Written by: Eric Goldman

September 13th, 2014


Always an important part of Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon — the book that introduced Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter — Freddy Lounds got a pretty notable makeover on the TV series Hannibal, becoming Freddie Lounds, played by Lara Jean Chorostecki. Gender swap aside, Freddie is still a notably ruthless tabloid reporter, just as Harris conceived, who will cross many lines to get a story.

With Hannibal: Season 2 on Blu-ray and DVD this coming Tuesday, I spoke to Chorostecki about this past season, which saw Freddie occasionally show a kinder side (while still pushing plenty of buttons), and where things could go in Season 3.

Suffice to say, full spoilers follow for Hannibal: Season 2.

IGN TV: Your character was involved in quite a bit of twists and turns near the end of Season 2. How was all of that described to you initially by Bryan [Fuller], as far as what the big plan was?

Lara Jean Chorostecki: Well, we sometimes get our scripts a little late, and I remember I got the script for the stakeout episode, where Will catches me in his shed. I got the script in an email, and I opened it up. I sat down, read it, and when I got to the end I said, "Huh. Wait a minute..." [Laughs] I sent Bryan a text and said, "I can't be dead. I'm definitely not dead." He said, "No, no, no, no, no. Don't worry about it." Because you never know in this day and age of television, which keeps the viewer guessing at all times, but I hoped -- and I think I do have a fairly good relationship with our producers -- I thought, "They probably would have given me a heads-up if I was going to die." So I was very happy. Also, in terms of this storyline, kind of from my point of view, when you sit down and think about it, it didn't make sense -- as despicable as she is and as immoral as she is -- for Will to cross that line and kill someone who is virtually innocent. It seemed like a great thing for the audience to consider, but certainly a very wide departure from where he truthfully was at at that moment. So I had to face that I wasn't dead yet, and I was happy that I wasn't. It was a fun plot twist to be a part of.

IGN: Was it interesting to be one of those secret-keepers for a couple weeks, when it was all very unknown and it seemed like he'd killed her?

Chorostecki: Yes! Yeah, you just kind of say, "I don't know! I did disappear. I don't know," and kind of avoid the question. I really enjoyed that time because we have such wonderful Fannibals online, and the Twitter response is always fantastic. Getting the various tweets was a lot of fun. There's a super fan, who's wonderful, who plays Freddie Lounds on Twitter. She was sending me messages saying, "We're not dead, are we!?" I said, "I don't know; you'll have to wait and see." So that was certainly enjoyable, to see people so passionate, especially people who during Season 1 who hated her so vehemently. I turned around, and suddenly they'd be sending me messages going, "No, you can't be dead! I'm not ready for that yet -- I just started to like you!" In fact, that was something Bryan and I had talked about. I know that was kind of his goal, to create this wonderful character who you do love to hate and make you think you hate her. Then she'll do something and you'll go, "Dammit, you just redeemed yourself. I'm not really sure how I feel about you." That is, to me, exciting to play, because it steers away from stereotypical roles and creates an actually fleshed-out character instead of this trope, in a way.

IGN: In Season 2, there was a couple of really notable moments in that regard. I think the first was when Freddie tried to keep Jack from going inside after Beverly had been killed. There was certainly a major level of humanity there that maybe we hadn't seen before as far as her telling Jack he shouldn’t see this. Then a big one of course was that she and Will both really, deeply cared about Abigail and were invested in justice for Abigail. Was that great for you to see? Because we don't know much about her personal life, but there's clearly something there underneath the mercilessness.

Chorostecki: Yeah, I think it's such a great character to play, and the writing is so intricate and fleshed-out and beautiful. Even in terms of finding character, Gillian Anderson's character, you don't know much about her either. There's a lot of characters we don't know much about, but these little moments -- and you've mentioned two of my favorite moments -- are layered in where you get this little hint of something. There's all this armor that's worn in this show, all these facades that are put on. I mean, that's kind of the nature of the show, Hannibal being an unknown serial killer that's yet to be caught. There are these personalities that we put on top of things, and Freddie certainly has a very strong one in terms of how she dresses and how she acts. When you get those subtle moments where she approaches Jack and tries to spare him from seeing Beverly -- or even in the very last scene with Will, where I mentioned very briefly where I'd started, which was as a cancer editor at a tabloid. To think how this woman has survived in this particular business -- in a business that must be incredibly isolating and lonely -- and they come together at the end there and talk about Abigail. You see that she did have a glimmer of humanity and care towards this girl. It's really an exciting character to play, and I hope that I've done justice to the writing. You know, in Season 1 she comes in kind of balls-out and is rather obnoxious to start. Then through various stuff that's happened to her, which on the surface perhaps seems not to affect her -- having Chilton opened up in front of her seems not to affect her -- but ultimately what I think is happening and what I think is written well and hopefully I've brought to life well is that this stuff is happening and is affecting her underneath. It's just this coat of armor on her is so strong, she's had to wear it to survive and succeed. Ultimately, I think she is looking for the truth. I don't think it's just a line like, "Haha, I'm a reporter looking for the truth." I think she really, truthfully is, and she believes there's some justice in that and nothing that she's doing with this moral compass that's askew is wrong, because she's doing it in the pursuit of something she believes in. Those couple moments show, actually, these things have affected her. She really, really works her ass off.

