Mads Mikkelsen is good, Mads Mikkelsen can be great, but can Mads Mikkelsen convince everyone that he's Hannibal Lecter, AKA "Hannibal the Cannibal"?
Mikkelsen plays the character, created by Thomas Harris in his 1981 novel Red Dragon, in a new U.S. TV show set to debut on April 4. The show, titled simply Hannibal, stars Hugh Dancy as FBI profiler Will Graham, and is an origin story.
It's set during the beginning of the relationship between Graham and Dr. Lecter, before Graham (or anyone except the audience) learns that the good doc is a serial killer with a taste for human flesh. Laurence Fishburne plays Graham's boss, Jack Crawford. Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Heroes) is the key creative force behind the show.
The first teaser has been released, and it keeps Mikkelsen (and Hannibal) in the shadows, which is probably a good idea. Even though Anthony Hopkins was not the first actor to play the character -- that honor belongs to Brian Cox in the first film adaptation of Harris' novel -- he certainly etched an indelible portrait. Mikkelsen will, no doubt, give him a different spin, and he'll be a welcome presence on weekly TV, but obviously much will depend on the stories cooked up by the writers and producers.
If nothing else, Hannibal will introduce Mikkelsen to a much broader audience in the U.S., far beyond his performance in Casino Royale, and that's a good thing.