As if "Hannibal" fans needed any more reason to be depressed that NBC canceled the cult favorite series, creator Bryan Fuller let slip a tantalizing tease about his vision for a possible fourth season. If another distributor were to pick up the show, "Hannibal" would continue its adaptation of Thomas Harris' novels with "Silence of the Lambs," made famous by the Oscar-winning 1991 film staring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. Fuller says if he had his way, the role of serial killer Buffalo Bill in the story would be played by "Halt and Catch Fire" star Lee Pace.
In an interview with Crave Online, Fuller reaffirmed his desire to cover the "Silence of the Lambs" material with his "Hannibal" cast, adding that Pace would be his ideal Buffalo Bill. The role was played by Ted Levine in the 1991 film.
"I would love to cast Lee Pace as Buffalo Bill," said Fuller. "His first, most notable, award-winning career move was playing a transgendered person [in 2003’s A Soldier’s Girl], and I think it would be fascinating to return him to that side of his acting skill."
Fans know the character of Buffalo Bill well, a serial killer who kidnaps women to starve and then skin in order to fashion gruesome suits of human skin in a distrubing attempt to become a woman. Levine immortalized the character in the film with the infamous line, "It puts the lotion in the basket."
Watch a clip from 1991's "Silence of the Lambs" featuring Levine as Buffalo Bill below:
What would Pace bring to the role? Right now fans can only wonder. Fannibals have been eager to see Pace, a Bryan Fuller-vet from "Pushing Daisies," work with the show creator again for a long time. At 2014's San Diego Comic Con, the pair were spotted together looking awfully chummy, leading to speculation that a "Hannibal" guest role or another collaboration might be in the works.
When TVLine's Michael Ausiello asked Pace about a possible guest appearance on “Hannibal” at Comic Con 2014, Pace said, “I had lunch with Bryan two days ago” and “it came up.” He then spoke at length about his admiration for Fuller and the show. “I love what Bryan is doing with ‘Hannibal.’ It’s like an indie movie,” said Pace.
However, Pace said there was an issue preventing the partnership. "I'm on another TV show," Pace said, referring to AMC's "Halt and Catch Fire."
Watch Pace's TVLine interview below:
Fuller seemed to confirm to Crave Online that "Halt" was the only thing keeping Pace from taking on the role of Francis Dolarhyde, a.k.a. the Great Red Dragon, in "Hannibal" Season 3.
"We constantly asked Lee [about a guest role], but he was always so busy, because he was making 'Guardians of the Galaxy' and 'Halt and Catch Fire' and the 'Hobbit' films. So his dance card was full but we kept on asking," said Fuller. "We had talked about him playing Francis Dolarhyde, and it was something that we were sort of hanging in the balance, to see if 'Halt and Catch Fire' would have another season. So he wasn’t available. But I think it worked out amazingly well for us"
"Halt and Catch Fire" was indeed renewed for a second season and, instead, "Hannibal" fans got Richard Arbitage as Dolarhyde. Like Fuller said, that seemed to work out well and Arbitage's performance was top notch, but the idea of Pace as Buffalo Bill should make the loss of "Hannibal" even harder to bear for fans. Here's hoping for a "Hannibal" Season 4 sometime in the future and, while we're at it, a third season of "Halt and Catch Fire" would be nice too -- unless of course it keeps Pace away from "Hannibal."