IGN: I don't know if you've been given any hints or anything about Season 3. Have you been given any heads-up on where Freddie might be going?

Chorostecki: A little bit, but most of the stuff you know, that I think was mentioned at Comic-Con and various interviews. Bryan's given out a good deal, and I think to give more wouldn't be very fair. [Laughs] He's given quite a bit.

IGN: He has!

Chorostecki: As he already talked about, we are most likely going to tell the Red Dragon storyline, so those who are familiar with the canon know that there's probably going to be some exciting things for Freddie. I think he's done well over the last two years. She is such a strong character, and he's balanced the line of using her but not overusing her and not underusing her. I think we can expect about the same kind of level, of when she's in there she's going to make an impact. It's going to be well-used. Yeah, we'll see what happens.

IGN: We do know that we're picking up a year later, rather than in the immediate aftermath. Freddie obviously had a lot of investment in what was going on -- even though she wasn't there -- in that house. Even the fact that Abigail was alive but now apparently is dead… Will it be interesting for you to show a Freddie that has had to digest -- no pun intended on Hannibal! -- and deal with everything that happened in that house? Because she was even a big part of Jack and Will's plan, it turned out.

Chorostecki: Yeah, I'm really excited to see that. I know Bryan's talked about what the first couple of episodes are going to be and that, after the first couple, we'll see the aftermath of where everyone's been. I'm really excited to get to that and start filming that and start layering in exactly what you're talking about, which is how much that cracks people's armor and how much she's allowed to show and what fun scenes -- I've been so blessed over the last two years because of the type of character she is. Whenever I come in I'm often blessed with one-on-one scenes with Mads, Hugh and Laurence. It's been such a joy to learn from them and get to know them. I look forward to playing with them more as we continue.

[Editor's Note: If you've never read Red Dragon -- or seen either of the film adaptations -- beware of spoilers from the source material in the next question and answer]

IGN: When the show began, we were thinking, "Okay, the show takes place before any of the events we knew," but there were certain expectations like, "Oh, we know what happens to Freddie Lounds during Red Dragon.” But that's been subverted a lot by this point, because Bryan’s shown just how much he will divert. Even with the fake-out death, he very purposely used a visual — the burnt body in the wheelchair — we associate with Freddie from Red Dragon. I don't think the show would do that twice now, so even if Freddie did die, it'd have to be something different. Do you like that great unknown now, as far as what your character's fate is?

Chorostecki: Yeah, I think there's a question mark as to how the Red Dragon storyline will be changed and played with. I think certain things will be kept the same. I'm super excited to find out who our Dolarhyde is. Knowing Bryan and the team, the cast has been so stellar all the way around. I'm sure it will be someone absolutely amazing. Yeah, it'll be interesting. I think there's a lot of question marks, and I think that's been done so brilliantly. It's lovely that we have the audience guessing and that there are unknowns. I think that makes it exciting for the people who love and are so familiar with the canon, to be able to come into our show and not quite know what's going to happen but still have some sense of familiarity and seeing their favorite characters in that way.

IGN: I was thinking about the fact that -- beyond just the gender-swap -- there just couldn't be three more different type actors than Stephen Lang, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and yourself to play the same character. Did that kind of free you of any burden and you didn't need to worry about being compared, since it was clear that you were going to be a very different interpretation of this character?

Chorostecki: Yeah, I think it was never a concern. Bryan's said to me from the beginning, "She's modeled after Rebecca Brooks. She's a more sophisticated version of this character." I mean, I love Hoffman's version and Lang's version. They're both really, as you say, very different in themselves, but as soon as you gender-swap you're given so much freedom, because you're not the same. It allows her to wear a different set of armor. I think the touchstone of Rebecca Brooks was a huge thing to start with and be able to play off of. Then, when you added on to this kind of balls-out external character -- the hair and the costume and everything -- it just instantly opened it up for me to be extremely different and craft her in the way that we wanted to do.

IGN: You mentioned this moment in passing, but I have to ask about a scene from Season 1, which was the Gideon operating on Chilton sequence. What was that like to film?

Chorostecki: It was pretty crazy. Guillermo Navarro was directing those ones. He's a wonderful director in his own right. It was really exciting to do, and I'd admired Eddie [Izzard] for years. I used to watch him on a show called The Riches, if you remember that one, that he did. Then of course he just did Bryan's Mockingbird Lane. It was wonderful to meet him, and thankfully we got along like wildfire. And I've also admired Raoul [Esparza] for years because I'm a theater girl at heart, and I'm also a musical theater girl at heart. So in that sense it was very exciting for me to be in the room with those two, but then you add in Guillermo's craft and the incredible team we have -- and let me tell you, those guts looked real in person; just as real in person as they do on screen. It was a lot of fun to play that one, especially in that particular scene where she's just standing there silent the whole time and trying to, again, wear that armor, trying to not let it show. I remember somebody saying to me, "You didn't seem scared at all," and I said, "Well, if she showed she was scared, then this serial killer beside her wouldn't see her as an asset." I mean, he was treating her as an asset at that time and kind of talking to her fairly on the level. That's one thing about Freddie as a character: she's treated at all times somewhat as an equal, or certainly as someone that people can't just readily get rid of. That's a wonderful thing also, as a female actress, to be able to play with all these men, is to be treated as a female character, as an equal. So for her I think she is very, obviously nervous but at the same time fascinated that she's allowed in on this moment, you know, with the wheels turning, like, "How am I going to keep him alive afterwards and get out of this?" Ultimately, she always cares about herself, so "How do I get out of this alive?" is her thought. Certainly, showing fear is not going to get you out of that situation alive -- at least that's my thought if you're in that situation and realize a serial killer is opening someone up in front of you. I don't think being afraid is going to do you much good.

