Clarice Star Rebecca Breeds: Series Is a Step in the Evolution of The Silence of the Lambs Heroine

Clarice Starling has other things on her mind than Hannibal Lecter. Plus, exclusive key art reveal.

by | January 19, 2021 | Comments

It looks like the world really is more interesting with Clarice Starling in it.

On February 11, CBS will premiere new series Clarice, a psychological horror drama that follows what happened to the FBI Academy’s famed behavioral science expert after the events depicted in author Thomas Harris’ novel, The Silence of the Lambs. Set in 1993 — meant to be a year after the timing of director Jonathan Demme and writer Ted Tally’s film adaptation of that book — fans will see how she is dealing (or not dealing) with the trauma of her experiences with serial killers Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) and Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine) as she returns to the field to investigate more murders and mayhem.

And, because series creators Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet are not concentrating on plots straight from a Harris novel, viewers will also see a different version of Clarice herself — and not just because she’s now being played by Australian actress Rebecca Breeds instead of Jodie Foster’s Academy Award–winning depiction of the FBI officer in Lambs or Julianne Moore’s depiction of her in 2001’s Hannibal.

Clarice Season 1 Keyart Exclusive Debut:

Rebecca Breeds in keyart for Clarice season 1

(Photo by CBS)

Click image to open the full-sized poster in a new tab. 

“The story continues to be told; it continues to evolve,” Breeds told Rotten Tomatoes from the show’s filming home base of Toronto after a night of shooting the new series’ seventh episode. “So I need to be able to continue to invent who she is in different scenarios. So I have to pull from what is authentic and what is me, because that’s all I can do.”

To wit: The poster for the series, which Rotten Tomatoes is exclusively debuting here, is a metamorphosis of the cover associated with Lambs. While Dawn Baillie’s art for that movie shows a moth blocking the mouth of Foster’s Clarice, this key art — designed CBS creative marketing team working in collaboration with an agency — has the moth away from the heroine’s mouth as if she’s now allowed to speak.

Even though the show is a period piece, Breeds said that this image is “representative of the time we’re in.”

“It’s not that the moths aren’t there,” Breeds said. “The traumas in our experience are still present as women in the workforce — with gender and race particularly. We go into [those issues] a lot on the show. It’s not that the trauma isn’t there. It’s just, we’re not silenced by it anymore.”

CLARICE stars Rebecca Breeds and Devyn Tyler

(Photo by Brooke Palmer / CBS)

Clarice also has a friend in the series, Devyn A. Tyler’s Ardelia Mapp, who happens to be Black — but whom Lumet has stressed will not be a “black best friend” stereotype. Tyler’s character is not just the “girl on the phone,” Breeds said.

“She’s not just the one in the basement, doing the background work that pops up every now and then when we need her,” Breeds added. “We talk about her not wanting to be relegated to the basement in the show. And she says what we’re all thinking.”

There are some things about Clarice’s history that cannot be undone.

One is the character’s West Virginia dialect — something Dr. Lecter notes in Lambs that she’s “tried so desperately to shed.” Breeds said she had no idea what it meant when her audition script had the note “with a hint of Appalachia,” and her husband, actor Luke Mitchell, originally advised her to skip it and just do an American accent.

CLARICE season 1 cast

(Photo by Brooke Palmer/CBS)

After practicing the regional dialect, “it just kind of worked in my mouth,” Breeds said. “It just felt really right to me. And not only that, it really brought the character home for me.”

It also helps her shed the character at the end of the day, Breeds said, because “it’s not just an accent. It’s a culture, it’s an upbringing. It’s a childhood that informs so much of who she is.”

Another ghost from Clarice’s past appearing in the series is Catherine Martin, the woman she rescues from Buffalo Bill’s clutches in Lambs. Played by Brooke Smith in the film, Catherine is now played by Marnee Carpenter.

“Catherine could be Clarice if Clarice wasn’t so stubborn in not letting her trauma get to her,” Breeds said. “Catherine is the dark side of the way our trauma can take us over. And it’s everything Clarice is fighting against, but it’s also haunting her. Because deep down, being a very intelligent woman, she knows that suppressing and avoiding trauma is not dealing with it. It’s only suppressing it. And eventually it’s going to come out and get you.”

Rebecca Breeds as Clarice Starling in CLARICE

(Photo by Brooke Palmer/CBS)

The most enticing adversary of all is not planned to have an impact on Clarice’s television longevity. Due to complicated licensing deals, the character Hannibal Lecter will not appear in  the series — even if he is vaguely mentioned. (The opposite problem plagued creator Bryan Fuller’s NBC series, Hannibal, which — ironically enough — also shot in Toronto. Breeds said some of Clarice’s crew members have worked on both shows, but she’s not sure if they’ve filmed in any of the same locations.)

Despite being a sadist cannibal who is both on the loose and who knows a ton of personal information about our heroine, Breeds said the madman is barely a blip on the radar.

“It is the ghost of her trauma from her childhood that she needs to deal with, more than she needs to deal with Dr. Lecter,” she said. “He was just a part of the process that is triggering her to go back to the real demons that are in her life.”

