TODAY   |  April 06, 2013

Hugh Dancy on ‘Hannibal’: ‘It’s good stuff’

Actor Hugh Dancy plays an FBI profiler on the show “Hannibal,” where he is empathetic with his troubled subjects. “The set is a disturbingly light place,” Dancy told TODAY’s Erica Hill. “If you came behind the scenes you’d see we’re having a really good time.”

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>>> "the silence of the lambs " was one of the most shocking thrillers, and disturbing, too, in history, introducing us to one of pop culture 's most iconic villains, hannibal lecter , brilliant psychologist turned serial killer . now a new series takes us back to the beginning, when he was known just as a psychologist. tortured by a special ability to think like the serial killers he searches for.

>> i don't know this kind of psychopath, never read about him. i don't even know if he's a psychopath. he's not insensitive. he's not shallow.

>> you know something about him. otherwise you wouldn't say this isn't an apology.

>> he couldn't honor her. he feels bad.

>> that defeats the purpose of being a psychopath, doesn't it?

>> yes, it does.

>> then what kind of crazy is he?

>> you play this fbi profiler who is sort of empathetic.

>> yes.

>> toward the people he is trying to figure out.

>> which doesn't mean necessarily that he sympathizes with them, just that he finds it very easy, maybe too easy to project himself into their minds and walk in their shoes, if you will.

>> what's it like for you as an actor? i imagine it's a great role but at the same time, is it mildly disconcerting to then go home at the end of the day and be dad?

>> i can understand why people think that. but the real end of the darks as i understand, at the end of the show , you're working with wonderful actors, laurence fishburn . i go home feeling happy. for the more disturbing and dark and weird it's been, the better i feel about the show, because that's the tone of it.

>> makes you feel better about your life at home, too, right? it has been described as an elegant horror story . it's graphic, but tough to turn away from.

>> i guess it's graphic. what makes you feel that way is because of the psychology, if i can put it that way, of the show. we're all pretty accustomed to this point of seeing dissections and forensic stuff on tv and we've been almost numbed to it. and hopefully what we've done is bring back a little bit of feeling to that.

>> is the set a dark place ?

>> no. the set is a disturbingly light place. that's the most horrifying part of the show. if you came behind the scenes you would see we're having a good time.

>> pranks and making jokes?

>> not really. it's fast moving and you have to run just to keep up. everybody is pretty concentrated, but it -- no, we get along and have a good time.

>> it really does draw you in.

>> yeah. it's good stuff.

>> really well written. obviously, great acting. you just wrapped, though, this season.

>> yep.

>> you have a little bit of a break?

>> yes.

>> you have a 3 1/2-month-old son?

>> that is correct.

>> any plans for your spring and summer?

>> to spend time with the family, have some down time and being a dad.

>> how is being a dad?

>> great. virtual learning curve .

>> nice way to look at it. nice to have you with us this morning.

>> thank you very much.

>> you can catch "hannibal" right here on nbc.