by Ty Burr
With Red Dragon reviving Hannibal Lecter for a new generation, The Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme talks about first films, franchises, and when to walk away.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Why did you walk away from the chance to make Hannibal?
JONATHAN DEMME: [Novelist] Tom Harris, for me, took such a bold, unexpected direction with those characters; it broke my heart. It absolutely broke my heart. I had to tell Tom that it was a journey I couldn't take. I felt that the fact that we had, to my mind, lost Clarice was more than I could handle in making a movie. It was disappointing because I wanted to get back with those characters. I wanted to get back out there on another case with Jodie [Foster], and I wanted to see her integrity challenged by Dr. Lecter. I wanted to see her up against a brand new foe, more frightening than anyone we'd seen before, and I had hoped for a confrontation between Clarice and Dr. Lecter that would really make us all go, ` What on earth is going to happen here?' I had very formulaic ideas, in other words. And Tom Harris, man, he's an original. He just went whoooooo, way over there.
Have you seen Red Dragon yet?
Haven't seen it, no.
Do you feel proprietary in any sense?
It's funny, I don't feel proprietary. But I feel paternal.
Variety recently reported that Ted Tally, screenwriter of Silence and
Red Dragon, has been hired by producer Dino De Laurentiis to write an original
Hannibal Lecter script, without Harris's participation.
Very interesting. No comment.
Tally was quoted as saying that Dino had even mentioned the possibility of a TV series.
[wincing] Aw, gee whiz, no, no! Gosh, nothing good can happen anymore without it being exploited until every single centime has been milked out of it. Isn't. That. Something?