NBC Casts The Next Hannibal Lecter

Meet the new face of Hannibal Lecter.

NBC has cast Danish thespian Mads Mikkelsen to take up the mantle of author Thomas Harris' prolific sociopath in its Bryan Fuller-led drama chronicling Lecter's pre-Red Dragon exploits, The Hollywood Reporter says.

Mikkelsen will become the fourth actor to portray Lecter. Brian Cox was the first to bring Lecter to life in Michael Mann's 1986 Red Dragon adaptation "Manhunter." Sir Anthony Hopkins took up the role next, winning a Best Actor Academy Award for 1991's Jonathan Demme-directed "The Silence of the Lambs" before playing Lecter twice more in 2001's "Hannibal" and 2002's "Red Dragon." Most recently, Gaspard Ulliel took over the role in 2007's "Hannibal Rising."

Cox's performance is generally well-respected by those who have seen it, but it often overshadowed by Hopkins' performances being widely considered the definitive takes both because he played Lecter three times and his outings have been the best critically received. Ulliel's performance isn't discussed much because "Hannibal Rising" was a dull failure.

In NBC's 13-episode first pass at the series, Mikkelsen will play Dr. Lecter through what would be considered a precursor to and fleshing-out of Harris' Red Dragon exposition: Lecter assists FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) in deciphering a serial killer's mind, likely as the doctor carries out his own attrocities right under Graham's nose. In the events that comprise Red Dragon, Lecter nearly killed Graham upon the profiler's realization that he was consorting with an accomplished murderer in his own right.

Fuller will be producing alongside "Red Dragon" and big-screen "Hannibal" producer Marthe DeLaurentis, Sarah Collerton ("Dexter"), Jesse Alexander ("Lost") and Katie O'Connell. Previously, Mikkelsen played a Bond villain in "Casino Royale" opposite Daniel Craig's debuting 007. He's also attached to appear in next year's "Thor 2."