#Movies & TV
“Hannibal” Actress Hettienne Park Tracks a Madman
by Lois Elfman
NBC’s deliciously scary, psychologically complex thriller Hannibal is now in its second season. Although it’s set in the present day, the story takes place before Silence of the Lambs, when Dr. Lecter is very much a free man committing horrendous crimes. We talked with Hettienne Park who plays Beverly Katz, a crime scene investigator on the case.
FBI criminal profiler Will Graham (played by Hugh Dancy) is in a psychiatric hospital charged with murders that the audience knows were committed by one of the most renowned cinematic villains, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (deftly portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen). One of the key individuals responsible for unraveling the forensic details of those crimes is Dr. Beverly Katz, a crime scene investigator played by Hettienne Park, in a breakout role. Park’s portrayal keeps Katz grounded in the scientific details while emotionally engaging the audience. Now, if she can only manage to tie Lecter to his crimes and set Graham free. Here’s what Park had to say.
DivineCaroline: Beverly Katz is a scientist. Did you have any interest in science or forensics before being cast in this role?
Hettienne Park: Nope.
DC: What intrigues you most about this character from an acting perspective?
HP: Beverly Katz is a BAMF (“bad ass mf”). She’s talented and capable in many different areas, exposed to some of the most horrifying and disturbing aspects of humanity, and is somehow able to keep her emotions from distracting her.
DC: In the early episodes of the season, Dr. Katz seems to be the only one (other than Dr. Lecter’s own psychiatrist) who kind of believes Will Graham is innocent. Others are trying to find ways to get him out of prison based on psychiatric issues, but she’s actually pursuing his clues and listening. What is it like to play those scenes?
HP: She pursues Will’s clues and listens to him because regardless of his guilt or innocence, he is still an invaluable resource to helping us solve these crimes, which is Katz’s main objective. Playing those scenes was fun.
DC: Since Hugh Dancy is British and seems to have a pretty good sense of humor, is there anything the rest of you have to do to help him refocus if he has a lapse during a scene since the character of Will Graham is most decidedly serious and speaks in an American accent?
HP: Well since Hugh is British, we are all forced to break for tea and crumpets everyday at 4 p.m., which is time consuming, but great. And whenever he breaks character, one of us helps him refocus by giving the ol’ chap a right swift kick in the arse.
DC: From the inception of this series, producers made it clear there wouldn’t be more than 13 episodes a season, making it one of the first network shows to follow the cable model of a 10 to 13 episode season with clearly defined story arcs. What is that like for you professionally and personally?
HP: I don’t know any different since this was my first series, so it’s totes amazeballs.
DC: What does it feel like to work with the very vivid imagery the director is creating?
HP: I’m somewhat aware by the lighting on set, but it always ends up far more beautiful than I imagine.
DC: Are you ever surprised or scared when you see the final product?
HP: Sometimes, yes, absolutely. Every creative department on Hannibal is so at the top of their game, when it all comes together—the design, the sound, the special effects, prosthetics, all of it—it’s truly a feast for the senses, even having read the scripts in advance.
DC: How do you satisfy those people who’ve followed the character of Hannibal Lecter through the books and films?
HP: We leave that to the more-than-capable hands of (creator) Bryan Fuller. He’s an incredible talent.
DC: What is it like to film away from home in Toronto and get to know each other’s different perspectives?
HP: Well, we get to ask each other questions and learn about each other’s different nationalities which perhaps brings us closer. For example, the Canadians introduced me to poutine (a delicious dish involving fried potatoes, melted cheese and gravy), which I originally thought was another word for a part of the human anatomy. I learned from Mads that the Danish—as in the tasty breakfast pastry—is, in fact, from Denmark. And I’ve taught everyone how to eat with chopsticks. We are a tight bunch, and now maybe even a bit more cultured.
DC: Does Mads Mikkelsen ever seem Hannibal-esque off the set?
HP: I think Mads is brilliant as Hannibal Lecter. If you’ve seen his body of work or followed his career, you can easily appreciate what a remarkable actor he is. And I think the only “Hannibalesque” things I would point to might be his wicked sense of humor and his good manners.
DC: What other projects are coming up for you?
HP: I’m making a human being. (Note: We think this means she’s expecting a baby, but because this is Hannibal, we were afraid to ask.)