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

tv talk YA El Rey Crackle New York Comic Con Pop FX toy story San Diego Comic-Con 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards boxing WarnerMedia Broadway Epix BBC Winter TV OneApp Binge Guide parents Summer high school olympics FOX doctor who Writers Guild of America hist Superheroes crossover Kids & Family 93rd Oscars BET Awards news crime drama 72 Emmy Awards Certified Fresh Apple TV+ Academy Awards adventure Paramount Amazon Studios halloween tv Family comic Pet Sematary saw Spring TV classics binge target japanese DirecTV NYCC Toys independent talk show Showtime Rom-Com rom-coms TV renewals women legend Reality Stephen King Shondaland Comedy series Discovery Channel TLC true crime reboot teaser cancelled TV series Vudu GoT rt labs basketball richard e. Grant Country Musical Holiday psychological thriller PaleyFest spider-man A24 Mary Tyler Moore nature Apple DC Comics Spike CNN cats anthology Funimation rt archives asian-american Red Carpet See It Skip It latino mcc boxoffice Tubi robots CBS All Access documentary Holidays First Reviews NBC adenture Peacock hidden camera superhero Amazon movie Image Comics TCM President golden globes comiccon king kong Comics on TV scary movies USA Network slashers revenge Apple TV Plus superman Comic Book 45 PBS aliens award winner popular Tomatazos archives Sneak Peek natural history singing competition marvel comics cooking TBS RT21 zero dark thirty FXX Valentine's Day Sony Pictures transformers kaiju YouTube Premium 24 frames Lucasfilm AMC canceled Pacific Islander animated obituary First Look 90s universal monsters crime thriller BAFTA Crunchyroll kids blockbusters Ovation Lifetime The Academy ratings Pixar A&E game show Action Opinion Pirates Marathons Watching Series justice league GIFs Hulu fast and furious Fall TV action-comedy sequels breaking bad films Superheroe versus streaming black stoner Drama elevated horror scorecard 20th Century Fox cancelled TV shows Fox Searchlight Chernobyl MCU worst movies witnail Chilling Adventures of Sabrina DC Universe reviews Nickelodeon toronto finale streaming movies Marvel book ESPN supernatural Hear Us Out Acorn TV dogs sag awards Disney Plus Sundance hispanic heritage month Emmy Nominations National Geographic comedies Brie Larson BET scene in color Anna Paquin worst Video Games science fiction Biopics debate Quiz Ghostbusters stop motion Premiere Dates Polls and Games DGA SundanceTV 2020 Music SXSW stand-up comedy Marvel Studios name the review foreign Netflix Christmas movies Netflix Tarantino docudrama Shudder spain Year in Review Heroines video USA VH1 Trailer The Walking Dead marvel cinematic universe japan comic books Legendary anime strong female leads sequel nfl cults 2018 E3 21st Century Fox Nominations Classic Film Sundance TV romance Warner Bros. war Creative Arts Emmys Lifetime Christmas movies fresh Endgame Character Guide ghosts all-time space Trophy Talk American Society of Cinematographers king arthur telelvision trailers serial killer Women's History Month ID GLAAD TruTV spanish Set visit romantic comedy 007 new york australia Turner Classic Movies Spectrum Originals Exclusive Video composers Elton John joker Teen Captain marvel heist movie new zealand child's play Horror hispanic Disney+ Disney Plus Hallmark Christmas movies biopic Song of Ice and Fire RT History medical drama adaptation comic book movies Avengers Reality Competition Film Festival pirates of the caribbean gangster Esquire critics jamie lee curtis Election 71st Emmy Awards Cosplay Wes Anderson The CW Mystery Television Academy IFC harry potter dexter Nat Geo Interview dramedy live action Hallmark The Arrangement Lionsgate satire 2016 2015 social media italian young adult screen actors guild festival Turner video on demand Photos festivals cartoon YouTube Red CW Seed ABC Family dceu Food Network 2019 Infographic Starz Black History Month LGBTQ Best and Worst Countdown halloween Super Bowl Mary Poppins Returns travel feel good facebook Paramount Plus know your critic Bravo comic book movie spanish language french Arrowverse deadpool best political drama die hard critic resources Tokyo Olympics Paramount Network documentaries Film Cartoon Network prank HBO Max book adaptation VOD Schedule canceled TV shows E! Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Masterpiece Fox News mutant BBC America TCA crime Western diversity biography Emmys hollywood dark 99% ITV Star Wars TV Sci-Fi razzies concert OWN DC streaming service Mudbound Grammys new star wars movies Pride Month miniseries Baby Yoda LGBT emmy awards TCA Awards The Walt Disney Company what to watch criterion The Purge screenings Fantasy south america unscripted mockumentary Comedy Central vampires comics sports TCA 2017 cancelled television MTV Amazon Prime Video cops TV movies posters kong quibi Black Mirror dc Disney Channel christmas movies thriller Columbia Pictures Logo Box Office indiana jones police drama 2017 golden globe awards blaxploitation football Walt Disney Pictures Rock Pop TV werewolf lord of the rings mission: impossible Calendar CBS slasher ABC royal family TNT blockbuster theme song Mary poppins TCA Winter 2020 remakes spinoff television casting venice Winners historical drama zombies free movies batman twilight NBA SDCC international Syfy godzilla BBC One CMT psycho IFC Films Awards Tour Tumblr Animation directors Trivia Freeform jurassic park APB Mindy Kaling Christmas spy thriller rotten Amazon Prime TV One Awards TIFF Adult Swim docuseries Sundance Now Musicals 1990s monster movies franchise ViacomCBS TV Land game of thrones Martial Arts james bond laika 2021 rotten movies we love Britbox Alien rt labs critics edition wonder woman Travel Channel discovery movies MSNBC cinemax The Witch politics Dark Horse Comics Television Critics Association Comic-Con@Home 2021 HBO VICE Disney Podcast Oscars cars suspense technology X-Men children's TV 4/20 Rocketman green book period drama Thanksgiving indie ABC Signature Cannes a nightmare on elm street renewed TV shows FX on Hulu zombie History disaster Disney streaming service 73rd Emmy Awards Marvel Television cancelled Rocky dragons aapi chucky Ellie Kemper nbcuniversal WGN YouTube based on movie Star Trek sitcom Universal Extras HBO Go PlayStation