Press Tour Live-Blog: NBC’s ‘Hannibal’

It’s time for Breakfast with a Cannibal, as NBC’s “Hannibal” arrives for what is actually its first Television Critics Association press tour appearance. 

Strange, but there we are. 

We’re being joined by Bryan Fuller, Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Laurence Fishburne and Caroline Dhavernas.

Click through for all of the highlights.

8:30 a.m. Breakfast is disappointingly uncreative. It’s just eggs and bacon and hashbrowns. Hannibal would be disappointed. Of course, as I’ve already said on Twitter, humans can be baconized, too.

8:32 a.m. We’re running a hair behind. This was supposed to start at 8:30. I’ve seen the season’s first two episodes and they are creepy as hell.

8:36 a.m. Rumor has it that the “Hannibal” cast is currently eating pre-panel. NBC may be hoping to push this breakfast late to cute down on the executive session [also live-blogged] afterwards.

8:38 a.m. Time to roll!

8:39 a.m. The season starts on February 28, if you’re forgetful. We’re watching clips. They’re gross!

8:40 a.m. Bryan Fuller is looking very dapper this morning. He’s dressed as Hannibal, I think. I guess that means that Mads Mikkelsen is dressed as Bryan Fuller? Or is the person in the middle of the panel actually Mads in a Bryan Fuller suit.

8:41 a.m. “The sausage is people,” Bryan Fuller says, starting the panel.

8:42 a.m. “He’s not the happiest character I’ve ever played,” Dancy says, referencing Thomas Harris’ book as a template for his version of the character.

8:42 a.m. “Nope. I didn’t,” Fishburne says of whether he expected to jump from “CSI” to “Hannibal,” but he says the opportunity was hard to say no to. He also notes that he wouldn’t exactly know how to describe his “CSI” question.

8:43 a.m. “It’s not really something I thought about,” Mads says of whether Hannibal blinks. How do they think they did at making Hannibal their own in Season 2? Bryan says that they had the “great books.” “For me, with crime and crime stories, I’m sensitive. I look at dog videos all day to put me in a happy place,” he says. The key is stylizing the violence and making it “purple and operatic. ” “We’re borderline fantasy with what we do on the show,” he says. This allows him to do  the show. 

8:45 a.m. “The thing that we kinda screwed ourselves with the show is that every season is a new model,” he says of its structure. He says that they have three “lost novels” before they get to “Red Dragon.” This season is about plucking the fruit they planted the first season.

8:46 a.m. “That was a long day,” Mads says of the fight scene that starts the season premiere. It was a 20-hour day, apparently. I don’t want to spoil anything.

8:47 a.m. They’ve got guest stars this season! Eddie Izzard will be back. Raul Esparza is back. Gillian Anderson is back. Amanda Plummer is dropping in as a character who “will make you think twice about getting acupuncture.” Jeremy Davies and Jonathan Tucker are coming in.  

8:48 a.m. The season starts with an in medias res framing device. “We knew how the second season was going to end,” he teases. I’m really trying not to spoil the opening scene, but now you know it involves Mads. “I just didn’t want to wait to the end of the season to see it. It was purely selfish,” Fuller says. 

8:49 a.m. Does Dancy have different ways to approach all of Will’s various “issues”? “I felt last season that that spiral, that that progression over the course of the 13 episodes, was so well charted out,” he says, praising Fuller. “Dark as it may be, it was incredibly fun and rewarding,” Dancy says. “And this season, he gets even worse, so I’ve been very happy.

8:51 a.m. The cast raves about the cooking on the show. Janice is the on-set chef. They often do second takes.

8:52 a.m. “I haven’t really noticed,” Mads says of whether he’s ceased to be invited to dinner parties. “My friends are still hanging in there,” he insists.

8:53 a.m. “Her main interest is always Will and taking care of him,” Caroline says. “I think she will continue to be really focused on making sure that Will is OK.” She’ll be concentrating on helping him know what happened. “Lots more kissing this season,” Fuller teases. “With the wrong people,” Mads adds.

8:53 a.m. “We kinda arc them out with the amount that we have,” Fuller says of the case-of-the-week. This season, the first mystery is a two-weeker. He describes the premiere as a follow-up to the finale. This season has some arcing within it. He says 4, 5, 6 and 7 are a run of their own and that things get “really bad” for the character. The first killer is really nefarious and, of course, disgusting.

8:55 a.m. Caroline loves playing the complete opposite of her “Wonderfalls” character with Bryan this time around. Jaye was an underachiever with a gift she didn’t want to use. Bloom is a high achiever who wants to help. She says that it’s the variety that makes it fun.

8:56 a.m. “Are we going to find out how Hannibal got Will to ingest the ear?” we ask. The answer? Yes. Early on. Fuller says that the season was broken into two chapters.  “We’re letting the story tell us what it needs to be and letting it unfold in its organic way with what’s happening to the character,” he says.

8:57 a.m. “It was really organic to what was going on with the story,” Fuller  says of all of the stag imagery, noting that Will was traumatized by that image. “Yeah, he’s so oversensitive,” Dancy cracks. “That’s his sorta patronus in a way,” Fuller says of Will and the stag imagery. The imagery is representative of Hannibal and has been imprinted in Will’s mind.

8:59 a.m. Bryan Fuller can’t wait to do the “Red Dragon” storyline because he wants to do all of the Frances Dollarhyde hallucinations.

8:59 a.m. How does Fuller balance keeping things real and keeping things operatic? He admits that sometimes he leans towards things that are cooler and more psychologically complicated. “Then we bend reality,” he says, but they try not to break reality.

9:00 a.m. Has Bryan seen “True Detective”? “Anybody who saw ‘Salem’s Lot’ in 1979 where James Mason impaled that guy on the antlers…” Fuller says, claiming its a common primal experience. Fuller also says that there’s stag imagery in “The Leftovers” and Damon Lindelof has already warned him and said he wasn’t copying.

That’s all, folks…