IGN: [Laughs] Right, right. Before I let you go, I have to ask, this show is so visually striking. We just talked about the horror level, but I also have to ask you about that trial scene and the hat you were wearing and the sort of noir lighting.

Chorostecki: Yeah, actually, that scene -- Jim Hawkinson, our DP, is really fantastic, and I always have the utmost faith in him. He always lights me so beautifully -- he lights everyone so beautifully. So there's not much technically you have to worry about to be able to get that visual atmosphere and look, because he kind of takes care of it and allows us to do our thing. That hat -- he loves that hat. When Bryan and I were talking about the beginnings of what was going to happen and when I would start filming my stuff for Season 2, he said, "Oh, you're going to come to the court room, and you're going to be wearing this hat." I said, "What do you mean 'this hat'?" He said, "This hat! It's going to be amazing." Then Chris, the costume designer, and I tried on a bunch of different hats. I think someone pointed out, and quite rightly so, that it's kind of a His Girl Friday kind of a look. I think it's just she's putting on a huge display at that point, because she genuinely thinks that Will killed Abigail. So I loved it. My direction from Bryan was -- because, you know, I said, "How is she playing this? She's in this hat. She's really throwing herself in full Freddie mode, old character mode. What's up with that?" He said, "Well, she just wants to kick him in the balls," because he killed her friend. So, as much as possible, she wants to make him suffer. That's even reflected again when he's in prison, and she comes in again with this full-force attitude. It isn't until, at the end [of Season 2], you see that wonderful scene with them when she's in hiding and she's helped them out, their whole thing - and the hotel room before, where they have an understanding and she understands that there's no way Chilton is the Chesapeake Ripper. She's stopped wanting to kick him in the balls and she realizes what's going on. 


PopSessions: Lara Jean Chorostecki shares her Pop Culture Obsessions

By Richard Rushfield September 27, 2013 6:18 PM


Amid all the wonderful creepiness of NBC's "Hannibal," perhaps no character is more wonderfully disturbing than the relentless, amoral crime blogger played by Lara Jean Chorostecki. On break from the show, the first season of which is out on DVD this week, Chorostecki checked in with us by phone from Vancouver to talk about her pop culture obesessions road to Dr. Lecter's couch.

1. What was the first movie you saw? "Bambi"

2. What movie makes you cry? "Life Is Beautiful." Ironically, not "Bambi." My mother thought I was heartless because I didn't cry at age 6. But right at the very end of "Life Is Beautiful," when the kid sees his mom and goes, "Mama!" that's when I sob right through the credits.

3. What movie character do you wish you could be? Princess Buttercup from "The Princess Bride." It's a female character, but I get to be around castles and pirates.

4. What do you eat or drink while watching a movie in the theater? Nothing — I have too many allergies. I drink water.

5. What’s the TV show you never miss? "Scandal," even though it was airing at the same time as "Hannibal." I'd watch it right after.

6. What TV show would you like to live in? "The Walking Dead," just to see how long I could survive.

7. Who is your TV crush? Marshall Erickson from "How I Met Your Mother."

8. What TV theme song do you still remember the words to? "Fresh Prince" and "Friends."

9. What’s the guiltiest pleasure currently on your DVR? HGTV. I could sit and watch it for hours, especially "Flea Market Flip." I like to watch what they do with these found objects, and I get inspired and think that maybe someday, when I have some time, I'll get out the sandpaper and do it myself.

10. What is your favorite karaoke song? "Summer [Nights]" from "Grease." I'm a nerd.

11. What is your favorite album? "Revolver" — the Beatles. And Fleetwood Mac — "Rumours."

12. What was your first concert? I don't remember exactly, but I imagine it was something orchestral because I grew up with parents who had a great love of classical music.

13. What song was playing during your first kiss? My first kiss, I was 6 years old, and it was a very noisy kindergarten. It wasn't a real kiss, just a kindergarten kiss, and I'm sure some lovely "Sesame Street" song was playing as we pecked.

14. What website do you visit when no one is watching? I don't visit any websites I'd be ashamed of. But there's a cat site on Facebook I look at every day to see what they've posted, the memes people have made of adorable cats. I'll spend hours on YouTube watching funny cat videos.

15. What phone app do you use the most? Twitter.

16. Who is your favorite tweeter? Bryan Fuller, because he's awesome and always reposts all the artwork by the "Hannibal" fans.

17. What article of clothing could you not live without? Right now I'm in love with my Toms like everyone else because they are very functional and fashionable.

18. What was on your favorite T-shirt when you were growing up? I had a TV shirt in my teenage years that I still wear, a picture of Grover that says "Super Grover."

19. Did you have a poster of a celeb on your wall when you were a kid or a teen? I didn't. I had pictures of cats. Two gray kittens in a basket together. And just one of Christian Bale in "Newsies."

