Edit
Anthony Hopkins Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (7) | Trivia (75) | Personal Quotes (66) | Salary (4)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 31 December 1937Margam, Port Talbot, West Glamorgan, Wales, UK
Birth NamePhilip Anthony Hopkins
Nickname Tony
Height 5' 8½" (1.74 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Anthony Hopkins was born on December 31, 1937, in Margam, Wales, to Muriel Anne (Yeats) and Richard Arthur Hopkins, a baker. His parents were both half Welsh and half English. Influenced by Richard Burton, he decided to study at College of Music and Drama and graduated in 1957. In 1965, he moved to London and joined the National Theatre, invited by Laurence Olivier, who could see the talent in Hopkins. In 1967, he made his first film for television, A Flea in Her Ear (1967).

From this moment on, he enjoyed a successful career in cinema and television. In 1968, he worked on The Lion in Winter (1968) with Timothy Dalton. Many successes came later, and Hopkins' remarkable acting style reached the four corners of the world. In 1977, he appeared in two major films: A Bridge Too Far (1977) with James Caan, Gene Hackman, Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Elliott Gould and Laurence Olivier, and Maximilian Schell. In 1980, he worked on The Elephant Man (1980). Two good television literature adaptations followed: Othello (1981) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1982). In 1987 he was awarded with the Commander of the order of the British Empire. This year was also important in his cinematic life, with 84 Charing Cross Road (1987), acclaimed by specialists. In 1993, he was knighted.

In the 1990s, Hopkins acted in movies like Desperate Hours (1990) and Howards End (1992), The Remains of the Day (1993) (nominee for the Oscar), Legends of the Fall (1994), Nixon (1995) (nominee for the Oscar), Surviving Picasso (1996), Amistad (1997) (nominee for the Oscar), The Mask of Zorro (1998), Meet Joe Black (1998) and Instinct (1999). His most remarkable film, however, was The Silence of the Lambs (1991), for which he won the Oscar for Best Actor. He also got a B.A.F.T.A. for this role.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Emerenciano

Spouse (3)

Stella Arroyave (1 March 2003 - present)
Jennifer Lynton (13 January 1973 - 30 April 2002) (divorced)
Petronella Barker (September 1967 - 1972) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (7)

Hair greased back and bold blue eyes
Often plays very proper and restrained British characters, as in The Remains of the Day (1993) and Shadowlands (1993).
Often plays controversial, real life characters: William Bligh in The Bounty (1984), Adolf Hitler in The Bunker (1981), Richard Bruno Hauptman in The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case (1976), and Richard Nixon in Nixon (1995)
Best known for playing "Hannibal Lector" in The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
Often works with Richard Attenborough.
Deep smooth voice
Quiet, reserved performances with an occasional and very vocal outburst

Trivia (75)

