Category Archives: Interviews

Hettienne Park talks NBC’s Hannibal

“The title of the show is not BEVERLY. It’s HANNIBAL.”

Hettienne Park, who portrayed crime scene investigator Beverly Katz on NBC’s HANNIBAL, took time away from her newborn baby (yes, I DO feel guilty about that), to talk to me about gallows humor, racism and sexism on TV, and of course, what it’s like to work on my favorite TV show of all time.

Spoiler Warning: We discuss a pretty major Season 2 plot point that’s related to her character’s story arc.

Question: How did you first get involved with the show?

Hettienne Park: I was performing in a play on Broadway and Bryan Fuller [creator of HANNIBAL] came to see the show. Later on, I auditioned for the role of Beverly Katz. And then I got offered the job.

Question: What about the initial meetings and/or script attracted you to the show and to the Beverly Katz character?

Hettienne: I remember reading the script for the pilot episode and I literally could not put it down. It was the best television script I had read — suspenseful, creative, unpredictable, profound, and seasoned with this great gallows humor. And Beverly Katz seemed like a real bad ass and sort of strange. At least that’s what impressed me about her.

Question: How familiar were you with Bryan Fuller’s earlier work?

Hettienne: I had seen PUSHING DAISIES and I loved the heightened reality and the whole look of the show. Once HANNIBAL was on my radar, I remember being immediately intrigued and curious when I realized Fuller was behind NBC’s HANNIBAL. It seemed like a complete 180 going from this colorful comedy about a pie-maker with these magical abilities to this intense thriller about the most dangerous cannibalistic serial killer in fiction. As it turns out, HANNIBAL is distinctly Bryan Fuller. It’s brilliant and so much fun to watch.

Question: How familiar were you with the source material and the movie adaptations? Some actors like to really dig into the source material and others like to free themselves of it and come to the part fresh — what approach did you take with HANNIBAL?

Hettienne: SILENCE OF THE LAMBS was already one of my favorite films so I was very familiar with Hannibal Lecter. And our show takes place before Thomas Harris’ RED DRAGON, which is before SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. I had only read RED DRAGON after booking the show. And Beverly Katz is only briefly mentioned in the novel. Then I watched MANHUNTER [the first film adaptation of RED DRAGON] after we shot season one, and Katz only briefly appears in the film. I guess I prefer going into things with my own ideas so I can feel creative. But if you’ve got the time and haven’t done it already, it’s amazing to read the novel and then see how Bryan adapts the source material to the TV show. And there’s so much in homage to the horror genre. It’s all in the details.

Question: The consensus is (and I agree) that you (and Scott Thompson and Aaron Abrams) brought a lot of humanity and life to characters that — on the page anyway — seem to be there simply to advance the plot. How much room were you given to find those creative opportunities to really make Beverly Katz come to life as a three dimensional person that viewers cared about?

Hettienne: It was fun to fill these characters out when they didn’t have much more to do than process crime scenes and provide some technical exposition. Bryan made it clear from the very beginning that he didn’t want any of us to just be generic crime scene guys you see on most procedurals. Plus with Scott Thompson and Aaron Abrams, there is no way they won’t bring humanity and life to their characters because they’re hilarious. I also talked a lot with our forensics expert who gave us a crash course training session before we began shooting. What these guys do, what they see, and how they cope is fascinating. Not that you necessarily see any of it, but I definitely tried to use all of that information and adapt it to Katz as much as possible.

Question: The original plan was for Beverly to die in Season 1, and you’ve said in other interviews that Bryan Fuller revealed that to you even before you started shooting the first episode. But when that changed, at what point were you informed that your character would be killed in Season 2?

Hettienne: Yes, Bryan told me at our first meeting what his plan was for Katz. Then while we were shooting season 1 he came to set and pulled me aside and asked if I would come back for season 2. He said he wanted to keep the rapport that Beverly and Will had established and then kill her during season 2 instead. So the only surprise for me was the manner in which Katz would bite it, which was pretty awesome.

Question: Do you play a character any differently knowing how her arc will end (in this case, in murder)?

Hettienne: No, I don’t think you can since there is no way the character is expecting to kick the bucket.

