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Hannibal casts its Lady Murasaki (sort of)

Deadline reports that Tao Okamoto will join the cast of NBC’s Hannibal as the “dark and mysterious” Lady Murasaki, first introduced in Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Rising. Okamoto, a former model turned actress who starred opposite Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine, has been cast as Murasaki, described as “an alluring and classical beauty with a dark secret.”

Although, in the books, the character is Hannibal’s aunt, Lady Murasaki may undergo a few twists à la Margot Verger. As showrunner Bryan Fuller explained to Shock Till You Drop in August, “We’re taking the spirit of the character because of the events that happen in their lives. Her relationship to Hannibal will be more damaged and different. That will definitely be interesting to the fans of [Harris’] literature.”

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UPDATE: According to Fuller at last weekend’s PaleyFest, Okamoto is playing more of an “adaptation” of the Murasaki character that will tell her story, but through her handmaid, Chiyoh. “Lady Murasaki is an older woman so we shifted the character,” Fuller said. “It’s the same story but the character is Chio which is also from the literature who was Lady Murasaki’s attendant. So, we are expanding that character and her history with Hannibal.”

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