HANNIBAL RISING director Peter Webber knew he'd found the right "sick puppy" to play the young Hannibal Lecter when his lead started finding his autopsy research fascinating.
In order to play the infamous fictional cannibal, French actor Gaspard Ulliel had to learn all about the insides of the human body and how to slice it open, and so Webber sent him to autopsy lessons.
Webber says, "It seemed, to me, very important that if Gaspard were to play Hannibal Lecter with any conviction he needed to go through some of his experiences.
"A lot of the story takes place in medical school and we know that Lecter is involved with preparing dead bodies, so what better thing to do than to send him to a medical school to see how bodies are cut up.
"I was expecting him to come back ashen faced saying, `How could you possibly do that to me,' but he loved it, the sick little puppy.
"He said, `I've got to go back tomorrow because they're flaying the skin from the body and I want to see what a flayed human body looks like.' He's evil."
Ulliel admits he found his research rewarding: "It's very interesting to be able to have a close look at the inner parts of the human body and see how everything works.
"The smell is the only thing that is a bit hard because it was very strong, but the rest of it is a bit nice because you have those different colours and textures; it's like a piece of art... like an omelette!"