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The face of ''Young Hannibal''

The face of ”Young Hannibal” — Gaspard Ulliel steps into Anthony Hopkins shoes for the 2006 prequel

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With Darth Vader’s bloody backstory behind us, Young Hannibal: Behind the Mask, now shooting in Prague for ’06 release, takes a stab at Hannibal Lecter’s pre-Chianti salad days. Here, Gaspard Ulliel (A Very Long Engagement) plays out one of Lecter’s early acts of violence, at a 1950s Lithuanian orphanage. ”What’s the process by which a gifted child becomes a monster?” asks director Peter Webber (Girl With a Pearl Earring), who promises ”nasty murders.” As for collaborating with secretive author — and virgin screenwriter — Thomas Harris, Webber laughs. ”If I told you, I’d have to kill you!” And then eat you.