Harris bores in on Italo boar

Thomas Harris is in Florence, Italy, to visit the set of “Hannibal,” but contrary to published reports this week in the U.S. press, the reclusive author is not in town to implement further changes to the film’s ending but is on a much more personal mission: to pick up a pig.

A production representative contacted by Daily Variety verified Tuesday that Harris accepted the invitation of producers Dino and Martha De Laurentiis to visit the location of “The Silence of the Lambs” sequel and to meet star Anthony Hopkins for the first time.

The source confirmed, however, that no changes are being made to the ending in Steven Zaillian’s script, which represents a radical departure from that of Harris’ bestselling novel.

But the author does have pressing business in Florence. One of the burg’s most beloved landmarks is Il Porcellino, a bronze statue of a wild boar in the downtown Mercato Nuovo. According to folklore, rubbing the pig’s snout or getting a coin to drop from its jaws through the grill below will bring luck.

Harris reportedly fell in love with the popular porker while researching “Hannibal” in Florence. He went to the original foundry where it was made to order a replica for his garden back home and has returned to pick up his porker.

Shooting started May 10 in Florence on the $80 million MGM/Universal production. The psychological thriller is expected to shift to U.S. locations by June 6.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more