Fish­burne fills some big shoes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FREE TV -

Hannibal.

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

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