Hannibal Lecter enjoyed a successful TV series. Now, CBS is looking to follow the path of Clarice Starling after the events of The Silence of the Lambs.
Jonathan Demme’s film adaptation of Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs was historic for a myriad of reasons, but perhaps highest among them was its horror-film stature leading to a sweep at the 1992 Academy Awards.
It made Anthony Hopkins an icon for his portrayal of charismatic cannibal Hannibal Lecter, a role he’d reprise twice more (in the sequel Hannibal and the Lambs prequel, Red Dragon).
To this day, it’s impossible not to be in a group where someone doesn’t, after several drinks, inevitably try their hand at impersonating the legendary “fava beans and Chianti” line.
Harris himself returned to the Lecter mythos with Hannibal Rising, which was brought to the screen in 2007, to little fanfare.
Perhaps the reason for this was similar to why some horror fans rejected Rob Zombie’s Halloween – in crafting a backstory for a character so iconic, it removed all sense of mystery and menace.
And Michael Mann gave us Manhunter in 1986 (the original adaptation of Harris’ Red Dragon). That film that holds up far better than some in the Lecter saga, but that didn’t stop NBC from bringing Lecter and Will Graham back for the well-received Hannibal series.
Maybe that’s why, with the critical success of Hannibal , FBI Agent Clarice Starling (played by Jodie Foster in Lambs) is getting her own show.
Per the CBS press release:
"“…starring Rebecca Breeds (Pretty Little Liars) in the title role, [Clarice] is a deep dive into the untold personal story of brilliant and vulnerable FBI Agent Clarice Starling as she returns to the field in 1993, six months after the events of The Silence of the Lambs. Kal Penn, Nick Sandow, Michael Cudlitz, Lucca De Oliveira and Devyn A. Tyler also star.”"
While the show is being executive-produced by Jenny Lumet and frequent J.J. Abrams collaborator Alex Kurtzman, this universe-expansion has me hesitant.
As a character, I love Clarice Starling as much as any other cinephile. But I can’t help but wonder how many original icons-in-the-making there are in the unproduced scripts that circulate around Hollywood. Maybe give one of those characters a chance to capture our imagination with something new, rather than returning to the familiar?
Are you interested in watching Clarice? Let us know what you think about the new CBS series in the comments.