David Lynch and Hannibal Lecter

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Mr. Reindeer
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David Lynch and Hannibal Lecter

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:37 pm

Most DKL fans are probably aware that he was attached to adapt ‘Red Dragon’ to the big screen (the De Laurentiis production that eventually became Michael Mann’s ‘Manhunter’), but backed out because he found the subject matter too lurid. (In a ‘Dune’-era interview when he still had his eye on ‘Red Dragon’ as his next project, he clearly is already uneasy with the source material and sounds like he is trying to sell himself on the project. One element that interests him is the intuitive/empathetic FBI agent, and another is the nature of evil. One can’t help but wonder what influence, conscious or otherwise, his thoughts on this project may have had on certain future works.)

Peak TV junkies also likely know that Bryan Fuller has repeatedly listed DKL as a major influence on all his work, but particularly his version of ‘Hannibal,’ which he started as an attempt to create a Lynchian take on Thomas Harris’s world, and which by the first half of the third season had evolved into a dreamy moodscape almost devoid of plot which in some ways anticipated TP:TR.

Another connection I just became aware of while viewing bonus features on ‘The Silence of the Lambs’: director Jonathan Demme approached Anthony Hopkins for the role of Lecter, during a period when Hopkins had given up on Hollywood and returned to the London stage. Hopkins asked why Demme sought him out, and Demme said it was due to his performance in ‘The Elephant Man’! (Both Hopkins and Demme corroborate this.) A perplexed Hopkins pointed out that Frederick Treves was a kind, good man, and Demme said that’s exactly how he wanted Hopkins to play Lecter: as a kind doctor. I would argue that the actual portrayal went a rather different direction ultimately, but the fact is that we likely never would have seen one of the most iconic performances in cinema history without DKL’s indirect influence!

Sorry for the ramble, but I’ve been revisiting the Lecter novels and films and found it fascinating how many times DKL has influenced the series indirectly.
IcedOver
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Re: David Lynch and Hannibal Lecter

Postby IcedOver » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:56 pm

Too lurid? Considering some of his work, I can't believe he thought that novel was too lurid, or considered it a bad thing. I loved that novel, and the idea of Lynch having done it is very interesting.
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Mr. Reindeer
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Re: David Lynch and Hannibal Lecter

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:47 am

IcedOver wrote:Too lurid? Considering some of his work, I can't believe he thought that novel was too lurid, or considered it a bad thing. I loved that novel, and the idea of Lynch having done it is very interesting.


I believe his exact words at one point were that he found the world “real violent and completely degenerate.” I agree with you that Blue Velvet and many of DKL’s other works are arguably more violent and “degenerate” than Red Dragon, where almost all the violence is “offscreen,” but he’s also never done a serial killer film. So maybe that particular headscape just made him uncomfortable.

It struck me while I was rereading the novel ‘Hannibal’ that that work is similar to TP:TR in many ways, in the way that its narrative is much looser and more rambling and experimental than its predecessors, its view of the characters’ world seems to have become colder and more cynical (particularly the treatment of the FBI, where everyone except the ineffectual Jack Crawford is suddenly a misogynistic oaf), and it subverts the audience’s expectations about what it means to get lead character Clarice back, refusing to let her be the strong heroine of the prior novel.

(BTW, I don’t necessarily agree that TP:TR is a particularly cynical work, but I know it’s been a common complaint.)

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