0 comments

Interview: Janice Poon

by on September 30, 2017
 

Writer, illustrator, blogger, graphic designer, food stylist, Janice Poon is a woman of many talents. Recently we had the chance to talk to Janice about her many careers including how she ended up working on the TV show Hannibal.

You have a lot of feathers in your cap so to speak, in terms of different professions. This is not your traditional journey in terms of careers.

Janice: No, this is the rudderless route. I try to explain it to people by saying I didn’t look at success as the top of a ladder, I look at success as the end of a spoke of a wheel. Like any kind of spoke, I like to do things that get me out to the edge of the wheel and then go again and the more spokes I have in the wheel of life so to speak, the more I like it.51ouOrPZ3wL._SX343_BO1,204,203,200_

Now as far as the writing is concerned, where did your interest in that come from? Was it always something you wanted to do?

Janice: I always thought that writing was going to be my thing but people are very quick to appreciate visual arts, they’re delighted by artists with great hand/eye coordination. I wouldn’t say I took it for granted but it was my party trick, people are always asking me to draw stuff, so it was really a part of me. Writing was something that fascinated me, the notion that words seemed to solidify ideas, and it was a fascination that I didn’t share with the drawing of lines or the painted canvas.

So how did the job on Hannibal come about?

Janice: Well, I hadn’t been food styling for almost a decade but my girlfriend recommended me for a job, Nero Wolfe, knowing I had film experience and a strong interest in food, thinking this would be a great gig for me. Back then I think there were only three food stylists in town, two happened to be busy so I got the gig. I didn’t really think that much about it because I thought it was just going to be the pilot because they usually would hire you for the pilot and then when they sold it they would get somebody less expensive to do it. But I had a lot of experience doing commercials, which is very similar and obviously some experience in food styling and safety because you don’t want to kill the actors, so I got the gig and did it for two and a half years and then idownload (1)t was canceled. So I went back to catering, writing, then out of nowhere the phone ring and it was this guy from Hannibal. He threw me a great pitch, saying he’s been phoning around, I was the only one who could do this and of course I fell for that hook, line, and sinker and I’ve got to say, the story of a cannibal serial killer was just what a kids writer needs, a great way to rinse out your brain cells. Hannibal was amazing to work on, I cannot tell you, working with Brian Fuller was an experience that may never come again. You hear and see the word genius thrown around a lot but he really is a genius, on so many levels. He’s intuitive, intellectual, visual, verbal and the thing that is so amazing is that he’s so generous. You’ll come up with an idea, a shit idea, and he’ll say that’s a great idea, then add something sparkly and wonderful to it and turn your little piece of trash into a pretty good idea. He throws ideas at you that are more like keys than ideas, it’s like here, open that door and see what’s inside. It made for such a great working environment and everyone there, from designers to writers, to actors, they all wanted to be there and it showed in the end product.

From a creative standpoint, you really couldn’t’ ask for anything more.

Janice: No, you really can’t. Especially when it’s so collaborative which it was every single day. I go injanice-poon-feeding-hannibal-portrait-web-368x0-c-default there and take cues from the costume designer, as in they’re wearing plaid today so ok, I’ll make a plaid design on my roast. They would be using ravens and skeleton’s on set that day, ok, I’ll put these things in my food. The other thing that was new to me was the fan interaction because I’m kind of old school, where you’d work in a vacuum and never find out until much later how it was going to be received, then I went on Twitter, sent out a tweet and was shocked at the response. There is such a huge, devoted fan base out there and it was really quite surprising and lovely to see, it really was.

Mads Mikkelson looks very convincing while cooking. Did he already have some skill in that regard or did he need some lessons?

Janice: I gave him one big session when he first came to Toronto and then every time there was a food scene I’d go through what needed to be done, how to handle the utensils and equipment but he was an absolute natural, so much so that at one point he turned to me and said you’re not sharpening that correctly. He was so graceful, he made everything look choreographed and it was such a joy to have him in that role, the knife almost seemed like an extension of his hand. He used to be a dancer and a juggler before he became an actor so I’m sure those skills helped him in the kitchen and especially as Hannibal and his perfectionist attitude towards cooking and meal preparation.

This November Toronto is hosting its first-ever Hannibal convention called Fannibal Fest. Along with signing autographs, you are going to be there preparing a dinner. Can you tell me a bit more about what the dinner is all about?

Janice: Well I’ll be doing a book signing but yes, I’ll be giving a little demonstration of how to make blood and chocolate into a delicious pudding. Blood, maybe not so much but chocolate makes everything better. The Hannibal dinner will be a ticketed event and I’m going to be working with the chef at the Hilton to put together a Hannibal inspired meal that will be made by a Hilton chef, inspired by the cookbook.

I want to thank Janice for taking the time to speak with us

https://www.fannibalfest.com/

http://www.janicepoonart.com/jlpfood.html

http://janicepoonart.blogspot.ca/

 

 

Be the first to comment!
 
Leave a reply »

 

Leave a Response