THE LECTER VARIATIONS/BEHIND THE MASK

2/9/07 --

HANNIBAL RISES!

Today is the day, Clarice. Time to sink our teeth into an intricate five course meal that could be nirvana or a mixed delight or perhaps a harbinger of indigestion! Thanks to the always lovely and eagle-eyed Helene for the link to Metacritic In Helene's words, "It's not pretty :(" But I will say this: those of us who have been following this series since the Manhunter days know that this is cuisine which not all palettes can savor. But for this webmaster, it's the food of the gods. It's been an incredible run -- not since the Alien films has so much diverse talent come through a tale, infusing it with vision, artistry, beauty, horror, action, intelligence, you name it. Some of the films have had more popular appeal than others, but all have added threads into the stunning tapestry of Hannibal's world. I expect Hannibal Rising to be no different and hope this weekend to be transported into the palace that calls to so many of us... But all of you, patient readers, have been courteous and receptive to courtesy and for that I thank you! Till next week, I have to go now. I'm having an old friend for dinner. Cheers everybody!

2/7/07 -- Huge thanks to the lovely Helene for all of the following tips:
*Helene has already booked her tickets and reports that the running time for Hannibal Rising is 2:15. That tells me two things: 1) it's going to be meaty (pun possibly intended), and 2) It's going to be satisfying! We'll know after this weekend!
*Next, the reviews are rolling out!Click here to read BlogCritics' review
*Another review from YourMovies.com.au.
The clock is ticking!
*Just found one more: Click Here to read what the fine folks at Dread Central have to say about it!

2/5/07 -- Thanks to the lovely Helene for a link to this story on The Tipster in which Dino DeLaurentiis, grand master of the Hannibal series of films, discusses the character's future following the release of Hannibal Rising:

The next Hannibal Lecter movie is still a couple of weeks away, but producer Dino De Laurentiis is already talking another sequel. Hannibal Rising, which hits theaters on Feb. 9, flashes back to the serial-killer doctor's early years, when his Hannibal the Cannibal ways are formed after he witnesses horrible acts against his family members. "I presume that we created a success with this new franchise about young Hannibal Lecter, and I want to start to think about going ahead with the story," De Laurentiis tells MTV News. "How many James Bond (movies are) there? Every two years, a James Bond movie (seemingly) comes out." The prequel storyline could be developed in a prequel sequel, says De Laurentiis, with the next flick delving further into Hannibal's (Gaspard Ulliel) relationship with his love interest, Lady Murasaki (Gong Li). "You see in (Hannibal Rising) that … it's an attraction, but nothing serious happens," De Laurentiis says. "In the future, maybe something happens, if we go with (another movie)." …

Interesting development. If Thomas Harris continues to hold the reins, this sounds like another nascent fixation. But if Harris opts out, Mr. DeLaurentiis will have a lot of 'splainin' to do!

More interesting links I found while exploring the Hannibal Lecter Studiolo message board:

*A Gaspard Ulliel interview!
*
A Peter Webber interview
*A Guardian Podcast with Peter Webber and Brian Cox (Hannibal in Manhunter)
*And this old but still fun Hannibal Lecter quiz!

Cool stuff!

2/5/07 -- Superbowl Spot!

2/1/07 -- Just Jared's blog has gorgeous pictures from the premiere of Hannibal Rising where the Chianti no doubt flowed until all hours of the night (or at least until the lambs stopped screaming...). See those here!

1/31/07 -- Big update today, folks. First, three glorious new clips have appeared on the great horror site, Bloody-Disgusting. Also, thanks to the Hannibal Rising Yahoo Group for this link to a new international trailer from France. Watch that (and other sundries posted thereon) here. Cheers!

1/27/07 -- "I'll help you catch him, Clarice!" Thanks to the lovely Helene for letting us know that Hannibal now has an official site! Click here to explore. Helene also lets us know that TV spots have begun popping up. In fact, I found one and a lovely additional trailer (I think) on YouTube, below. Enjoy!

Also today, the great gossip site JustJared.com has acquired Hannibal Rising premiere pics!. Go Gaspard!

1/13/07 -- The final theatrical trailer for Hannibal Rising is here! I was perusing the great Bloody-Disgusting.com when they linked to the final trailer here on yahoo!. This bit of footage has me chomping at the bit for this ... so to speak.

12/22/06 -- Just when you thought your anticipation for Hannibal Rising was at its apex, along comes this trailer, which is only on Amazon. The picture is tiny, but it's a lengthier piece than the last trailer we saw. Tragic and beautiful. There are some spoilers, so if you're trying to stay spoiler-free don't click! This link is brought to you by the excellent "Ixi." Thanks, pal. And to all of my little starlings out there...

Wishing you a joyous holiday!

