April 04, 2013 5:43pm EST
In 1991, Anthony Hopkins won an Oscar for his brief, but memorable role as Hannibal Lecter. Hopkins' disappearance behind the shroud of the cannibalistic doctor's psychotic charm turned author Thomas Harris' character into a Hollywood brand. The previous iteration of the character — 1986's Manhunter — would be ignored. Hopkins owned the character now, and would reappear in Hannibal, the prequel Red Dragon, and pass the torch to Gaspard Ulliel for the prequel origin story Hannibal Rising.
In a surprise to no one, multiple attempts have been made to bring Dr. Lecter to the small screen, with one finally having slashed its way into existence. Tonight begins NBC's Hannibal, which recounts the action back before Lecter was locked up, muzzled with his iconic jaw guard. In this version, Special Agent Will Graham (previously played by William Petersen in Manhunter and Ed Norton in Red Dragon) is once again investigating grisly murders, pulled from his classroom safehaven to solve crimes that require his unhinged brain, capable of recreation and full immersion. His boss, Jack Crawford, is in desperate need of Graham's intellect, but he knows his frail recruit could snap at any minute. So he hires a psychiatrist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, to keep tabs on him.
Hannibal preys on our expectations of the franchise, finding new motivations and arcs for familiar characters that keep us looking for clues. Creator Bryan Fuller is as calculated as his diabolical character when setting up threads for the show: there are mysteries immediate and gestating, all presented with stylish, down-right-frightening imagery.
Is NBC's latest hour-long for you? Here's the real skinny on Hannibal:
Actors you'll know: Hugh Dancy (The Jane Austen Book Club, Martha Marcy May Marlene), stars as Will Graham, Laurence Fishburne jumps from CSI to costar as Crawford, and Casino Royale villain Mads Mikkelsen slips into the role of Lecter, bringing a new dimension to the character. His Hannibal the Cannibal (who we won't see doing much murdering in the early episodes of the series), is a bit of a playboy in Hannibal: cunning, suave, and handsome. The perfect cover-up.
5 Reasons You Might Want to Watch: If you're a fan of Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal modernizes the movie's sparse look and procedural structure — mostly because it's been overdone by other television shows. It feels right, more cinematic than any of NBC (or other networks) stabs at the same experiment. Plus: Mikkelsen is creepy as all hell, Dancy finds his own way to leave our heads spinning, and gasping every five seconds at what new murder has been committed is part of the fun. And a Shining reference in the first episode! Nice touch.
5 Reasons You Might NOT Want to Watch:Blood. Guts. Blood and Guts. A slightly annoying ensemble cast who offer quips in-between the slow burn drama. So much blood (then again, if that's your thing, this is a positive!).
Love it or Leave it? Hannibal is one of the boldest network shows I've ever seen. And not only in terms of gore (of which there is an amazing amount). TV is often cited as a writer's medium, but in a rare instance, Hannibal feels like a director's show. David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night) helmed the pilot and it's slick and unsettlingly composed. The style of putting us in Graham's mind never feels like a gimmick, slipping in and out without warning, leaving us on edge from beginning to end. It's a freaky show, and looking ahead, it gets freakier. Stick with this one.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: NBC]
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September 03, 2012 5:00am EST
The 59 year old was billed to both star in and produce the pilot about a widowed hitman, which he helped develop, for U.S. cable channel Cinemax.
But, according to Deadline.com, the actor has quit the project due to professional differences.
June 20, 2012 2:07pm EST
Instead of following a ragtag team of brutes hired for a suicide mission to destroy an Earth-bound meteor Seeking a Friend for the End of the World plays out the apocalyptic "what if?" scenario from the everyman vantage point. Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) the film pairs average joe Dodge (Steve Carell) with wallflower Penny (Keira Knightley) for a journey across the east coast a hunt for Dodge's college sweetheart. Scafaria takes a character-first approach to her anti-blockbuster examining the end of the world with a pitch black sense of humor. But the road trip loses steam as it chugs along with the film's insistence to avoid Hollywood disaster tropes taking a toll on the entertainment value. Dodge and Penny are so normal they aren't that interesting to watch. In turn neither is Seeking a Friend.
Worse for Dodge than the whole "destruction of humanity" thing is the fact that he's facing it alone; his wife leaves him he has no real family and he hates nearly all of his friends. While everyone he knows is either hooking up or shooting up in hopes of going out on a high note Dodge buckles under the weight of an existential crisis that feels all too familiar. To his rescue is next-door neighbor Penny who insists the two hit the road together to go find Dodge's one-that-got-away. They don't have much of a choice as New York City is quickly overrun by Malatov cocktail-hurling riots.
