NBC's 'Hannibal' Gender-Bends A 'Red Dragon'/'Manhunter' Character
Freddy Lounds, the persistent paparazzo who hounds FBI Special Agent Will Graham's pursuit of The Tooth Fairy in Thomas Harris' crime novel Red Dragon, is no longer "Freddy Lounds." For you joining the Hannibal Lecter legend this fall, that's "Freddie Lounds" - played previously by first Stephen Lang in Michael Mann's 1986 film adaptation "Manhunter" then Phillip Seymour Hoffman In Brett Ratner's 2002 "Red Dragon" spelled as the former, now by "Camelot" actress Lara Jean Chorostecki.
This being an original prequel, there's precious little told in Harris' original material of Lounds' dealings with Graham prior to the events of Red Dragon - only that Lounds published an unauthorized photo of Graham clinging to life after Lecter attacked during Graham's apprehension of the doctor. It left a bad taste fresh in both the minds of Graham and FBI Director Jack Crawford as Graham began his duel against The Tooth Fairy years after Lecter's imprisonment.
According to TVLine's intel, Chorostecki's rendering of the character will be "more sophisticated in her manipulations than her male predecessors, but no less daring." That raises a question that hopefully the series' writers will have the forethought to eventually answer, should the show find legs.
A prequel, on order to make sense, must have its callbacks strongly rooted in the existing continuity. Otherwise, it's not truly a prequel. It's more a "re-imagining." Swap out characters' genders (as with Lounds) or race (as with Crawford now being played by Laurence Fishburne, as opposed to, say, Harvey Keitel in the Ratner "Red Dragon"), and it usually changes little of consequence. Still, a true prequel should play off its foundation material, not attempt to rewrite it. Characters are written as they are to fit perfectly within their surrounding pieces in the puzzle.
Though "usually" of little consequence, a gender-swap like this in a fill-the-gap prequel to an established continuity in which Lounds is a man is fast-and-loose enough. However, there are ways to make it work, especially since this instance doesn't involve adapting any gender-specific details such as established romantic entanglements in canon.
(NOTE: There's also "it could be worse" precedent for awkwardness - specifically, someone somewhere thinking nobody would notice Harvey Dent's black-man-to-white-man swap between Tim Burton's 1989 "Batman" and Joel Schumacher's "Batman Forever" two movies later.)
It will be much more interesting to see how this shift in Lounds' persona from advantageous sleaze to what sounds like a more resourceful, savvy journalist will change the chemistry of her interactions with surrounding characters from the dynamic in Red Dragon. How would perhaps altering the character's original detestable nature in Harris' envisioning turn the flavor, the impact of Lounds' eventual denouement in Red Dragon?
Chorostecki will act opposite Hugh Dancy as Graham and Mads Mikkelsen as Lecter in a saga of Graham's initially professional relationship with the secretly homicidal Lecter, with Graham not yet the wiser that the doctor has been the maestro behind the grisly, cannibalistic murders the Federal criminal profiler has been investigating.
"Hannibal" is slated for a mid-season premiere.