Bryan Fuller's Hannibal series is considered by some to be one of the most famous examples of queerbaiting in TV history, but it almost gave us the gay kiss we wanted and deserved.
Entertainment Weeklyinterviewed Fuller about the show, and specifically, the relationship and chemistry between its two leads, Mads Mikkelsen's Hannibal Lecter and Hugh Dancy's Will Graham. In the interview, Fuller admitted that he initially didn't plan on portraying the relationship in a sexual or romantic way.
"It started out as kind of a fascination with how straight guys interact with each other in a romantic way that is not sexual," Fuller told EW. "Initially, I didn't want to misrepresent Thomas Harris' characters because they clearly have heterosexual leanings in the source material, but as with the kids these days, that sexuality became much more fluid over the course of the series."
In fact, Fuller said going in that direction was as much the actors' decision as his. "They really helped kind of leach that romance out of the page into something that was actionable that became writing dialogue that was 'Is Hannibal in love with me?' and 'Do you ache for him?'" Fuller said. "I was just following the lead of the actors, as opposed to having a gay agenda. The gay agenda came later."
Fuller also went on to talk about how Hannibal's line to Will, "I have let you know me - see me. I gave you a rare gift, but you didn't want it," was inspired by the film Avatar, and that writer Don Mancini (Chucky) was overjoyed when the characters' feelings started to become more textual in the third season.
Perhaps the biggest soundbite Fuller dropped, though, was about the show's series finale, where Will and Hannibal embrace and fall off a cliff together.
"There were several takes and there was never any actual lip-locking," Fuller said. "But there was a lingering where Mads' 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."
"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," he continued. "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 now, he thinks he would do it differently.
"If I had to do it again, I might suggest to kiss and see how it played," he said. "But neither of the actors were ever afraid of going there. If there were any concerns, it was always just about remaining authentic. That certainly was my goal because, yes, I absolutely wanted to see them kiss. That would be wank bank material for the best of us."