Is proud of his improvisational touches as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) such as: the unnerving effect on Jodie Foster when he mocked her character's West Virginia accent; the distorion of the word "chianti" and the vile slurping sound he makes after he describes eating the "census-taker." Hopkins also notes that Hannibal never blinked his eyes when he spoke.
10/97: Ranked #57 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.
Often compared with fellow Welshman Richard Burton.
1987: Awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
7/16/88: Received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Wales.
1993: Knighted in the New Year Honors List.
1975: Conquered his alcoholic addiction.
Piano virtuoso.
Father of Abigail Hopkins
Into the 1991 restoration of Spartacus (1960), scenes were reintroduced which had been cut from the picture's 1967 reissue. One such segment has Laurence Olivier, in the role of Marcus Crassus, attempting to seduce the slave Antoninus (played by Tony Curtis). But the original soundtrack for this segment had become lost. And so, Olivier having died in 1989, Anthony Hopkins imitated the voice of Olivier (whom Hopkins had understudied at the Old Vic) for the scene's re-created soundtrack. (The surviving Tony Curtis presumably supplied his own voice.)
Born at 9:15am-UT
One of his greatest pleasures in past years on his frequent visits to the USA was to get in a car and drive across the country, enjoying its immensity as well as his own anonymity.
9/99: Was selected by an Entertainment Weekly on-line movie poll as the Best Modern Actor and the Best Villain for his role as Hannibal Lecter.
4/12/00: Became a U.S. citizen, but is allowed to retain his British knighthood and the title of Sir.
Received his Academy Award for The Silence of the Lambs (1991) 11 years to the day of his father's death.
Volunteers at the Ruskins School of Acting in Santa Monica, California, where he teaches everything from Shakespeare to scenes, theory, and monologues.
Has the distinction of portraying two U.S. Presidents: Richard Nixon in Nixon (1995), and John Quincy Adams in Amistad (1997). He received Oscar nominations for both performances.
1/01: He ranked second in the Orange Film Survey of the greatest British films actors.
Had a brush with death while shooting The Edge (1997) in Alberta, Canada. He fell in a river, and was rushed to hospital to be treated for hypothermia.
Admitted that he felt very intimidated by the real Lt. Col. John Frost, who he played in the movie A Bridge Too Far (1977) when Frost visited the set one day to see how things were going.
Served in the British National Service as a Royal Artillery man and for a while was only known as "Gunner Hopkins".
9/24/03: Received star on Hollywood Walk of Fame.
For his stage performance in "Pravda", he was awarded the 1985 London Critics Circle Theatre Award (Drama Theatre Award) for Best Actor, and the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1986 (1985 season) for Outstanding Achievement.
He chose to play Prof. Van Helsing in Dracula (1992) because he was still riding the success of his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and wanted to pick a role as far removed from Lecter as possible.
His Oscar-winning performance as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) was ranked #1 on the American Film Institute's Villains list in its compilation of the 100 Years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains.
As a child, he was very close to his maternal grandfather, who for some reason called him "George", while his father called him "Charlie".
Is related to the poet William Butler Yeats on his mother's side of the family.
He included some unusual touches for Hannibal Lecter during his preparation for the role, among which were making Lecter's voice similar to the cutting warble of Katharine Hepburn and almost never blinking, a characteristic he picked up from watching tapes of convicted murderer Charles Manson.
Has played a (future) king of England (Richard Lionheart in The Lion in Winter (1968)) and two U.S. Presidents. Interestingly, President Richard Nixon and his brothers were all named after British kings, so it's likely that he played Nixon's namesake.
A Member of the RADA Council.
Has three roles in common with Brian Cox. Both of them have played Titus Andronicus. Hopkins appeared on stage as King Lear in 1986, the same year that Manhunter (1986), which starred Cox as Hannibal Lecter, was released. He was succeeded in the role of Lear by Cox in 1991, the same year that he succeeded Cox in the role of Hannibal Lecter.
Graduated from The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, England.
Is a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Stratford Upon Avon, England, where he spent three seasons after graduating from RADA.
Was listed as a potential nominee on the 2005 Razzie Award nominating ballot. He was suggested in the Worst Supporting Actor category for his performance in the film Alexander (2004), however, he failed to receive a nomination. Had he gotten the nomination, it would have been his first in 24 years. He was previously nominated for Worst Actor in the film A Change of Seasons (1980) at the very first Razzie Awards.
Ranked #12 on Tropopkin's Top 25 Most Intriguing People [Issue #100]
Has the distinction of twice playing former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George in Young Winston (1972) and The Edwardians (1972).
In Invercargill, New Zealand, there is a drama school named after him--The Anthony Hopkins School of Dramatic Arts. He was present for its opening, as he was in Invercargill filming scenes for the The World's Fastest Indian (2005) at the time.
