Editor Matthew Morettini edited together the same scene from Thomas Harris‘s novel Red Dragon as interpreted in three different time periods by three directors. The scene sees FBI profiler Will Graham visiting Dr. Hannibal Lecter for the first time since he apprehended the man-eating killer. It is one of the best scenes in the entire Lecter canon.
The first is from 1986’s Manhunter, directed by Michael Mann and featuring William Petersen as Graham and Brian Cox as Lecter. The second is from 2002’s Red Dragon, directed by Brett Ratner — though owing a lot of its look to 1993’s Silence of the Lambs — with Edward Norton and Anthony Hopkins as Graham and Lecter. The last is from the series finale of Hannibal with Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen playing the pair:
What’s interesting to me is how much of the exchange between them remains unchanged over the years. Lifted from the Harris novel, no one ever seemed to feel they text needed much tightening. Also interesting is each director’s vision for the scene. Mann’s film focuses most on Graham and, therefore, Lecter is given a small white cell to highlight his defeat. Ratner, following on from the production design of Lambs, gives Lecter a large theatrical cell with no bars between him and Graham, treating them as equals. Finally, we see the Mikkelsen Lecter, the unquestioned title role, at home in his cell. The difference between it and any other dwelling the doctor might chose to live are negligible. Though moments do appear to show him outside his usual confines.
It also reflects the mythic status Lecter has taken on in popular culture. He’s almost a guest character in Manhunter to series star. Of course, this is largely due to Hopkins’ performance in Lambs, the feature film Hannibal and Red Dragon, but Mikkelsen proves others can play him and it probably won’t be long before we see Hannibal Lecter agan.