NBC Universal Media
Pass the fava beans and pour yourself a nice chianti, because our favorite cannibal is back when Hannibal returns for its second season on NBC. The show has been a surprising cult hit, with “fannibals” popping up on social networks like Tumblr and Twitter.
One of the ingredients to the success of this strange, macabre tale is the beautifully realized and atmospheric world of the show. Much of that world, from death tableaux to interior design, is created by production designer Matthew Davies.
Hollywood.com was lucky enough to talk to Davies about creating the world of the show and even got him to dish (pun intended) on his favorite death tableau:
How does production design help in creating the creepy world of the show?Every genre has its own aesthetic vocabulary, and Hannibal's world is especially rarified. The colour palette is tightly controlled, the death tableaux are carefully designed to invoke a kind of macabre beauty, and all our sets are designed from the ground up to meet the needs of character, camera, and narrative.
Can you talk about what went into making Hannibal's favorite rooms: the kitchen and the dining room?There is a lot of theater in Hannibal's world; the dining room has a baroque palette of deep cobalt blues, chocolate grays, and emerald greens. The language is laden with hedonistic excess, in addition to the vertically-stacked herb garden that grows from a massive 19th century etched mural, we have a gilt-framed painting of Leda and the Swan over the fireplace and themed floral displays that change and rotate throughout the episodes. If you look closely, you'll see that these displays include taxidermy animals, feathers, animal bones, insects, and other exotica.
The Kitchen is a professional chef's kitchen, all stainless appliances are working and the overall feel for performance is consistent with Hannibal's status as a master chef.
Additionally, Hannibal is intimately connected with a new environment: his bedroom. The walls are entirely upholstered with wool/cashmere suit fabric and the floors are antiqued, cerused oak. Either side the bed are old Japanese prints (Hannibal's aunt was Japanese) and the room is filled with other ephemera that true fans might recognize from Hannibal's literary past in Thomas Harris' novels.
There are a lot of over-the-top death tableaux on the show. What goes into creating those?With each new script, we meet with our showrunner Bryan Fuller to discuss how each tableau should look. Concept illustrators create finely detailed renditions for approval and then our Head of Prosthetics Francois Dagenais begins work, supported by Construction, Props, SFX, and Set Dec. Each tableau takes a couple of weeks to produce, and we will often re-shoot elements on special "insert days."
What was your biggest challenge so far on Hannibal?Time is our biggest worry on Hannibal: every episode shoots in just eight days. Imagine trying to shoot a feature film in eight days, coupled with immense set builds, SFX rigs, and planned VFX sequences.
On occasion, we've had as little as 48 hours to design, build, dress, light and shoot elaborate sets in studio. Conflicting actor availabilities, weather and all sorts of other obstacles often force us into around-the-clock schedules. At any time of the day or night, someone, somewhere is busting their gut to be ready for camera.
What's been your favorite moment working on the show?I really enjoyed the first season's episode in which we touched on human musical instruments - the prosthetics were macabre in the extreme and we researched and re-created an entire world of fabricating gut strings from raw material. The same episode also had a great fight sequence - I liked the spectacle of Hannibal's office becoming a fighting pit for the scene.
How do you use production design to visually tell the audience something about the characters?Think about it like this - in any single frame of the show, everything that is not the actors, is the design. It is quite literally everything that we know about the story and characters, other than what we perceive through performance.
It's the flesh on the bones; it's what makes the entire world of Hannibal feel plausible and yet so creepily peculiar. Bryan Fuller really believes that audiences demand good design in the shows they watch. I hope he's right!
Hannibal can be a pretty creepy show. What has been the creepiest assignment you've gotten on the show?We have scouted so many dark and disturbing locations, researched enough macabre story-lines for a lifetime's worth of nightmares, as well as pushed the envelope of television horror. We've had tapestries and totem poles of dismembered bodies, monsters and cannibals, killer pigs and dinosaurs. However, the creepiest place by far is inside Bryan's Fuller head. We're all his prisoners!