Question: Beverly Katz’s introduction in the pilot episode is the first real moment of humor in a very dark show. And from what I’ve read from you online, you seem to have a great sense of humor about life in general. Gallows humor, of course, is a part of how humans deal with the horrors in life, but how much of the humor in Beverly’s scenes is something you bring to the character, and how difficult is it to strike the right balance between drama and comedy in a show like HANNIBAL?

Hettienne: I think there’s a very thin line between drama and comedy. As you said, humor is how humans deal with the horrors in life. Some of the comedic dialogue came from the writers. And a lot came from us improvising. Bryan mentioned early on that he deliberately wanted comedic actors to play ZPK (Zeller, Price, Katz) because he’s smart like that. Man, I wish I had all the footage of the stuff that never got used. Laurence, Mads, and Hugh are all hilarious too.

Question: In your response to the accusations of racism and sexism directed at Bryan Fuller and the show following Beverly’s death, you wrote, “[if Bryan Fuller hadn’t made that choice] my character would’ve probably remained in the background processing crime scenes regurgitating technical exposition. Instead — albeit not for very long — he wrote enough for Katz to make people get to know her a little better, actually identify with her, and like her enough to care when she gets killed.” [Read her full letter HERE.] You’re addressing an interesting dichotomy: As an isolated story choice, it seems killing Beverly was the “right” choice; but in the greater context of cultural racism/sexism in entertainment, it’s the dearth of strong roles for women and minorities that makes such a story choice feel “wrong.” 

My question to you (finally, right?): Now that some time has passed, how do you look back on the controversy and it’s positive or negative impact on the larger diversity issue? And what signs if any do you see that suggest things might be changing for the better?

Hettienne: It’s absolutely a double-edged sword, I agree. I think if it wasn’t a show about a serial killer, I’d be more up in arms about the whole thing. Generally speaking, yes, of course, controversy is a great way to get networks and studios to take notice and maybe think twice. The reality is they ultimately only care about bottom lines. If there is a demand for diversity and that translates into dollars, they will make changes. And hopefully writers’ rooms will continue becoming more diverse as well. My main point when I wrote that post was that I just wish we could argue about it with some civility and that not all white guys are evil and that I’d rather focus on the positive. I think the more we see minorities in roles that aren’t stereotypical (like the quirky sidekick, or the computer nerd, or the best friend, etc.), those are signs that things might be changing for the better. A great example off the top of my head — Mindy Kaling [actor, writer, director, producer]. She’s definitely changing the game. But yes, we need to see more, absolutely.

Question: Even though I absolutely loved Season 2, one thing I thought was odd was that both Will and Jack seemed to have forgotten about Beverly by the end of the season. Not that we should have had a “This one’s for Beverly” scene, but I thought for sure Will’s guilt over Beverly’s death would be more overt. Do you have any thoughts on how Beverly’s death shaped Will’s and Jack’s choices as the season continued and why the writers didn’t make it more explicit in those final episodes?

Hettienne: I do think Beverly’s death marks a turning point for Will where we see him begin to change and decide to play the game with Hannibal. And I think it might be the last straw for Jack as well as we see how he plays his own cards by the end of season 2. But I can’t answer why the writers didn’t write more regarding the aftermath of Beverly’s death. My guess is there’s only so much they can cram in especially as they’re introducing new characters. I think Beverly’s send off was both horrific and respectful and they simply had to get on with the series. Or maybe they really are racist. Or sexist. Or both. I really don’t think so. But I just don’t know. Would I have liked it if maybe Price and Zeller shed some real tears and maybe weren’t so quick to get back to cracking jokes? Maybe Price falls off the wagon in grief and Zeller confesses to his secret love for Katz? And Jack gets the BAU [the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit] to erect a bust of Beverly in memoriam in the morgue? Yes, I would have liked all of that. But the title of the show is not BEVERLY. It’s HANNIBAL.

Question: Thank you for being so generous with your time, Hettienne! I’ll continue to enjoy your work on HANNIBAL during my many Season 1 and 2 re-watches, and I’m looking forward to seeing what you do next. Best to you and your family!

Hettienne: Thank you, Curtis!

The HANNIBAL Season 2 Blu-ray and DVD comes out Tuesday, September 16. Season 3 will air on NBC early next year.

