Hannibal Season 3 is “James Bond and Hammer Horror”

Bryan Fuller and Mads Mikkelsen on relocating Hannibal, dark comedy and Gillian Anderson

Mads Mikkelsen and Gillian Anderson as Drs Lecter and Du Maurier in Hannibal Season 3
Mads Mikkelsen and Gillian Anderson as Drs Lecter and Du Maurier in Hannibal Season 3

The third season of Hannibal sees our favourite cannibal psychiatrist transplanted from the wintry grimness of Baltimore to the magnificent city of Florence. Following the messy events of the second season’s finale, Dr Lecter is travelling incognito with his “wife” Dr Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson), and Mads Mikkelsen tells SciFiNow that the character is having a wonderful time.

“Well that’s where all the stuff he loves is, right?” he laughs. “That’s where the truffles are from, the wine, the great art is from. He had to escape that place, but now he’s back. It has been a privilege in the sense that we got the chance to go into what is probably his original element: Europe, the old land. And that’s just been fun to walk around the real palazzos and be in his right element.”

Completely removed from the presence of the FBI, Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne), Hannibal is able to cut loose. The new dynamic between Dr Lecter and Dr Du Maurier, combined with their lavish surroundings, allowed Bryan Fuller to explore new territory for the show.

“Yes, it was such a strange mix of tones that I think worked really well for us,” he enthuses. “Just looking at the first episode which is very Patty Highsmith and The Talented Mr Ripley, yet also a different level of black comedy for us in the series, and also I look at it and I see the DNA of all of its parents, in James Bond films and Hammer Horror films and it just feels like we’re doing something that we haven’t done in the first two seasons tonally, stylistically, narratively, that it just feels fresh and like a nice reinvention of the show without completely changing what the nature of the show is.”

Hannibal Season 3 andersonIt also gives us Gillian Anderson a chance to shine, bringing her character from the cold, clinical confines of a therapist’s office and out into the world and the gruesome reality of Hannibal’s life.

“We worked before right so we knew each other well but it’s been fantastic to have this much time,” Mikkelsen tells us. “And we dig into their past, which is obviously not a healthy past, not to mention their future will probably not be too healthy either. But she’s a fantastic wonderful actress and she’s an extremely funny person as well. So we had some good fun quality time together.”

“It does bring out a different kind of energy in the show because you have this suave sophisticated couple who seem almost like undercover spies as opposed to two people who are on the lam,” Fuller teases. “So we get to play up all of those wonderful archetypes of the spy thriller and going undercover in different identities to complete their mission as it were! And what has been so satisfying for me, not only with Gillian and Mads’ chemistry which is wonderful, but there is such a clever quality to Gillian’s performance where she’s balancing so much in terms of tone that she goes from these very serious pontificating scenes about the nature of what they’re doing to virtually a broader comedy of sorts.

“She navigates that so interestingly and always keeps it emotionally honest, but she is laugh out loud funny. You get to see a wonderful silliness to Gillian that is absolutely grounded in who Bedelia Du Maurier and how she’s crafted that character, so it was delightful to just see actors on this show doing things that they haven’t done before and still maintaing our tone. So it feels like a lot of walls were knocked down and we got to see further out into our environment and what we could accomplish on the show that we haven’t before.”

Hannibal Season 3 airs on 10 June exclusively on Sky Living in the UK. Read more exclusive interviews with Bryan Fuller, Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy in the new issue of SciFiNow.