Screenwriting : Villains That We Love...and Why by Bill Costantini

Villains That We Love...and Why

I think it's a double-bonus when we kinda love the villain in our scripts as much as we hate them. Life is, after all, full of love-hate relationships, isn't it? Usually I love villains because of who they are inside, and not necessarily because of what they are doing on the outside. Sometimes it's because they project my alter-ego, which is important for writers to understand. Sometimes, it's a bit of all three, and that's an extra bonus. Not only does a villain help a hero grow and accomplish a goal, but sometimes a villain can even become a hero's ally, and be someone who we want to be, at least in some ways. That's extra sweet, and when a writer can pull that off...wow...that's like a royal flush in a poker hand. As an aside, isn't "villain" a funny word? It sounds like something I'd want to eat. "I'll have the filet of villain...or the villain fois gras, merci...." Here are a few of my favorite villains, and why I love them. 1. Hannibal Lecter, Silence of the Lambs. He may be the best film villain of all time. He hits all three of the descriptions I detailed above. He's charming, suave, refined and witty. He's on top of the authorities who are supposed to be in charge, and can turn in a moment from listening to classical music to skinning an authority figure. He's the sharpest knife in the drawer. And he helps Clarice get the real bad guy in the story. Brilliance. Brilliance. Brilliance. 2. Tyler Durden, Fight Club. The anti-Hannibal Lecter, or is he much the same? He's a persuasive rebel. He's a crude, blunt philosopher who gets to the truth deep in your gut. He gets people to repent and give him everything he wants. He represents a part of what exists in every man's alter ego. And he's Brad Fucking Pitt. And he helps the hero accomplish a major rebillous act against authority. Oh wait - he is the alter ego of the hero! Epic. Epic. Epic. 3. Frank Booth, Blue Velvet. He's pretty nasty. Actually, he's a very sick fuck. "Do it for Van Gogh!" He's as twisted as they come. But he's witty, controlling, and even mesmerizing. At times he fights himself. How could you not be sympathetic to this tortured soul? At other times, he fights others. And he loves blue velvet. How could you not love/hate Frank? A masterful movie and a masterful villain. 4. Don Logan, Sexy Beast. He's a vile, repulsive and explosive sociopath who hates everyone. But he's also charming, cunning and witty. He can be pleasant, and he can piss on your rug. There is nothing redeeming about him, except for his wit, but yet....every man still wants to be him...in some ways....and at some times. Right, guys? Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! 5. Alex DeLarge, A Clockwork Orange. Wow - it's hard to like a predator. But Alex is extremely witty, charming and engaging. He's a controlling sociopath. He even ends up gaining our sympathies when he's subjected to experimental behavioral therapies that cure him of his bad behaviors; becomes homeless when his folks get a "better boy"; gets beat by his former gang members; and gets enslaved by his former victims. The table are definitely turned on him...at least for a while. From villain to hero back to potential villain. Burgess...genius. Kurbrick....genius. Burgess and Kubrick...geniuses. My next group would be Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolfman - all cursed to their fates, yet all symapathetic; and all projecting alter-egos to me. As I stated above, that's an important element to writers - understanding the alter-ego projection of villians. So who are some of your favorite villains besides the ones I mentioned, and why?

Erica Benedikty

First one that comes to mind is Darth Vader. You fear him but in the end he save Luke, his son.

Debbie Croysdale

Dexter. Eradicates slime the cops can't touch. Also very witty. I just love his plastic sheeting kill room and the look on his victims faces, when he shows them the photographs of their victims. The Joker in Batman. Also witty and sardonic, and has a black sense of humour, "Joker products are in your store". (The soap that wrecked people's skin......nasty).

Debbie Croysdale

Pinkie in Brighton Rock was kind of likeable. Hard times1930s ....just doing what he had to do on his local turf. (Other than other gangster films who kill from enjoyment). Also instead of killing a girl crime witness, he decided to marry her instead. Kind of chivalrous in a weird sort of a way, she got a wedding cake instead if a coffin.

Billy Dominick

I find it interesting when the villain becomes evil for heroic intentions: MAN OF STEEL: General Zod will do anything to save his people even if that results in the end of us. STAR WARS: Anakin Skywalker turned to the dark side just to save his wife from dying in childbirth but him turning evil is what caused her to give up on living.

