With the premiere of Hannibal Series 3 drawing closer, here is the second part of our chat with the shows insanely talented creator, Bryan Fuller. You can read the first
Today we get his thoughts on the return of The X-Files, the progress on American Gods and his script for the ill-fated Tim Burton Pinocchio project.
We jokingly spoke before about David Duchovny appearing as a guest star to finally re-unite Mulder & Scully but since then the return of The X-Files has been announced. You were a fan, so how you feeling about it?
I am thrilled. Gillian has invited me to the set to visit her and I intend on taking her up on that offer.
Have you spoken to Gillian about it and do you reckon she’ll go back to the iconic Scully red hair?
She spoke to me about it over a year ago and told me it was happening but swore me to secrecy. It was so hard because all my friends are huge X-Files fans.
They were rumours about it and they were asking me if Gillian had said anything about it. I was like, not to me but inside I was screaming hopping up and down.
I wonder. I wonder if Scully is going to be ginger again or go blonde?
As a writer and a fan what would you like to see in the new X-Files?
I would love to see the return to high concept hardcore science fiction genre storytelling in which they excelled. So much has happened in television since The X-Files because of The X-Files and now it is up to them to shift the paradigm again because there have been so many X-Files-esque series’ in the interim that I am so curious to see how they navigate that.
I have implicit trust and it must be so good to get both David and Gillian back because they are so iconic. For me The X-Files was always about Scully more than Mulder, she was the character I gravitated to.
For a lot of people The X-Files was always about Mulder but for me it was Scully first.
Given what we’ve seen in Hannibal and your other work, it would seem that The X-Files would be a great fit for you…
I would love it. Gillian and I spoke very briefly about how fun that would be for me to play in that play box. What is great about what they are doing is that they are bringing back the old team, they are getting The X-Files master-class back together and telling those stories.
As a fan, I am thrilled to be in the audience and watch that. Yes, I’d jump at half a chance to participate in that world. But I am so thrilled to see what they’re doing and it is kind of like what they’re doing with Star Wars.
I’d love to participate in that world but equally as thrilled to sit in the audience to see what J.J Abrams has come up with.
How are things going with American Gods and what can you tell us about it?
It’s going really well. Right now, we’re working with illustrators doing some of the production designs for the visual presentations. That is incredibly exciting and they have received two scripts that they are very happy with.
Now it is up to us to go in and sit down and say this is what the series is and this is what the series will look at – let’s all get on our knees and worship the gods.
What has it been like since the last time we spoke working with Neil Gaiman?
Neil is so incredibly collaborative and generous with the toy boxes he has built and filled. The freedom he has given Michael Green and I to play in this world has been really broad and again very generous.
He has said he loves the tangents we are taking.
Bilquis is a major character in the series whereas she is only in one chapter of the book to gobble up a man with her vagina to never be seen again. So she is a major player in our world as are other characters that are sort of mentioned in passing.
With the anthropological approach we are taking with the series we get a lot of time exploring the different gods and their disparate agendas and negotiating a truce and/or war with the new gods and old gods.
It is a great opportunity to tell stories about faith and belief. The whole thought form rule of the gods’ universe that Neil has created is one that has many applications elsewhere in the storytelling. If you believe something so much you can manifest it into reality.
That is a very exciting concept to play with not just with the gods themselves but other things.
Neil has been very generous with the directions we want to pull, twist and augment. The novel is very direct, it is Shadow’s story. We are telling stories above and beyond Shadow. We’re really crafting a series that will go for many seasons.
There is a version of the adaptation of the book that is one season that you could do with 10 episodes and then it would be done.
We have no intention of doing it that way.
You guys must have a pretty good idea who you want for the cast?
Oh yes, there are several actors we will approach once we have the landing strip cleared for arrival. It’s so funny, our different kind of approaches to those kind of announcements. I am like whoever we get let’s announce!
Neil is so funny because he doesn’t want to announce any cast member until we have them all on stage at a Comic-Con and they come out in one fell swoop. Nobody will know who has been cast until they step out on that stage.
I have to respect that and do think it’s actually very cool.
You also worked on a script at one point for Pinocchio that didn’t work out but what was that like?
Yes, I wrote a script a couple of years ago and was in London working with Tim Burton on that – it was very exciting. When Tim left the project they chose to go with a different script. The project then went back into development which was unfortunate. It was essentially green-lit and ready to go but then there was an abrupt change and Tim left the project.
It was very much a Tim Burton picture and the script I wrote was designed to be a Tim Burton picture.
There was darkness, emotion and a kind of recollection to Edward Scissorhands with the style of the storytelling where there was a sweetness to it. There was a lot of humour of the absurdity to the situation and is Giuseppe losing his mind with this doll coming to life.
It wasn’t as dark as the source material because if you read it, it is pretty bleak and all about starving children and about what you do to survive. From what I understand they are now doing something completely different that doesn’t have much to do with the source material at all.
Sounds like we all missed out on something big. So will there be a documentary 10 years from now about the ill-fated project ala “The Death of Superman Lives”?
[Laughs] You know, who knows? I was so proud of the script and one of the most beautiful things about the project was being able to work with Dick Zanuck before he died. To be able to have the lunches and meetings that I did with him and developing the script with Tim Burton were career highlights for me.
It’s a shame that the movie we were working on didn’t get made but I look at that experience and being able to sit in a room with Tim and talk about story, the design of it was just amazing.
I will always have that experience even if I don’t have the film.
Hannibal Series 3 premieres June 10 th , exclusively on Sky Living.