What is it with taking classic stories, turning them into television shows, and changing the genders of key characters? First Elementary, CBS’s modern retelling of Sherlock Holmes with Lucy Liu as Dr. Watson, and now we have word NBC’s Hannibal is giving the same gender alteration to sleazy tabloid reporter Freddy Lounds. I’ll never be able to wrap my head around why the creative minds behind these series – in this case Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies) – would feel the need to turn guys into girls, or vice-versa. You could argue it any way you want and I just won’t get it. I have a mental block about this.
But regardless of what I think, the fact of the matter TVLine is saying Freddy Lounds is becoming Freddie Lounds and will be played by Camelot’s Lara Jean Chorostecki. It will interest you to know Lounds has been played by Stephen Lang in Manhunter (1986) and Philip Seymour Hoffman in Red Dragon (2002), so Chorostecki has some serious boots to fill. I wouldn’t want to take over a role, regardless of its gender, if someone like Hoffman had already done it. I could never live up to Hoffman. But maybe this version of Lounds will be different enough to not matter who came before.
And that’s when we come back to the point of changing a character’s gender. From a storytelling point of view, how does making Lounds a woman change things for the better? If you’re going to alter something in this way it needs to be a change made with a purpose, and, hopefully, not the kind of purpose where you just want to use to newly female character to sleep with the male leads. That’s not purpose, and you don’t need to change genders around to force a love connection. Just make a new character or use go with a same-sex relationship. Will Hannibal benefit from having Chorostecki playing Lounds? Maybe, but I’m not hopeful.