Andrew Martin Smith

Has to be Jack Carter in Mike Hodges British gangster flick - Get Carter. Easily up there in the top five British gangster films. Michael Caine's character oozes impassive, gritty menace and despite the fact that he is an absolute stinker - you are rooting with him right up to a very British and gorgeously unexpected climax. If you have only ever seen the dismal Hollywood remake hunt it down. You will not be disappointed.

Bill Costantini

AMS, Nice pick....BUT....Jack Carter wasn't the villain, he was the (anti) hero. I love both versions of that movie, as well as the original book. And Michael Caine....this is probably a first.....he played the anti-hero in the original version...and the villain in the re-make. How utterly smashing is that? I don't think that's ever been done before in cinema history. And how often does the hero get offed in the end? Mike Hodges is a great writer/director (I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, Pulp, The Terminal Man). What a great film. Nick pick again, AMS....maybe we need an anti-hero thread?

Bill Costantini

Speaking of British films....I have to add to my list: Brick Top, Snatch. Alan Ford was perfect as Brick Top. Charming, funny, witty and erudite. Sadistic sociopath who feeds nasty rascals to pigs. How could you not love Brick Top? As an aside...if you didn't read the book or see "The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared"...do it. That's a great book and film. I never saw that side of Alan Ford's acting range. He's really great, too.

Andrew Martin Smith

It's funny - I have never thought of Jack Carter as a anti-hero - but you're right. The whole film has such a great portfolio of stinkers - that for me, Carter has always weaved his way through the film like King Rat. Now there's another one of your anti-hero's. Based on a James Clavell book - who was also responsible for some great stories, if rather plodding screenplays.

Bill Costantini

AMS, You pick another great anti-hero. That's such a great film. Most of the great films we always mention in these threads are based on great books. Screenwriters...take note....maybe novelizing your spec scripts isn't such a bad idea?

Fiona Faith Ross

Brilliant thread Bill, and terrific opening post. I really enjoyed reading it. One of my favourite villains is Hopper in A Bug's Life. Underneath the dry outer shell of a bog standard villain, is a scared bully, who is terrified of losing his position in the grasshopper hierarchy. He has some awesome dialogue and he's played by Kevin Spacey (voice). Other memorable villains for me include Lord Farquaad played with such panache by John Lithgow (Shrek) and The Fairy Godmother voiced by Jennifer Saunders (Shrek 2), another charming sociopath with a flair for marketing and social media. I love studying villain characters in animation because often the writers take them to the brink of "Mwah-ha-ha" and get away with it! Farquaad is a case in point.

Debbie Croysdale

I totally agree with Andrews view about Michael Caines portrayal of Carter, in "Get Carter" . I was routing for Carter all the way, and his outer menacing "shell, or armour", really concealed a soft inner layer, capable of tears and grief. A classic, with ace personality performances. Some witty moments too, had me in stitches. He asks Brumby a local heavy who owns a chain of fruit machine arcades. "How do you run this business?" Brumby replies. "It runs itself.....people put money in....and I take it out!" I have the film in my Cult Collection. It was re done many years later with Sylvester Stallone, and I turned it off.

Debbie Croysdale

Hi I also agree with CJ, up to a point about Rutger Hauers portrayal of John Ryder in Hitcher. It was almost as if he wanted his prey to take him out, baiting them with many close up opportunities to see if they gained one upmanship. I liked his tenacity for survival, to see his end game through, but I lost respect when he killed a whole family with kids. To me this was just plain cowardice. Obviously it made him a more vile antagonist, but I no longer found his presence amusing, as i did in the earlier cat and mouse scenes.

Debbie Croysdale

Another likeable villain, Charles Bronson, the whole Death Wish series. Needs no explanation unless have not seen. He single handedly turns undercover vigilante, in revenge for numerous attacks on women he has known, a loner up against mighty powers of both police and criminals. An outside, outsider. Semi Villains now. Also many of the 60s 70s westerns had likeable gunslingers. Eg. Clint Eastwood, The Good, The Bad, The Ugly. I loved his closing speech. "There are two types of people in the end, those with loaded guns, and those who dig......you dig." (Throws opponent a spade.) Another likeable gunslinger, Doc Holiday, who gambled, extracted teeth as a dentist, and killed on occasion. The film with Kevin Costner and Dennis Quaid made me cry. Doc was choking on his deathbed of tuberculosis. His last words. "Wyatt.....Live For Me!" As usual Bill. You have started a good thread. Thanks.

