The Great Red Dragon Approaches: Richard Armitage On His Upcoming Role In Hannibal

During a recent interview with Digital Spy, Richard Armitage took a break from talking about his role in The Hobbit trilogy to discuss an unrelated red dragon. He offered some insight into what led him to take the iconic role of Francis Dolarhyde on NBC’s acclaimed drama Hannibal.

“I wasn’t familiar with the show, and even before I’d read the script I was already saying yes because it was Bryan Fuller. I just wanted to work with him,” Armitage explained.

He continued, “I suddenly realized that I was going back on something that I’d said a long time ago, which was that one of the genres I probably won’t do is horror. But I just didn’t see [the role of Dolarhyde] as horror, and I then went and watched Hannibal seasons one and two. To me it sort of sits in a very interesting place, it’s the horror genre but there’s something beautifully decadent and gothic about the way that it’s shot, and the performances are extraordinary.”

It sounds as though Armitage found his way to being a Fannibal in the same way that so much of Hannibal’s audience did – through the intense beauty of the show’s design and the trippy fusion between reality and psychology. And, as Armitage said, the performances are fantastic as well.

“Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy and Laurence Fishburne just give it this elevation,” he praised. “So I knew that the bar was high when I went in there.”

Hannibal has always set a high bar in every facet of its production. Performances, design, special effects, music – everything. Richard Armitage’s trademark intensity and uncanny ability to earn an audience’s sympathy for even the roughest of characters will be a welcome addition to an already fantastic series. It will be wonderful to see him in the role of Francis Dolarhyde, a serial killer who becomes an object of pity and even sympathy in the novel Red Dragon, due to the extreme nature of his troubles and traumas. Armitage concluded with his thoughts on getting to explore such a layered role.

“Most movies are maximum two hours long,” he said, “and we get six hours to really explore the fine detail of what it means to be a psychopath, and understand the roots of that, the birth of a child that turns into a monster. It’s going to be very interesting.”

I couldn’t agree more.


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