When you went to Siouxsie Sioux about doing a song for the finale, what did you tell her that she wanted?
Bryan Fuller: It was interesting. She was like, "I want to write this song, and what are the things I should really be thinking about?" And I was like, "this is a love story. A love story between a full-fledged psychopath and someone who has nascent psychopathic abilities." Actually, Hannibal Lecter is not a psychopath; he's something else entirely. But it's a love relationship between two men: one of them is a cannibal, and one of them understands those cannibalistic instincts all too well. What she came back with was "Love Crime," and it was so Bond-ian, and it felt like a big, sweeping song, that, when I heard it, I said, "This has gotta go over the fight in the finale."
You talked before about NBC really indulging you over the years, and your own lack of interest in the procedural stuff. In a million years, would they have allowed you to come in at the start of the series with the season 3 aesthetic? Or did you have to slowly immerse them in the water and heat it up or else they'd have never let you get that far?
Bryan Fuller: Absolutely. We had to earn their trust. We had to be able to say, "This is the procedural version of the show." If the show was a huge hit, and really connected with an audience in a way that "The Blacklist" did, they would have said, "No, this is the format of the show, and you're keeping to it." But because the show wasn't a huge hit, and had a very niche but passionate audience, I think they saw no harm in allowing me to play.
Hannibal is a character who's had a long and successful run in other media. Why do you think this one didn't connect with a larger audience?
Bryan Fuller: I wanted to be very authentic to the tone of the books, and very authentic to Thomas Harris. And I think there is a version of Hannibal, say if you cast James Spader, or Hugh Grant as Hannibal Lecter, and leaned into the slightly campier, more accessible aspects of the films that we began to see in the later movies, then that might have connected in a way that pop culture understood Hannibal. But I chose to go back to the source material and make it as genuine to the source material and my fanfiction approach as I could, and give it a level of sobriety and dignity, even I look at the show as a very black comedy. It was very literary, it was very pretentious, and very niche. I can't say I'm terribly surprised that it didn't find an audience. Initially, there was a lot of fatigue with the character, and people felt the character was played out, and I heard from countless people how they weren't even interested in seeing the show because they weren't interested in Hannibal Lecter again. But the casting of Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter gave us, for me, the best version of Hannibal Lecter. But perhaps not the most commercial.
腐勒：我想要非常忠实于原著小说的基调，和托马斯·哈里斯的基调。我想是有这么一个版本的汉尼拔、比如要是你选了James Spader【注：《罪恶黑名单》的男主演，另外也是妇联2的奥创XD】、或者Hugh Grant来演汉尼拔，然后使用更接近于系列后期几部电影的那种略装模作样、更亲和的元素，那么或许会跟大众文化所理解的汉尼拔挂上钩。但是我选择重新回到最原始的源材料中去，并尽可能地和这些原材料、以及我自己的同人角度保持一致，同时给它一种高贵庄重的感觉。虽然我是把这个剧当成黑色喜剧来看的。它很文艺、它很高冷、它也很小众。我不能说我对它没有观众这件事感到特别惊讶。一开始，这个角色是有很多劣势的，人们觉得这个角色已经被演乏了，而我也听不计其数的人说过他们不想看这个剧，因为他们对汉尼拔·莱克特不再感兴趣了。但是对我来说，选择麦兹·米克森作为汉尼拔，是给了我们汉尼拔·莱克特的最佳版本。但或许算不上最商业化的版本。
Fans already seem to be speculating about Will and Hannibal’s intentions in that final scene — from your perspective, was Will hoping they’d die from that fall, or planning for them to survive? What was going through his mind in those last moments?
