Films

15 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Hannibal

It was a mighty long gap between Jonathan Demme's Oscar-winning thriller The Silence of the Lambs and Ridley Scott's rather brutal follow-up Hannibal. A whopping 10 years to be exact. 

But audiences were more than happy to see the return of Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling and the film brought in an even bigger amount of money at the box office. Thirteen years on, it still stands out as a fascinatingly perverse film, with its fair share of unforgettable and horrific images.

Here are 15, hopefully less nightmarish, things you didn't know about the film.

(|mages: All Star, Rex Features)

  • 15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Hannibal

    1.

    When producer Dino De Laurentiis originally approached Ridley Scott about directing the movie, Scott was working on Gladiator and confused Hannibal for the historical figure. He replied with "Basically, Dino, I'm doing a Roman epic right now. I don't wanna do elephants coming over the Alps next, old boy."

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    2.

    After Jodie Foster turned down the chance to play Clarice again, other actresses approached for the role included Angelina Jolie, Helen Hunt, Ashley Judd, Gillian Anderson, Hilary Swank and Cate Blanchett. 

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    3.

    It was actually Anthony Hopkins who suggested Julianne Moore for the role of Clarice. He'd worked with her on Surviving Picasso and was a big fan of her work.

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    4.

    Acclaimed playwright David Mamet's original script didn't go down too well with Universal so they brought in Steven Zallian to do a rewrite. The key elements that were ditched included a love interest for Clarice, some dream sequences and a completely different ending set in a graveyard.

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    5.

    For the theatrical release, Gary Oldman was uncredited. A rumour suggested that he demanded star billing alongside Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore and when this didn't happen, he asked for no billing at all. Instead, Oldman claims it was the original plan. "So we just had a bit of fun with it," he claimed. "We thought it would be great. The man with no face and no name, and sort of do it anonymously."

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    6.

    Christopher Reeve was the first choice to play Mason Verger, ultimately taken on by Gary Oldman. Having not read the novel or a script, he expressed interest. But he later turned it down after discovering the character was a quadriplegic, disfigured child rapist.

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    8.

    The only actor to have starred in more Lecter films than Anthony Hopkins? That would be Frankie Faison who was orderly Barney in The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Red Dragon as well as Lieutenant Fisk in Manhunter.

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    8.

    The title sequence was originally intended to be the film's second trailer but the studio wasn't so keen. Ridley Scott decided to keep it for the film instead.

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    9.

    To make the controversial "brain frying" scene near the end of the film, a $70,000 (£45,000) animatronic dummy of Ray Liotta was created while actual sheep brains were used for his brain.

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    10.

    This UK poster had to be recalled after being deemed "too shocking and disturbing" for the public.

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    11.

    Mason Verger's mansion is the same as the one used in Richie Rich.

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    12.

    Despite the ending of the book, where Lecter and Starling end up together, turning off many, Hopkins was a rare fan. "I think it would have been very interesting had she gone off," he revealed.  "Because I suspected that there was that romance, attachment there, that obsession with her. I guessed that a long time ago, at the last phone call to Clarice at the end of Silence of the Lambs."

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    13.

    The man-eating hogs used in the film were exhaustively auditioned. Ridley Scott picked them from over 6,000 available.

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    14.

    Gary Oldman admitted that one of the key inspirations for Mason Verger's voice was Katharine Hepburn.

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    15.

    After Julianne Moore dropped out, there was some reluctance from Anthony Hopkins to return. The producers flirted with the idea of using Tim Roth instead.

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