Why Didn’t Hannibal Do The Silence of the Lambs Story Before It Was Canceled?

Hannibal the tv show is generally considered one of the greatest adaptations of existing material Hollywood has ever produced. Showrunner Bryan Fuller dipped into the world of Thomas Harris’ crime novel series to give us a fresh new look at Hannibal, the cannibalistic psychiatrist, and his supporting characters. In an interview with Collider, Fuller explained how studio in-infighting prevented them from adapting Hannibal’s best-known storyline, The Silence of the Lambs, for the show.

Silence of the Lambs is owned by MGM. What happened early on and why there was sort of a sticking point for us with the Clarice rights is that MGM was originally working on a deal with Martha De Laurentiis that had everything in one package, and then Gaumont came along and offered Martha a significantly greater deal that MGM couldn’t match. So there’s been a little bit of animosity between the studios because MGM’s like, ‘Hey, you were gonna do it with us,’ and she was like, ‘Yeah, but you didn’t give me the better deal,’ and they were kind of upset about that. So that’s why it’s been sort of a sticking point to try to get the Clarice rights because they were like, ‘Why would we help you when you…’ They’re basically Bill Pullman in Sleepless in Seattle.”

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The Silence of the Lambs sees rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling seeking the aid of notorious prisoner Dr. Hannibal Lecter in stopping ‘Buffalo Bill’, a serial killer who skins his female victims and wears their hides. The 1991 adapation of the novel made the character of Hannibal, played by Anthony Hopkins, one of Hollywood’s most iconic villains, and fans of the story will surely love to see Fuller adapt the novel for a new generation in a modern setting.

Of course, while ill-feeling towards the incident made MGM refuse to play ball at the time, time heals all wounds, and it is quite possible that the rumors brewing around a new season of Hannibal could also include a fresh take on The Silence of the Lambs, something that Fuller has spoken about wanting to see happen in a past interview, with an actress of color playing the role of Clarice Starling.

“If we get the chance to tell The Silence of the Lambs, I think it would be very interesting to have a black or non-white Clarice because as much as you want to say, ‘Oh, race doesn’t matter!,’ race totally matters. Race totally changes your point of view. It’s a different experience. That would be something that would make that story worth telling again, in a way that we could do what we did with Red Dragon and Hannibal with that character. I hope we get the opportunity to do that. I would love to see Hannibal: The Silence of the Lambs and see Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal with Clarice Starling. As long as I’m alive, I’ll be trying to do that.”

This latest news on Hannibal and the Silence of the Lambs comes to us direct from Collider.

Neeraj Chand

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