When the catastrophe and societal chaos is seen through Dodge's eyes and Carell's complex interpretation of the straight man Scafaria hits all the marks. Watching Dodge tell his cleaning lady to go home because "What's the point?" is heartbreaking while his good friend's descent into frat boy madness for the same reasons nails mankind's vile tendencies. And through it all it's funny thanks to Carell's impeccable timing. When Dodge is eventually paired up with Penny the film meanders the two never unearthing what it is about each other that keeps them sticking together. The duo run into a kindly truck driver (who's hired an assassin to off him when he's unaware) a TGIFriday's-esque restaurant full of zany drugged up waiters and even one of Penny's ex-boyfriends whose locked down with automatic rifles and Ruffles chips in anticipation of the end. But Dodge and Penny's quest is mostly about the in-between moments the quitter grounded human reactions to the apocalypse. Even with great performers at the helm Seeking a Friend doesn't organically shape those moments so much as contrive them. In one scene Penny fondly recalls the wonders of listening to music on vinyl Dodge listening carefully and learning. It's a soft and low key discussion perfect juxtaposition against the big-scale problem at hand but when a twenty-something is explaining records to a guy nearing 50 it comes off as twee instead of truthful. The problem infiltrates most of Seeking a Friend's character moments.
Scafaria has an ear and eye for comedy but Seeking a Friend boldly reaches for something more. Sadly ambition doesn't translate to success a messy tonal mix that fail to make it all that engaging or emotional. Carell and Knightley serve the material as best they can but this is the end of the world an even that requires a little weight a little sensationalism and a little more than a casual road movie.
August 24, 2011 5:00am EST
The former CSI: Crime Scene Investigation star and his wife Gina Cirone used a surrogate for the birth.
The twins - a boy and a girl - were born prematurely last month (05Jul11).
Petersen tells People.com, "The babies are doing great and are improving every day and we can't wait for them to come home."
The actor and Cirone wed in 2003. Petersen is also a grandfather to his 36-year-old daughter Maite's two children.
August 03, 2011 1:15pm EST
The actress, who has portrayed Catherine Willows on the show for over a decade, has revealed she had planned to exit the cast earlier this year (11), but was persuaded to stay on.
Laurence Fishburne, who replaced CSI producer and star William Petersen, quit the show in May (11). Beloved TV star Ted Danson will take over from him when the popular drama returns later this year (11).
July 13, 2011 10:15am EST
The Matrix actor's contract on the series expired at the end of season 11 earlier this year (11), two years after he was cast to replace series regular William Petersen.
TV bosses have now appointed Danson as the show's chief investigator in a bid to boost ratings, and executive producer Don McGill knew the former Cheers star was perfect for the show as soon as his name was brought up.
He says, "From the moment we all started talking about the role, it was clear he couldn't be more perfect. Intelligence, wit, warmth, depth of character and emotion, he brings it all. And now he'll have to bring latex gloves, too."
Danson will begin filming on CSI in September (11).
June 08, 2011 5:00am EST
The Matrix star was handed a lead role in the Las Vegas crime show in late 2008 following the departure of Petersen, but the series has been plagued by plunging ratings over the last two seasons.
Fishburne's contract expired at the end of series 11 and will not be renewed for the upcoming season 12, according to the Hollywood Reporter. TV bosses are reportedly hunting for a replacement for Fishburne to star in the new series, which will kick off in the autumn (11).
April 29, 2011 9:48am EST
Hollywood has had lots to say about the American school system as of late and whether you choose to believe the information presented to you via eye-opening documentaries like Waiting For Superman or fictional phenomenon’s like Fox’s Glee it’s clear that our educational institutions are out-of whack at best broken at worst. No one has been able to depict this disheartening downward spiral quite like director Tony Kaye with his new film Detachment. In it the reclusive auteur focuses on just a few weeks in the life of Henry Barthes a substitute teacher who gets more than he bargained for when he takes a job at a fledgling high school and in the process gives parents professors and kids a much-needed wake-up call.
