On All The Ways I Loved The Red Dragon Trailer…

It’s official. I’m completely bugged out. And how do I know I’m bugged out? Because earlier, after waking up and needing another “fix”, I found myself glued to the Hannibal trailer again, on my laptop using my earbuds, with the sounds of kids and TV and tablet in the background just fading out. I was once again mesmerized to such a degree that when Hubby tapped me on the shoulder to ask if I’d like some bacon and eggs, I jumped out of my skin and yelped! Much to the amusement of Hubby and kids, LOL.

Last night, when I first watched the exquisitely done trailer for the 6 episode Red Dragon Arc that will conclude Hannibal‘s run on NBC, the closest word to describe my initial reaction was electrified. Although it was past 10pm when I first watched the trailer, and prior to watching it, I was exhausted and intending to go to bed early, this incredible footage of Richard Armitage embodying the complex character of Francis Dolarhyde acted like a triple shot of espresso into my system and suddenly, there was no question of me going to bed early. I watched it repeatedly, reveling in it, really, just addicted to everything about it.

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That “Look”…. that intensity, and the cinematography of the entire scene… color me #mindblown!

As I said after viewing the first 2 episodes of Hannibal S1 the same day that Richard’s Dolarhyde casting was announced: “stylistically, the show is very different from anything I’ve seen Armitage do, and it will be fascinating to watch not only his portrayal of the sick fiend that is Francis Dolarhyde, but the incorporation of Armitage into the overall composition and feel of this series is going to be completely new and different.” Well, based on what I’ve seen in this trailer… I’m not going to be disappointed. I loved the musical accompaniment to the footage, especially in the initial series of shots as they introduced Dolarhyde- the cinematography and quirky percussion-driven soundtrack was simultaneously beautiful and jarring, just drawing me into the character, conveying his unique dichotomy of shyness/vulnerability and fierceness/intensity that makes the character so compelling and so terrifying. “Do you see me now? Yes. Do you feel me now? Yes.” I see him, and feel him, in the gut. In an instinctual way that Hannibal is so brilliant at accomplishing through some voodoo combination of artistically irresistible visuals and visceral musical score.

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This little startle, this endearing vulnerability, as Reba reaches out to touch his face. Remember, this is the man whose earliest knowledge led him to believe his own name was Cunt-Face when he was at the orphanage. And here it is. This. A brief glimpse of that back story in a facial expression. A perfect little taste of that Armitage brilliance.

So unable to sleep, I decided to start making Francis Dolarhyde gifs (I did THIRTY!) last night, and when I started studying the gifs, and playing with the light settings, I was blown away by the subtleties of facial expression and body language. If I didn’t know by now that Richard Armitage can inhabit a character and become that character completely, just several minutes of footage of his work here would have convinced me, and should convince anyone, of his astounding “immersion” capabilities. I can’t tell you how eager I am for more of this, despite the dark and creepy atmosphere and the knowing I have that the journey is likely to be both heartbreaking and terrifying. If the trailer can have me on the edge of my seat and bugged out completely, what will 6 full episodes be like? Prepare to be overwhelmed!

Another wonderful thing about this trailer was that we were able to hear shy and taciturn Francis Dolarhyde’s voice for the first time (!!!) in a few moments of dialogue. Having read the book, I’ve been aware that this would be what could make or break the character, because it’s so critical to the “vulnerability” aspect and the empathetic response that we are supposed to experience. The character was born with a severe craniofacial birth defect, and though later in life he has reconstructive surgery to repair the cleft palate, he has a persistent mild speech impediment and is extremely self-conscious about it. He is acutely aware of and feels such embarrassment over his speech patterns, especially with the “S” sounds, that he will pause and consider ways to rephrase his dialogue so as to avoid “S” sounds whenever possible. We didn’t have a lot of dialogue in this trailer, but what I did hear was absolutely spot on for my expectation of what this type of speech impediment would sound like. Only three lines of dialogue, yet I found myself falling a bit in love with that voice, because I’ve never heard Richard Armitage sound so… fragile.

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Love the eyelashes. They seem to flicker over words that are most difficult to enunciate.

The first line we hear is Francis speaking to Hannibal over the phone. The dialogue itself, when written, could be delivered in so many ways. “Dr. Lecter, I am… delighted… that you have taken an interest in me.” But Armitage’s delivery, using a very soft voice, stumbling lightly over the word “delighted” and with the slight hesitations of a deeply timid person, perfectly captures  the tentative hopefulness in his voice that what he is “Becoming” would be of interest to one he admires and aspires to be… the way one might speak to a deity with whom one someday hopes to acquire equal footing.