Bill Costantini

Nice additions, everyone, HAL 9000 freaks me out the most. Soft-spoken and diabolical talking machines just scare the shit out of me. That gives Kubrick two of the best all-time villains so far. John Ryder was a great villain, too. He was so damned smarmy, brooding and psychotic...how could you not love a smarmy, brooding psycho - except when he's trying to kill you? Plus, he had Rutger Hauer eyes - you almost can't go too wrong with those baby blues. I'll add to the list: Norman Stansfield, The Professional. How could you not love a classical music afficionado who is a Euro-stylish, drugged-up, deranged, crooked authority figure played by Gary Oldman? "Bring me everyone....EVERYONE!" "Death...is so...whimsical....today." "What filthy piece of shit did I do now?" Some of the names listed above are not quite the villains, but are the anti-heroes of those movies. That needs its own thread. Anyone who adds another anti-hero....and I'm sending Frank Booth to your house! You've got about one second to live buddy! :)

Debbie Croysdale

Good point CJ. This thread needs some women mentions. Lol, we will get the mods out if not. One is the lead in the film Orphan. What creative deviance, and total disguise for villainy! A stunted in growth woman, posing as a child, and picking off her adoptive siblings and mother so she can seduce the father. An ace sting! Brilliant out of the box thinking on the part of the writer.

Debbie Croysdale

With regards to the mention of Basic instinct, I felt that film only hinted Sharon Stone was the villain. We only ever saw her stab the block if ice, (with the famed ice pick) and maybe she left it under her bed in case of home invasion. I felt she was a vulnerable hedonist, looking for kicks, more than plain evil. True, she was smart and manipulative, but so was Michael Douglas, and maybe it was an armour she put on. Surrounding herself with all those ex con women, I felt it was her who needed them, more than they need her. It was as though all her mind games were really a need to fill a void, going from one person to another, each more bizarre than the last. It was years ago I saw this film, so I may not remember the whole plot and need correcting, BUT what I do remember is how I felt about her. (Even if i remember the plot wrong). Certainly a memorable character!

Debbie Croysdale

With regard to Bill and the machine villains. WE WILL EXTERMINATE !!! No guesses.....The Daleks! Now British Folklore, simply designed, yet unforgettable. Close runners The Cybermen. Hey folks,, just remembered a while back on stage 32, someone made a film ......of an evil bastard of a radio called, "Sir" who gave listeners instructions to destroy. We can do it here, on Stage 32, ours could be the next bad ass!

Andrew Martin Smith

Where do we stand with Leon? He trains a 12 year old girl as a hit child. Villain or anti-hero? It must be Jean Reno's best film - and a damned dangerous movie to shoot - what with Gary Oldman doing his very best to eat the scenery. Is this my Frank Booth moment?

Fiona Faith Ross

Debbie, Rutger Hauer was brilliant, Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct? The origin of the Bunny Boiler - no girl today wants that label. Now, as to THE DALEKS, I read somewhere an interview with the techs who had to design them. The "weapon" - as in EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE - was made up of plumbing fittings. it may even have been a shower head. Either British frugality or budgets prevailed - or ingenuity - I don't know which. lol And Bill, Gary Oldman? Gary Oldman in Dracula (1992 Francis Ford Coppola), sublime! I don't really care, when watching that film, whether GO is the protagonist or antagonist, his portrayal of the vampiric suffering was exquisite.

