TV bosses poured an estimated $10 million (£6.3 million) into creating a pilot episode based on the goofy 1964-66 CBS comedy series based on The Munsters, about a Frankenstein-ish dad and his monstrous relatives, NBC’s new version is from writer-producer Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies) and director Bryan Singer (the X-Men movies, House) with a cast including Jerry O’Connell as Herman Munster, Portia de Rossi as Lily Munster and Eddie Izzard as the Dracula-esque Grandpa.
The show, titled Mockingbird Lane, spent two years in development before bosses at U.S. network NBC decided against ordering a full series and the project appeared to have been shelved. Apparently Fuller and Singer had differing opinions about the style of the pilot, and the final version is said to have come in below the network’s expectations. With Fuller now busy shooting NBC’s 13-episode Hannibal series, he’s making with Mads Mikkelsen, he’s not able to work on Mockingbird Lane.
The pilot episode will air as a Halloween special in the U.S. on 26 October (12), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
NBC’s new take on serial killer Hannibal Lecter is shaping up to be quite an interesting (and series-TV-friendly) departure from films like Silence of the Lambs. Reported by socialpsychol HERE in November 2011.
Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daises, Heroes) is taking five pages of backstory about the infamous cannibal psychiatrist from Thomas Harris’ book Red Dragon and using it as the basis for the first couple seasons of his planned drama.
Hannibal, which has received a 13-episode series order, features Lecter solving crimes with empathic FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). For the first time, viewers will spend quality time with Lecter while he’s at large and before the world knows his secrets, working side by side with a similarly brilliant man who is destined to catch him.
“It’s before he was incarcerated, so he’s more of a peacock,” Fuller tells EW.com. “There is a cheery disposition to our Hannibal. He’s not being telegraphed as a villain. If the audience didn’t know who he was, they wouldn’t see him coming. What we have is Alfred Hitchcock’s principle of suspense — show the audience the bomb under the table and let them sweat when it’s going to go boom. So the audience knows who Hannibal is so we don’t have to overplay his villainy. We get to subvert his legacy and give the audience twists and turns.”
“It really is a love story, for lack of a better description, between these two characters,” Fuller says. “As Hannibal has said [to Graham] in a couple of the movies, ‘You’re a lot more like me than you realize.’ We’ll get to the bottom of exactly what that means over the course of the first two seasons. But we’re taking our sweet precious time.”
“Doing a cable model on network television gives us the opportunity not to dally in our storytelling because we have a lot of real estate to cover,” Fuller says. “I pitched a seven-season arc including stories from various [Thomas Harris] books.”
The show will include familiar characters from Harris’ novels, though he’s “Starbucking” the genders of a couple of them. FBI boss Jack Crawford will remain male, but Dr. Alan Bloom is becoming Dr. Alana Bloom, and tabloid journalist Freddy Lounds is becoming tabloid blogger Fredricka Lounds.
Between Hannibal and Fuller’s Munsters reboot pilot Mockingbird Lane, the writer certainly has his hands full. Still, there’s one other TV series idea that we’re all hoping eventually gets off the ground — the return of Star Trek.
Fuller has previously spoken to director-producer Bryan Singer about teaming to reboot the TV franchise, though any movement depends on rights-holder Paramount and Trek’s current creative kingpin, J.J. Abrams (who, of course, knows a thing or two about making TV shows too). The consensus has been that there is unlikely to be a Trek TV show while the current movie franchise is still regularly hitting theaters.
“Bryan and I are big fans of Trek and have discussed a take on what we would do, and we would love to do it,” Fuller says. “I don’t think anything is going to happen in any official capacity until after the next movie comes out. And I’m sure it would be wisely under J.J. Abrams’ purview of what happens. He’s the guardian of Trek right now.”