Though dyslexic, he's always possessed a great memory for scripts.
9/20/05: On The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986), he said that he is most proud of The Silence of the Lambs (1991), The Remains of the Day (1993) and Proof (2005).
Likes to be called "Tony."
Ate the same menu as Pablo Picasso during the filming of Surviving Picasso (1996), in which he played Picasso.
An accomplished painter, he has allowed some of his landscape paintings to be exhibited in San Antonio, Texas.
2006: His performance as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) is ranked #70 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.
His performance as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) is ranked #15 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Turned down the role of Alfred Pennyworth in Batman Begins (2005).
Reads each script 250 times out loud before filming, and to exercise his memory, memorizes one new poem a week.
Was set to play Jor-El in Superman Returns (2006), but when director Brett Ratner left the project, so did Hopkins.
Has twice played a character who loses a hand by having it severed with a meat cleaver: in Titus (1999) and Hannibal (2001).
Attended Cowbridge boys grammar school as a youth.
Quit smoking cigarettes using the Allen Carr method.
The Anthony Hopkins Theatre at the Theatre Clwyd Cymru in Mold, North Wales, UK was named in his honour.
He is the patron on The Drama Association of Wales,UK which offers a wide and varied range of services to Community Drama. Among others, members include amateur and professional theatre practitioners, educationalists and playwrights.
Appears in Nixon (1995) with Dan Hedaya, and The Good Father (1985) with Jim Broadbent. Hedaya later played Nixon in Dick (1999), and Broadbent played Nixon in Dirty Tricks (2000).
Parents: Muriel Anne Yeats (b.1913) and Richard Arthur Hopkins (died in 1981).
Has played a King of England (Richard I, the Lionheart), a Prime Minister of England (David Lloyd George), and two U.S. Presidents (John Quincy Adams and Richard Nixon).
Won a Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Play for "Equus" (1975).
Was considered for the role of Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin (1997) until director Joel Schumacher decided that Mr. Freeze must be "big and strong like he was chiseled out of a glacier". The role went to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He's the only child of a couple who ran a bakery.
Ex-son-in-law of Eric Barker and Pearl Hackney.
Was offered the part of Colonel Colin Caine in Lifeforce (1985).
Resides in Santa Monica, California.
Was considered for the role of Jack Byrnes in Meet the Parents (2000).
After graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, he served two years in the British Army before beginning his acting career.
His favorite horror film is Rosemary's Baby (1968).
He and Frank Langella both received Best Actor nominations for playing Richard Nixon, in Nixon (1995) and Frost/Nixon (2008), respectively. Though not the first or only pair of actors to receive nominations for the same part, they are only the second male pair where neither of them won the Oscar. Hopkins lost to Nicolas Cage, while Langella lost to Sean Penn. Previously, Jason Robards and Leonardo DiCaprio have both been nominated for playing Howard Hughes. Robards lost his Oscar to Timothy Hutton, while DiCaprio lost his to Jamie Foxx. Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro had both won for their portrayals of "Vito Corleone". José Ferrer won an Oscar, and Gérard Depardieu received a nomination for playing "Cyrano". John Wayne won the Oscar and Jeff Bridges was nominated for playing "Rooster Cogburn".
During filming of Amistad (1997), he astounded the cast and crew by memorizing a seven page speech in one go. Steven Spielberg was so impressed that he insisted on calling him "Sir Anthony" throughout the shoot rather than Tony.
He has played Pablo Picasso, while his friend and frequent collaborator, Richard Attenborough, is an avid collector of Picasso's artwork.
His early ambition was to be a concert pianist.
His father was a baker.
Turned down the role of George Smiley in A Murder of Quality (1991).
His parents were of half Welsh and half English descent. His paternal grandfather, Richard Arthur Thomas Hopkins, and his maternal grandmother, Sophia Phillips, were Welsh. His paternal grandmother, Emma Gardner, and his maternal grandfather, Thomas Frederick Yeates, were both English.
He is filming The City of Your Final Destination (2009) in Argentina, during December 2006 - January 2007. [December 2006]
Pledged $1.6 million to help preserve 4,000 acres of Mt. Snowdon, Wales' highest peak.
As of 2014, has appeared in five films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: The Lion in Winter (1968), The Elephant Man (1980), The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - which won in the category, Howards End (1992) and The Remains of the Day (1993).
He gave life to many historical figures in many movies and miniseries from presidents to writers and military leaders. His gallery of characters includes Alfred Hitchcock, Richard Nixon, John Quincy Adams, Charles Dickens, Adolf Hitler, Yitzhak Rabin, Pablo Picasso, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, David Lloyd George, Frederick Treves, Lieutenant Colonel Frost, Lieutenant William Bligh, Frank P. Doel, C.S. Lewis, Count Galeazzo Ciano, John Harvey Kellogg and Burt Munro.

