Giannini, Neri join ‘Hannibal’ cast

Thesps to play investigators

ROME — Italian actors Giancarlo Giannini and Francesca Neri have joined the cast of Universal and MGM’s “Hannibal,” the sequel to the 1991 Oscar winner “The Silence of the Lambs,” which will start shooting next month in Florence.

Giannini and Neri (“Live Flesh”) will play police investigators on the tail of Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lechter following his escape from U.S. authorities and his arrival in Italy. Giannini, who has worked extensively in both U.S. and Italian productions, is perhaps best known for his roles in the 1970s comedies of director Lina Wertmuller.

Producers Dino and Martha De Laurentiis, director Ridley Scott, screenwriter Steven Zaillan and principals Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore will be officially welcomed to Florence by mayor Leonardo Domenici at a press conference May 4 to announce the start of principal photography.

Scott is due in Italy next week, accompanied by cast members Joaquin Phoenix and Connie Nielsen, on a promo tour for UIP’s May 19 release of DreamWorks’ “Gladiator.”