In 1991, the world of movie villains was forever changed with the introduction of the suave cannibal Doctor Hannibal Lecter in Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs, based on the novel by Thomas Harris. Played to chilling perfection by Anthony Hopkins, Lecter became the gold standard for a particular type of gory villain who relied on brains instead of brawn to eliminate his targets. Unfortunately, according to a report by EW, the upcoming sequel series to the movie, titled Clarice, which focuses on the character played by Jodie Foster, is not allowed to refer to Hannibal directly.
"The rights to author Thomas Harris' characters are bewilderingly divided between MGM and the Dino De Laurentiis Company. So the CBS show will have all the Harris characters that NBC's Hannibal didn't have - such as Starling, her colleague Ardelia Mapp (Devyn Tyler), Deputy Assistant Attorney General Paul Krendler (Michael Cudlitz), the late serial killer Buffalo Bill, and a few others. And all of Starling's experiences with Dr. Lecter still happened in this new story, and the cannibal doctor remains at large. But Hannibal is, legally speaking, He Who Shall Not Be Named."
The new show features Rebecca Breeds in the role of Clarice Starling, the young FBI trainee who was chosen by Hannibal Lecter to solve the case of the serial killer Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs. The show picks up one year after the events in Demme's film, which means Clarice has already come into contact with Lecter, and become emotionally scarred from the encounter. According to executive producer Alex Kurtzman, the fact that they are legally required to steer clear of any mention of Hannibal the Cannibal has allowed Clarice to move in new and fresh directions.
"I'm still trying to understand how the rights are divided. But it's been quite liberating because we have no interest in writing about Hannibal - not because we didn't love the films and the show, but because it was done so well by so many people that it didn't feel fresh for us."
The relationship between Hannibal and Clarice was the foundational stone of The Silence of the Lambs, and their iconic relationship helped immortalize each character in the minds of audiences. While Lecter got his own show Hannibal that was able to be a success without any mention of Clarice, it will be interesting to see if Clarice will be able to shoulder the expectations of a show by herself without the shadowy presence of the sinister Doctor Lecter playing mind games with her from a distance.
Clarice stars Rebecca Breeds as Clarice Starling, Michael Cudlitz as Paul Krendler, Lucca de Oliveira as Tomas Esquivel, Kal Penn as Shaan Tripathi, Nick Sandow as Agent Clarke, Devyn Tyler as Ardelia Mapp, and Marnee Carpenter as Catherine Martin. The series premieres on February 11, 2021, at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT on CBS and CBS All Access. This news comes from Entertainment Weekly.