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Lara Jean Chorostecki talks NBC’s Hannibal

“This great fiery personality with this fiery red hair…”

Lara Jean Chorostecki graciously allowed me to grill, um, quiz her on her portrayal of the sophisticated but ruthless tabloid reporter, Freddie Lounds, on NBC’s HANNIBAL. While the Lounds character has appeared in two movie versions of Thomas Harris’s novel RED DRAGON, the TV show reinterpreted the character, even changing his gender from male to female. The result, in this fan’s opinion, is a much more nuanced and interesting character better suited to long-form story-telling.

For those of us familiar with the source material, we know Freddie’s ultimate fate. But the good news is that the writers have started deviating enough from the books that anything is possible. So hopefully we’ll see lots more of Freddie in future seasons.

Question: Hi Lara Jean, I love the show and I absolutely love your version of Freddie Lounds. As you know, you’re in some great company with Stephen Lang [who played Lounds in MANHUNTER] and Phillip Seymour Hoffman [who played Lounds in RED DRAGON]. Did you feel any pressure following in their footsteps?

Lara Jean Chorostecki: For me, it wasn’t really an issue because my version [of the character] is so different. Bryan Fuller had outlined how we were going to take her in a slightly more sophisticated vein, and that already in itself takes me away from Hoffman’s and Lang’s versions. And I really think the gender switch gave me so much freedom to kind of recreate her. If I was male playing another male version of that character, it would perhaps be a lot of pressure considering those versions were so fantastic but being female and taking her in a more sophisticated but no less ruthless way made it a lot easier.

Question: I love that you describe her as sophisticated because she’s a real departure from the other versions. I read that she’s modeled after Rebekah Brooks [real-life red-haired tabloid news editor], who’s a pretty complex character herself. With so much raw material to draw upon — Rebekah Brooks and also the source material — where did you start and how did you first get a handle on how you wanted to play her?

Lara Jean: I did actually start with Rebekah Brooks because Bryan had modeled [Freddie Lounds] after Brooks and had told me so when I started preparing for the part. So I read a great Vanity Fair article on her [“Untangling Rebekah Brooks” by Suzanna Andrews], and I kind of started there and thought about her world and relation with [Rupert] Murdoch, and what a woman would have to be like to be able to succeed in the tabloid world. And then from there it’s been throughout Season 1 and Season 2 some development for her that has changed [her] because some pretty crazy stuff happens in front of her and it seems not to phase her, but I like to think it has internally over time. I think in Season 2, her relationship with Will and her relationship to Abigail show perhaps the stuff that’s appeared in front of her has affected her subtly inside and she just tries really hard not to show it in order to succeed in her world and maintain her own sense of power.

Question: She’s kind of a paradox. She’s manipulative, she’s willing to lie, but there’s also this part of her that really wants to find the truth. There’s this sincerity to her search for what’s really going on.

Lara Jean: Yeah, I think that’s part of the departure from Lang and Hoffman as well. Bryan has written in — and I hope I’ve brought it to life — that degree of sincerity to her and her work especially when it comes to Abigail at the end of Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2. There is a degree of “yes she’s ruthless, yes doesn’t have a moral compass,” but she does want to be authentic.

Question: She’s kind of admirable in a way.

Lara Jean: [She laughs.] I love that! Yes, she’s admirable. You’re the first person who’s ever said that about her [laughs].

Question: I’ve read about acting that you never want to play a villain as a villain. Instead, you want to find why the “villain” sees him/herself as the good guy, and then play them that way. What do you think is going on psychologically for Freddie Lounds that allows her to do the despicable things she does?

Lara Jean: She never feels unjustified. I think that’s a big thing. I think there’s a clear purpose and motivation to everything that she does. And that in itself takes her away from feeling that she’s a villain in any way. And she’s human. In the finale of Season 2 there’s a line where she talks about her start, which is authentic to the Thomas Harris novel [RED DRAGON], that she started as a cancer editor at a tabloid, writing about all these cures for cancer. And in that scene in particular I found in the writing a profound sense of loneliness to this girl. And that kind of isolation that she consistently has makes her to me — because I love her and I love playing her — not a villain in my eyes and therefore makes it pretty easy to not play a villain. And because of that need for truth and this kind of isolation, I think ultimately she is admirable in her own mind.