Debbie Croysdale

Hi Fiona yep I think British frugality prevailed together with ingenuity. In the same way at school gluing boxes together, made some sort of Robot. I haven't seen Gary Oldman in Dracula, but since your comment will now try to find DVD. With regard Sharon Stone, I think bunny boiler is a bit harsh, the men came after her, as opposed to say Glen Close in Fatal Attraction, who was the psychotic pursuer. Also in many films men treat women the way she treated Michael Douglas, and people just call them bastards. I would call Glen Close in Fatal Attraction a bunny boiler, but Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct a screwed up bitch, and possible psychotic killer. MAYBE she would kill.....but not because some guy dumped her. There were deeper layers there, (talking Basic Instinct 1 now) as to her motives for a complete off the wall lifestyle, and i feel also the story left the audience with loose ends, and questions. Also we never saw her attack anyone, as we did Glen in her role. BEFORE I get a barrage of complaints for sticking up for her, I'm not saying she was good, I'm just saying I don't think bunny boiler is the right term. Lol. Bill has certainly started a good meaty thread. Happy Monday Everyone.

Fiona Faith Ross

Gary Oldman is just the BEST. If you never thought you would weep for a vampire, you will for this one.

Brian Shell

Personally, I like Bob DeNiro in Heat... and was actually disappointed that he got "caught" in the end... by sticking with his strict, thorough moral code. Agree with CJ too: Sheriff Buford T. Justice in "Smokey & the Bandit" and his line, "Son... remind me to smack yo' mama in da face when we get home" (in relation to his son's "idiosyncrasies").

Bill Costantini

CJ, Sorry bro....it was early in the A.M. here when I posted...and I hadn't had my wakey-wakey energy drink.

Fiona Faith Ross

Female villains? Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. How could I forget?

Bill Costantini

GREAT FEMALE VILLAIN ALERT.....and speaking of Gary Oldman......that corrupt anti-hero cop.....hint-hint: Mona Demarkov, Romeo is Bleeding. Lena Olin...yum......psychotic...sadistic...sexually deviant....the saws....the guns....the fun...the murders....oh man.....she may be the most twisted villain on this list thus far, and Gary Oldman may be the most twisted anti-hero on this list, too. What a great flick to watch with your parents.

Bill Costantini

Debbie, I'd say Sharon Stone was definitely the villain. Joe Esterhaz was asked that question (many times, probably) after the film came out, and he replied yes. At that time...my girlfriend freaked me out big-time one night. All of a sudden, there was an ice pick under her bed. I'm sure she wasn't the only woman who played that ha-ha on her boyfriend. Ice pick sales probably shot up greatly in that year. So I will concur with CJ.

Bill Costantini

Brian, Good choice: Neil McCauley, Heat. Intelligent, warm yet distant, seeking love yet willing to leave in a minute, caring to those around him yet able to kill a man in three seconds...yep...he's a guy we all want to be. Michael Mann is such a genius. I couldn't believe three hours went by the first time I saw Heat. That is just such a richly-textured film with a bunch of great characters and great storylines. And the first cop killed was fellow Chicagoan Ted Levine....speaking of Ted Levine...... Jamie "Buffalo Bill" Gumb, The Silence of the Lambs. The real villain of the film....twisted....tortured....torturer...longing to be a woman..."it rubs the lotion on its skin....it does as it's told....put the lotion on its skin....PUT THE...." Okay...there's not much to like about Gumb...I just love saying "it rubs the lotion on its skin..." Scratch Buffalo Bill from the list. Wait a second - he did raise butterflies and offer Agent Starling a cup of coffee, didn't he? He stays on!

Bill Costantini

Fiona Most definitely to Miranda Priestley. Good choice. I hated her, and yet felt so sad for her at the same time, especially in the scene where she had no makeup on and talked about her pending divorce. And the ending was a nice redemptive moment for her as well. She's not quite a Mona Demarkov or a Catherine Trammell, but definitely the villain. Confirmed: Miranda Priestley, The Devil Wears Prada.

Bill Costantini

AMS, Leon is definitely the anti-hero. See the car out in front with the woman dancing on the hood? Frank's already in the house, and he's got a love letter for you straight from the heart. Sorry, bro.

Fiona Faith Ross

Bill, Gumb was absolutely chilling. I can still run that scene sequence in my head and I haven't watched the film in years.

