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Return of the Dragon: Laurence Fishburne talks “HANNIBAL” Season 3!

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With Bryan Fuller taking his shot at editing FANGORIA #343, the wait for HANNIBAL to return has become an even more difficult endeavor for fright fans. However, Fuller was able to sneak FANGORIA onto the set of HANNIBAL last month, and we were able to catch up with the brilliant cast of the surreal series. Our third chat was with Jack Crawford himself, Laurence Fishburne, who returns for the brink of death to once again hunt Dr. Lecter…

FANGORIA: So, Jack Crawford did not die in the season two finale?

FISHBURNE: Correct. And the season opens in a very interesting way. You follow Hannibal, and then you follow Will, and then you follow Jack. You see where everybody is in these different places. They’re all sort of merging and converging on this city of Florence, and it’s very, very interesting because Will didn’t know, Jack didn’t know, Alana didn’t know; Nobody knew that Hannibal was killing people and eating them.

FANGORIA: What’s the relationship between Jack and Will like when they converge in Italy eventually?

FISHBURNE: Well it’s very strained to begin with, and as I think it has always been, though. I don’t think any of that really has changed; it’s just gotten more intense because now there’s this other component, which I think came up in season two, which is the Will-Hannibal relationship. That relationship has gotten so intense, and so deep that they’re sort of bonded. It’s almost as if they have this secret thing going on where the two of them are going to run off together and do whatever it is their gonna do.

FANGORIA: Will Jack have any face time with HANNIBAL this season? There was always a bit of comic relief in their dinners together.

FISHBURNE: They will be getting together. They will see each other. They’ll spend some time, but the dinners? I think that’s over.

FANGORIA: And can we expect another hand to hand fight like in the second season?

FISHBURNE: Oh, I don’t know if you’d call it that.

FANGORIA: Was there any highlight in filming season 3?

FISHBURNE: I’m very very happy to be working with people like Mads [Mikkelsen], Hugh [Dancy], Gillian [Anderson], Caroline [Dhavernas] and Richard [Armitage], who’s playing a great part in the third season. The best thing about HANNIBAL for me is the quality of the work that we’re doing. The actors involved, the production design, the cinematography, the look and the feel of it the show, etc.

The directors that I’ve worked with the most this season are Guillermo Navarro and Michael Rymer, and both have worked with a director named John Dalton. It feels like we’re making movies here; it doesn’t feel like we’re making television. We’ve got a little more leeway than we would have if we were working just for an American broadcasting network. If we were, there would be more restrictions placed on us. We couldn’t do some of the wonderful things that we’re doing. You know I just feel really, really, blessed and lucky to be doing work at this level.

FANGORIA: Having directed before, would you be interested in stepping behind the camera on HANNIBAL?

FISHBURNE: Directing HANNIBAL? No, I wouldn’t be interested in directing one of these. Certainly not at this point; if we were maybe into the fifth season of this show, if we’re lucky enough to get five seasons of this, then maybe. But, again this is a very unique and odd little show. It may seem on the surface like HANNIBAL is like a lot of other things that are out there, but I don’t think it is. I think the closest that I’ve see is PENNY DREADFUL, and that’s just thematically, not in terms of look or anything.

Hannibal - Season 3

FANGORIA: Did you have any specific references when you were getting ready to play Jack in season one?

FISHBURNE: Listen, here’s the thing: all the guys that play Jack in the Hannibal Lecter movies are guys who I think of as my uncles. I met Scott Glenn when I was fifteen years old as I was doing APOCALYPSE NOW. He was really, really sweet and kind to me. He was like a really sweet, kind uncle to me. He was great in that movie. He was fucking great in that movie, as he was great in THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, SILVERADO, and fucking SUCKER PUNCH. He’s just great.