20. Have you ever dressed as a celeb for Halloween? Who? I dressed as Invisible Girl from "The Incredibles.”


Lara Jean Chorostecki teases her return on 'Hannibal': 'Freddie isn't just a foil'

By Adam Carlson on May 2, 2013 at 2:37PM


Freddie Lounds may be a tabloid journalist more interested in a story than morals, but make no mistake: She is also a sociopath, playing on the same field as Hannibal’s widening bench of crazies. “I think it’s a really interesting character to see on TV: a female sociopath. We don’t often see that,” says Lara Jean Chorostecki, who plays the fiery-haired reporter.

Thus far on the series, we’ve seen Freddie actively interfere with the FBI’s hunt for killers. We’ve also seen her confront other characters with hard truths. That ambiguous balance — who and what concerns her, as with Kacey Rohl’s Abigail, who is suspected of being complicit in her father’s serial killing — continues throughout the rest of the first season, as more of the character’s “complex layers” are revealed: “Freddie isn’t just a foil, as would be so easy to dismiss her,” Chorostecki says.

Fans of Thomas Harris’ novels, upon which Hannibal is based, will remember that Freddie is actually Freddy — she is a he. But the pronoun flip is more than skin-deep. As Chorostecki tells it, creator Bryan Fuller came to her after she was cast with a specific visual inspiration. “[He] said to me, ‘Do you know of Rebekah Brooks?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I do, I’ve heard of her, of course.’ And he said, ‘Well here’s a picture. This is what we’re modeling you on.’”

Brooks and Chorostecki share curly red hair, but Freddie’s locks are a special effect onto themselves: “The hair was always the starting point,” Chorostecki says — it’s a nod to Freddy’s famous end in Harris’ novels, and it’s all of a piece with the character’s style. Freddie may be chameleonic, but she isn’t a coward. “She’s never been camouflaged. So even when she goes to visit [Mads Mikkelsen’s] Lecter for the first time, as you saw, she’s not really in discreet outfits at any time.”

Freddie returns on tonight’s “Entrée,” which also includes the introduction of a man claiming to be the “Chesapeake Ripper,” played by Eddie Izzard. “I had heard that he was coming in before that and just got very excited, and then I heard Freddie got to play with him and then I got even more excited,” Chorostecki says. Also expect her character to spend more time with Laurence Fisburne’s Jack; and as she points out, “We don’t really know yet what went on with her and Lecter after he threatens her in the office.”

How much has Fuller mapped out Freddie’s arc? Chorostecki says that he has the “Red Dragon” storyline planned for season four, if and when that happens, which means her character’s hottest moment is still a while off. For now, Freddie will continue to become more involved — even, on occasion, providing assistance — and she won’t come out of it without a little bit of blood. Keep an eye out in a few weeks, Chorostecki says. “[Freddie] certainly gets very close to the action.”


‘Hannibal’: Lara Jean Chorostecki On Filling Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Shoes

by Annette Bourdeau

Posted: 04/04/2013 11:02 am EDT


One of literature's creepiest psychiatrists ever is back to haunt our nightmares. That's right -- Dr. Hannibal Lecter, that uppity cannibal with an affinity for mind games, is returning, this time to TV. He's going to be toying with us during primetime in "Hannibal," from creator Bryan Fuller ("Pushing Daisies," "Dead Like Me").

The show will feature another one of author Thomas Harris's most fascinating characters: Freddie Lounds, the ladder-climbing tabloid reporter who sinks her (or his) teeth into a story and never lets go. Freddy, as a he, has been played by the likes of Phillip Seymour Hoffman ("Red Dragon") and Stephen Lang ("Manhunter").

This time around, Canadian actress Lara Jean Chorestecki ("Camelot," "Copper") is tackling the juicy role alongside Hugh Dancy, who plays Special Agent Will Graham, and Mads Mikkelsen, who plays the infamous Hannibal.

HuffPost TV caught up with Chorestecki to chat about the real-life journo her incarnation of Freddie is inspired by, what it was like stepping into Seymour Hoffman's shoes, what really creeped her out on set and those inevitable comparisons to "The Following."

HuffPost TV: So what sparked your interest in the project initially?

Chorostecki: What wouldn't spark your interest? When you get Hugh Dancy on board, that would spark any woman's interest immediately. He's so fantastic in this series. People are going to be so amazed with his work. And to get to work with Mads Mikkelsen, who is already a superstar in Europe and has started to make his way over with "Casino Royale." It's been a real learning experience to work opposite him. And then of course you've got Laurence [Fishburne]. So the cast is heaven, with Bryan Fuller at the helm!

Speaking of amazing actors, did Claire Danes ever pop by set to visit [husband] Hugh?

Of course! And their baby is beautiful! He's a wonderful, wonderful little baby. She popped by just after they wrapped "Homeland." When Cyrus was born we got to see him a couple of times. And they also have a very beautiful dog, which kind of became our set mascot.

Can you tell us a bit about your character?

So Freddie used to be a he, for those who know the Tom Harris novel and the previous incarnations of this character. Phillip Seymour Hoffman was incredible in this part. The resemblance that she bears to "he" is a little bit here and there. Certainly Freddie is brave. She has a good eye for a story. She's patient. She's also a little obnoxious, like he was. [For my] character, Bryan showed me a picture of Rebekah Brooks the first time I met with him, who's a journalist who ran News of the World at a very young age. And now she's been arrested in the phone hacking scandal. She's got wonderful, ferocious, tangled red hair on her head. And as you will see in the promo shots, I also have a big tangled mess of red hair on my head. So right down to the look of Freddie, Bryan took that characterization from Rebekah Brooks. Fans of the mythology know where he/she ends up. I have been told that is the plan. Where we go in the meantime between now and the "Red Dragon" storyline is up to the brilliance of Bryan.