Hannibal returns to NBC on February 28 at 10 PM.
For these past few months, Mad Men fans have been forced to get their Christina Hendricks fix (Christina Henfix, if you will) from AMC's ceaseless roulette of Johnnie Walker commercials. Hendricks' character Joan has been conspicuously absent from the bulk of Season 6, dropping in for seldom more than a scene or two per episode — albeit occasionally quite substantial ones). But this week's chapter, "A Tale of Two Cities," lends focus to the Sterling Cooper & Partners (oh yes, they condense Draper, Chaough, Campbell, Pryce, Harry Hamlin, etc. into the all-encompassing "Ampersand 'P'," as Don calls it) ladder climber, offering up new professional opportunity for Joan, while maintaining the stronghold on her consistently poor fortune.
Joan Holloway was introduced as a villain of sorts, imposing the status quo over Peggy, an entity of the changes yet to befall the advertising company and the 1960s America in general. As the world around her ascends, represented by foil Peggy, Joan slips from a lonesome plateau to a desperate valley — their rivalry transformed to friendship as the playing field leveled, with Peggy empowered and Joan infused with a stirring humility. The later seasons have seen Joan near rock bottom, though not for lack of a rigidly dominant affect, for the crowd: her destitute marriage, her affair with Jaguar's Herb Rennick, her dwindling reverence among fellow Sterling Cooper partners. This week's episode allows Joan to grasp at a new beginning, mimicking the early climb of Peggy from secretarial to advertising departments.
A would-be blind date organically turns to a professional relationship when Joan meets an Avon representative, bringing the new potential client to the attention of Peggy and hoping, despite "protocol," to take the lead on roping in the account. But as far as everyone is concerned, that's not the way it's done here.
It's funny that the very mentality that identified Joan in the early days of Mad Men has become her adversary: Joan wants to advance. More than that, Joan wants to feel worthwhile. But standard practice entails that Pete Campbell head the next meeting... a standard practice that Joan shirks when she organizes a sit-down with the Avon rep, Peggy, herself, and nobody else. This enrages Pete, concerns Peggy (who goes to bat for Joan, but offers a holier-than-thou tongue lashing about her insolence), and rustles the feathers of, but otherwise doesn't inspire much consequence, from Ted Chaough. All this on top of the meeting having not gone particularly well sinks Joan to the bottom of a murky pit — her brave stab at initiative has landed her back in the poor graces and fleeting thoughts of the men who run her office. When is she going to get a win?
On the other side of the country, Don, Roger, and Harry high-tail it through the high-on-acid high societies of Southern California. Again with the drugs, Don fulfills his lack of despair over the Democratic National Convention protests by indulging in mind-altering drugs, facing a hallucination of Megan as he struggles to unite with the semblances of humanity that he so very sporadically experiences (there was that one when he said he loved Bobby for the first time a few weeks back... and... uh... um...).
And the Bob Benson mystery thickens when the rosey-cheeked young man halts an altercation between partner Hamlin and an agitated Michael Ginsberg, who identifies the advertising industry as "part of the problem," refusing to take on a new project. Appeasing both men, Bob allocates his reverence for the chain of command to Hamlin, and bucks up the passionate artist (and Jew! He makes sure to bring up the fact that he's a Jew!) in Ginsberg. Who the hell are you, Bob? Where do you come from?
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In multicultural L.A. different households put their own spin on Turkey Day chaos: An African-American mom (Alfre Woodard) deals with her stubborn husband (Dennis Haysbert) nosy mother-in-law (Ann Weldon) and other irritants. Vietnamese immigrants (Joan Chen Francois Chau) worry that they've become alienated from their Americanized kids. A Latina matriarch (Mercedes Ruehl) faces the unwelcome return of her prodigal husband (Victor Rivers). Old-fashioned Jewish parents (Lainie Kazan Maury Chaykin) fret over a visit from their daughter (Kyra Sedgwick) and her irreverent lesbian lover (Julianna Margulies).
