Hannibal: Bryan Fuller Kiss Take Do-Over; An Unused "Lingering" Take?
So the story of Bryan Fuller's Hannibal and "The Kiss That Almost Was" began back in April 2021. During an interview with Vulture about his on-screen career, Mads Mikkelsen was asked about his turn as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Bryan Fuller's take on author Thomas Harris' world. Of course, the topic turned to that moment in the third season finale with Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) that had Fannibals either hoping for or convinced a kiss was going to happen between the two. While Mikkelsen explained that the moment was definitely deserving of a kiss at least being considered, the actor explained that it never came to be. "No, we didn't. Never went for the kiss," the actor revealed. "Bryan loved it, but he was like, 'Too much, guys. It's too obvious.' And he was absolutely right. But I think we were just stuck on that. And a lot of the Fannibals wanted it as well. It's been a subject of homoerotic fan art. And for good reason, because they are so united as twins in many ways. But we never wanted it to be a physical thing. It was something much bigger than that."
A month later, Fuller responded to a question from a fan on Twitter about who would initiate the first kiss between Will or Hannibal, when Fuller dropped a reference to "unused footage" in his response to the question that "it was definitely Hannibal moving in for the smooches." So was Fuller insinuating that there are some moments on the cutting room floor that would make a kiss about to happen much more obvious- and Hannibal being the one taking the initiative? Well, nine months later we're getting some clarity on the matter from Fuller… and from the sounds of things? It might be time for the "Fannibals" to start demanding #ReleaseTheFuller Cut.
"There were several takes and there was never any actual lip-locking. But there was a lingering [in one take] where Mads's lips parted, hovering over Will's mouth in a way that went on… For a while. When I was watching dailies, it seemed like an eternity," Fuller revealed during an interview with EW. "The issue for me was always, I didn't want to make their love story expectational or artificial or forced. I always wanted it to be organic. I didn't know in that moment if it would cross over into that level of physicality beyond holding each other, and there was something about holding each other and leaning into each other and looking deeply into each other's eyes that felt more authentic and more romantic to me than a kiss ever would."
But years later and with the benefit of time, rewatching & fan responses, Fuller would go a different direction if he could back in time to when it was first filmed. "If I had to do it again, I might suggest to kiss and see how it played. But neither of the actors were ever afraid of going there. If there were any concerns, it was always just about the remaining authentic. That certainly was my goal because, yes, I absolutely wanted to see them kiss," Fuller continued. "That would be wank bank material for the best of us [Laughs]. But I was just really trying to maintain authenticity in the moment. The shot that's in there felt the most authentic and felt like it struck the right balance. But if I could get back into the editing room, I might do something differently now."