Question: Yes, I love that scene. And I think another thing about that scene is that maybe we even see a bit of sympathy in her towards Will. She says to him, “You really don’t know if you’re going to survive him, do you?”

Lara Jean: Mm hmm, I think what she reflects is that he’s an isolated, lonely character as well. I lot of the characters on our show really are trying to make these connections and not particularly succeeding.

Question: So it’s probably empathy she feels more than sympathy.

Lara Jean: Mm hmm.

Question: As you said, her role has evolved over the course of the two seasons. In Season 1, I saw her as kind of an obstacle for Will Graham, but in Season 2 she becomes an integral part of the plot and Will’s plan to bait Hannibal. How do you see her function on the show?

Lara Jean: I think you’re accurate in thinking in Season 1 she was definitely an obstacle. She was a very well-used tool. Being the kind of fiery personality she is, there’s a danger at times to over-use that character, and that’s where Bryan and his team of writers come in and craft something so well. I don’t feel that she’s ever over-used, and I really don’t feel she’s under-used either. I think they’ve balanced her quite perfectly in Season 1 and Season 2 to come in and make an impact whenever she does instead of kind of being this character that consistently does the same thing over and over, which is particularly a danger in Season 1 had they over-used her. I think the evolution that you see pivots around the Abigail storyline and how the writers have woven all of the characters around that core basis of humanity. I think Abigail was really used for every character as a touchstone of humanity — particularly Hannibal and Will — and then in Season 2, where I got to come in with Freddie and have that touchstone of Abigail and be in that horror that we’ve all been through together because we all were [connected] by this one storyline.

Question: One of the things that’s really interesting about Freddie is how she’s introduced. She’s sitting at her computer naked, she’s presumably just gotten out of the shower in what looks to be a motel room, and the implication later is that she slept with Agent Zeller to get access to the crime scene. Introducing a female character that way seems to require a delicate touch because you don’t want to fall into any kind of misogynistic caricature — like the evil temptress who makes men go bad. How do you walk that line to keep her feeling like a real person?

Lara Jean: I don’t feel there’s any degree of misogyny to her character. What I loved about playing her is that she basically always appears with the boys. So I’m either doing a scene with Laurence [Fishburne] or I’m doing a scene with Mads [Mikkelsen] or I’m doing a scene with Hugh [Dancy] or Eddie Izzard, so she always comes in on par with the boys. So I don’t really feel that she’s objectified in any way. And I think that intro is clever because it instantly tells you that she’s going to make an impact in your world. To introduce a character naked is just to say, “She’s going to be here and you’re going to notice her.”

And I thought it was quite a clever way to put the focus on this long mane of red hair also, which is, yes, a nod to Rebekah Brooks but also a nod to the RED DRAGON storyline and what may or may not happen to her when Francis Dolarhyde comes into the world, and what was already played out fakely in Season 2. So this great fiery personality with this fiery red hair, and that’s all she needs, she doesn’t need anything else. And then she gets into all this armor, this clothing that she wears that’s really out there, that again — getting back to the end of Season 2 — masks this isolation and loneliness by putting herself out there in such a bold manner. In the courtroom in Season 2 is a perfect example. I mean, who wears a big hat into a courtroom? Well, she does because it disguises her. I remember in Season 1 talking with Bryan and the wonderful costume designer Chris [Hargadon] about it. It’s the idea that this is the armor that she puts on as kind of a disguise to mask whatever her truth is inside.

Question: Another thing that stands out about the show is the writing and the dialogue. I think there’s a poetry and an eloquence that puts it on the same level as Aaron Sorkin’s THE WEST WING or even David Milch’s DEADWOOD. Being a writer yourself, what do you think makes the writing so effective and has resonated with this core audience — including myself — that’s just crazy about the show?