Clarice premieres February 11 on CBS.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

Disney Plus Comic Book Extras NYCC Awards HBO Pixar BBC America Teen Epix Universal 007 Cannes MSNBC Valentine's Day BBC Podcast Sundance richard e. Grant Schedule justice league french First Reviews crime Chernobyl VH1 popular Lionsgate kids thriller TCA Awards Shondaland children's TV OWN TruTV Fox Searchlight E3 Walt Disney Pictures movies MTV Red Carpet Columbia Pictures Lifetime 2019 Paramount Network jurassic park Black History Month renewed TV shows Star Trek Masterpiece TCA Winter 2020 Mudbound zero dark thirty all-time Broadway monster movies Oscars james bond football A&E Turner halloween binge Hallmark Captain marvel ghosts toronto BET Awards movie witnail TCA 2017 hispanic deadpool SDCC LGBTQ latino TV One parents period drama Disney+ Disney Plus concert A24 Sony Pictures DC streaming service Lifetime Christmas movies Rocky 4/20 cinemax Comedy Central LGBT Star Wars joker Warner Bros. spanish technology video on demand telelvision cooking FOX dramedy Mindy Kaling American Society of Cinematographers quibi scary movies independent critics Emmy Nominations The Academy Film dceu 2017 indie CBS vampires Hear Us Out cars Emmys italian TNT 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards nbcuniversal Marvel Studios free movies RT21 Television Critics Association Thanksgiving psychological thriller First Look godzilla historical drama CMT New York Comic Con australia HBO Go venice cancelled Apple TV Plus Super Bowl Nickelodeon slashers Sneak Peek Box Office Vudu romantic comedy El Rey Crackle doctor who discovery Black Mirror Crunchyroll Brie Larson Anna Paquin Country Netflix Christmas movies DC Comics 24 frames travel documentary comic Paramount Plus canceled TV shows facebook TCM The Walking Dead Sci-Fi werewolf japanese miniseries Quiz Lucasfilm DirecTV finale breaking bad rom-coms Dark Horse Comics ViacomCBS Apple Legendary Musicals directors news toy story screenings IFC Films Amazon Studios TIFF Fantasy Avengers die hard crossover FX on Hulu Rom-Com 45 YA Drama HBO Max Musical BET child's play TV Land sports Horror YouTube VOD 93rd Oscars Fox News archives zombies Election franchise Christmas Tomatazos Endgame Shudder disaster Countdown Infographic teaser book comedies dogs GIFs Film Festival emmy awards The Purge 71st Emmy Awards Chilling Adventures of Sabrina supernatural spanish language Year in Review south america Trivia razzies Rock based on movie PBS See It Skip It Music transformers WGN comiccon stop motion 20th Century Fox Opinion Britbox political drama golden globe awards Martial Arts revenge superhero Food Network Disney Channel crime drama hollywood Certified Fresh FXX spider-man versus fast and furious 2021 hist spain Spike AMC Amazon 2016 Interview Alien nature obituary series 99% Funimation Superheroe worst talk show harry potter Pride Month Spring TV Ovation Awards Tour diversity Western RT History cops Reality Best and Worst The Arrangement stand-up comedy Animation natural history festival biography Toys classics Trailer Video Games anthology ratings boxing black Disney anime stoner medical drama prank cancelled TV shows ESPN Television Academy Nominations Comedy The Walt Disney Company BAFTA space boxoffice Ellie Kemper adaptation SXSW Song of Ice and Fire indiana jones dc Winter TV Starz CNN hidden camera spinoff 2018 Esquire Character Guide IFC TV renewals name the review Fall TV screen actors guild Cosplay twilight Hallmark Christmas movies Binge Guide Mary Tyler Moore TBS Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt cancelled television Cartoon Network book adaptation what to watch universal monsters best kong 21st Century Fox cancelled TV series award winner batman unscripted zombie BBC One satire Hulu psycho Logo aliens USA Academy Awards adventure DC Universe Tarantino Trophy Talk Winners reviews Grammys Mary Poppins Returns Superheroes GLAAD OneApp Family Turner Classic Movies Reality Competition Apple TV+ serial killer Discovery Channel game of thrones streaming Baby Yoda Writers Guild of America Nat Geo Pop TV sitcom TV animated Stephen King Elton John war Netflix cartoon Marvel ABC heist movie Kids & Family theme song Marvel Television trailers Sundance TV docuseries nfl The Witch Adult Swim composers canceled game show women CBS All Access Travel Channel robots President Rocketman mockumentary DGA halloween tv blockbusters Acorn TV crime thriller PlayStation Pirates new star wars movies Ghostbusters TLC Action Pop ITV mission: impossible VICE foreign dark Mystery X-Men Syfy National Geographic TCA rotten 2020 comics sequels CW Seed docudrama SundanceTV chucky Holiday Watching Series Paramount politics cats singing competition blockbuster APB dragons criterion PaleyFest Tubi strong female leads Classic Film Polls and Games Arrowverse Summer documentaries The CW History GoT Bravo rotten movies we love ID FX Calendar video Mary poppins festivals Comics on TV king kong Set visit reboot Amazon Prime remakes E! police drama mutant elevated horror worst movies laika YouTube Premium Photos jamie lee curtis Amazon Prime Video christmas movies Sundance Now tv talk YouTube Red ABC Family Women's History Month 72 Emmy Awards Biopics Tumblr films romance Holidays sag awards spy thriller science fiction Peacock San Diego Comic-Con Premiere Dates asian-american rt archives a nightmare on elm street Exclusive Video scorecard Marathons social media Showtime green book casting 2015 comic books sequel Spectrum Originals cults blaxploitation NBC Creative Arts Emmys television Freeform Disney streaming service golden globes Pet Sematary kaiju MCU USA Network Heroines fresh WarnerMedia superman true crime pirates of the caribbean ABC Signature