The Silence of the Lambs sequel TV show Clarice is coming to CBS. Thomas Harris published the original novel The Silence of the Lambs in 1988 as a sequel to his own book Red Dragon. Silence was of course adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 1991 by director Jonathan Demme.
Though both Silence and Red Dragon revolve around intrepid FBI investigators on the trail of serial killers, their real star is undoubtedly the character of Hannibal Lecter, an imprisoned cannibal murderer whose insights into the criminal mind aid the books’ respective agents in tracking their prey. Indeed, it was Anthony Hopkins’ Oscar-winning portrayal of Lecter in the Silence of the Lambs movie that catapulted the character to pop culture icon status. Later, Lecter would return for a pair of sequel novels, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising, both of which would be adapted into films. TV also got in on the Lecter fascination via the show Hannibal, which developed a loyal cult following during its three season run.
Now, another TV network is diving into Harris’ body of work, but they’re leaving Lecter behind. As reported by Deadline, CBS has ordered up a series built around the Silence of the Lambs character Clarice Starling. Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet are teaming up to write and executive produce the series, which is set a year after Silence and will go deep into Starling’s backstory. However, there’s bad news for fans of Hannibal Lecter as the character reportedly will not appear in the show. Kurtzman and Lumet actually tried to get the same series up and running at Lifetime back in 2012 but the project did not get going.
The character of Starling of course first appeared in Silence of the Lambs as a young FBI rookie who enters into a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with Lecter while pursuing a serial killer named Buffalo Bill. Jodie Foster played Starling in the movie adaptation and went on to win an Oscar for Best Actress. Starling later returned as an older, wiser agent in Hannibal, and was played in the Ridley Scott film adaptation by Julianne Moore. The character never appeared in the show Hannibal but creator Bryan Fuller has said he would’ve brought her in for season 5 had the series remained on the air.
It’s certainly interesting that CBS’s Clarice will stay away from the Hannibal Lecter character, given his continued popularity as a villain, though of course the show could always change course later and bring Lecter in. The plan as it stands does sound intriguing however, as Clarice Starling is certainly a complex and fascinating character in her own right. The original The Silence of the Lambs somewhat explored her backstory, as Lecter extracted information about her life in exchange for his own insights into Buffalo Bill, but it sounds like the new show will go much deeper into what makes her tick. It will be interesting to see who ultimately lands the role of Starling, as it’s certainly a juicy part.
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