Red Dragon is my favourite novel. The book, the second publiched by journalist-turned author Thomas Harris, is a harrowing portrayal of the trials of an FBI profiler named Will Graham, as well as the first outing of Hannibal Lecter. Complete with the terrifying serial killer Francis Dolarhyde–whose heart-wrenching backstory is painted with an in depth and sympathetic brush–the story is compelling and engrossing.
The movies, however, are disappointing. The first adaptation, named Manhunter, manages to give an almost flawless recreation of Graham’s story, but shortchanges us with a Dolarhyde who is all but a husk of his book counterpart–no blame of which lands in the lap of Tom Noonan. Meanwhile, Red Dragon from 2002 gives Dolarhyde the attention he deserves, but fails to match Manhunter’s portrayal of Graham–no blame for Edward Norton. On top of this, Red Dragon beefs up Lecter’s to distracting levels.
Neither film stuck true to the phenomenal ending of the novel.
By combining Michael Mann’s Manhunter–with William Peterson as Graham, Dennis Farina as Crawford, Brian Cox as Lecter, and Stephen Lang as Lounds–with Red Dragon–Ralph Fiennes as Dolarhyde, Emily Watson as Reba McClane–I hope to be able to create the adaptation the book deserves.
VAGUE LIST OF CHANGES:
New opening credits and title sequence.
Intercut between Manhunter’s police investigation and the life of Francis Dolarhyde from Red Dragon.
Add deleted scenes from the Manhunter Director’S Cut.
Replace majority of the score with music from Michael Mann’s HEAT, as well as other work from composer Elliott Goldenthal, with Red Dragon score used for Dolarhyde.
Recreate the Dragon holding Lounds footage of Stephen Lang and Ralph Fiennes.
Frankenstein new ending to better fit the tone of the novel.