12/19/06 -- The mysterious "Ixi" comes through again, this time with a whole new batch of incredible photos!

See all of them here!

12/14/06 -- "You know his name ... you know his methods ... you know his appetites..." Get ready to rock and roll. IGN.com has the new Hannibal teaser!

12/12/06 -- Der trailer ist hier! Well, not the official English-language trailer but the official German teaser! Thanks to tipster Ixi, who sent us a link to the domestic trailer that was already taken down by the time we got there, but we did find all kinds of other stuff! Get ready because this is the first we've seen of Gaspard in action!

And a trailer for the book!

Niiiice, as Borat might say! Also, we have received word from the divine Helene that she has started the official Hannibal Rising Yahoo Group, recently joined by yours truly! To join the group and chew the fat, so to speak, about all things Hannibal, click here!

12/9/06 -- A treasure trove of 47 Hannibal pics, some that could be considered spoilerish, have been posted to a Russian site where they were discovered by the divine Ixi. Click the picture below to go to the source!

12/5/06 -- Love the suit! Check out yet more beautiful new Hannibal pics at Ropes of Silicon.

12/3/06 -- EUREKA! Our friend "Ixi" sends in some stunning photos that capture the essence of what we can expect when the film opens in the spring! This is looking like a true exploration of the formation of the Lecter we all know and love. Feast your eyes...

More here!

11/17/06 -- MAJOR NEWS!

The door to Dr. Hannibal Lecter's memory palace is in the darkness at the center of his mind and it has a latch that can be found by touch alone. This curious portal opens on immense and well-lit spaces, early baroque, and corridors and chambers rivaling in number those of the Topkapi Museum.

Everywhere there are exhibits, well-spaced and lighted, each keyed to memories that lead to other memories in geometric progression.

What are these words you ask? The first two paragraphs of AN EXCLUSIVE CHAPTER EXCERPT of Thomas Harris's new Hannibal novel!!!! Read it (or listen to Mr. Harris's own voice if you prefer) at the book's official site!

True believers can also read Chapter six at the Hannibal Rising official site here!. SWEET! Beautiful graphics at the latter and a sneak peek at things to come!

I would be remiss if I did not thank the emailer "Ixi" who sent me this hot tip! Thanks Ixi! Keep em comin'!

11/10/06 -- Wow. Bloody Disgusting has a bunch of very cool Lecter pics! I give you Exhibit A...

Check out these and more at the great Bloody-Disgusting.

I can't wait to see this movie!

11/9/06 -- RED ALERT!!!!!

SWEET! Thanks go out to the great Chud.com for this incredibly evocative poster! IT'S ON!!

10/19/06 -- MAJOR news on the prequel front! According to one AICN poster, the movie has a new name: Hannibal Rising! Also, a test screening review:

I attended with my wife the BatChick and we were, quite frankly not expecting much. We were told ithe usual -t was one of the first showings and the film was not finished (effects, music, scratches etc. ) We got much more than expected. We were riveted from the start to the finish. And the film looked and sounded pretty darn locked to me.

The film opens in 1944 as the Lecter family including young Hannibal and his little adorable sister Misha leaves their castle for the lodge in the woods. Russian Tanks, crashing Nazi aircraft (the effects looked finished to me) leave the kids orphaned and then come the scumbag local criminal bastards. Things go from bad to worse and anyone who has read Hannibal already knows that Mish is eaten.

The rest is here, but be warned! There are spoilers in this review.

6/26/06 -- The above image is taken from the French site Excessif.

6/3/06 -- A new story on the brand spankin new Hannibal News Blog!

4/10/06 -- BlackFilm.com has the first photo anywhere of Gong Li in Behind the Mask. See the high rez version here. Bravo to the site for landing the image and huge thanks to Wilson for the head's up!

Just discovered the very cool site, Upcoming Horror Movies, which links to this ET Online story. But be sure to check out UHM; it also also has some candid pics from the set.

3/27/06 -- Thanks to an email from "Jason" I looked into the status of the Hannibal Lecter prequel novel from the hand of the great Thomas Harris. Herewith, the news article I found from the notoriously cum grano salis-worthy WENN:

03/06/06 Permalink 12:08:02, Categories: Movie News
'Silence of the Lambs' Prequel Is On Hold

The movie prequel of The Silence Of The Lambs has been stalled because author Thomas Harris has missed the deadline for finishing his new novel. The reclusive writer was due to submit the manuscript for "Young Hannibal: Behind The Mask," the fourth book in the Hannibal Lecter series, before Christmas 2005, but there is no sign of his work and the deadline has been pushed further back.

The delay has had a knock-on effect in Hollywood, where movie bosses are keen to quickly commit the story to film, following the success of the four adaptations of Harris' series.