With substantial parts for more than a dozen actors in its diverse cast "What's Cooking?" has first-class character players spilling out of the cupboards. Ruehl criminally underused by Hollywood since her Oscar for 1991's "The Fisher King " is a stand-out delight in the juiciest of the four central mom roles. The Kazan-Chaykin-Sedgwick-Margulies team is particularly on target working the comedy in the Jewish quarter of the story.
Anglo-Indian director Gurinder Chadha ("Bhaji on the Beach") pulls off the challenging feat of weaving her mostly unrelated plotlines together without losing narrative tension - a factor that has shot down many a similarly ambitious ensemble drama. At first the modest family-movie scenarios seem to be heading in a hopelessly feel-good Hallmark Hall of Fame direction but the script (by Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges) starts to cook with some zinger plot twists in the second act. And the multistory format so often an arbitrary device in such films actually serves a thematic purpose in this case - though you'll have to wait for the cleverly set-up ending to find out what it is.
The Writers Guild of America has announced its nominations for outstanding achievement in screen in 2002.
Antwone Fisher, Bowling for Columbine, Far From Heaven, Gangs of New York and My Big Fat Greek Wedding have been nominated for the WGA's best original screenplay award.
About a Boy, About Schmidt, Adaptation, Chicago and
The Hours meanwhile will contend for best adapted screenplay.
Antwone Fisher, Written by Antwone Fisher; Fox Searchlight
Bowling for Columbine, Written by Michael Moore; United Artists/Alliance Atlantis/Salter Street Films/Dog Eat Dog Films
Far From Heaven, Written by Todd Haynes; Focus Features
Gangs of New York, Screenplay by Jay Cocks and Steven Zaillian and Kenneth Lonergan, story by Jay Cocks; Miramax Films
My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Written by Nia Vardalos; Gold Circle Films/HBO/MPH Entertainment/Playtone
About a Boy, Screenplay by Peter Hedges and Chris Weitz & Paul Weitz, based on the novel by Nick Hornby; Universal Pictures/Studio Canal/Working Title Films/Tribeca Productions
About Schmidt, Screenplay by Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, based on the novel by Louis Begley; New Line Cinema
Adaptation, Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman, based on the book The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean; Columbia Pictures
Chicago, Screenplay by Bill Condon, based on the musical play, book by Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb and the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins; Miramax Films
The Hours, Screenplay by David Hare, based on the novel by Michael Cunningham; Paramount Pictures/Miramax Films
Animation--any length--one airing time (new category)
"The Bart Wants What It Wants" (The Simpsons), Written by John Frink & Don Payne; Gracie Films in association with 20th Century Fox Television; Fox
"Blame It on Lisa" (The Simpsons), Written by Bob Bendetson; Gracie Films in association with 20th Century Fox Television; Fox
"Godfellas" (Futurama), Written by Ken Keeler; 20th Century Fox Television; Fox
"Jaws Wired Shut" (The Simpsons), Written by Matt Selman; Gracie Films in association with 20th Century Fox Television; Fox
"My Own Private Rodeo" (King of the Hill), Written by Alex Gregory & Peter Huyck; 20th Century Fox Television Productions in association with Deedle-Dee Productions, Judgmental Films and 3 Arts Entertainment; Fox
Santa Baby! Written by Peter Bakalian & Suzanne Collins; Rankin/Bass; Fox