What's it like playing a she who used to be a he? How do you channel that energy?

I think it's actually freeing to channel the masculine energy, but I tend to not really need it. You get the freedom of not being compared to previous incarnations. I don't have to be scared of being compared to Phillip Seymour Hoffman because they're just not going to be the same.

Did you ever think you might one day share a role with Phillip Seymour Hoffman?

No! I think it was TVLine that broke the casting announcement, and the headline was something like Hannibal Taps "Camelot" Actress to Fill Phillip Seymour Hoffman's Shoes. I remember my agent and I just went "Wow!" You couldn't pay to get a title like that. It's wonderful to have my name and his name in the same breath, but no, I did not expect that at all! [Laughs]

Who do you think the show will appeal to?

I really think everyone. Bryan's been calling it operatic, because horror really has an operatic feel to it. Anyone who's a fan of Bryan's work will just adore it. There is something for everyone. That said, it is also gory, so be forewarned. But I really think those who get a little icked out by the gore factor, it's not in a gratuitous way. It's an exploration of the psychological stuff that comes along with this kind of storyline.

Were you ever icked out by anything on set?

Yes! [Laughs] I have a fear of things growing on things. I don't know where it came from. But I go hiking a lot, and sometimes I can't handle moss growing on trees or tumors on trees or mushrooms. The special effects team does some amazing stuff. In the second episode, there's some things growing on some things, that is pretty gross. One day I was on set and one of these special effects things walked by me and I had a little bit of a scared moment seeing this person covered in things!

How does "Hannibal" compare to projects you've worked on before?

It's really different, having come off a long stint of period pieces. It's really nice to be back in modern-day costumes. It's fun to be in heels not on cobblestone streets! [Laughs] I've been really fortunate. I did "Camelot" a couple of years ago and also worked with a really incredible cast on that production. Joe Fiennes was amazing, Claire [Forlani] was amazing, James Purefoy was fantastic. You often get a richer vocabulary when you're doing period pieces, but Bryan's vocabulary is so rich and wonderful, anyone who knows his work knows his writing is very intricate.

Speaking of James Purefoy, do you think that "Hannibal" will appeal to the same audience that watches "The Following"?

Our show is in the same realm, of course, because they're both about serial killers, but it's different. People are naturally going to draw the parallels. When you put the Bryan Fuller stamp on it, it's so surreal and so inventive in some ways that I think it will stand out on its own as well. They're both two quality TV shows. I hope it will attract the same audience. You'll get a double-dose of horror through the week!


Hannibal Blogger a Young Rebekah Brooks


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2013 12:42 PM EDT


In both looks and actions, Lara Jean Chorostecki has real-life inspiration for her character in Hannibal.

Chorostecki plays Freddie Lounds, a trashy blogger who stops at nothing to get her story.

"Bryan Fuller (who developed Hannibal) compares Freddie to having the ambition of Rebekah Brooks, a young Rebekah Brooks," Chorostecki says.

Rebekah Brooks is an infamous ex-newspaper editor and one of the key figures accused in the phone-hacking scandal that has rocked the British media.

"Actually, once you know what Freddie looks like, put a picture of Rebekah Brooks next to her," Chorostecki says.

"I mean, I am a redhead. But the hair was directly modeled after Rebekah Brooks."

All's fair in dipping into modern times for Hannibal, which debuted last week and is airing Thursdays on NBC and City. The series is set in the present, even though it technically is a prequel to the 1991 Academy Award-winning film The Silence of the Lambs.

The Freddie character does not appear in The Silence of the Lambs. However, when it was spelled "Freddy" instead of "Freddie," the character did exist - as a man - in related projects such as the 1986 film Manhunter (where he was played by Steven Lang) and the 2002 film Red Dragon (where he was played by Philip Seymour Hoffman).

"In the novels the character is quite despised as well, he's quite sleazy," says Chorostecki, whose TV resume includes roles in Copper, Camelot and Dan For Mayor. "But he's more schlubby at the same time, too, if I can use that word. Schlubby is just the best word I can think of to describe it.

"And passive in a way. Hoffman's version is amazing, but passive through the first half of the movie. This Freddie is a lot more in-your-face. That's the spin (Fuller) has put on her.

"She really doesn't have many morals, does she? I don't think Freddie has much of a life. Someone joked about that on set. They said, 'Do you think Freddie has any friends?' I don't think she'd have much time. I think she's so focused, really, in a kind of sociopathic way on herself that I don't know if anyone would be friends with her."

Without giving anything away, there's a great scene in this week's episode of Hannibal featuring Freddie and Dr. Hannibal Lecter, played by Mads Mikkelsen.

"It's interesting, because Freddie is not in the least bit intimidated by Jack Crawford (the head of the FBI's behavioural science unit, played by Laurence Fishburne)," Chorostecki says. "But (Dr. Lecter) just kind of sees Freddie for what she is, and it's terrifying.

"He sees this little girl who is making her way up with all this pretence around her."

Hmmm, Lara Jean Chorostecki's Freddie Lounds is sounding even more like a young Rebekah Brooks.