In this short period of time Kaye dissects the contemporary classroom with unflinching realism. The grainy worn film stock he uses for his verite’ photography coupled with topical subject matter ranging from child prostitution and teen suicide to parental negligence makes the movie appear to be more a documentary than a narrative feature but that’s where Carl Lund’s poetic screenplay comes in. His prose is simultaneously beautiful and brutal effortlessly supplying existential excerpts for star Adrien Brody darkly comic bits for fellow teacher James Caan and up-to-the-minute slanguage for the teenage students. He also uses this star-studded stage (the ensemble includes Marcia Gay Harden Tim Blake Nelson and Christina Hendricks among many others) to touch upon the larger sociopolitical issues effecting our schools and children lashing out at numerous initiatives/establishments like “No Child Left Behind” that we’re led to believe have been implemented to increase residential property values instead of grades. Though the script begins to sound like a sermon at times it’s not intrusive enough to become distasteful. Quite simply it’s brazenly truthful.
However excessive exposition can often hurt a film’s momentum and Kaye gets unnecessarily sidetracked with the painful back-stories of his characters. Brody’s Barthes is our central protagonist so the sub-plot involving his aging ailing grandfather is essential in defining him but the filmmaker forces insight into the lives of almost every teacher (and a few of the students) down our throats. Individually each vignette is heartrending but distracting; the majority of them have little connection to the main narrative. Collectively they illustrate many of the problems that contemporary families face and more importantly create an emotional crescendo leading into the inevitably tragic conclusion.
The brilliance of this casual buildup to the film’s climax is a nod to Kaye’s storytelling aptitude. I found him utilizing the kind of in-your-face filmmaking tactics that Spike Lee made commonplace in his early movies most noticeably with close-ups on a few actors who irritably address the camera head-on (like in Do The Right Thing). In addition he intensifies the action with quick cuts and aggressive push-ins that elaborate on each character’s crisis. Perfection clearly isn't his strong point; Kaye frames his shots sloppily at times and doesn't attempt anything groundbreaking but maximizes the potential of tried-and-true lo-fi techniques. His stylistic abilities are second only to Brody’s performance which is subtle sad and sweet all at once. We take an emotional and psychological plunge with the native New Yorker as he navigates a teenage wasteland of sex drugs violence and depression but it’s all just another day at school to America’s urban youth.
Long absent since his freshman feature American History X Detachment is a welcome return for Tony Kaye whose commitment to the integrity of this story is marked by unrelenting bleakness in its tone and uncensored cynicism regarding the state of our schools. He doesn’t portray every educator as a saint or every student as a sinner; through Brody he imparts on us the uneasy truth about the direct correlation between our failure as parents and the failure our children: we're one and the same. The true genius in his film is not represented in the text of his commentary but in his ability to forge an explanatory mosaic from his characters’ varying but related points of view. Because of this there are multiple mini-narratives that run through Detachment and all of them are worthy of your attention.
August 06, 2010 5:20am EST
William Petersen has joined the cast of Tony Kaye’s indie drama Detachment.
Along with CSI’s erstwhile Grissom, Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks has come on board as well as Lucy Liu.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the high school-set drama centers on a detached substitute teacher who becomes invested in the students and teachers at the troubled school where he works and grows close to a homeless teen who is also a prostitute.
Petersen will play a Vietnam veteran who teaches history; Hendricks will play a teacher who may be a romantic interest for Adrien Brody’s lead character; and Liu will play a school psychologist who grows frustrated with her students' incompetence.
Also starring in the picture are Bryan Cranston, James Caan and Marcia Gay Harden.
The script is by Carl Lund, with Bingo Gubelmann, Austin Stark, Benji Kohn and Greg Shapiro producing. Shooting recently began in New York.
April 20, 2010 9:15am EST
The movie actor landed a part in the crime drama in 2008, replacing series regular William Petersen.
Last summer (09), reports suggested TV bosses were keen to bring back Peterson to make a cameo as forensics expert Gil Grissom in a bid to boost falling ratings.
A source said, "The bottom line is that CSI just hasn't been the same without Grissom. He's the show's heart and soul. When Grissom left at the end of the ninth season... a lot of longtime viewers went with him.
"There was a brief ratings bump when Laurence Fishburne joined the cast at the beginning of last season, but the numbers have gone downhill ever since."
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has averaged 15.9 million viewers in the U.S. this year (10), a drop from the 18.8 million its ninth season attracted last season (09), according to the Hollywood Reporter.
But TV bosses are standing by their man and have signed Fishburne up for another season, keeping his character, Dr. Raymond Langston, on the show until 2011.