ByPatricia D, writer at
A movie nerd that loves to follow all details of a production, from start to finish. I focus on British movies and actors.
Patricia D

If you already know Richard Armitage, his transformation into "The Great Red Dragon" was epic, but not surprising. However, the relatively unknown British actor left many, who are not familiar with his work, in awe.

Fans were elated, as were all those involved in the cancelled NBC series. Showrunner Bryan Fuller and executive producer Martha De Laurentiis have been singing Armitage's praises for days, promising viewers something amazing. He didn't disappoint.

Richard Armitage plays serial killer Francis Dolarhyde -- the character based on the Thomas Harris novel, Red Dragon. To say that Dolarhyde is disturbed would be an understatement. He has decided that his power includes murdering innocent families in cold blood, but the ruthless killer is much more than a deranged murderer.

Richard Armitage as The Red Dragon, NBC.
Richard Armitage as The Red Dragon, NBC.

Thus far Hannibal has been a psychological series and "The Great Red Dragon" episode was no different as the show switches gears and introduces a new serial killer for Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) to catch. Three years prior, Will and Dr. Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) parted ways. Hannibal is now in a mental institution for the crimes he committed, while Will is enjoying retirement in Florida and has a wife.

Things change when two families get murdered in their own home and Graham is forced to get involved to hunt the killer. He is also forced to ask for Hannibal's help, as it is evident this is no ordinary murderer.

One of the most note-worthy things from Richard Armitage's much awaited debut as "The Great Red Dragon" is the fact he didn't say a word -- he made a valiant effort, but nothing really came out of his mouth. It was all about showing how strong Dolarhyde is physically. Harris describes him as a bodybuilder and Armitage worked hard to portray The Tooth Fairy as accurately as possible.

Witnessing his transformation was nothing short of stunning and fans loved it. The yoga-like moves show Richard Armitage was, as always, fully committed to portraying Francis Dolarhyde's darker side.

Image via Far, Far Away Site, NBC screencap.
Image via Far, Far Away Site, NBC screencap.

Surely there are many talented actors who would have done a credible job of playing Francis Dolarhyde, but there is no doubt Fuller got his money's worth when he signed on Richard Armitage to play "The Great Red Dragon." Not many could have pulled that in such a way. Keep in mind Fuller and De Laurentiis, as well as Armitage said he had a lot of input in how to present Dolarhyde.

Armitage revealed he only signed on to play the serial killer when he was assured he wouldn't have to do the horrific deeds, which are quite disturbing when imagined by the mind of Will Graham, as he visits one of the crime scenes. The 43-year-old actor also confessed he had not watched Hannibal before jumping on board because he doesn't necessarily enjoy watching gory films.

In the coming episodes we will hear how Richard Armitage deals with Dolarhyde's cleft palate, one of the issues the ruthless killer struggles with in life. This makes him self-conscious because of how he was bullied as a child, which leads him to speak very purposely, watching his words carefully.

Watch Richard Armitage as "The Great Red Dragon" in Hannibal, Saturday nights at 10 p.m. ET/9C.

[Image via NBC]


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