Lara Jean: I think you hit the nail on the head to say that there’s a poetry to it, and I love that you brought up DEADWOOD because DEADWOOD to me — it’s so tragic that it ended so soon — DEADWOOD is modern Shakespeare as far as I’m concerned. That series was excellent in terms of the writing. Sometimes fellow actors will ask me, “How much freedom do you have with the text,” and my response is, “Well, none because you don’t want to mess with it” because it’s like Shakespeare in that way. Good writing, good television writing like Sorkin or DEADWOOD or what Bryan does is so good there’s no other words you can choose other than the words that are on the page. And the joy of it is to mine that text. I come from a Shakespearian background actually, I started at the Stratford Festival here in Canada — it’s the largest repertory theatre in North America — and I have a Master’s in Shakespeare, and the same joy that I get from mining [Shakespeare’s text] I’ve re-found mining the text that I get to work with on HANNIBAL. Which is super-exciting because what’s on the surface is not necessarily what’s underneath — and that’s why it’s poetic — and what you’re trying to bring out is what’s underneath, through the cadence and the rhythm and the character. And I think Bryan’s work is fantastic, and Steve Lightfoot and the rest of our writers are so good.

And then of course the actors that we’re blessed to have and I’m blessed to work with bring that text to life so beautifully. I think Gillian Anderson and Hugh and Mads and Laurence and everybody does it so well that you get these incredibly well-rounded characters that are really exciting, and I think that’s why our show critically and with the fans has been so successful because it really resonates with people.

Question: Yeah, and I think it’s so incredible how these characters will say exactly what they mean AND the complete opposite of what they mean in the same exact line!

Lara Jean: Oh yeah.

Question: Thank you so much, Lara Jean. I know you’re working on a new show called CAMP X. I’m looking forward to seeing that and, of course, more of Freddie Lounds on HANNIBAL.

Lara Jean: Thank you. I’m looking forward to Season 3. And yes, I’m shooting CAMP X right now. I’m back in Budapest at the moment, and it’s also a great show, a World War 2 drama, so it’s very different but just as exciting.

The HANNIBAL Season 2 Blu-ray and DVD comes out Tuesday, September 16. Season 3 will air on NBC early next year.

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Katharine Isabelle talks NBC’s Hannibal

“It’s my favorite show ever. It’s my favorite character.”

I sat down with Katharine Isabelle recently to talk to her about her role as Margot Verger on the TV show, HANNIBAL.

The character of Margot Verger, despite playing a significant role in Thomas Harris’s book, HANNIBAL, does not appear in the movie version. So this is the first time we’re seeing this character on screen. And based on her performance in Season 2, I think Katharine Isabelle has created the defining version of Margot, and I hope we get to see more of the Vergers in Season 3.

While I would have loved to have asked her about other roles like Ginger from GINGER SNAPS or Mary from AMERICAN MARY, I focused our conversation on the joys and challenges of portraying such an interesting and complex character on HANNIBAL.

Question: I’m a huge fan of the show, and I’ve read that you’re also a fan. Is that right?

Katharine Isabelle: I am a big fan of the show. I’m a huge fan of [Hannibal star] Mads Mikkelsen, who I originally saw at the Ritz in a Danish film called GREEN BUTCHERS. He played my favorite character ever, named Svend “Sweat,” and I totally fan-girled all over him when I saw him for the first time, while in the back of my head telling myself to shut up because I sound like a raging dork and psycho [laughs]. But, yeah, I binged-watched the whole first season [of HANNIBAL] they gave me when I arrived in my hotel the night before. It psychologically affected me enough to the point where at 3 AM when the fire alarm went off, I looked out the window and saw a cop car, and I thought I saw in the reflection of an open window an eviscerated body in my lobby. And I started thinking, “Oh my God, if someone has been murdered in the lobby, why would the cops turn on the fire alarm? Unless it was the killer who turned on fire alarm to get all of us running down the stairs so he could fucking murder us.” And I looked around and thought maybe I’d watched too much Hannibal. It’s an amazing show. Something that could psychologically affect me, it’s pretty good.

We were invited by Bryan Fuller [the creator and showrunner] to go watch the first two episodes of the second season in a theater he had rented, and it’s probably one of the only TV shows you can watch on a feature-sized screen and just be absolutely captivated. It’s beautifully shot, beautifully written, it’s smart, it’s dark, it’s scary. It has everything I love.

Question: Margot’s backstory is that she’s been abused by her brother for years. I can imagine it would have been an easy choice to play her as a victim, but instead you brought a complexity to her — a toughness that she’s presumably developed just to survive; plus a vulnerability that arouses the sympathy of both Will and Hannibal. How difficult was it to strike the right balance?