All season long, it had been developing this story of Will’s realization, even as he is going into Europe to track down his friend, that his agenda — as Chiyoh (Tao Okamoto) points out — is “I have to kill Hannibal in order to not become Hannibal.” And he gets so fed up with the machinations of the relationship and Hannibal sawing his head open and trying to get at his brain that he’s just like “f–k it, I’m done with you, I’m walking away.” And yet, as he states in the finale, that was all a ruse to get Hannibal to turn himself in. And so it was kind of a band-aid on a bigger wound, and then when Will is pulled back in to the Red Dragon arc, he’s asking Bedelia, “is Hannibal in love with me?” and Bedelia is saying “is this a ‘can’t live with him, can’t live without him?'” And essentially it is, and that’s sort of the conclusion Will comes to at the end, “I can’t live with him, I can’t live without him. This is the scenario where the least amount of people can die,” meaning, “the two of us.”
I think when Hannibal says, “This is all I ever wanted for you; this is all I ever wanted for both of us,” Will is forced to acknowledge that what they just experienced was actually a beautiful thing. He lingers on that feeling of, “it was beautiful and I will desire it again, and I will be chasing this feeling.” And as he said to Hannibal earlier, “I may not be able to save myself, and that’s just fine.” I feel like we were very honest with the audience in terms of saying exactly what Will does at the end — we said it a few times.
As you said, Bedelia and Will actually discussed whether he and Hannibal are in love with each other in the penultimate episode, and it feels like the show spelled out the answer fairly clearly, even if it’s not an overtly sexual love — but where do you think Will lands on that, in the end?
I think that’s what motivates the leap, is his realization that Hannibal was right all along. As beautiful as that felt to him, he understands that it is a place that who he is will not survive in, and so his option is essentially to pull the plug on the whole story, and that’s the only way he’s going to win himself back. It’s a sad gesture in so many ways, and it brings an interesting question to the strength of friendships. In my personal experience, I would say I’ve experienced more hurtful betrayals by friends than I have lovers, and friendships I’ve had in my life have been every bit as intense as relationships I’ve had that have been sexual, so there’s an aspect of that where nothing quite hurts as badly as a friend betraying you. In an infidelity, that type of betrayal between lovers, you understand the human nature and that the heart wants what it wants, and the draw of sexuality and the temptation of that, so you get how human nature is the betrayer in that situation. When it comes to a friend and it’s not about genitals, it’s about the souls, it cuts much deeper.
What’s going through Hannibal’s mind when Will takes them over the cliff?
I think he’s thinking, “Oh s–t, I’m falling!” [Laughs.] No, in seriousness, I think he’s feeling that embrace and that’s the first thing that he’s feeling, and even as he’s plunging into the Atlantic, he’s first and foremost thinking about the man he’s holding onto and the man who’s holding onto him.
How are chances of a revival looking at this point? Have you put a pin into it until after season one of “American Gods” is done, or are there still active conversations?
Martha De Laurentiis is investigating financing for a feature film and there’s any of a number of scenarios. Shows have come back years after they’ve been cancelled, and I’m never saying never because … as creatively daunting as it would be to tell that fourth season of Will and Hannibal’s story, I’m very excited by that challenge. If I’m terrified by something creatively, because I fear my ability to pull it off, that inspires me to work harder in order to accomplish it. So I’m inspired by it and I’m inspired by Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy as my partners on this show. That final exchange between Hannibal and Will, Hugh and I wrote that while we were talking about what the scene should be. I was like, “It’s very simple, it’s Hannibal saying this to Will…” and Hugh was like, “and Will would say ‘it’s beautiful,'” and I was like, “I’m just writing this down now and we’re gonna film that.” I miss that collaboration and I would love to engage in it again.
IGN: You’ve had a long term plan for this show for quite a while, but at what point did you know that the Red Dragon story specifically was going to end this way?
Fuller: About half way through the season, we knew that the great conclusion for Hannibal and Will, with everything they’ve experienced this season, would be for them to actually kill the Red Dragon together as two jackals taking down a wildebeest. That felt very organic. Then we started talking about Moriarty and Sherlock over Reichenbach Falls and how that was an interesting direction to go for us, because Sherlock survived. You get your cake and get to eat it too, where you have a big, epic finale where there are gasps and apparent losses of lives and then you are able to continue telling that story by just simply saying “they survived the falls.”