 

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Francis does something he’s never dared to do before in his adult life… reach out to a woman.

I deliberately closed my eyes to listen to “Miss McClane, can I give you a ride home?” so as to experience it as a blind woman might… this line was delivered flawlessly when I shut my eyes and listened. He asks her so politely, yet so awkwardly, perfectly embodying a man who is entirely uncertain of himself, and completely inexperienced in any sort of attempt to engage with another human, and particularly with a woman he likes. And yet, just listening to the endearing sweetness of it as he slightly lisps over her name, I could almost feel how she would feel in that moment, because you can tell, just by his voice, that he’s overcome a struggle to get up the nerve to ask. For me, anyway, it would be very difficult to say no to him after he’s tried so bravely to overcome his own discomfort with even the idea of gallantry.

 

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OK, so maybe there is a smile there at the beginning… but it’s definitely no kind of reassurance to see that kind of smile on a… biter.

Then came “Trust me. I’m smiling.” It starts with a whisper… and I know from the book that he was battling his inner darkness and an impulse to be vicious… so that whisper of “Trust me” is imbued with shades of darkness and internal struggle. Then his voice breaks slightly over the word “smiling” and again, that slight speech deficit. I can’t WAIT to see the rest of this scene. I was gripped in the book with fear for Reba’s safety, alone in her house with this psychopath who is more than capable of savaging her. Any woman alone with him would be in mortal danger… but her blindness, her inability to see his facial expressions as he considers his options… it’s the finest sort of suspense.

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Really. Those underwear don’t leave much to the imagination. That’s artistry. *Wipes chin*

And speaking of things I can’t WAIT for…well, I couldn’t make a post about the brilliance of this trailer without acknowledging its effects upon my ovaries. WOW. The team that put together this trailer certainly didn’t stint us on drool-worthy material, did they? It’s almost as if they suspected a large contingent might be, er, anxiously awaiting an eyeful, and by all that’s heavenly, they delivered. Let’s have a grateful round of applause, shall we? For the producers, for Richard, for the slow camera panning and the quality of the footage, down to each drop of sweat and each jaw-dropping moment of the bodybuilding routine that was lavished upon us… yeah. WOW. More of that, please! I think Richard has surpassed all former levels of buffness for this role, and I we can probably all agree that there promises to be a tremendous amount of eye-candy for those willing to venture over to the dark side. =)

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*Shudders*

But if this is anything to go by, this flash of hideous monstrosity… we will be visiting a very dark and terrifying place when we go on this journey with Francis, indeed. The gif above, showing the man, is all that is attractive. Which makes this… the stuff of nightmares…. all the more discordant and repelling. What a contrast between the tentative and awkward man with the hesitant speech, the intense and powerful man with the muscular physique, and this, the repulsive face of The Dragon… all I can say is that the makeup effects and the absolute commitment to inhabiting evil by the actor here are amazing. It’s awful, and it’s awe-inspiring. He’s going to scare my pants off, and I’m not exactly sure if I’ll like it.

It looks like these last six episodes have the potential to be a tour de force by Richard Armitage. It’s entirely new ground for him, and though it’s not without trepidation, I’m entirely eager to experience it. *Gulps*

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24 comments

  1. Esther · July 12, 2015

    The trailer left me wondering whether I’ll even dare watch this! But for Richard I really will, as I agree he does look to be inhabiting the character brilliantly! I haven’t been able to watch the trailer as often as you have, it freaks me out, so I’m taking it in small daily watch-it-again-while-wincing doses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jholland · July 12, 2015

      I didn’t even realize how creeped out I was until I jumped out of my skin in the middle of watching it! This trailer really deserves some kind of official recognition for conveying so much of the character in just a few scenes and lines. Fabulous. And yes, I think the watching is going to be incredibly difficult at times.

      Like

  2. Tessa · July 12, 2015

    I have watched this trailer several time, and each time I get chills and lean away from my ‘puter screen..It is intense, yet beautiful to watch..Mr. Armitage has that gift of facial expression, eyes that make you look and want to watch, even when you do not want to..It is a brilliant trailer that lets us see a glimpse of this horrific serial killer, and I even felt pity at the “can I touch your face” scene…Is it just me who feels this way? Or am I just enthralled with the actor named Armitage, and enjoy his work? Still have goosebumps……..

    Like

    • jholland · July 12, 2015

      It’s not just you… I can’t think of any way that the trailer could have been improved… it was chalk full of Armitage, but gave glimpses of the other players (So glad to see Gillian Anderson will still have a role during the Red Dragon arc!) and it covered just enough of each “side” of our villain to whet the appetite for more (except maybe the freak show… not sure I care for any more of that!)

