it had already been debunked. Still, Fuller leaves the door open. 

That’s par for the course with the executive producer of “Hannibal.” He leaves a lot of doors open. His plans for Season 3 have already been discussed publicly – by himself, no less – but there’s still room for surprises. In this exclusive CraveOnline interview we find out how long fans will have to wait to learn exactly who survived the mass attempted murder at the end of Season 2 (be patient folks, it’ll actually be a while), and get Fuller to tease that another familiar villain from the Thomas Harris novels may be making their debut on the show next year… and no, it’s not Francis Dollarhyde from Red Dragon. He also gives us an update on his upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” for STARZ and announces the upcoming release of a “Hannibal” cookbook. Hurray!

“Hannibal: Season 2” debuts on Blu-ray on Tuesday, September 16. Season 3 of “Hannibal” will premiere in 2015.

 

CraveOnline: You’re such a mischievous scamp. What’s this business with Jodie Foster?

Bryan Fuller: Oh, that! That was nothing than me meeting her for the first time at the Emmy’s through a mutual friend. We had, of course, in the first season approached her to direct and so we have a basically open invitation to Jodie Foster to do whatever she wants with “Hannibal” in any capacity, should she choose. There is nothing real about it, that picture was just a “Nice to meet you, we both dabble in ‘Hannibal.’”

So you’re not going to make her, like, “Frances Dollarhyde,” with a “-ces” at the end?

If Jodie Foster wants to play Frances Dollarhyde, the role is hers. 

You’ve been so open about your plans for Season 3, I’m kind of wondering what’s left. You’ve gone on the record about how it’s going to be a combination of Hannibal and Hannibal Rising, it sounds so exciting but I’m wondering what you’ve got in your back pocket. Are there major shocks in store?

There are some twists and turns. Really the only stuff we’ve kind of let out officially are things from the book that we’re going to be reimagining. Exactly how we’re going to reimagine it I think is part of the fun. Yes, you’re going to be having a dish that has chocolate chips, and it has walnuts, and there may be some form of dough-based item… but there are also bananas. [Laughs.] So what is it going to be?

Which is brings me to a question I’ve been meaning to ask for a while, actually. When are we going to have a Hannibal Cookbook?

That is in development.

Really?!

Yeah, there’s a cookbook in development and there’s also a fantastic “art of making of Hannibal.” 

That’s really cool.

Yeah. Yeah, I saw some pages from it. It’s a gorgeous book.

So is it going to be all the recipes from the show, or are there going to be new creations, or ones from the books maybe?

I think “yes” is the answer to that question.

Fair enough. I respect that. How long until we find out exactly who survived the season finale? Are you going to make us wait until episode six?

You’ll know in the first four episodes who survived.

You really screwed with us in that episode. That was a shocker.

It was a fun one! It was a ball to see everybody go down.

Was that always part of the plan for Season 2? Or did you get a grinchy grin on your face at one point and go, “Haha! I got it!”

No, that was really always a plan, to end Season 2 with Hannibal leaving Jack, Alana and Will at death’s door. 

What about Bella? It seemed like you were teasing whether or not Hannibal was going to kill Bella? And then I had a theory that Hannibal was going to feed Bella to Jack at some point.

[Laughs.] I think Hannibal is, in some way… if there is a character that Hannibal is in love with, it would be Bella. I had this conversation with Mads [Mikkelsen] and Gina [Torres] about the scenes, particularly in the first episode in Season 2, where she was looking to euthanize herself, where I was like, “This is a love story. This is absolutely a love story between two people and when he’s watching her die, she and it are the most beautiful things he’s ever seen.”

Aw…! That’s kinda nice.

I think so! I think it’s sweet! [Laughs.]

Here’s a question about another side character: Scott Thompson, Special Agent Dr. Jimmy Price.

Yes…

A while back he said he had an identical twin. Is that just a throwaway line or do you think you’ll ever do something with that?

You know, we may. There may be some fun to be hade with Jimmy Price’s identical twin.

What about Miriam Lass? I realize that Anna Chlumsky’s attentions are divided [she co-stars on HBO’s “Veep”], but do you have any specific plans for her at some point in the future?

Absolutely. If it all works out with our schedule and hers, we have an open door policy for Anna Chlumsky and this show because that woman is a god damned delight, and I would love to keep telling Miriam Lass stories for as much as she wants to do, and HBO will allow her to do.

She was sort of a Clarice Starling analogue when you first introduced her…

Yeah!

I know you said that if you can’t get the rights to Clarice Starling, you’ll just get “Smarlice Shmarling.” Would she potentially be your “Shmarlice,” or would create someone entirely new?

I would love to do a Shmarlice Shmarling story with Anna and Miriam, if – and I don’t think this is going to happen – if “Veep” got cancelled after next season and all of a sudden she was available to do a series arc. I would love to build a series arc storyline around Anna Chlumsky and Miriam Lass in a really subversive way, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. So we are going to try to get her for as much as we possibly can but I think there’s a limit when you’re a regular on another show, how many episodes you can appear in on a show that’s not your home show.

You said you’re cherry picking some of Hannibal for the next season. Are you going to be saving some of Hannibal in case you get that far down the line and want to use it again? Like, you get past Silence of the Lambs and want to come back to it?

There may be some scraps [laughs] for us to use at that time, but we’re not using all parts of the buffalo, but we’re using a lot of it.

What about The Monster of Florence? Does that intrigue you at all for Season 3 or would you want to save that?

Oh… you’re a very clever man, William. We’ve been thinking about Il Mostro. 

You realize you’re on the record right now.

Yes. [Laughs.]

Where are we at on “American Gods?” Because that’s fucking awesome.

Right now we are breaking the third episode, and then if it does go, it would start filming sometime mid-to-late 2015 and probably wouldn’t be on anybody’s television until 2016. But that’s cruising along very nicely. It’s so fascinating to break story on “American Gods” and then break story on “Hannibal” because it’s like two completely different parts of my brain, divided.

Is it going to be like “Game of Thrones” where you follow the events of the book, or are you just using it as a jumping off point?

It’s basically the following the events of the books but expanding those events, and expanding the point of view to go above and beyond Shadow and Wednesday. In that way, as with “Game of Thrones,” there are dozens of characters that you’re tracking through the events and that’s probably the biggest similarities between the worlds, in that there’s a wide variety of characters at play. 

Do you have American Gods and Anansi Boys, or are you just focusing on American Gods?

I believe that we have permission to use – since Anansi Boys are in the world of American Gods – that we would be allowed to use those as well.

Again, bringing up “Game of Thrones,” another cable series based on a novel… George R.R. Martin is really involved in that. Is Neil Gaiman sitting in? Have you had meetings with him or is he letting you do your own thing?

Oh no, absolutely. Neil’s executive producing and he’s very involved. He’s given birth to the baby, raised to the baby, and now Michael Green and I are marrying the baby. 

Oh my!

So the relationship is similar in that way, where he is absolutely integral to the process and also very excited just to see it coming together in the fashion that it is.

He’s been writing some TV lately. Would you he possibly be writing any episodes of this?

He’d better!

He’d better?

He’d god damn well better. 


William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline’s Film Channel and the host of The B-Movies Podcast and The Blue Movies Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.