Katharine: Fortunately, it’s so well written that I didn’t have to fill in a lot of the blanks myself. I had a couple conversations with Bryan Fuller before my very first day where he talked about what his feelings and his thoughts about the character were. And not necessarily any direct commandments, but the overall gist of it. When something is so well written and someone takes the time to tell you themselves how they feel about it, there’s just an amalgamation that happens along the way. I’m not the kind of actor who sits and overanalyzes because I find that if I do that I just second-guess everything, I second-guess any natural instincts. So to have it be well-written and to be given an overall feeling from Bryan Fuller, they did the work for me and I just have to show up. And working across from Mads, he’ll get things out of you that you didn’t see coming.

We definitely wanted Margot to not be victim-y. She has a strength and a patience, like a sociopathic sort of patience, biding her time until she can really get even with her brother, which is what I think is so exciting about the end of the second season. It leaves this window of opportunity in the third season for her to have the upper hand, to be a power player in that relationship. And I’m glad for that. I play a lot of characters that could be viewed as victims but had strength and ended up not being too much a victim.

Question: How did you approach that final scene between Margot and Mason?

Katharine: They have such an interesting relationship. And I think they really do have some kind of deep fucked-up connection because otherwise I don’t think Margot would stick around so much. I don’t know if she tried to flee and he just finds her every time or whatever, but I couldn’t see her finding him in that physical predicament and then just be like, “Okay, awesome I’m free and I’m going to live my life now.” She’s not. She’s going to stick around and make sure that she either gets her revenge or has the power or the control. I don’t see her just running away from this situation. I think it was thrilling and scary and challenging for Margot all at once to find herself in that position. I don’t think in that scene that she’s really even decided how she’s going to approach this new phase in their life together. I think she was just sort of tickled at the idea that there would be a switch in power. Or maybe there won’t be, who knows? Maybe he’s got such a psychological line on her, who knows? I have no idea what they have planned for the third season or what’s happened to their relationship.

Question: You mentioned acting with Mads, and you also got to work closely with Hugh Dancy. Are you guys given the room to experiment from take to take or does the shooting schedule move too quickly for that?

Katharine: They’re very, very generous with the time that they allow actors to have, which they have to be because it’s so intense, such deep subtle shit. It’s so well shot that there are five or six or seven set-ups for every scene, even if it’s just two people. And by the time you get around to it, you do a few takes the way that you see it in the morning, and you do a few the way the director has seen it when he was thinking about it the night before, and then something that you do or something that he says inspires a new thought and you do it again a couple of other different ways. It’s always interesting to see what [takes they use] when they edit it. Like on the first and second episode I was in, I was really trying to suss out Margot for myself. It’s not like I’m there and in the clothes on the day and I’m like, “I got this, I got her locked now.” It takes a little while. And hopefully people don’t find out what scenes I’m still trying to figure her out in [laughs]. But I definitely threw down a lot of different ways to go with her the first couple days, and when I got to see finally which ones [the editor] had used, that informed my decisions going forward with the character. Once you see what they’re all putting together and how it comes across, you go, “Oh, okay, okay, I get it.” Seeing it objectively after the fact and looking at it, you get the gist and the feeling of what they’re going for, and that informs me going ahead.

Question: It’s like this really interesting unspoken creative collaboration with the editors.

Katharine: Yeah, the editor and I never talk but something happens along the line that definitely solidifies choices that I’ve made.

Question: HANNIBAL has such a great sense of humor. How important do you think it is to bring humor to such a dark show?

Katharine: I think you have to otherwise this dark material is just so over-the-top. I mean, every single person in the city of Baltimore is a serial killer [laughs]. You have to have a little bit of dark humor when you’re dealing with eating people. I think the character of Hannibal played by Mads Mikkelsen is fucking funny. I think that sort of intense sociopathic nature also involves a little bit of a sense of absurdity with the world, and I think that comes across. Like when Michael Pitt is cutting his face off and eating it and he goes, “I’m full of myself,” I literally fell on the floor laughing. It’s this sick, twisted, fucked-up scene, and I’m laughing because it’s hilarious. I think you need these moments once in a while otherwise your stomach is in such a knot and you won’t be able to eat. And Bryan Fuller who created it is such a genius. Like WONDERFALLS and DEAD LIKE ME and all these other shows he’s done that have dark material but have this levity and this absurdity and a sort of magic to them. That’s the same reason why WILLY WONKA, the original movie, is one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s dark and fucked up that he’s murdering bad children, but it’s hilarious and fun. I think when you’re going to make people see the world and how terrible everything is, if you can add a little bit of levity and the absurdity of the human experience, people are going to connect with that.

