New Fuller Interview: Francis Dolarhyde’s Battle with Sanity vs. Insanity

Bryan Fuller gives good interviews, calculated to feed his fans’ desires to read a lot of what they want to know. Nothing wrong with this. In doing so he’s also super complimentary to his cast. I like this article very much because it gives a brief and easy summary of some of what’s gone on before in seasons 1 and 2, and also, of course, because what he says of Armitage. Which is really what we want to hear and know. Except – gosh – he pronounces his name wrong!


Fuller’s Red Dragon, as played by Richard Armitage, will be more than a bogeyman—he’s a representation of the struggle between sanity and insanity, rather than Good vs. Evil, which makes him all the more compelling. As with all good villains, Fuller and Co. have written Dolarhyde as though he were the protagonist in his own story.

“We’re not going to make it easy on you,” Fuller warns. “This man who falls for a blind woman and wants to take her to the zoo to enjoy the animals, who has arranged for her to actually touch them because she can’t see them—that is one of the most beautiful gestures I’ve seen in a romantic story. Yet it happens to be buried in the horror of a terrible, terrible killer of families. You see that this man is a contradiction; he is capable of beautiful and terrible things. And you can root against the monster, but you also need to root for the man, and hope he defeats the monster.” Fuller is careful, though, to point out that the fictional nature of the story makes this cognitive dissonance a little easier to handle.

A character walking that kind of tightrope necessitates the casting of an actor like Armitage. “It felt like it was Shakespearean in its storytelling, this battle for sanity,” Fuller says. “With Richard Armitage—who is a wonderfully trained actor, trained in theater—we found someone who could embrace the madness and generate great sympathy for what he is struggling with.” (For the record, Fuller pronounces the surname “Arm-i-tahj,” giving it the gravitas it probably deserves.)

17 thoughts on “New Fuller Interview: Francis Dolarhyde’s Battle with Sanity vs. Insanity

  1. I don’t know if all Americans mispronounce his name. I’ve heard it a few times in interviews. But, when someone is working with him full time, and claims to know him as a friend, I find it odd, or, at worst pretentious.


    • Agree, like in Quale case. Richard’s face in that interview where the journalist says his name right is very telling 😉
      Anyway, I suppose he’s always been Rich for Fuller.


    • Fuller might also be pressing buttons. He seems like that kind of guy.

      Lately I am seeing showrunners be more forthcoming and sharing about the changes and casting in their shows. Fuller is definitely good at this, which is very smart. I am definitely enjoying his press.


      • Oh, me, too. I’m only very slightly critical of it – outweighed by his adeptness. And I think you’re so right about it being more common these days with showrunners – although that’s more in your wheelhouse than mine. I think the press for Hannibal, including, or maybe even especially, Twitter, is sharp and successful. I’m looking forward to more. I think Hannibal is a show for which a lot can be revealed without spoiling it.


        • Exactly. I did have to look away a few times in the last season (Mason “I’m just full of myself” Verger…dear gawd) so I am prepared for the worst, especially after the comment Fullerbmade on the crew’s reaction to Dolarhyde in action. *shivers*


    • I find it rather odd and annoying, that Fuller does not know how to pronounce Richard Armitage correctly (or should that be a joke??). I remember how I cringed last year (to put it mildly!), when Mr. Quayle mispronounced RA’s name when he asked his actors on stage during that ITS panel at WonderCon in Las Vegas. Had to rewind that video a few times because I couldn’t believe my ears 😦 It has happened to RA on the Red Carpet interviews in LA for “Captain America” and on other press events. It’s ok if one doesn’t know how to vocalise his name properly in private, but on a public stage and if sb works as a journalist or as closely as Mr. Fuller with him for more than 3 months… Sorry, I think that is really disrespectful and flippant.


  2. I’m a little confused – or maybe overwhelmed by the interview floods, but which interview do you relate to? Sorry to bother you…
    He’s a really good interview partner indeed!


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