Red Dragon, Hannibal Lecter’s Prison Cell Drawing

original production artwork

This original 24” x 18” charcoal and pencil drawing by scenic artist Paula Payne was made for the production of Red Dragon (2002), a prequel to the five-time Oscar-winning The Silence of the Lambs (1991). The sinister picture hangs in Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s (Anthony Hopkins) prison cell (tape residue still remains on the verso) and can be seen in publicity shots taken during the making of the Brett Ratner-directed film.

 

When set decorator Karen O’Hara went about reconstructing Lecter’s jail accommodations, she reached out to Payne, who drew all of the iconic anti-hero’s deranged artwork in Silence, but some pieces, like this one, could not be found and had to be reproduced.

 

The illustration contains a cryptic clue to solving the “Buffalo Bill” (Ted Levine) case. In the Greek myth, as told by Ovid in Book One of the “Metamorphoses,” the lustful half-goat Pan (from whom the word “panic” derives) stalks a virginal wood nymph named Syrinx until she arrives at a river and pleads with the water nymphs to change her form so that, when he overtakes her, Pan is left clutching only reeds from the marsh. The mournful sound they make as the wind blows through them inspires the infatuated satyr to carve the object of his desire into a pan flute to possess his lost love through song. The serial killer that FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) pursues similarly treats his captured female victims as physical things whose remains he skins to fashion into self-gratifying keepsakes of perverted beauty before dumping their mutilated corpses into rivers.

 

The sketch appears on the left cell wall beside the Florentine landscape of the Duomo as seen from the Belvedere (also since lost), which offers another coy hint to the mass murderer’s current whereabouts in Belvedere, Ohio.

 

A Pittsburgh native, Payne’s early work included an extended stint on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968-2001), designing the model town featured in the opening credits--a far cry from the disturbed doodles of a cannibalistic psychiatrist. She served as a regular on George A. Romero’s movie sets, contributing to Monkey Shines (1988), Two Evil Eyes (1990), and The Dark Half (1993). She went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree at The University of Montana in the School of Fine Arts and now teaches visual arts in Cordova, Alaska.

item: collector:
category: original / screen-used
type: production artwork
celebrity: Anthony Hopkins (38)
original (31)  |  replica (7)
movie: Red Dragon (2002)
original (32)  |  replica (3)
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