Original Long Form--over one hour--one or two parts, one or two airing times
Dor to Door, Written by William H. Macy & Steven Schachter; Turner Pages, Inc.; TNT
The Gathering Storm, Teleplay by Hugh Whitemore, Story by Larry Ramin and Hugh Whitemore; a Scott Free Production in association with HBO Films; HBO
Sins of the Father Written by John Pielmeier, based on the magazine article that appeared in Texas Monthly by Pamela Colloff; Artisan; FX
Strange Relations, Written by Tim Kazurinsky; Showtime; Granada Entertainment; Showtime
Adapted Long Form--over one hour--one or two parts, one or two airing times
"Batogne" (Band of Brothers), Written by Bruce C. McKenna, based on the book by Stephen E. Ambrose; DreamWorks/Playtone/HBO; HBO
Hysterical Blindness, Teleplay by Laura Cahill, based on the play by Laura Cahill; Hysterical Films, Inc.; HBO
Last Call, Screenplay by Henry Bromell, based on the memoir Against the Current: As I Remember F. Scott Fitzgerald by Frances Kroll Ring; Room 520/Barnstorm Films; Showtime
Mark Twain's Roughing It, Teleplay by Steven H. Berman, based on the book Roughing It by Mark Twain; Larry Levinson Productions; Hallmark Channel
Episodic Drama--any length, one airing time
"Game On" (The West Wing), Written by Aaron Sorkin & Paul Redford; John Wells Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television; NBC
"In Place of Anger" (Six Feet Under), Written by Christian Taylor; Six Feet Productions; HBO
"Nino Del Polvo" (Resurrection Boulevard), Written by Robert Eisele; Showtime; Viacom Productions, Inc.; Patagonia House; Showtime
"On the Beach" (ER), Written by John Wells; Constant C Productions; Amblin Television; Warner Bros. Television; NBC
Pilot (The Education of Max Bickford), Written by Dawn Prestwich & Nicole Yorkin; 20th Century Fox Television; CBS
"Whoever Did This" (The Sopranos), Written by Robin Green & Mitchell Burgess; Soprano Productions, Inc.; HBO
Episodic Comedy--any length, one airing time
"Change of Address" (Sex and the City), Written by Julie Rottenberg & Elisa Zuritsky; Darren Star Productions in association with HBO Original Programming; HBO
"I Heart NY" (Sex and the City), Written by Michael Patrick King; Darren Star Productions in association with HBO Original Programming; HBO
Pilot (The Bernie Mac Show), Written by Larry Wilmore; Regency Television in association with 20th Century Fox Television; FOX
"My First Day", (pilot, Scrubs), Written by Bill Lawrence; Touchstone Television Productions; NBC
"Plus One is the Loneliest Number" (Sex and the City), Written by Cindy Chupack; Darren Star Productions in association with HBO Original Programming; HBO
"Rooms With a View" (Frasier), Written by Dan O' Shannon & Lori Kirkland & Bob Daily; Grub Street Productions in association with Paramount Pictures; NBC
"The Wedding" (Ed), Written by Rob Burnett & Jon Beckerman; Viacom Productions in association with Worldwide Pants, Inc. and NBC Studios; NBC
Comedy/Variety---Music, Awards, Tributes--Specials--any length
The Kennedy Center Honors Written by Don Baer and George Stevens, Jr., Film Sequences Written by Sara Lukinson; A George Stevens Jr. Presentation - Kennedy Center Television Productions, Inc.; CBS
NBC 75th Anniversary Special, Written by Doug Abeles, James Anderson, Robert Carlock, Tina Fey, Charlie Grandy, Steve Higgins, Lorne Michaels, Paula Pell, Herb Sargent, Michael Schur, Michael Shoemaker; Broadway Video in association with NBC Studios; NBC
Comedy/Variety--(including talk) Series
Dennis Miller Live, Written by Eddie Feldmann, Jose Arroyo, Richard Dahm, David Feldman, Jim Hanna, Rob Z. Kutner, Kirsten McFarland, Dennis Miller, Jacob Sager Weinstein; Happy Family Productions; HBO