Debbie Croysdale

Hi Bill your right, Sharon Stone was definitely the villain, but likeable as the original question posed. Also interesting, for most of the film it was under the surface, requiring much guesswork as to was she really that bad. ......rather than Glen Close in Fatal Attraction, who's villainy was immediate and in your face. No guesswork with Glen, after rampant sex with a married man, she gets dumped, and we see her psychotic outbursts followed by immediate action. She stalks, self mutilates, attacks, tries to befriend their child, and boils an animal in a kitchen. Sharon's is a more multi layered character, we don't immediately see what's there, and see no action of any villainous acts. It's harder to figure out what is going on in Sharon's mind, but Glens mind is as readable as a book. So that's one of many reasons why I think villain yes......bunny boiler.....no. Lol. Hope I haven't started Shaza-Gate.

Bill Costantini

Fiona, Other than Pulp Fiction, I don't think there's a single film where I can vividly remember as many scenes as The Silence of the Lambs. Oh wait...... Vincent Vega, Pulp Fiction. In a film loaded with bad guys, I'd say Vincent Vega is the primary villain, since he is the one who is sent to murder the only hero, and since he is the one who accidentally kills Marvin. Even though he works for the head bad guy, Vincent is the main villain. Another great mix of redeeming and non-redeeming traits, every guy would want to Vincent Vega - at least until the toaster pops out the pastries. Ouch!

Bill Costantini

Debbie, I hear you about Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction. She is a full-blown vengeful psychopath, unlike the under-the-covers Catherine Trammell in Basic Instinct. For men...the sexuality and attraction to both is the visceral redemption. Trammell's added redemptions are her wit. But Alex Forrest....I have to feel more sympathy for her, because she's so loony. I have a soft spot in my heart for psychopaths. So which one would I take home to meet me mum? Oh man....without a doubt....Mona Demarkov. She just completely does it for me. How could I not love a woman who laughs as she's killing people? And it's Lena Olin...those eyes...yum. I'd even make my famous lasagna for her, and would even make the noodle from scratch.

Bill Costantini

CJ, Nice adds. I concur with all three. We even have to feel sympathetic to Wez, and for the very reason you stated. He's a chained animal in a cage. Plus, he does cool back-flips, too.

Bill Costantini

Annie Wilkes, Misery. What a great performance by Cathy Bathes. Wilkes is as crazy as they come, but so saaaaaaaad and looooony. I feel so sorry for that poor miserable woman. But drop a famous writer in her lap - and her favorite writer to boot - and her comes the pain. Jane Hudson, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? How could Bette Davis be so angry and psychotic? Because she's a forgotten child star, that's how! Wow...she's so twisted in this film...and she even kills Elvira. The last scene...what a scene. This film gave me nightmares as a child. And speaking of forgotten stars.... Norma Desmond, Sunset Boulevard. Billy Wilder's classic film noir. How could she not be ready for her close-up? And yes, Joe, she will kill you if you try to walk out on her, like so many had done to her before. I love/hate/feel so sorry for Norma, and would never want to be a poor writer hooking up with a forgotten, crazy rich woman. Again. There's no other way out but over the wall at midnight, and if you're lucky, the bullets will miss you. If you're not lucky, you end up like Joe...face down in the pool.

Debbie Croysdale

Thanks for your update Bill on Basic Instinct, it's refreshing to obtain a mans point of view, and off course sexuality comes into the equation when judging both. Interestingly Sharon Stone almost spurned Michael Douglas on several occasions, as opposed to full on desperate Glen Close, who smothered her prey. I found it amusing when Douglas patronises Sharon, "That was .... Of The Century." He is met by her sardonic heavy hint, it wasn't that good. For once the smug leer was wiped off Douglas face, as he tries to hide a crestfallen bewilderment. Thanks for the mention of Mona Demarkov, some fresh blood I have not yet checked out, will be back at some stage with my verdict.

David Levy

In the Running Man I loved the role of Killian played by Richard Dawson. Here is this great TV producer putting on a TV game show to give cons a second chance while providing good entertainment. On the flip side he just wants to have his murderous "stalkers" kill cons for sport to attract good ratings. Loved by the people because of good editing. Hated once truth is revealed.

Debbie Croysdale

Another baddie I quite liked, was Michael Keaton in Pacific Heights. There was a vulnerable charm to this nasty piece of work, who could pose almost like an aristocrat in public places. The lodger from hell, he stops at nothing to take control over a couples home. The releasing of cockroaches through ceiling cracks was just the start.