I met Harvey Keitel when I was fourteen years old, auditioning for APOCALYPSE NOW. Harvey Keitel had the job on APOCALYPSE NOW and I shot a days worth of footage on APOCALYPSE NOW with him. You know, he was sweet to me; he’s from Brooklyn like me.

Dennis Farina is someone whose work I’ve always loved and admired. I never got a chance to meet the man and I regret that I never got a chance to meet him or act with him. He’s another guy who’s work is just pretty fucking flawless when you think about it, particularly as this character, you know. He made a great Jack Crawford. So I’m just honored that I get to play a guy that these guys who I loved got to play.

FANGORIA: Well what’s your take on the audience’s fascination of HANNIBAL as a character and his universe for all of these years?

FISHBURNE: It’s interesting because in MANHUNTER, you don’t get that sense, like the hook is not put into you with Lecter in Manhunter. He’s almost a non-event in MANHUNTER. This is coming from someone who’s only seen the movies; I’ve never read the books. You only get a little bit of a sense of it when Peterson leaves the jail and he’s just almost coming apart, and you’re like, “Well what the fuck is that about?” If you’d never read the books, you’d just go, “All right, whatever.” MANHUNTER was all about the Dragon, you know?

But what Hopkins managed to do was one of those cases of the combination of the right character with the right actor at the right moment. You know, Anthony Hopkins had been giving fucking brilliant performances for almost thirty years by the time SILENCE OF THE LAMBS came out. You figure his first movie is LION IN WINTER in 1968, so he’s been just doing it, and doing it, and doing it, and doing it. Hopkins had amassed a kind of weight and a kind of simplicity, and then you take that and you put Jodie Foster next to it. Jodie, by that time, had also been working for over twenty years. It was just magic, you know?

Even the cat that plays Chilton in that movie [Anthony Heald] is unforgettable. It’s a stock kind of smarmy character and a character we see in movies all the time, but for whatever reason, he’s unforgettable. There are some movies that are classics, and then there are some movies that you just forget. SILENCE OF THE LAMBS is not one of those movies that you forget.

FANGORIA: What was it like working with Guillermo Navarro?

FISHBURNE: It’s been the best. I mean, I love Navarro and I love his work as a DP; I love all the work that he did with del Toro. I mean, I’m a big HELLBOY fan and I’m a big fan of PAN’S LABYRINTH. All that shit that they did together is fantastic. For me, it’s been the best.

The nicest moment for me was he directed my wife, Gina Torres; I don’t think it was the first episode that she was in but whatever it was. When she came to work, they immediately started talking to each other in Spanish and he was directing her in Spanish, and it was fantastic! It was fucking great! She speaks Spanish and I don’t, and she still makes fun of me about that.

And the nicest thing Navarro said was that he worked with a lot of couples who are actors and we were rare because there was no competition, and that we just came to work with each other. That was a beautiful, beautiful compliment. Coming from someone like him, that was really sweet.

FANGORIA: Will Bella’s declining health affect Jack’s mindset as he searches for Hannibal this season?

FISHBURNE: He could be of two minds about it but he’s only of one mind about it and that is he’s gonna eventually lose her, ’cause it’s cancer and there is no cure. Those kind of deep losses  either drag you under or they make you stronger. I’ve got a feeling that it’s gonna make Jack stronger and make his resolve to continue to do the work that he does just even stronger.

HANNIBAL returns on Thursday, June 4th at 10 p.m. EST on NBC. HANNIBAL creator/writer Bryan Fuller will be serving as FANGORIA’s first Special Guest Editor for Issue #343; you can subscribe to FANGORIA here. Keep an eye out for more HANNIBAL coverage here at FANGORIA.com!

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About the author
Jessie Robbins
Jessie Robbins is a three-time college dropout with a taste for the macabre. Hailing from Southern Ontario, Jessie spends all of her free time watching horror films and writing about them at Ashes and Rashes (www.ashesandrashes.com) or talking about them on the Land of the Creeps podcast (www.landofthecreeps.blogspot.ca).
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