A spokesperson for publisher Heinemann says, "We hope to get the book out in April now, but we haven't got hold of the manuscript yet. However this often happens with Thomas Harris. We don't normally have much contact with him, but when the manuscript does arrive, we hope to get it printed and into the shops in about a week."

The film has already been hit by the withdrawal of Anthony Hopkins, who has starred as serial killer Lecter in Silence of The Lambs, Hannibal and Red Dragon, but refused to reprise his role in the prequel.

You will tell me when the lambs stop screaming, won't you?

11/27/05 -- Lots of spoilers in this Rhys Ifans story from a Welsh paper, which I don't recommend you read if you want to be surprised. One noteworthy passage in this piece follows:

The Port Talbot-born actor won an Oscar for Silence of The Lambs and, though he won't appear on cinema screens this time, he has agreed to narrate the film. That can't be, can it? If anyone knows, email me.

11/14/05 -- Hello Clarice... I know it's been long and long since my last update. I read a news article about the beautiful actress Gong Li that mentioned she has been cast in The Lecter Variations aka Young Hannibal: Behind the Mask, which led me to a plethora of newz and infoz about this highly anticipated flick, most of it from the best movie news site on the web, Dark Horizons.

Young French actor Gaspard Ulliel has been cast as young Hannibal.

I approve! Can't you just see him searching for that next special lady?

And always in fine form, the great Dark Horizons has managed to score the first photos anywhere of Ulliel as Hannibal in the flesh:

Also from Dark Horizons, the official announcement:

Dino and Martha De Laurentiis are set to unite once again with Tarak Ben Ammar of Quinta Communications and British co-producers Chris Curling and Phil Robertson of Zephyr Films, to produce the highly anticipated BEHIND THE MASK: Young Hannibal. Petr Moravec of Czech production company, Etic Films, will also join the fold for their first collaboration together. Best selling novelist Thomas Harris, who created and authored the world shattering series, has also written the screenplay, based on his highly anticipated upcoming novel, BEHIND THE MASK.

This prequel follows the young Hannibal Lecter from his childhood in Lithuania to his teenage years in France and up to his time in America. 20-year old French actor, Gaspard Ulliel (A Very Long Engagement, Brotherhood of the Wolf) has been chosen to play the coveted role of the young Hannibal, the character brought to life by Anthony Hopkins with some of the most quoted and juicy lines in film history. Award-winning Chinese actress Gong Li will play Lady Murasaki, the woman who takes in the young Hannibal after his escape from an orphanage and unwittingly becomes the pawn in a revenge plot by Hannibal. Gong Li will next be seen in Memoirs of a Geisha for director Rob Marshall and is currently in production on Miami Vice directed by Michael Mann and co-starring Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx.

Completing the principal cast line-up is Rhys Ifans (Chromophobia, Vanity Fair, The Shipping News), Richard Brake (Batman Begins, Cold Mountain) and Kevin McKidd (Kingdom of Heaven, De-Lovely). Principal photography will begin on October 10th, 2005 in Prague. At the helm of this long awaited look at the heart and soul of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, will be British director and BAFTA nominee Peter Webber (Girl With A Pearl Earring, Men Only). BEHIND THE MASK: Young Hannibal will bring the most irresistible and articulate villain of our time back to the big screen. Audiences will finally be introduced to the atrocities encountered in young Hannibal Lecter's life that honed his particular appetite for evil.

Dino and Martha De Laurentiis first brought the complex character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter to life in 1985's Manhunter, based on Harris' psychological thrillers. De Laurentiis has since built one of the most unique franchises in movie history, with Lecter becoming the most infamous villain of our time. His creativity has garnered universal appeal sending international box-office figures soaring over the years with Hannibal ($351M+) and Red Dragon ($200M+). Silence of the Lambs, albeit not a De Laurentiis production, took an impressive $270M+ at the box office and won many Oscars.

Wow! My only hope is that Anthony Hopkins as present day Hannibal will play a large part in this film.

11/4/04 -- George Bush isn't the only scary person returning in the years to come. From the great Dark Horizons:

Hannibal's New Puppeteer
Posted: Wednesday November 3rd, 2004 10:55pm
Author: Garth Franklin
Source:

Producers Dino and Martha De Laurentiis have set British Director Peter Webber to direct "Behind the Mask," the Hannibal Lecter prequel being scripted by author Thomas Harris according to Variety.

The film will begin production in May for release in Summer 2006. Universal and MGM, partners on "Hannibal" and "Red Dragon," will get first crack at domestic rights. The British helmer of "Girl With A Pearl Earring" signed on just as the producers prepare to sell overseas rights this week at the American Film Market.