"I love playing her, of course," Chorostecki says of Freddie. "But even I love to hate her."


Hannibal Tests the Bounds of Network Tv Violence

By Sean Plummer

April 11, 2013 6:45 PM


Lara Jean Chorostecki does not protest when I describe her Hannibal character as a creep. The Brampton, ON native plays tabloid reporter Freddie Lounds on the new TV show, which explores the budding partnership between FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). Graham, obviously, does not yet know that Dr. Lecter is both a serial killer and a cannibal.

“I like that she doesn’t care what people think, and it’s kind of a fun alter ego,” Chorostecki says of Lounds. “I’m very Canadian. I love animals, I like to hike, I love the outdoors, and here I’m playing someone who is so 100% for herself, so sociopathic, so just out to get ahead and doesn’t really care what happens in the meantime. And being able to explore – really, let’s call it what it is – such an unlikeable character is so freeing as an actor, and so much fun.”

Modelled loosely on disgraced News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks, Lounds makes her memorable debut on this week’s episode by posting illegally-obtained crime scene photos on her website TattleCrime.com. She also outs Will Graham’s involvement in an investigation, and, in one taut scene, unwisely tries to glean information from Lecter by posing as a potential patient – a scenario which could potentially put the curious blogger in harm’s way.

“He’s very generous as a scene partner, and I’m so in awe of his work in general,” Chorostecki says of Mikkelsen, citing the Danish superstar’s films The Hunt, A Royal Affair, and “of course” Casino Royaleas favourites. “He’s so subtle in his work, yet you understand every single emotion that he’s portraying, and I think that is the mark of an excellent actor. He can say [something] with the slightest intonation, he can move his face in the slightest way and you can know everything that’s going on inside of him.”

Hannibal is of course inspired by the works of author Thomas Harris who introduced the Graham and Lecter characters in his 1981 novel Red Dragon. Lounds also appears in Red Dragon, although he does not survive to be seen in Harris’s next Lecter novel, The Silence of the Lambs (1988).

Chorostecki was familiar with both previous cinematic iterations of Lounds – Stephen Lang (Avatar) played him in Manhunter (1986); Philip Seymour Hoffman in Red Dragon (2002) – but is not worried about comparisons.

“Because she’s a she now there’s so much freedom in this role,” Chorostecki says. “You could compare my performance to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s, but it would kind of be a moot point because they are so different, just in gender alone. And women trying to get ahead in the world are different from men trying to get ahead in the world. There’s no two ways about it.”

Like the various films made from Harris’s Lecter novels, Hannibal, which sees Lecter and Graham collaborating to track down a variety of killers from episode to episode, does not stint on its depictions of violence, fully justifying its 10 p.m. timeslot.

Asked what she thinks about such graphic images on network TV, as opposed to the more liberal environs of cable, Chorostecki says: “I think it is a debate that is important. But Hannibal has a very filmic feel to it, and the way TV is moving is in that direction. And if we want network TV to be on par with the quality of cable, we need to kind of step it up and raise the bar.”

Chorostecki credits showrunner Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me) with imbuing Hannibalwith an intelligence and artfulness which if it does not mitigate the impact of the blood spilled, at least justifies its use perhaps more than in other police procedurals.

“I think that is what Bryan has really done here is to raise that bar and say, ‘Look, we can explore this psychological aspect on TV.’ I think he’s also, with the filmic and surreal aspects that he’s added to the show, it doesn’t lessen the graphicness or goriness of the show, but it certainly makes it a little more psychological, a little more compelling; a little less in-your-face gore.”

Asked to relate a story that typifies her experience making Hannibal, Chorostecki talks about the “amazing... but disturbing” work of the show’s prosthetics and special effects department which turns out gruesome crime victims each episode.

“It’s such dark subject matter. And the hair & makeup ladies in our trailer put up pictures of some of these special effects and prosthetics work. But everyone is smiling in these pictures and everyone is making a silly face. And I think that really encompasses what this experience was like, because everybody was so humble and so down to earth yet we were delving into such intense, dark matter. And that was really the juxtaposition of working on this show, was being able to go to into a makeup trailer and see these smiling faces wearing awful, awful things.”




by Nigel Hamid

April 3, 2013


She describes herself on Twitter as ‘that actress with the big long last name.’ Brampton-born, Lara Jean Chorostecki has made a name for herself on the Stratford stage and several television series, including The Border and Dan for Mayor. International audiences have adored her as Bridget in CBC’s ambitious mini-series Camelot and this Spring, audiences will love to hate her as Freddie Lounds in NBC’s much-anticipated series Hannibal.

Recently, I sat down with Lara Jean to talk about her success and what it’s like to take on Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter.

TorontoVerve: I've read that you got the acting bug when you were 8-years old after seeing a performance ofLes Mis at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. You even drew storyboards of the production. How did your parents first react when you told them that you wanted to pursue acting?

Lara Jean: They were surprisingly and incredibly supportive. I don’t think once in my life they’ve questioned what I’ve done. When I got older, my dad revealed that they did worry about the stability aspect of things. He’s a banker and she’s a French teacher so they have very very stable jobs. But I think they saw the amount of passion that I had for the stage and acting so they didn’t question it. In fact, they were so wonderful in their supportiveness to give me every opportunity possible to learn and grow to pursue it.