      Like

  3. Perry · July 12, 2015

    These are my thoughts, exactly. I just cannot wait for this performance.

    Like

    • jholland · July 12, 2015

      I know! Not long now… the hardest part will be waiting the week between episodes. I just can’t get over that voice! I wish I could high-five him for nailing it perfectly!

      Like

  4. Guylty · July 13, 2015

    Yup. “Tour de force” were exactly what I thought, too. And I was surprised to say that, given that I had reservations about Hannibal, the series. But well, trust Mr A to give this project the depth we like… I have to work out now how to actually see it when it appears… I don’t think I’ll be able to wait for it to turn up in Europe, eventuallly…

    Like

    • jholland · July 13, 2015

      Oh, no kidding! The trailer changes everything! Where before, given your reservations and being on the fence, waiting might be doable. Now… forget it! Even waiting the week between episodes is going to be a challenge. LOL

      Like

      • Guylty · July 13, 2015

        Have to agree. I am really primed for this. Frantic, almost 😉

        Like

        • jholland · July 13, 2015

          There’s a limerick idea! “Frantic For Francis”. ROFL

          Liked by 1 person

        • Guylty · July 13, 2015

          Can’t wait. In your capable hands it will be great!

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Hariclea · July 13, 2015

    sorry, this may be a silly place to ask this, i’m just working my way through the videos of interviews, getting to the ONE 😉 But on my way there once again i noticed Dancy’s accent or rather lack of. He seems to speak a very literary, clean English, almost devoid of specific accents and not only that, i’ve always noticed his exceptional diction.
    I think you’ve watched the entire series so far too, so just wondering, does he have a particular accent that i am not aware of, ie is it specific to a region of the US? Or is this actually what one could call ‘posh American’? 😉 Just puzzled because to my ears he speaks very differently to vast majority of American actors i see/hear on screen..

    Liked by 1 person

    • jholland · July 13, 2015

      Good question. I don’t really hear any particular regional accent from Dancy as Will Graham. It’s a good job, though, because I didn’t even know he was British when I first started watching and never picked up on any irregularities. I guess “Posh American” would be accurate, in that he speaks with perfect grammar and his dialogue is intellectual. LOL

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hariclea · July 13, 2015

        OMG!!! how utterly embarrassing!!! He is British :-S If only i had bothered to google before opening my gob 😉 Or maybe i did sometime back but then forgot it. Of course he sounds posh to my ears, because it is actually posh English LOL There is no American accent to be had because he ain’t American! I kept thinking he was American and what i was hearing was doing my head in 🙂 No wonder, because he spoke just like most other Shakespeare educated actors from around here ‘ggg’. That explains a lot and i wasn’t going crazy 🙂 It is more the very articulate diction and the lack of very open vowels that puzzled me but now it makes sense. For the record the English he speaks, and not on the show where it is actually toned down a bit, but his own natural speech is way posher than Richard’s 🙂 (just listened to both panel and interview). Phew, relief & embarrassment 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • jholland · July 13, 2015

          LOL- I thought you were referring to his American accent as Will Graham! I just assumed you knew! So funny!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Hariclea · July 13, 2015

          yeah, isn’t it just :-))))) slaps hand on face :-)) and yes he managed to tone his Britishness down quite well i think ;-))) LOL…
          Ok, there we go, seen all videos to be seen, no excuse left…. only 1 video left! deep breath…

          Liked by 1 person

        • jholland · July 13, 2015

          Well? What did you think? Dying to know!!

