Bryan Fuller Discusses Raul Esparza On HANNIBAL, PUSHING DAISIES & In COMPANY
HANNIBAL and PUSHING DAISIES creator Bryan Fuller discusses taking advantage the many talents of popular Broadway star and rising TV presence Raul Esparza on the new season of his serial killer-focused NBC series as well as what initially inspired him to seek the acclaimed actor's participation in the first place as part of a new interview.
Reflecting on his first exposure to Esparza, Fuller remembers, "I love Raul. The first time I was exposed to Raul, seeing him and hearing him sing 'Being Alive' from Company, it just went right to my soul where he captured all of the angst from Bobby from Company and really transported me to that emotional state of the character. I just thought, 'Oh my God, this guy is a genius. I have to work with him in some capacity.' We cast him on Pushing Daisies, and he was wonderful there, so when we were talking about Frederick Chilton, he was the first person who popped into my mind, because I think he can do smarm with likability. And Anthony Heald is so iconic as Chilton in some of the films that we wanted to have that same kind of likability but obnoxiousness, that careful alchemy of those elements."
Additionally, Fuller says of Esparza, "Raul just felt like he understood the material, he understood the character, he knew that he was comic relief, and he knew that he had to Capture the tone of the rest of the world with his sense of comic relief. He's struck such an interesting balance because he vibrates on such a different frequency from all of the other cast members and has a goofiness to him and a broadness to the character, but it all feels like it is existing within the parameters of the world. I think that's a really tough act - to be able to come into a show like Hannibal, function as comic relief, and also maintain a consistency of tone with the rest of the world."
Plus, Fuller reveals, "It takes a very specific actor to be able to navigate that. I just knew Raul could do it, and I love being in the editing room with those scenes with Raul, because he always tries something new and something funny. He improvises, like in the first one when he's like, "Hannibal, Hannibal, Hannibal..." None of that was really scripted, and it just felt like he was such a goof that it's fun to roll your eyes at him, but you're actually invested in his role. He has such a big role in events to come that it gets even bigger in five, six, and seven, of how tied into the mythology of what's happening between Hannibal and Will. If you're loving Raul so far, you're going to love what he does in five, six, and seven."
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