Mads Mikkelsen, who played the Bond villain Le Chiffre in “Casino Royale” has now been officially cast as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in NBC’s forthcoming TV series “Hannibal”, based on Thomas Harris’s infamous character.
The Danish actor sure has some big shoes to fill. British actor Brain Cox played Lecter (spelt Lecktor back then) in Michael Mann’s 80′s thriller “Manhunter” and Anthony Hopkins has played the iconic killer 3 time in “Silence of the Lambs” (for which he won an Oscar), “Hannibal” and Manhunter remake “Red Dragon”.
Mikkelsen joins Britain’s Hugh Dancy who fills the shoes of FBI Agent Will Graham, a role that has previously been played by Edward Norton (Red Dragon) and William Peterson (Manhunter). The show will initially find Lecter and Graham as friends with Lecter helping Graham solve some gruesome crimes before Lecter turns bad several episodes in.
Also, to further shake things up from the books/films to date, the show will change the sexes of FBI forensic psychologist Dr. Alan Bloom who is now Dr. Alana Bloom and the journalist Freddie Lounds, who is now a blogger (of course!) named Fredricka Lounds.
This is shaping up to be quite a year for the Mikkelsen. He recently won Best Actor for his movie “The Hunt” at the Cannes Film Festival, and was rumored to be in the running for a part in blockbuster sequel “Thor 2″.
NBC will screen the first season of “Hannibal” consisting 13 episodes in the fall 2012/2013 line-up. Bryan Fuller, creator of the show, has pitched for a whopping seven seasons with stories based on Harris’ novels filling many of the later episodes.
“Hannibal” isn’t the only series to be taking its inspiration from the Thomas Harris created saga. The Lifetime Channel recently announced their plans to develop a rival series, which will focus on the early career of Clarice Starling, a role that won actress Jodie Foster her second Academy Award in “The Silence of the Lambs”.
No casting decisions have been made for Clarice, but as soon as we hear something we’ll be sure to let you know.