Breakfast with Hannibal. That’s not what the NBC press reps were calling it, but the journalists present for the early morning Q&A panel on the show had a field day speculating on the possible culinary choices. Unfortunately the breakfast menu was the normal hotel convention food, but thankfully the panel made up for it.
Hannibal, now in its second season, is based on the Thomas Harris novel, Red Dragon, which investigates the early journey of forensic psychiatrist/serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and FBI agent Will Graham (Hugh Dancy).
Hannibal is probably one of the most well know psycho villains in the world. We all know what’s going to happen…eventually, but the road trip to reach that final act is fascinating, startling and sometimes very disturbing. It probably also says a lot about us, the audience, as well. We are the ultimate voyeurs.
Mads Mikkelsen is an excellent choice for this early version of the pervasive serial killer. After the panel he thoughtfully answered more questions from the press.
The Flickcast: Do you think Hannibal hits all of the points of being a psychopath, or what is he?
Mads Mikkelsen: I don’t think he is a psychopath. Reading about psychopaths, they normally have a traumatized childhood or something they’re suffering with, or struggling with. He doesn’t have that. He’s as happy as you can get. He’s a happy man. I have rarely given life to a character that is as happy as him, I must say.
FC: How much do you think he needs someone like psychiatrist Dr. Bedelia du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) to play off of?
MM: I think she has been a very important partner for him, in a sense that we will see a different side of Hannibal, and he will be quite emotional with her to a degree. Why he’s doing that, we don’t know. And I think that’s just his little space of freedom where he can be what he is. There is obviously a very unique and kinky relationship that they have, and we will address it a little more in this season.
FC: Hannibal is a very well-known character so has it been different then you thought it might have been going into it this. How did you decide to portray him the way you have?
MM: A lot of it is already in Bryan’s scripts. He’s already given life to the character to a certain degree, and then it’s up to me to step into those shoes. As I said before, any actor would color it somehow, and I’m coloring it – I’m trying, to a degree, to make him human. What he does is absolutely not human, but his emotions are true and honest.
FC: One of the creepiest things I noticed in Season 1 is you don’t seem to blink.
MM: Well, actually, I had an eye infection in one of the episodes, and I’m blinking quite a lot in that one. (Laughs.) Well, I mean, it depends on the scene. Some scenes he will catch his fellow man with his eyes. Other scenes he will try to behave like a decent human being and blink as well. So it’s not really something I’ve thought about, but I think you are right. To a degree, he will capture people with his eyes for a while, and other scenes he will play a different guy.
FC: You have a background as a dancer. How much does that inform your acting style, if at all?
MM: I’m not super-conscious about it. Any character I do will have a certain tempo or a certain pace or an energy. Obviously, carrying himself the way he does, Hannibal, it’s probably something to do with my background, but it’s not the kind of thing I do deliberately.
FC: What do you think of Hannibal’s style in clothing?
MM: It’s fantastic for me, because I normally walk around in running shoes, so for me, it’s a big transformation when I go in to the trailer and I dress up like Hannibal – it’s a big change.
FC: Yes, but his clothes maybe all designer but they kind of make him look dated.
MM: It’s not a designer thing. He’s having them handmade from his tailor, and he loves that period. You can see in his house – everything has a kind of Art Deco style to it, and obviously filled out with some bird skulls and rhinoceros skulls and whatever, so he is from a different time. And so the suits are following him in that sense as well.
FC: Do you have a favorite scene or sequence you’ve gotten to do so far as Hannibal?
MM: There are so many. I do enjoy the little intimate scenes with Will. They’re starting out as a small, small friendship and it becomes bigger and bigger, and now obviously it’s broken, and now we have to mend it, repair it. There have been quite a few scenes where Hannibal is playing his cards wrong, and Will is getting the upper hand in this season to a degree, and it’s quite interesting.
FC: You’ve compared Hannibal to Lucifer. Is he becoming more like Lucifer or less as you go along?
MM: He is Lucifer. He is the fallen angel. The thing about him is that he’s honest – he’s honest with his emotions regarding Will. He’s having a hard time here trying to regain his friendship. That’s uphill, of course, but that’s his main target in this season.
FC: Are you a chief as well?
MM: Not really. I’m good at Asian food – I’m good at chopping.
HANNIBAL – NBC – Friday 10:00 PM – Yakimono (S2 E7) April 11, 2014