Reporters at the CBS Winter Tour asked about the elephant in the virtual room; the notion being that the rights holders of Hannibal, The Dino De Laurentiis Company, wouldn’t clear his use in the upcoming series. Meanwhile, MGM, a producer on the CBS series, holds the rights to all the characters from the 1991 film, including Clarice Starling, Ardelia Mapp, Paul Krendler, Buffalo Bill, and more.
Still, the lack of Lector wouldn’t drain any blood from Clarice. It was the female FBI agent alone who series co-creator and EP Jenny Lumet was always transfixed by.
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“I think that the character (of Hannibal) was brought to life by three extraordinary actors and at least three extraordinary filmmakers. Clarice hasn’t been explored like that. She has a depth and mystery we haven’t examined yet,” said Lumet.
“In the Silence of the Lambs, she was able to go down into the dark, and find the human in the monsters, and then pull out the light. I thought, as I watched her, this is a woman with a lot of secrets. And I like that. And then she went silent for years, and I couldn’t let it go that you have this hero, this icon, this mystery; what happened in those missing years?”
Clarice is set in 1993, a year after Starling’s nabbing of Buffalo Bill.
Lumet reached out to Silence of the Lambs author Thomas Harris. “We spoke about the light in Clarice’s eyes. And he said, ‘It’s ours now’,” recalled Lumet, “I felt that responsibility and I want to know the light and the dark and the mind and the heart of this woman, this hero Clarice Starling. Right now in 2021, I think people are rediscovering who they are after extraordinary circumstances. It’s all been a group experience, and people are using their voices, realizing they’re using their voices for change.”
“And that’s definitely Clarice,” said Lumet.
“The tagline for the show, which kept pushing itself to the foreground –‘The Silence Is Over’– and I think that meant she had not spoken in 30 years and it’s her time to speak now. That was our compass, that’s what led us, that’s what we wanted to do, and we didn’t want to tread territory that has been done so well by so many others,” said co-creator/EP Alex Kurtzman.
How grisly will the murder cases be that Clarice investigates?
Explained Kurtzman, “Let me say that we’re not doing what the show Hannibal did and that was make a literal meal of the murders themselves. Our goal, when we pick individual cases, is to always organize our story break around what’s going on for the characters and then how can the case itself somehow illuminate some inner struggle that they’re not confronting? So, we don’t really break story or grisly murders or ‘what’s the grisliest murder we can put on camera?’ We break story from the point of view of asking ‘What are they not looking at? What are they afraid to look at? What are they scared to look at? And how does this case open a door for them that they may not necessarily want to walk through?”
Clarice premieres on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 10PM.