Fiona Faith Ross

Bill, I'd forgotten about Annie Wilkes, wow, yes! Debbie, I love Michael Keaton so will check out Pacific Heights. Adored him in Beetlejuice. Oh, the black humour...

Brian Shell

Another personal favorite of mine is Ralph Fiennes' "Harry" in the excellent film "In Bruges." What I like about him is that he adheres to his moral code right 'til the end. Brilliant performance!

David Levy

Al Pachino as The Devil in The Devil's Advocate. He made you believe some of his intentions were done with good in mind.

Jabari Sandy

Villains know what they want and they take it by any means they can. That is admirable.

Bill Costantini

Great picks again, everybody. If you get a chance, read William Goldman's "Misery" script, based on Steven King's book. Goldman, as always, is so masterful in every part of it. He gets to do a lot of things in the script that breaks all of the rules that aspiring writers are supposed to uphold. It's available online for free. http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/misery.html

Billy Dominick

What about Victor from Underworld after all he was trying to lead an entire coven yet he executed his own daughter because she fell in love with a lycan.

Liz Warner

Just because I'm thinking about it, a TV villain I always kinda liked was the Cigarette Smoking Man on the X-Files. I was just thinking how good that new mini-series could be if done well (and I suspect it will.) He just personified a larger threat of the unknown variety in the mythology of that series.

Cherie Grant

i just loved Severus Snape even in the books. I mean he was horrible, but he had layers. I can like a villain if he is deeply layered and interesting.

Owen Mowatt

Better call Saul! "The only way that car is worth $500 is if it had a $300 hooker sitting in it" LOL!

Brian Shell

Gotta agree with David's suggestion of Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate

David Levy

Here is an antagonist that exists in everyday life: Gorgon Gekko from WALL STREET.p A favorite line he says is "the greatest trick the devil every played was convincing the world he didn't exist".

Don Dobrez Jr

Hey David, I think that line is actually from Kieser Soze in Usual Suspects

David Levy

Thanks Don. I did get confused there, you're right. Whoops. Still a great line.

Dawn Murrell

I gotta give it to Keiser Soze and Hannibal Lecter. I am writing a thriller/crime drama, and I realized that I am modeling my villain after those two characters by accident. ( I usually write family dramas and animation features) They are so twisted and smart, you find yourself drawn to their evil cunning ways. The best villains are never just black and white, all bad, evil just to be evil. The best villains are developed so that you understand why they are evil. They have a rhyme and a reason for their actions so you can hate them, but then be mad that you like them too. I think the test of a good villain is that you are still scared of them, haunted by them, and still thinking about them long after the movie is done.

Bill Costantini

Nice adds, everybody. I was thinking Keyser Soze, Gordon Gekko and John Milton, too, but watched the movies, instead. I ate wayyyy too much popcorn. I can't stand up just yet, and need to watch another movie or two. I don't watch television much so I can't comment on the Better Call Saul or X-File Shows, nor have I seen the Harry Potter movies or The Underworld, either, so I'll have to take your word on those. You better be telling the truth, gang, or Frank Booth is coming to your houses with a love letter straight to your heart. Just like he did for Andrew Martin Smith, who hasn't been around since....well you know....A candy colored clown they call the sandman...tiptoes to my room every night... And speaking of the X-Files....starring David Duchovny....how about: Early Grace, Kalifornia. That was one psychopathic lude, crude dude. He was as vulgar, sick and twisted as they come. Yet...he was Brad Pitt. And he was ultimately a sad, sad character. And he was Adele's protector, until he...never mind. And Brian liked him, until...never mind. As much as I hated Early, I still felt very sorry for him, but didn't like him. Scratch him from the list, unless someone can come up with something likeable about him.

Regina Lee

Hi Dawn, please don't take this as a challenge. When you say, "The best villains are developed so that you understand why they are evil" in reference to Hannibal Lecter, I wonder if you could tell us when you felt that the movies/books helped you understand why Lecter is evil. I was the junior studio exec on Red Dragon, and I bet I have a very different perspective than you do. Your perspective is completely valid. I'm curious to know when you felt the movies/books tried to help you understand Lecter. Manhunter? Silence? Hannibal? Red Dragon? Hannibal Rising? NBC's Hannibal? It's nice to get an audience perspective. (Btw, I haven't seen the movies in years, so your recollection might be sharper than mine!)