TV: When did a career in acting first appear to be a reality for you?

LJ: Well, to be honest, when I saw Les Mis there was no other question -- so it was always going to be a career. I don’t think I ever had another career choice. I remember I briefly considered being a psychotherapist and then dropped that quickly. I guess when I went to Stratford that would be when it suddenly became apparent that it was an absolutely realistic career choice.

TV: So acting never appeared to be something that was unattainable for you?

LJ: No, it always felt right. Of course, there were struggles; after getting my Masters in England four and a half years ago, I sat down with my agent to plan a career in film and television and I remember feeling a lot of nerves about this whole new territory. Will I be successful? And I hate to say it, I asked, ‘do I have a face for television?’ But knowing that this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life and trusting that the pay cheques will cover the basic living stuff or maybe more -- it’s never been a concern. Maybe I’m blindly pursuing this and something bad will happen eventually (laughs), but it’s been really good so far and I’ve been really fortunate.

TV: Before working in film and television, you performed at the Stratford Festival for many years. What was your most memorable moment on stage in front of a live audience?

LJ: Oh, that’s a good question. When I was doing a show called Quiet in the Land at the Tom Patterson Theatre, I was playing Katie Brubacher, who was an Amish girl. All the men had beards and I was doing a scene with one of the older actors, Stephen Russell, who went off-stage for what was supposed to be a few seconds. I waited for him to return while I was paring beans alone in front of the audience, but he didn’t come back. I waited and he still didn’t come back. I think he was gone for a total of two and half minutes. What had happened was he had gone for a quick change and his beard came off. So he was desperately trying to come back, but couldn’t. I remember I was so close to picking up the Bible and reading a verse to the audience so they didn’t have to see me pare beans much longer.

TV: You're a classically trained Shakespearian actor and appeared in period shows like Camelot and BBC'sCopper. Which gives you the most satisfaction: acting in period productions or contemporary ones?

LJ: I think that they’re just so different. I really love period pieces. I love putting on costumes of any era that is not now. It’s just so much fun exploring a different psyche when you add in the realities of what life was like during that time. The set designers of Camelot were so incredible. When you arrived on set, it would smell old and different -- like it would in that time. I loved immersing myself in those kinds of worlds. So I guess in that sense, yeah, I really do love period stuff, but the modern world is really fun to explore too.

TV: So how did you first get involved in Hannibal?

LJ: I auditioned for Hannibal back in August with director David Slade (Hard Candy, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) who put me through the ringer a few times. They were shooting up here in Toronto and I was lucky to audition. David pushed me to see how far I can stretch myself because Freddie is a bit of a chameleon at times when interacting with various characters.

TV: You play tabloid blogger Freddie Lounds on the show. Your Freddie is quite different from the "Red Dragon" novel and film adaptations (Manhunter & Red Dragon), isn't it?

LJ: Yes, because Freddie was a ‘he’ in the novels and movies, and now Freddie is a ‘she’ so that is already a huge difference. And ‘he’ was previously played by Stephen Lang (Manhunter) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Red Dragon). Before shooting Hannibal, I watched Red Dragon. First of all, Philip Seymour Hoffman is incredible in it, but second, he’s so schlubby and so wonderfully sleazy. I would say that female Freddie is also wonderfully sleazy, but in a more sophisticated way. She wears high fashion and she’s very good at what she does, but she absolutely has no moral compass whatsoever. Nothing yet has fazed or scared this girl, but fans of the book and movies know that something will eventually very much terrify her.TV: Does the gender-switch add extra pressure on you to win over devoted fans of the material?

LJ: I don’t know -- I think it actually gives more freedom because at the end of the day, if I were a ‘he’ playing a male Freddy Lounds, I would be very easily compared to the fantastic work of the previous two actors. But here, they can’t really compare me because it’s very different. So in that sense, I think it’s less restrictive and less worrying about winning over fans. I hope that people will love to hate her because I love to hate her.

TV: Show producer Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me) asked you to draw inspiration from News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks who was charged with the phone hacking conspiracy. What did you draw from her?

LJ: There was a Vanity Fair article written last year by Suzanna Andrews called "Untangling Rebekah Brooks"and that gave me a ton of insight because it outlined so nicely what her rise to fame was and maybe some devious things that happened. Time will tell in her trial what she’s guilty or not guilty of. So what I drew from her was the idea of someone who is unapologetic and pretty fierce in pursuing an ultimate success for herself. The way Bryan described her is even though she’s under suspicion and being investigated for some not-so great things right now, she’s still the type of woman who can find her way around anything. And even though she may get you fired, the next day you might just send her ‘thank you’ flowers because she managed to find you a better job. So that drive that I sense in her is definitely what inspired me.

TV: In "Red Dragon", Freddy's unscrupulous tactics result in much friction between him and FBI agent Will Graham. How does your Freddie mix things up with Graham and Lecter in the series?

