Being big fans of the Thomas Harris novels, when word came down that CBS was moving forward on a pseudo-spinoff series to The Silence of the Lambs? To say that our eyeballs and earholes lit up would be an understatement- boh with excitement and an arched brow to accompany our cautious optimism. To say there's a ton of pressure and expectations that come with playing in the twisted sandbox of Harris's devising would be an understatement- but if you do right by the franchise's faithful fanbase, the payoff can be huge (just as Bryan Fuller about Hannibal). But while executive producer Alex Kurtzman is still keeping details close on what Clarice will end up being, he was pretty clear during a recent interview with THR about what the series won't be.
"I'll tell you what we didn't want [the TV series] to be. We didn't want it to be 'Clarice Starling: The Procedural.' We just weren't going to make that show…. And MGM, who was gracious enough to trust us with the rights to Clarice, had no interest in making that show," Kurtzman explained. Still, he had to be convinced that broadcast television was the right home for the project: I said, 'I don't see that. I'm not going to reduce it to a procedural. [CBS CCO David] Nevins said, 'You can do whatever show you want.' I said, 'It's going to be serialized,' he said, 'Do it on the network.' I said, 'Are you sure?' and he said yes." And from the sounds of things, it's "so far, so good" when it comes to the network's promise. "Everybody, top-down at the network, has not given us one note to make it more procedural since we started," Kurtzman explained. "It's actually been kind of amazing."
Citing that there's "so much to dig into" when it comes to the character, Kurtzman sees the series as defining Clarice beyond The Silence of the Lambs and how she moves forward from it- evident from the title of the pilot episode. "The title of the pilot is 'The Silence Is Over,' and that's actually what we want the outline for the show to be. It's 'Clarice Starling is finally speaking,' and she's exploring lots of new things about herself after the trauma of Buffalo Bill."
From what Michael Cudlitz (who plays Paul Krendler, leader of the ViCAP Fly Team) tweeted out recently, it sounds like the series is keeping true to Kurtzman's promise to bring viewers something that's true to the character yet different from what they might be expecting:
Starring Rebecca Breeds (Home and Away, Pretty Little Liars) as FBI Agent Clarice Starling and set in 1993 (six months after Lambs), the series is a deep dive into the untold personal story of the brilliant yet vulnerable agent as she returns to the field to pursue serial murderers and sexual predators while navigating the high stakes political world of Washington, D.C. Based on characters and situations from Harris's novels, the series stars Breeds, Cudlitz, Nick Sandow, Lucca De Oliveira, Devyn A. Tyler, and Kal Penn, and stems from executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet.
Kurtzman, Lumet, Klaviter, and Heather Kadin are executive producers for MGM Television and CBS Television Studios in association with Secret Hideout, with Aaron Baiers co-executive producing. Maja Vrvilo is set to direct the pilot from a script by Lumet and Kurtzman. Elizabeth Klaviter serves as showrunner and executive producer. MGM Television and CBS Television Studios co-produce in association with Secret Hideout, for an expected 2020-2021 midseason premiere. "Jenny and I feel so fortunate to be working with Elizabeth Klaviter as our partner on Clarice," Kurtzman said. "Her extraordinary body of work, her wit, and her unique perspective will be invaluable in making this show as singular as our title character."