48 Facts about Anthony Hopkins - Hannibal Lecter From ‘The Silence of the Lambs’


Anthony Hopkins is a Welsh actor of film, stage, and television, and a composer and painter, famous for his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs.” He is considered to be one of the greatest living actors.

  1. He won Academy Award for Best Actor in 1991 for his performance in “The Silence of the Lambs” along with Jodie Foster who won the Best Actress Award.
  2. His screen time of 24 minutes and 52 seconds in “The Silence of the Lambs” is the second shortest performance in a movie to win Academy Award. The first being David Niven’s role in “Separate Tables” in 1958.
  3. He improvised a scene where he mocks Jodie Foster in “The Silence of the Lambs” with her southern accent. The reaction from her was genuine and shocking, but later she thanked him for generating an honest reaction.
  4. He was offered the role of Hannibal Lecter when he returned to London stage after spending many years in Hollywood trying to make a living. “Well that part of my life’s over: it’s a chapter closed. I suppose I’ll just have to settle for being a respectful actor poncing around the West End and doing respectable BBC work for the rest of my life.”
  5. The American Film Institute, in its list of 100 years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains ranked Hopkins’s performance as Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs” at #1.
  6. He was known for preparing for his roles in such a way that he would go over his lines for more than 200 times. This resulted in him giving out an almost casual style of delivery.
  7. The director Richard Attenborough who worked with Hopkins in 5 occasions praised the later stating “this extraordinary ability to make you believe when you hear him that it is the very first time he has ever said that line. It’s an incredible gift.”
  8. He was born as Philip Anthony Hopkins on 31 December 1937 in Margam, Glamorgan to Annie Muriel and Richard Arthur Hopkins. His father was a baker.
  9. He was not interested in studies and found painting, drawing and piano more interesting. Due to this he was forced to join Jones West Monmouth Boys School in Pontypool in 1949.
  10. He served in British Army for two years to complete his national service.
  11. He was greatly influenced by Richard Burton at the age of 15 and he joined Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. He also joined Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
  12. In 1993 he was knighted at Buckingham Palace for his services to arts.
  13. On 12 April 2000, he was given a U.S citizenship, which he celebrated with a 3000 mile road cross country road trip. He was also holding a British citizenship at that time.
  14. He presently resides in Malibu, California. He had come to U.S previously in 1970 to pursue his career and had returned back to London in 1980. However, after the success in 1990 he returned back to U.S and made it his home.
  15. He married Stella Arroyave in 2003 and celebrated is tenth anniversary on the eve of Christmas in 2012. He had been married twice before.
  16. He married his first wife Petronella Barker in 1966. They have a daughter Abigail Barker, who is a singer song-writer and actress. They got divorced in 1972.
  17. He publicly supported in raising funds for the preservation of Snowdonia National Park in north Wales. He had donated 1 million pounds for the cause in 1998.
  18. He has written and published a book titled Anthony Hopkins’s Snowdonia in 1995. He had once stated “it is one of the most beautiful places in the world and Snowdon is the jewel that lies at its heart. It must be cherished and protected.”
  19. He was an alcoholic and recovered from it completely on 25 December 1975. He attributes his “belief in god” as the main reason for his recovery.
  20. He was also a continuous smoker and using the Allen Carr method quit smoking effectively. He said “being a smoker is like being trapped in a complicated maze. It’s as if Allen Carr has a plan of that maze.”
  21. In 2008 he started a weight loss program and lost around 80 pounds by 2010.
  22. He contributed towards the renovation of a portion of Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff named as Anthony Hopkins Centre which was opened in 1999.
  23. He is an active member of Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust from the beginning. He also helped in starting their first Intensive drug and alcohol rehabilitation unit at Downview in 1992.
  24. He is a great admirer of Welsh comedian Tommy Cooper. In his honor he unveiled a statue of the comedian on behalf of Tommy Cooper Society in the latter’s hometown of Caerphilly.
  25. He released his single “Distant Star” in 1986 which ranked at #75 in the UK Singles Chart.
  26. His first directorial debut was in 1990 titled “Dylan Thomas: Return Journey” about the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.
  27. He showed his mimicry skills when he re-recorded lines from Stanley Kubrick film “Spartacus.” He recorded the lines of Laurence Olivier who was long dead by then.
  28. He directed and acted in another movie titled “August” in 1996 that won BAFTA for Best Drama- English in 1997.
  29. He lent his voice for the narration of BBC documentary series “Killing for a Living.” He narrated for first 3 episodes before being replaced by John Shrapnel.
  30. He has expressed his desire to feature in a Sitcom “Only Fools and Horses”, as he is a big fan of it. He would have made it to the show if not for the movie “The Silence of The Lambs.”
  31. Andre Rieu released an album named as “Hopkins’s piece” on 31 October 2011. He used the waltz composed by Hopkins at the age of 19.
  32. He appeared in a BBC Two production “The Dresser” in October 2015 as Sir, alongside Ian Mckellen, Emily Watson and Edward Fox.
  33. A Wax Statue of Hopkins was revealed at Madame Tussauds in October 2009.
  34. During the shoot of “Amistad”, he narrated a seven page court-room speech in one go. The director Steven Spielberg was dumbstruck and started addressing him as Sir Anthony throughout.
  35. Another example of his mimicry skill was during an interview in the British Talk Show “Parkinson” in 1998 when he impersonated the comedian Tommy Cooper.
  36. He made his first stage appearance with “Have a Cigarette” in 1960, a production of Swansea Little Theatre in Swansea.
  37. He made his Television debut with a BBC broadcast “A Flea in Her Ear” in 1967.
  38. His first starring role was in “Changes” in 1964 directed by Drewe Henley.
  39. He portrayed the character Van Helsing in the movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Liam Neeson wanted to play the role but due to Hopkins’s recent success, Neeson was left out.
  40. Hopkins along with Laurence Olivier and other stars acted in the war movie “A Bridge Too Far” in 1977. They both played as Van Helsing: Olivier in “Dracula” 1979 and Hopkins in “Dracula” in 1992. Olivier took Hopkins as his understudy in the early stages of the latter’s career.
  41. Jonathan Demme was inspired by the performance of Hopkins as the good doctor Frederick Treves in “The Elephant Man”, for he did not hesitate to cast him as Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs.”
  42. For an emotional scene in “The Elephant Man” where Treves looks at Merrick for the first time and sheds a single tear, he thought of his sick father and cried.
  43. Hopkins would do with a single take while Debra Winger required extensive rehearsals. The director Richard Attenborough rehearsed with Winger reading Hopkins’s lines before going for a take in “Shadowlands”.
  44. In 1998 he became the highest paid performer in Britain. He had starred in “Mask of Zorro”, “Meet Joe Black” and had agreed to reprise the role of Hannibal Lecter.
  45. To play the part of a butler in “The Remains of the Day” he got some important tips from a real life butler Cyril Dickman. According to Dickman there is nothing to being a butler, when you are in the room it should be emptier. Dickman had served for 50 years in the Buckingham Palace.
  46. Hopkins was visited by the children of Burt Munro on the set of “The World’s Fastest Indian”, whose part he was playing. The acting was so perfect and authentic that they all moved to tears.
  47. He broke his arm while on the sets of “The Lion in Winter” in 1968. During a close-up scene the horse got spooked and jumped resulting in Hopkins falling down.
  48. “God, there’s no acting required here, is there?” were the first line spoken by Hopkins when he and Chris Hemsworth saw each other with full body armors on the sets of “Thor”.

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