Author Thomas Harris surprised the De Laurentiises by asking to write the script as he scribbled the book. That is a first for Harris whose first draft has apparently enough material to yield two movies. They used it to hook Webber in.

Dino De Laurentiis says "It is a revenge story that shows why he became a cannibal,but he kills people that audiences want to see killed. So while there is a natural revulsion, the sympathy toward Hannibal remains...The first film can finish with his escape from France and then continue in the United States"

The producers and director will soon begin scouting locations in Lithuania, the Czech Republic and France. They will simultaneously search for young actors to play Lecter at three pivotal moments in his life.

Thanks to 'KarlChilders'.

10/31/04 -- Happy Halloween, Fright Fans! A special treat today for Hannibal lovers: a new Hannibal novel!

New Hannibal Lecter Novel Coming Next Fall

Oct 28, 2:13 PM (ET)

NEW YORK (AP) - Readers hungry for a good thriller can get ready to welcome an old friend: A new Hannibal Lecter novel, "Behind the Mask," is coming next fall.

"Thomas Harris is the premier novelist of psychological suspense of our time," said Irwyn Applebaum, president and publisher of the Bantam Dell Publishing Group, which announced the book's release Thursday.

"Millions of readers in 25 languages have wondered how Dr. Lecter developed his particular appetite for evil. This novel will satisfy their curiosity."

Film rights for "Behind the Mask" have been acquired by the Dino DeLaurentiis Company, which produced the Hannibal movies, "Red Dragon" and "Hannibal."

From AP.

But wait, there's more. I don't know if this is from conjecture based on earlier works or inside info, but here are some possible plot details from another article:

The forthcoming novel will tell how Lecter was born in the late 1930s into a wealthy Lithuanian land-owning family. His parents were killed by the Nazis when he was six and he and Mischa, his elder sister, had to fend for themselves in the winter of 1944.

They lived in a barn until starving soldiers found them. The men decided to eat one of the children and chose Mischa because she was fatter, killing her with an axe. It was the defining moment in Lecter�s life.

The book, to be published next autumn, will tell how Lecter fled to America after the war and became a psychiatrist. But gnawing away in his mind was the image of Mischa being eaten.

The film rights to the new book have already been sold.

From the London Times

I'd tell you more but I'm having an old friend for dinner. Later.

5/8/04 -- Yes, true believers. It's still in the offing -- The Hannibal Variations! Aint It Cool News' Quint has posted a Q&A with Dino De Laurentiis from a book signing in which he gave up the following Hannibal-related tidbit:

He touched on the upcoming Hannibal prequel, saying "It will show how he became this monster. How he became a cannibal, from 14 - 19"

You can read the whole thing by visiting Aint It Cool News.

8/26/03 -- Could it be ... news? The great Bloody Disgusting is on the Hannibal hunt and grabbed this interesting morsel from Hot Dog Magazine:

I'm not exactly sure which article is being referred to, but Shannon T writes in, "In the same article about Anthony Hopkins no longer being Jor-El in SUPERMAN, Hot Dog Magazine says he's also not involved in the Hannibal Lecter prequel either. Instead they're looking at Macauley Culkin! Apparently he's impressed producers with a role in a movie called Party Monster." Hmmmm.....

Meanwhile, if Mrs. Rosencranz is still out there somewhere, can you please email me?

Lastly, Since my updates are often lazy and irregular, I would like to direct anyone with even a passing interest to visit the most excellent, thorough Hannibal resource on the web The Hannibal Library! Cheers!

5/14/03 -- I wasn't sure if there would be another chapter in the Hannibal Lecter story (or if I would put in another year of updates) but now the rumors of last year have borne out and we find this story online at ScreenDaily.com, which goes to show that it aint over until the census taker sings, if you'll forgive the crass humor.

The Lecter Variation, which is being subtitled The Story Of Young Hannibal Lecter, follows the serial killer from his childhood in Lithuania through a period in Paris in his teens to his arrival in the US. De Laurentiis said that four actors will be required to play young Lecter at the ages of 12, 16, 20 and 25.

"Lecter was born into a very rich family but the war destroyed his family and killed his parents," explained De Laurentiis from Los Angeles this week. "He was left with his sister with whom he had a very close relationship."

Universal, which handled international on Hannibal and the world on Red Dragon for De Laurentiis, will again distribute The Lecter Variation, although De Laurentiis is planning to sell major territories here.

Harris has written the story for the producer and is likely to write the screenplay himself as well as a book. The title refers to Bach's Goldberg Variations which have been a recurring musical reference in the Lecter saga to date.

You will tell me when the lambs stop screaming, won't you?

Google

Hannibal's Palace: all things Hannibal, from the beginning
Red Dragon page: News & info on the Ralph Fiennes chiller
Hannibal Rising Yahoo group
The Hannibal Library


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