Bryan Fuller on Hannibal, Gruelling Schedules, and Big Plans for Season 4.

Digital Spy‘s exclusive interview with Bryan Fuller contains a wealth of info and speculation on where the show could go if it is indeed picked up for a fourth season — here’s to hoping.

What I’m really looking forward to is that the show will depart from its formula for the first half of the third season. With Bedelia and Hannibal travelling to Italy after that horrifying cliffhanger involving Will, Jack, Alana, and Abigail, there’s no FBI, there’s no crime scenes, no Quantico.

“So that was a lot of fun to explore, and it felt like a breath of fresh air from not being in Quantico, and not having FBI scenes where they’re talking about the murder clues. It was so liberating that I think if we do get a season four, there’s going to be a lot more of that than there will be anything FBI-oriented.”

 Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter in Season 4 
Of course, seeing all that history between Hannibal and Bedelia play out will be a lot of fun for us (and I couldn’t be more thrilled that Gillian Anderson is a series regular for this season), but is it as much fun for Hannibal and Will to be separated as it is for us? Surely not!

“[Laughs] Well it’s interesting, because the first episode is really about Bedelia and Hannibal, and there’s just a hint of… ‘Wouldn’t this be better if it were me and Will Graham?’ In terms of Hannibal thinking that, and what he misses. Because Bedelia will always be Hannibal’s psychiatrist, she’ll never be necessarily as intimate and passionate in her relationship with Hannibal as Will and Hannibal are. You get a sense of yearning that these two men have for each other and their friendship, and what it meant to them and how much they miss.”

 Hugh Dancy as Will Graham 
As a huge fan of Richard Armitage, I got stupidly excited about him playing Francis Dolarhyde, the very, very deranged family serial killer.

“I wanted to see the tiger scene, I wanted to see more of the relationship between Francis Dolarhyde and Reba McClane, and I would say Richard Armitage is in the show almost as much as Hugh and Mads are in the second half of the season. So we really spend a lot of time with Dolarhyde, in a way that neither of the movies have had the real estate to. […]
“[…] Richard blew me away and just made it his own in the way that Mads has made Hannibal Lecter his own. 

“The crew love this guy, but they were also terrified of him, because when he was in character and he was doing some insane stuff, he’s a big man who does some scary things very well.”

To completely change the subject — some of what Fuller has to say also sheds light on how badly even a show like this is being treated by its network, NBC.

“It’s so hard to do a crafted television show in eight days [per episode]. For the first two seasons we actually had eight-day episodes, and then an additional day or two of second unit, and massive overtime. 

“That was how we barely pulled off the first two seasons, and then coming into the third season, it was essentially trying to squeeze all of that into seven days, with no overtime and no second unit, and it blew up in everybody’s faces. I was saying, ‘This isn’t gonna work, this isn’t gonna work’, and then on day 3 of production I was like, ‘This really does not work’, because we were not completing episodes. 

“[…] And I’d been squawking about that for four months, saying we’re in trouble, and then finally after four months we realised where we were and had to push back, because the show wasn’t done.”

I mean, one episode in eight days? For the sake of comparison — Steven Moffat recently commented on working on Doctor Who being pretty much akin to marrying the show, seeing as they shoot for months, en bloc, with little downtime. Doctor Who productions lasts for several months, for, on average, twelve to fourteen episodes per series. If principal photography on Hannibal took eight days per episode, that would 104 doors, 3 months and a half. Production on Doctor Who Series 9 begun in January, they’re still not done and will probably take another two months until the episodes will be broadcast in autumn.

So I’m just saying — I’m really not surprised that Fuller finally pushed for a summer broadcast. I can’t even imagine how they got the first two seasons done at all. This struck me because I often forget how precarious the situation can be even for hugely successful shows like Hannibal. And then I remember that that’s because these shows may be critically acclaimed and have a huge-bordering-on-ginormous fandom (what the media like to label a ‘cult following’), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that those shows make the fuckload of money that the networks might want to be seeing, or necessarily get the ratings that we’d think they’d get. I guess that’s where the fandom’s preemptive pessimism where Bryan Fuller shows are concerned comes from — if it gets more than one season, it’s because hell froze over and pigs learnt to fly.

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