Enter the Dragon: Norton Joins Hannibal Prequel

We're shivering with anticipation at the news that Oscar-nominated Method man Edward Norton will go up against Anthony Hopkins in the upcoming Silence of the Lambs prequel, Red Dragon.

Norton will play Will Graham, the FBI agent who first exposes psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter as (gasp!) a monstrous cannibal, and then consults him while tracking another serial killer who is known as "The Tooth Fairy" for his fondness for biting his victims.

Red Dragon was published in 1981 by Thomas Harris, before both The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, and takes place before the events in those better-known books, both of which were turned into box-office smashes in 1991 and 2001, respectively.

Harris' first Lecter novel was previously filmed (some say definitively) by The Insider's Michael Mann in 1986. It starred Brian Cox (of TV's Nuremberg) as the bad Dr. Lecter and C.S.I.'s William Petersen as Graham.

Even though Hopkins will now be more than a decade older than he was before his first outing as Hannibal, the actor will apparently play a younger version of the villain. He did that once before, in a blurry flashback scene in Hannibal in which he encourages Mason Verger (Gary Oldman) to believe that mutilating himself is a jolly idea.

Ted Tally, who won an Oscar for adapting Silence, will also adapt Red Dragon for the screen. However, neither Jonathan Demme nor Ridley Scott will be back for a second go-round: The new man putting Lecter through his paces will be Brett Ratner, of The Family Man and Rush Hour fame, a head-scratching choice if ever there was one.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that Breaking the Waves' Emily Watson is in talks to join the production, most likely in the role of a blind woman who is unknowingly romanced by the Tooth Fairy killer. In Manhunter, that role was played by The Contender's Joan Allen.

Norton, currently on-screen in the bank robbery drama The Score, will next be seen in the comedy Death to Smoochy.