IGN: Not that it wasn’t a clear part of the show to many people, including myself, before but the final two episodes especially got more explicit with the idea of this essentially as a tragic, gothic romance, including Bedelia and Will directly discussing Hannibal being in love with Will. Did it just feel like now was the time to be more overt with that conversation?
Fuller: Well it felt like it was -- it felt like they would be talking about it. It felt like he would ask that question. It wasn’t a strategy of “let’s wait and reveal this now,” it just felt, as we were writing those scenes, Will would ask that question because Hannibal’s behavior is indicative of someone who is obsessed and it seemed that Will would not be terribly bright if he hadn’t figured out there was some romance going on there. For me, Hannibal has always been a romantic horror story. Even from the get go of the series. I was fascinated by the idea of telling the story of a “bromance” between these two gentlemen that called into question how men relate to each other.
IGN: When they go off the cliff, it’s Will who pulls them off. Do you think Hannibal is a willing participant in that and accepting of that or do you think that’s all Will in that moment?
Fuller: I think he’s surprised in the moment that it happens. I think he’s surprised that it happens, but then a millisecond later he’s like, “Of course, that’s what he would do.” Because earlier in the episode, Will tells Hannibal very plainly that his survival is not necessary for him to accomplish what he wants to do, which is to end Hannibal. And he said very early on in the season or it was said very early on that if he doesn’t kill Hannibal, he fears that he will become him and that comes back to haunt him in the Red Dragon arc and we see how much joy he actually does take from killing another man, side by side with Hannibal Lecter. It’s operatic and poetic and also sickening.
IGN: When Dolarhyde is going to kill Hannibal, there’s a great moment with Will calmly drinking his wine, watching this go down, because this is what his plan is. But then right before Dolarhyde stabs Will it looks like Will is reaching, like he’s going to pull a weapon. At that moment, might Will have changed his mind?
Fuller: Yeah, I think that in that moment… What Will was afraid of -- and the reason that he co-opted Dolarhyde into his plot, in as much as Dolarhyde felt that he was co-opting Will into his plot -- was Will’s fear was that when it comes right down to it, he cares too much about Hannibal to kill him but kill him he must.
IGN: One small clarification I wanted to ask is Will and Jack come up with this plan -- well, Will first suggests it -- about using Hannibal as the bait but the one thing that we know that Jack doesn’t know is that Dolarhyde has already attacked and spoken to Will. Is it safe to say that Jack does not know that at all during all of this?
Fuller: Yes. Jack is assuming that Will knew exactly when he did, which is that Dolarhyde may have survived. The interesting part of Jack Crawford going along with the plan is that, if you remember in the Italian chapter, Jack says he didn’t kill Hannibal Lecter because he needs Will Graham to and that sentiment is still haunting Jack. I think in the back of Jack’s mind, he knows that it is highly likely that this is going to go off the rails. But when it does go off the rails, it’s also highly likely that Hannibal Lecter and Francis Dolarhyde and perhaps even Will Graham will be dead and all of those things are sadly acceptable in Jack Crawford’s mind.
IGN: Reba’s final scene was another where you got to really pull direct quotes from the book. But here, I was reading it as Will can also be projecting about himself, as he talks about what it might be like to have a serial killer in love with you. Was that in your mind too, given you had these great quotes from the book but that it could definitely be maybe be a bit more of an echo here, given the situation.?
Fuller: Oh, absolutely. It was a great synchronicity of events where everything that Will was saying to Reba in the novel actually applies to Will Graham in the television series. So there was the want of seeing that scene because I haven’t seen it in any of the adaptations where we get to see Reba, post all of this, and have a quiet moment between the two people who were in love with serial killers.