LJ: Actually Freddie and Will Graham have quite the antagonistic relationship. I don’t think he’s too fond of me. I think when you watch the series, you’ll probably get a sense of that. I also had a lot of fun with Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky) who plays Hannibal. He’s incredible and such a good actor. He’s so inspiring to work with. Freddie’s interaction with Hannibal in particular gets interesting at times. I think he finds her pretty fascinating. There’s a lot of thematic stuff throughout our first season with identifying parts of yourself in other people. When Hannibal first meets Will, he identifies a part of himself in Will, and everybody is identifying a psychopathic quality in each other. I gotta say that the most fun I had was when Freddie interacts with Jack Crawford, who’s played by Lawrence Fishburne (The Matrix, CSI). When I get to sit down with Jack, he’s just so intimidating and I have to be absolutely unafraid of him. Freddie doesn’t appear in the pilot. She appears in Episode 2 for the first time and when Jack says my name, you sense there’s already a history between us where I’ve gotten under his skin a number of times.

TV: I think it’s great for your character because Freddy Lounds doesn’t have much to do in the novel, but now it really looks like they’re going to flesh out the character and introduce her to people whom ‘he’ originally never met.

LJ: Absolutely, yeah, she appears in 6 of the 13 episodes so strongly. I interact with almost everyone and it’s been a real blessing to be that type of character. I think that Bryan has brilliantly utilized this character to be able to fill things in when needed and come in and stir up trouble. Also, Bryan has plans for a good long run and it’ll be really exciting to see what he does with Freddie until maybe something happens to her -- I don’t know, we’ll find out.

TV: I think the gender-switch is a good idea because author Thomas Harris’ female characters aren’t very strong -- with the exception of Clarice Starling ("Silence of the Lambs") of course.

LJ: Yes, there are not a lot of female characters in Harris' books. In the series, Caroline Dhavernas is playing Dr. Alana Bloom, who in the novel is Dr. Alan Bloom, which again is a smaller character that has been massively fleshed out for the show. I think that audiences will really enjoy Bryan’s vision.

TV: Many network shows over the past few decades like The Profiler, CSI and Criminal Minds have borrowed a lot from the Lecter films. In fact, FOX currently has a series called The Following with Kevin Bacon as an FBI agent who goes toe-to-toe with a Hannibal-like character. How do you think Hannibal will stand out from these similar-themed shows?

LJ: Well, I watched the first two episodes of The Following, which I’ll go on record and say that I really enjoyed. James Purefoy (John Carter, Solomon Kane) plays the villain in The Following and I previously worked with him on Camelot so I was really excited to see it. But in terms of how Hannibal compares -- it’s just nothing like The Following. The Following is great in its own zone like Hannibal is great in its own zone. Hannibal is filmic -- there are a lot of surreal elements in it. It’s very psychologically-based. Hannibal’s tone is so different than anything I’m seeing on network television right now. Quite frankly, I don’t think that there’s anything on network TV that can compare with Hannibal and I think that’s really exciting. It’s very smart of NBC to be picking up a show that has so much of a cable feel to it. Hannibal is very film-like with high production values and great actors. The Following is a great show, but I just don’t think it’s in the same territory.

TV: Interesting that you mentioned that because I was very surprised when NBC announced that it would be picking up such a dark show.

LJ: If the networks really want to keep audiences, that’s what they’re going to have to cater to in a good way because it’s good TV. We need more Breaking Bads, Mad Men, Walking Deads and Homelands on NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX.

TV: What was it like working with such an impressive cast like Lawrence Fishburne, Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy (Our Idiot Brother, The Jane Austen Book Club)?

LJ: I like to think that it’s elevated my work. Every time you work with someone who has such a breadth of work behind them, it improves you. It’s great to be on set with those guys. They’re such pros. Mads brings with him a European sensibility that is so refreshing. He’s so subtle in his work and it’s such a lesson to watch his subtlety and yet see that he projects every single emotion so clearly. The confidence with which Lawrence approaches everything is inspiring at all times, and I think a lot of people will be impressed with Hugh Dancy as Will Graham. His work is touching and ferocious and really exciting. He’s the type of character that you really want to care for -- yet he’s playing someone who’s so anti-social. The ability for an actor to make you want to care for him so deeply when he’s playing someone very disconnected is a testament to his work.

TV: You once said that you like to ask a lot of questions when working on a set. From whom did you learn the most on Hannibal and what did they tell you?

LJ: I learned from everyone, but the best conversations were probably with Lawrence. In our first scene together, he was so generous to sit down and talk through it with me because I was a little confused about the tone. I wasn’t in the pilot so I was trying to figure out the tone that everyone had already set, as I hadn’t seen any footage. It was really essential to have those conversations. He taught me to own my own character. "You know who she is. Own her. And everything else will fall into place from there."

TV: If you had the chance to play another popular male character in film, television or theatre as a woman, who would it be and why?

LJ: That’s too easy: Hamlet. I think male or female -- who wouldn’t want to take on that character? He’s so complex. Although, another character I think that’s pretty fantastic that was played in Stratford recently by a woman is Richard III. Also, Jaques from "As You Like It." I can name you a ton of male bard characters like Ariel from "The Tempest", which has often been played by a female as well. But definitely without hesitation, Hamlet. A friend of mine once directed "Hamlet" with Graham Abbey as the lead, but Graham was busy shooting The Border and couldn’t read for auditions, so I had the pleasure of reading Hamlet opposite all the Laertes and Gertrudes that came in. I gotta say it was the most fun that I had in a day.

TV: Let’s close with word association if you don’t mind.

LJ: Yeah, let’s do it.


LJ: My first thought is biking because I grew up biking a lot there.


LJ: Cats


LJ: Blood.


LJ: Purple.


LJ: David. That's my partner.