Cherie Grant

I've never cared for Hannibal. No idea why he does what he does other than he's an insane psychopath.

GiVan Johnson

hey there cherie. I remember Hannibal as a kid. the CHARACTER didn't do much for me. I found the PERFORMANCE convincing though. Anthony Hopkins looked like he had a lot fun playing that role. I also liked UNCLE CHARLIE from Shadow of a doubt. he rationalized being a serial killer. IMMORTAN JOE was a NUT. he finds his wives missing and goes after them with an army. he brings a band with him!? he lived his delusionals of grandeur.

Debbie Croysdale

I totally agree with Cherie, I despise Hannibal. A highly intelligent doctor with means, he would totally understand how his victims felt, and could have sourced other pleasures easily. Born on the right side of the tracks, it's pathetic he turned out to be a sick predator that gets kicks from human flesh. People say his redeeming feature is his protectiveness towards Clarice, but I think he wants to keep her alive because she is the perfect opponent, to feed and nurture his own self importance. Her presence makes him feel respected, the almost intimate visits, render him a glowing ego boost. Clarice irritated me as a character, because in the second film, she has a clear chance to shoot him but is reticent. I felt the underlying hint they had a bond, his was vanity, but what was hers? (Not talking about the OBVIOUS fact it was her job to get to know him, but there were moments where another detective might have played vigilante, and got away with it.) Personally, I would have blown him away if given the chance, without a second thought. LOL. All my ranting proves, Hannibal is a damn memorable villain......likeable, No. With regards Early, in Kalifornia and the question any good points? He was honest about telling his girlfriend her hair looked shit. Lol.

Debbie Croysdale

Hi I totally agree with your synopsis CJ.....it's just I don't like him.

Dawn Murrell

@Regina, I did not take your question as a challenge at all! Anthony Hopkins portrayal of Dr. Lecter (and I can still hearing Jodie Foster's accent say his name at the phone call at the end) was so over the top. He described his crimes with such a monotone, devious but brilliant tone. He would stare you right in the face when he is talking and it didn't even seem like he thought he was wrong. It was almost like he was the devil himself. You could tell that he was a very sick individual who used his psychology knowledge to "kill" people from the inside out ( which was why he was eating them) Ugh! When Clarice went into the jail to talk to him he wanted to find out why she was so obsessed with finding the senator's daughter. (Have the lambs stopped screaming Clarice?) When Dr. Lecter killed people he was even artistic about it! You saw how Hannibal's doctor treated him, like he was just a dumb animal in a prison, and you saw that he felt like he was above him. (which in a way he was) So you knew that Hannibal was going to get revenge on him in the end. "I shall not call on you Clarice, the world is much more interesting with you it. But I am having an old friend for dinner." He is horrible, so sad and so despicable. I HATED his crimes and his actions, but he was almost elegant in his sick criminal mind. I also like Michael Myers in the first Halloween. You saw his terrible perspective of the crime through that mask. You heard the music and saw how cold and robotic he was but you knew that he was just a sick little boy who never got better.* DISCLAIMER* I hate violence and I hate murder. I just like to imagine what makes people "tick." :)

Regina Lee

Hey Dawn, thank you! Sorry my response is so short; I'm rereading my lesson plans and prepping to teach my S32 class tonight! From a studio perspective, we didn't want you to "understand" Lecter, why/how he became what he is (his backstory), and "understand why" he does what he does or is what he is. We felt a character like Lecter is scarier and more effective when you do NOT understand why he does what he does or why people like him exist. Thomas Harris illuminates Lecter's backstory in the book Hannibal, and previous books do NOT illuminate "the why" and do not allow us to understand Lecter. We tried to follow that. Sorry so short and imprecise!

Dawn Murrell

Wow! Insiders like you Regina have such cool stories and information! Thank you for sharing!

Other topics in Screenwriting:

register for stage 32 Register / Log In