As you looked out over the audience you could see antlers poke up from several heads. Are they here for a deer appreciators meeting. Nope, these are the Fannibals. The completion of the third and final season of Hannibal made this Q&A appointment viewing for Hannibal fans at Fan Expo, a kind of epilogue to the dear departed series. When Mads Mikkelsen came out though, he was dressed down in a pair of jeans and had grown a beard. Not exactly the stylish serial killing cannibal we’ve come to know and love, but the charm was still there.
“It would have been much easier if Anthony Hopkins sucked but he didn’t,” Mikkelsen said about taking on the role of Hannibal Lector. “There was hesitation, and we had to convince people that Hannibal did not come from England and that he had this beautiful Lithuanian accent.”
Accents are sexy, and so is Mikkelsen’s portrayal of Hannibal, which is one of the many differences between the TV series and previous portrayals of Lector. “One of the most difficult things to play is to play sexy,” said Mikkelsen. “But I actually found Anthony Hopkins quite sexy as well.”
“I think the way he’s been written he is a very charismatic character,” Mikkelsen added. “There’s always something fascinating about the other side of the coin; three seconds after we invented God, we invented Satan.”
That’s not to say that Hannibal is the devil. “Hannibal can’t waste his time on bad food, bad people, or bad wine. We should not live exactly like him, but we should embrace the idea that we should not be bored.”
Of course, Hannibal was a gentleman’s serial killer, and was certainly more well-adjusted as compared to some of the numerous other killers profiled over the show’s three season. “We started to relax with Hannibal, at least he was just eating people,” Mikkelsen joked. “If we hated the character, it was going to be three long seasons.”
Of course, Hannibal’s boredom was dulled considerably when Will Graham (played by Hugh Dancy) comes into his life. “For Hannibal it was love at first sight,” Mikkelsen said to the enjoyment of the audience. “It’s not that kind of love, but any love from Hannibal would be weird. He knew that he had a future with that young man somehow. Bryan Fuller called it a ‘bromance’ from the very beginning. Whatever that means.”
There was some booing from the crowd when it came time to talk about the end of the show, mostly directed at NBC, but Mikkelsen was pragmatic. “We have to remember, [NBC] picked it up in the beginning, and we were all very surprised that it lasted three years,” he said.
But would Hannibal have ended on a literal and figurative cliffhanger if they had known it was going to end this summer? “The ending was pretty firm as it was, and we were quite surprised that it did not continue,” Mikkelsen said. “It was an uphill battle the second and third season, so we though it was a home run [for season four].”
The door is still open for a movie or some kind of continuation of the show though. “If something does happen we’d all be happy to come back for a fourth season, but for right now were unemployed,” he added.
Mikkelsen also talked about another one his high-profile roles, the terrorist financier Le Chiffre in Casino Royale. In a bit of true confession, Mikkelsen said that he hadn’t seen a single Bond movie before making Casino Royale. “I had never seen Bond film in my life,” he explained. “I realized when we had the premiere, and when we met the Queen and there were 50,000 people in Lester Square that I should have charged a little bit more.”
But did he have fun playing a Bond villain? “It does happen once in a while in a situation where Daniel Craig is strapped naked in a chair while I torture his beloved parts,” Mikkelsen said to big laughs from the crowd. “It wasn’t a great time for him, but it was more me. […] There’s nothing to laugh about! He took $150 million from me. It’s a sad story.”
And Mikkelsen has another high-profile film project coming up as well, he starts shooting Rogue One: A Star Wars Story next week. He obviously didn’t give any details, but Mikkelsen did drop another confession. “Don’t tell anyone, but I have not watched a single Star Wars film,” he told nearly over 500 people in the room, “but I will,” he promised.
Mikkelsen also confessed that when he was a kid he wanted to be Bruce Lee, but has yet to find a way to make that a reality in his acting career. He was also pleased to talk about appearing in a Rihanna music video. “It reminded me of doing stuff in the 80s where you just went for it,” he said. “I’m pretty proud of that and it gave me a kind of boost on the kid’s cool meter. I cherish that a lot.”
For now though, Mikkelsen is grateful to the fans that cherished Hannibal, and allowed him to do such incredible work for the last three years with, in his words, the fantastic cast and crew. “I’ve enjoyed tremendously playing Hannibal because he’s a character who can do anything if it’s to his advantage,” Mikkelsen said. “He’s a man full of surprises and we’ve only seen the top of the iceberg, so you can only imagine what else he’d get to do.”
Sadly, that’s what Fannibals will have to do from this point on.