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This Isn't Likely to Be the Last of Hannibal

February 04, 2001|WILLIAM KECK

"Hannibal" producers Dino and Martha De Laurentiis have hired "Silence of the Lambs" screenwriter Ted Tally ("All the Pretty Horses") to script a new film adaptation of Thomas Harris' "Red Dragon," the book that introduced Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

"Red Dragon" was already made into the critically acclaimed (though little seen) 1986 film "Manhunter," directed by Michael Mann with actor Brian Cox as Lecter. "Good movie," Tally says of the original, "but Tom Harris is eager to do a new version with Universal Pictures and Dino De Laurentiis."

Although the story chronologically takes place 20 years before the action in "Hannibal," the De Laurentiises have spoken to Anthony Hopkins about playing the young cannibal. "The studio has a vision of Tony completing the Hannibal trilogy," says Tally.

While Hopkins seems game ("It depends on the script and director, but I'm sure I'll do it"), "Hannibal" director Ridley Scott has his reservations. "Tally's a really good writer, and in a way, 'Red Dragon' is the best book of the three--scarier than hell. But I think 'Red Dragon' was a very, very dark story, with not much humor. They've asked me, and as I've said before, it's all about the material."

Martha De Laurentiis expects to have Tally's first draft in hand before the Writers Guild contract runs out at the beginning of May.

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