Since it was announced that CBS was developing a sequel series to The Silence of the Lambs, many were wondering if the novel and the film’s most iconic character Hannibal Lecter would also be making an appearance in Clarice. However, in a recent interview with EW, creator Alex Kurtzman has confirmed that the upcoming series won’t be able to feature the genius serial killer or even mention him by name due to legalities concerning the rights of the character.
“I’m still trying to understand how the rights are divided,” Kurtzman said. “But it’s been quite liberating because we have no interest in writing about Hannibal — not because we didn’t love the films and the show, but because it was done so well by so many people that it didn’t feel fresh for us.”
In addition, Kurtzman has also revealed that other than Buffalo Bill, another Silence of the Lambs character will play a major part in Clarice with Marnee Carpenter set to portray the role of Catherine Martin, the U.S. senator’s daughter who Starling rescued at the end of the novel as well as the acclaimed film adaptation. He teased an interesting detail about the character by confirming that Catherine Martin has decided to adopt Buffalo Bill’s poodle named Precious in order to deal with her kidnapping trauma.
“Catherine Martin is a strange, fun-house-mirror version of Clarice,” Kurtzman said. “They both shared this hell experience, but have been marked in different ways. Whereas Clarice is running from the fear and the pain, psychologically, Catherine is still in that well. So she is like a truth-teller.”
Executive producer Jenny Lumet added, “One of the ways in which Catherine has dealt with her trauma with Bill is that she has adopted Precious as her own dog – the dog that represented torture, the dog that represented the killer, the dog that represented everything. The dog also represented warmth, and light and freedom. The only warmth she had in this stone room. What does that mean? Are you going to fall in love with the thing that represents the weirdest, most f–ked up thing in your life?”
The series stars Rebecca Breeds (Pretty Little Liars), Kal Penn (Designated Survivor), Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead), Nick Sandow (Orange Is the New Black), Lucca De Oliveira (SEAL Team), Marnee Carpenter (Criminal Minds), and Devyn A. Tyler (The Purge). Jayne Atkinson (Criminal Minds), Shawn Doyle (The Expanse), and Tim Guinee (Homeland) will star in recurring/guest roles.
Breeds’ Starling is described as brilliant and vulnerable. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from UVA with a double major in Psych and Criminology. Her bravery gives her an inner light that draws monsters and madmen to her. Her complex psychological makeup comes from a challenging childhood, and her drive comes from her need to escape the burden of family secrets that have haunted her throughout her life. The character has previously been played by Jodie Foster, who won her second Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in The Silence of the Lambs, and Oscar winner Julianne Moore in 2001’s Hannibal.
The series is written and executive produced by frequent collaborators Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek: Discovery) and Jenny Lumet, who are both also currently working together on CBS All Access’ upcoming series The Man Who Fell to Earth. The project is co-production between MGM and CBS Television Studios in association with Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout. Heather Kadin of Secret Hideout will also executive produce with Aaron Baiers co-executive producing. The series is slated for a midseason 2020-2021 premiere.
Based on the novel by Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs film was directed by Jonathan Demme (Rachel Getting Married)from a screenplay adapted by Ted Tally. Its starred Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in their iconic roles as Clarice Starling and Dr. Hannibal Lecter. On top of its critical and commercial success with over $270 million gross worldwide, the film swept the top 5 major categories at the 64th Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor and Actress for Foster and Hopkins’ incredible performances. The role of Clarice Starling was taken over by Julianne Moore in Ridley Scott’s 2001 sequel Hannibal, and should the Hannibal tv series have continued producer Bryan Fuller wanted to cast Ellen Page as Starling.