Dream Logic, Murder Wizardry, and Flower Crowns: a Conversation with Cleolinda Jones

You might know Cleolinda Jones (@cleolinda on Twitter) from her epic Twilight recaps, Movies in 15 Minutes, or her involvement in Hannibal fandom. Ever since the NBC show premiered last year she’s not only recapped all of the episodes but also developed an eyeshadow line called This Is My Design with the folks behind fansite Tattle-Crime.com. She’s here repping Hannibal fandom at panels and meetups, flower crown and all.

Daily Dragon (DD): How big is the Hannibal fandom here at Dragon Con? Is it bigger than you expected?

Cleolinda Jones (CJ): It’s actually way bigger than I expected. I think the room for our first panel held 220 people and at the back it was standing room only. There was a line to get in! They don’t have any official events here. This was the early afternoon not the late night, so if you were going to go to one, it was this one. The surprise we had was we gave away a couple of signed scripts and people were so excited about that. Plus, we had a ton of buttons and eyeshadow and notebooks and pens. We tried to make this as special for people as we could.

We had a very small happy, friendly meetup afterwards. That was really nice.

I will say the Horror Track director was like: “This group is so polite and clean and well-behaved.” He just looked around the room and said: “You guys are so nice!”

Clearly, you don’t know much about this fandom! [laughs] Or about Hannibal. Because we’re not rude.

DD: We eat the rude.

CJ: We do.

DD: Hannibal is in the horror track, but what I find interesting is that the show isn’t really speculative fiction (neither are the books), but a lot of fandom folks are watching the show. One of the big things I’ve come to understand about watching this show is that you have to have a fanfic attitude or understand about AUs in order to approach the show in the way it seems Bryan Fuller wants the audience to approach it.

CJ: Yes, and we talked about that at the panel. I think of it as being three continuities. Because you have the books and the movies, which are somewhat different. They made the Anthony Hopkins movies after the first two books and then the third one comes out with this strange story about Lithuania and Nazis eating his sister. So the movie continuity kinda changed at that point. And Hopkins wasn’t in the Hannibal Rising movie, which does diverge from the books a little bit. And then you have the TV show version.

And not only has Bryan Fuller brought in the books and mixed elements from them around, he also brought in homages to all these other horror movies. Fuller will get on Twitter and say this is this week’s horror homage: it’s The Shining, or it’s Creepshow, or whatever. They’re doing a bunch of different things. And the next season he’s said they’re going to do The Talented Mr. Ripley, Don’t Look Now, and a lot of things set in Italy since they’re doing the Florence section from the third book. In mixing it up they’ve done something so different you don’t feel like they’ve overwritten what you already loved. It can stand separately.

I mean, The Silence of the Lambs is my favorite movie because of Clarice. I’ve loved it ever since I was 14 years old. It’s great to feel like that can still stand and they haven’t taken that away.

DD: I’ve heard some criticisms of the show because there’s no Clarice. And that’s possibly because Silence was many people’s first entrée into this world. But there was a book before that where Harris was very much in his Will Graham “feels.” I wonder if the show benefits from being about a character that’s the one everyone loved and identified with.

CL: I do think that helps. And in doing a different world they’re paying more attention to the character who didn’t get two movies. Fuller wanted Clarice, though! But they can’t get the rights from whoever is holding them. Now Lifetime has the right to do a show called “Clarice” set between Silence and Hannibal where her life sucked. Why would you do that? The Hannibal show team said that they think Clarice and Hannibal are better together. They wanted that and couldn’t get it.

DD: One of the smart things Fuller did was to make some of the male characters from Red Dragon into women–Freddie and Alana.

CL: I loved how they transformed the Freddie character into… well, I don’t want say Rita Skeeter [laughs]. They kind of based this version on Rebecca Brooks—that kind of ruthless tabloid journalist. And that’s where the hair came from. I like how that changed the energy. I think she’s a lot smarter than the male Freddy. He was not that bright—though ambitious—and sleazy. And got himself killed pretty quickly. Whereas this Freddie can hang on a lot longer because she’s really smart. It’s great to see someone who can move the plot instead of doing something so stupid she gets killed.

DD: What are you discussing at the “Dream Logic and Murder Wizardry: Psychology and Hannibal Lecter” panel? (Sunday, 10pm, Westin)

CL: One of the panelists is really interested in Jungian psychology and dreams. When I was re-watching the show over the past few weeks I noticed things like in the episode “Su-zakana” (we call it the Turducken episode), the serial killing social worker—we never see him again! Did he get tried, convicted? We don’t know. It doesn’t matter. Because the entire relationship between him and Peter (his client) was to show how they mirror the relationship between Hannibal and Will.

They say that the other people in your dreams can represent aspects of yourself. And it feels like everything in the show plays into these two people’s relationship and comments on it. They so consistently put things in that don’t make physical sense (how did Abigail get to Minnesota and back overnight?) and it has such a dreamlike, phantasmagorical atmosphere, that you just buy it. You can enjoy the imagery and the dreamlike feel of what’s going on inside these people’s heads. We’ll probably explore more of that.

DD: Who do you think survived the season 2 finale (besides Will, of course)?

CL: I think Jack and Alana survived, but I don’t have a lot of hope for Abigail. Episode two is supposed to be called “Don’t Look Now with Will Graham.” And if you’re familiar with the plot of that—a man who sees his dead daughter—I’m thinking that this indicates she’s dead. And we’re probably going to talk about that, too.


Author of the article

Tempest Bradford is a science fiction and fantasy author by night and a technology journalist by day. When she's not geeking out over the latest phone, coolest tablet, or most useful laptop, she spends her time absorbing, analyzing, and writing about genre media. Oh, and writing fiction, too. Her published stories and random thoughts can be found on her blog and website at KTempestBradford.com.

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