Fishburne fills some big shoes
LAURENCE Fishburne says he did not want to embarrass some of Hollywood’s best known stars when he took on the role of Dr Jack Crawford in Hannibal.
Harvey Keitel, Dennis Farina and Scott Glenn have all played FBI agent Dr Crawford in movies based on the Hannibal Lecter series of books.
Fishburne looks up to those three actors like family elders, having first met Glenn and Keitel when he was just 14. He says he wanted fans of the crime novels to respect the character of Dr Crawford in the Seven Network TV series Hannibal as much as they did when they saw the feature films. Farina portrayed Crawford in the 1986 movie Manhunter, Glenn was cast in the role in The Silence Of The Lambs and Keitel played the FBI agent in Red Dragon.
‘‘For me it was about trying not to embarrass them because I think of those guys as my uncles. I look up to, respect and love all three guys . . . I am honoured to play a part they all played,’’ he says.
Fishburne has a long list of movie credits including acclaimed films Apocalypse Now, The Colour Purple, Boyz N The Hood and The Matrix trilogy. However, in the past five years he has moved slightly away from the big screen and towards starring roles in TV series such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in 2008.
‘‘I was doing theatre in New York when I got an offer – a very, very attractive offer – to do CSI and I said yes and did three years on that,’’ Fishburne says.
‘‘There was no conscious decision to leave movies and do TV. I just go where the work is.’’
Even though he has locked in the role of Dr Jack Crawford, there are only 13 episodes of Hannibal per season and not the usual 20 or more that are usually commissioned by US networks.
He says the reduced number of episodes per season provides for more quality storylines and allows him to moonlight for other roles.
‘‘With 13 episodes you have a better chance of making every show memorable and it allows you the kind of flexibility to look for other work.’’
Fishburne has just completed a couple of movies and the next time he will appear on the big screen will be as newspaper editor Perry White in Man Of Steel, which stars Russell Crowe, to be released in June.
– DARREN CARTWRIGHT
Hannibal Wednesdays, 10.30pm, Seven, Prime7
Laurence Fishburne (left) as Jack Crawford and Mads Mikkelsen as Dr Hannibal Lecter in a scene from the TV series