Question: You worked with Bryan Fuller on the TV movie, CARRIE. Had you guys stayed in touch, and how did you come to get involved with HANNIBAL?

Katharine: After CARRIE I did go and screen test for [Bryan’s show] WONDERFALLS. There were three girls that went in, and Caroline Dhavernas [who plays Alana Bloom on HANNIBAL] ended up getting it. And Bryan Fuller is known to be very loyal to people he likes. I was astonished. I got the audition [for HANNIBAL] and I thought, “Oh Bryan Fuller, oh I know him and I worked with him and I love him and he’s great.” And the network looked at my tape and went, “I don’t know if she’s strong enough.” So Bryan Fuller, who had somehow seen AMERICAN MARY, sent them a copy of it and they went, “Yup, she’s strong enough. Book her.” And I was so incredibly grateful to Bryan for remembering me.

And also, one of the directors of the first couple episodes, Vincenzo [Natali], he worked on GINGER SNAPS, and I think [he and Bryan] had a conversation or my name came up or something, and he was like “Oh yeah, she’d be great for this.” And they sent me a request for an audition and it just came to me like anything else does. And I realized a little bit later that Bryan thought about me and remembered me and pushed me for it, and I was so grateful and very honored to have been thought about for this. I was incredibly tickled. When you work with somebody who’s so amazing and they actually remember you and call you up like ten years later, that’s like, “I feel pretty good about myself today!” [She laughs.]

Question: You can sense that loyalty even from Bryan’s tweets as he’s talking about all these actors he wants to bring back for Season 3. Do you know for sure that Margot will be back next season?

Katharine: I only know from conversations I’ve had with Bryan and other people that Margot would definitely be coming back at some point. I don’t know how much or how little, I have no idea where the character’s going. He did do an interview with AfterEllen — that was tweeted at me and I read it and was like, “Oh my God that was awesome” — and he said something about a BOUND-inspired storyline and a love interest for Margot, and I think there’s going to be some really cool stuff for her, which makes me just so happy because it’s my favorite show ever. It’s my favorite character and I’m super-excited to see what they come up with. But basically I’m the last one to know. And I only get the scripts of the actual episodes I’m in so I don’t even know what’s going on at all. I’m totally in the dark until I show up on set.

Question: Since you’re a fan of the show, is there anything you think other fans would find especially interesting about your experience working on HANNIBAL?

Katharine: As an actor, I’m not privy to all the ins and outs of stuff. My experience is like I’ve won some kind of contest and I got to do a walk-on part [laughs]. I’m so thrilled to have anything to do with it at all. Walking into Hannibal Lecter’s office is quite something. And sitting down across from him is… it takes you a while to get over. You leave and you’re like all jittery and “I can’t believe that happened,” and you run it through your head like a million times. But I think everyone there, the whole crew, they know they’re making something different. They know they’re making something unique and special, and everyone really cares. No one wants to let down their peers and their co-workers and Bryan Fuller. I think everyone feels pretty special to be a part of it, I know I do.

As far as anecdotes, there was one day I got to wear a $25,000 Alexander McQueen and wear 6-inch stilettos and drive a Tesla. And there was a day we called “Orgy Monday” where the very first thing up was the sex scene between Hugh and I, which turns into being about Hannibal and Alana and then the Stag-man, and we were like, “Okay, let’s have a good orgy, guys. Who’s going to tag in? You, go.” That’s the absurdity, like, “What are we doing? Oh, we’re having an orgy? Okay cool.” I think most of us know we’re making something special and are happy to be a part of it.

Question: Hopefully it will continue for a very long run. I know as a fan I would love to see HANNIBAL continue for many more seasons, and I hope that Margot comes back.

Katharine: Yeah, me too!

The HANNIBAL Season 2 Blu-ray and DVD comes out Tuesday, September 16. Season 3 will air on NBC early next year.

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