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

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.

Originally posted Nov 04, 2005 Published in issue #849 Nov 11, 2005 Order article reprints