Twitter Facebook Instagram Google+ Tumblr YouTube E-Mail WhatsApp Sign In Check Close snapchat
Search
Exit Clear

Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller Explains Why He Banned Rape Scenes on His Show

Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller Explains Why He Banned Rape Scenes on His Show:

Hannibal, a show you absolutely should be watching, is back this week, so creator-executive Bryan Fuller has been making the publicity rounds to promote the third season.

Even among a host of other dark shows on TV, Hannibal stands out. It doesn’t deliver the same scope of awful things that series like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead do, but when Hannibal shows us horror, it’s concentrated to a fine elixir by the sheer artistry at work. We’ve seen human lungs for dinner, a woman sliced lengthwise into several thin cross-sections, and a totem pole of human bodies on this show. One thing we’ve never seen, though, is rape, and in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Fuller explained why.

“There are frequent examples of exploiting rape as low-hanging fruit to have a canvas of upset for the audience. The reason the rape well is so frequently used is because it’s a horrible thing that is real and that it happens. But because it’s so overexploited, it becomes callous. That’s something I can’t derive entertainment from as an audience member — and I’m the first person in the audience for Hannibal. My role, as a showrunner, is to want to watch the show we’re creating. And if something feels exploitative or unnecessary, I’ll try to avoid it.”

Over the course of the first two seasons, it was an easy thing for Fuller to avoid. Hannibal Lecter is many things, but a rapist isn’t one of them. For season three, though, Fuller has a new challenge: Introducing the serial killer known as “The Red Dragon,” Francis Dolarhyde.

In Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon, Dolarhyde is both a murderer and a rapist. So, how will Fuller get around that? By making you “read between the lines.”

“In crafting the story arc of the Red Dragon, it became a challenge on how to keep true to the novel but deemphasize the exploitive qualities of woman being raped. That was one of the big challenges in terms of how do we keep our promise [to not tell rape stories] to our audience — which is largely female — and also service the novel. It became a tricky matter of deemphasizing women being targeted, and making more pronounced the crimes against the victim’s family as a whole.”

Fuller’s discussion of using or not using rape in TV storytelling took on a bit more power thanks to Game of Thrones, which featured a very controversial rape of Sansa Stark just two weeks ago. The debate over the scene, and whether or not it was handled well, is still raging, so of course EW asked Fuller to weigh in.

“I thought it was handled tastefully, all things considered. You could have done that scene on broadcast. With Thrones, you’re telling a story based on a time where those sort of violations were common. And women did not have the stance in that world to effectively resist. And with Sansa Stark, and that particular attack, we know Ramsay Bolton as someone who is a horrible violator of all things human — what he did to Theon Greyjoy is part and parcel of his cruelty. So it felt organic to the world — not only what happened to Sansa, but [the attempted rape of] Gilly. It feels like we’re in the Wild Wild West, and that’s part of how they’re choosing to explore the story. I see why they’ve made the choices they have in the stories they’ve told, so I can’t criticize them for using that tool.”

Hannibal returns Thursday at 10/9C on NBC.

Playboy Social

Never miss an issue. Subscribe and save today!

Loading...