Late Night With Conan O'Brien, Written by Mike Sweeney, Chris Albers, Andy Blitz, Kevin Dorff, Jonathan Glaser, Michael Gordon, Brian Kiley, Michael Koman, Brian McCann, Guy Nicolucci, Conan O'Brien, Andrew Secunda, Allison Silverman, Robert Smigel, Brian Stack, Andrew Weinberg; Broadway Video; NBC
Mad TV, Writing Supervised by Scott King, Written by Dick Blasucci, Garry Campbell, Lauren Dombrowski, Bryan Adams, Bruce McCoy, Michael Hitchcock, Steven Cragg, Chris Cluess, John Crane, Jennifer Joyce, Tami Sagher, Devon Shepard, Rich Talarico, Jim Wise, Kal Clarke, Sultan Pepper, Bill Kelley, Maiya Williams, Dino Stamatopoulos; QDE/Girl Group; FOX
Saturday Night Live, Written by Tina Fey, Doug Abeles, Leo Allen, James Anderson, Max Brooks, James Downey, James Eagan, Hugh Fink, Charlie Grandy, Jack Handey, Steve Higgins, Erik Kenward, Dennis McNicholas, Lorne Michaels, Corwin Moore, Matt Murray, Paula Pell, Matt Piedmont, Ken Scarborough, Michael Schur, Frank Sebastiano, T. Sean Shannon, Eric Slovin, Robert Smigel, Emily Spivey, Andrew Steele, Scott Wainio, Jerry Collins, Tom David; Broadway Video in association with SNL Studios; NBC
Guiding Light, Written by Millee Taggart, Lucky Gold, Christopher Dunn, Tita Bell, Jill Lorie Hurst, Penelope Koechl, David Kreizman, Eleanor Labine, Alan Madison, Danielle Paige, A.J. Pierce, Janet Reed Ahearn, Susan Rice, David Rupel, Melissa Salmons, Eddie Sanchez, Lisa Seidman, David Smilow; Procter & Gamble; CBS
The Young and the Restless, Written by Kay Alden, Trent Jones, John F. Smith, Jerry Birn, Jim Houghton, Natalie Minardi, Janice Ferri, Eric Freiwald, Joshua McCaffrey, Michael Minnis, Rex M. Best; Columbia TriStar; CBS
Elmo's World: Happy Holidays!, Written by Christine Ferraro; Sesame Workshop; PBS
Off Season, Written by Glenn Gers; Showtime Networks, Inc.; Showtime
Our America, Teleplay by Gordon Rayfield, Based on the book "Our America: Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago" by Lealan Jones, Lloyd Newman and David Isay; Joseph Stern Productions; All Media, Inc.; Showtime
The Red Sneakers, Teleplay by Mark Saltzman, Story by Jeffrey Rubin; Lynch Entertainment, Tom Lynch Company, RS Productions, Ltd., Showtime Networks, Inc.; Showtime
Bioterror (Nova), Written by Matthew Collins; A Nova Production by the New York Times/ Granada Factuals USA and Lone Wolf Pictures, Inc., for WGBH/ Boston in association with Channel 4 Television; PBS
The Man Who Knew (Frontline), Written by Michael J. Kirk, Kirk Documentary Group; PBS
9/11, Written by Tom Forman & Greg Kandra; Goldfish Pictures, Inc.; CBS
Rollover: The Hidden Story of the SUV (Frontline), Written by Marc Shaffer & Barak Goodman; 10/20 Productions; PBS
Documentary--Other Than Current Events
America's First River, Part One, Written by Tom Spain; WNET/Educational Broadcasting Corp.; Public Affairs Television; PBS
Empire State Building Ironworker (A Day in their Lives), Written by Peter Hankoff; Termite Art Productions; History Channel; History Channel
Evolution of a Revolution (Founding Brothers), Written by Kelly McPherson and Melissa Jo Peltier & Allison MacEwan; MPH Entertainment Inc.; History Channel; History Channel
Monkey Trial (American Experience), Written by Christine Lesiak; WGBH Educational Foundation; PBS
News--Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin or Breaking Report
Attack on America Written by Jerry Cipriano, Paul Fischer, Thomas Harris, Hugh Heckman, Bruce Meyer; CBS Evening News; CBS
September 11th Controllers, Written by Jonathan W. Kaplan; CBS