The disturbing yet gripping tale of "Hannibal Lecter" is carving its way into television this April. With a handful of films that have portrayed the eerie character in Thomas Harris' novels, the cast of Hannibal previewed the show as unique but parallel with the underlying storyline.
After Anthony Hopkins' chilling performance in Silence of the Lambs terrified and intrigued moviegoers, all four of Harris' Hannibal Lecter books have been adapted to film.
Now that the story is headed to TV, the cast discussed why the story has lived on since the first Lecter novel, Red Dragon, was published in 1981.
"I think it's very obvious that people eating other people has been scaring people since the beginning of days," said Mads Mikkelsen, who portrays Lecter in the series.
"We got gruesome stories of people doing it out need, out of ritual, and then we also have people doing it for fun. It's something we can't understand. We can't comprehend it, and those things we can't understand tend to trigger us and make us very curious."
Laurence Fishburne, who plays Special Agent and head of Behavioral Sciences "Jack Craword," added that not only does the incomprehensibility of Hannibal's actions intrigue but the odd likeability of his character also keeps viewers engaged.
"Hannibal Lecter, with respect to the performance that we know
and love from Sir Anthony Hopkins, is chilling and iconic and horrifying and terrible, but he was very clever in the fact that he made you like the guy," Fishburne assayed. "Ultimately, somehow he managed to make that horrible man very seductive."
Although the series contains the same principal characters—with a few new additions—as the book and films, it dives into a previously unexplored time in Hannibal's life: before he is initially found guilty of cannibalism.
"We wanted to take all the best elements of the books...and really tell the story of Hannibal Lecter in a way that we haven't seen before," said producer and co-writer Bryan Fuller.
"We've never seen him as a practicing cannibal and as a practicing psychiatrist, so this is an opportunity to tell that chapter of the story that hasn't been in any of the movies. So, it really is a unique part of his life."
Watch the video above for a full preview of Hannibal, which premieres April 4 at 10 p.m. on NBC.