          Like

        • Hariclea · July 13, 2015

          twice and i watched another interview after too, check S blog, a short 6 min one but very good, Richard alone talking in depth about FD and looking just lovely, whites in beard included 🙂 Don’t tell, but so much nicer to have him alone in an interview, out of the H context in the discussion, just in calmer surroundings 1-1.
          The trailer… ah, i shouldn’t have been afraid! I think the gifs and stills scared me more! Especially the one with the weird teeth and his pulled face which in the trailer is only a very brief glimpse.
          It really pulled on my heard to hear him speak…. poor poor man…. just the idea that somebody would have to live with a defect like that which today can be fixed so easily, But hearing it i can just feel how debilitating something like that would be for a grown man, never mind for somebody with so many insecurities.
          And then the utter madness in his eyes… the depth of the insanity, and quite a different one from Thorin, isn’t it? This one carries so much violence and threat… very scary. The last image especially, dehumanised completely…. sigh
          Still probably the scariest for me is the one with his mouth next to Reba’s hand, which in the book was almost unbearable because of the insane thoughts the character was having about biting her fingers off and such, i was so anxious i nearly didn’t go on reading. And i can feel that anxiety in the moment, because his words are in such a dissonance to his face and especially the look in his eyes, it’ the threat that she can’t see but we can, in his eyes. I didn’t think they’d make his cleft pallet so pronounced but it makes sense as without it his speech would not be as impaired. He worked really really hard at it. I do hope he is right and in the end there will be more about his journey than the murders in this, it would make it more bearable to me, but i have to say hearing him speak just breaks me.. that is as long as i don’t look into his eyes.
          The physical aspect is not as wowing, i mean it is neither unseen nor unknown 😉 We have actually seen it all before and i actually know his back is much more beautiful in person 🙂 And i don’t like those shorts, and the tattoo obscured pretty much everything else, i feel already from the trailer that aspect will just be a tool, a way to express his torment, but the real play and power will come from his face and his voice, not from his body, however much they played that card in the promos 🙂 And that is a very good thing because he is an amazing actor way beyond that gorgeous body of his and this just proves it once again 🙂
          I’ll watch it again for sure 🙂 Just not free frame it i think 😉 this is just for now, i’ve got a lot of varied things going through my head ,. not just about this but also about the panel and such..

          Liked by 1 person

        • jholland · July 13, 2015

          Yeah, I just watched that interview- it was great. I noticed the beard change, but couldn’t tell if it was white, or what (was watching on lowest resolution due to slow streaming here in the boondocks)… I was actually thinking it was an area where the beard was clipped shorter- some sort of beard fashion statement- but I couldn’t see very well on low res!

          And Yes! His speech impediment was done so well, and if you felt sorry for him because of it, then I think it’s a success because that’s one of the first things in the book that starts you on the journey to feeling empathy for the character… his self-consciousness about his speech. Oh, we’re in store for such a damn rollercoaster!

          And yes… I was the same way watching the scene where Reba, entirely unaware of his thoughts, nearly has her hand savaged! That scene was terrifying in the book, and RA captured that scare in the look on his face right before he speaks. Chills! Don’t you just love watching his facial expressions tell an entire story without any words necessary?

          I have to disagree about the WOW factor during the pull-up scene, and the shorts. I really liked those shorts. *coughs* LOL

          Liked by 1 person

        • Hariclea · July 14, 2015

          see, i don’t like the material much or the fact that they are neither here nor there, they just look uncomfortable 😉 With such a body a clasic pair of briefs, you know the ones cut like Speedos would have done a much better job and been much more comfortable with no silly pinches 🙂 I don’t see why they didn’t go for that option? If it was for fear of not showing to much, well then they should have gone for boxers and that’s that. It seems like it was one of those decisions where they were trying to cover up a bit more and i just find it unsatisfactory 😉 I would have gone for briefs, barely 1 cm more flesh visible but more comfortable for him.

          Like

  6. Buffy Brinkley · July 15, 2015

    You’ve said it all, my friend! A brilliant blog and lovely synopsis of everything we love about Richard Armitage! I personally cannot wait for him to scare the hell out of me, make me care about Francis Dolarhyde (which I’m sure he will!), and make me cry upon both Dolarhyde’s exit and the exit of Hannibal itself. If the series must end, it’s definitely going to end on a very strong high note!

    Like

    • jholland · July 15, 2015

      Thanks Buffy, and welcome! I’m a little miffed that instead of one more day until the final episode preceding Dolarhyde, now we have 3 more days, but I guess in the long run it makes no difference. I’m like you, though… I can’t wait! I am discouraged that Hannibal is finished, as I’m invested enough in the entire series to keep watching even after Dolarhyde’s exit. Especially as they say it will end on a cliffhanger… though I really doubt the cliffhanger will involve FD.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Buffy Brinkley · July 15, 2015

        I’m sad as well to see the series end. The brilliance of the show was apparent from frame one and I will miss my only reason to watch NBC programming. I sincerely hope Bryan Fuller finds a way to keep Hannibal going. I’ll watch even if I have to subscribe to yet another cable series of channels. Best show on TV since Pushing Daisies!

        Like

        • jholland · July 16, 2015

          As far as I can tell, Hannibal already has a fervent fan base, and it seems like even if there is no continuation, it will likely go on to have an ever-greater cult following. I haven’t ever watched the sci-fi series “Firefly” (it’s on my to-do list to check it out) but something similar happened to it, and it was cancelled on Fox late in its first season. When it didn’t find a new home, they went on to make a movie. So I have some hopes that if nothing else, there might be a motion picture at some point. =)

          Liked by 1 person

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