Personal Quotes (66)

[on Gary Oldman] He is just like I was at his age.
I was lousy in school. Real screwed-up. A moron. I was antisocial and didn't bother with the other kids. A really bad student. I didn't have any brains. I didn't know what I was doing there. That's why I became an actor.
[Interviewed on Inside the Actors Studio (1994)] I once asked a Jesuit priest what was the best short prayer he knew. He said, "Fuck it,' as in, "Fuck it; it's in God's hands."
The Welsh people have a talent for acting that one does not find in the English. The English lack heart.
[December 1998] To hell with this stupid show business, this ridiculous showbiz, this futile waste of life. I look back and see a desert wasteland. All those years spent in a fake environment. Everything was a fake.
[on becoming a U.S. citizen in 2000] America has been very generous to me, magnanimous really. I thought it would be good to give something back. It was a decision of the heart.
[on his days as an alcoholic, when he was drinking Mexican Spirit tequila] I was really sort of on a prolonged acid trip. I saw things and had peculiar quasi-religious experiences. I thought I was John The Baptist, and I would talk to the sea at Malibu and the sea would talk back to me. It was weird.
[on his most famous character, Dr. Hannibal Lecter] I think he might be a very interesting person to have lunch with, provided that YOU weren't the lunch.
One of the people I got to know years ago, which was a great privilege, was Laurence Olivier. He was like a laser - that was his power. And the only actor I've met since who had that same quality of laser-like determination is Russell Crowe. The first day I started working with him, I thought, "That guy's got it." The best way to describe Russell is, he's like a shark circling round. He was argumentative. He argued with the director all the time. I don't know Russell that well, but I admire him, and you know, whatever he's got to do really. I really like him because he's ballsy, he's got guts, he's macho and all the rest of it. He's going through his bad boy period, but he's basically a nice guy.
I am able to play monsters well. I understand monsters. I understand madmen.
Being a smoker is like being trapped in a complicated maze. It's as if Allen Carr has a plan of the maze. Instantly I was freed from my addiction.
Acting is still enjoyable, but there are no more challenges any more for me. No, none at all. I'm much more interested in painting and composing music these days. I've become what I always wanted to be, a jobbing actor. I'm just detached, I do my thing. I work hard at it, but I don't invest my life in it. As long as they pay me on time and I get a good script with a good director, I have fun. That's all.
[on former US President Bill Clinton] It seems to me that the country rather misses him. He has impressed me. He asked me if I wanted to accompany him on a trip to Brazil, and so off I went. I'd met the President before in Washington, a very nice guy. So we were at this dinner, talking after his gig, he gave this incredible speech and he said, "Would you like to come to Brazil with me next week?". Of course I said, "Yes". He's pretty exhausting to be with, because he's always wanting to play cards or golf.
Heroes, like Bogart (Humphrey Bogart). They deserve high definition.
I think the first British actor who really worked well in cinema was Albert Finney. He was a back-street Marlon Brando. He brought a great wittiness and power to the screen. The best actor we've had.
I've done some good films. The Remains of the Day (1993) was alright. The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Nixon (1995) I enjoyed. One of my favourites was working with Roger Donaldson on The World's Fastest Indian (2005). That was fun and seems to be quite popular. It is wonderful to have reached that point where I can do what grabs my attention, when I want to. I'm glad those days are gone where I was yearning for work. People think I've worked a lot, but I haven't. I've had a lot of time off. I've turned down a lot. When you're younger you want to get every part to stop other people getting it. Nowadays, I don't care - let them do it. I don't go through that terrible thing of thinking, "If I don't do it, then who's going to get to do it?" I just mosey my way through and see what happens.
On Oliver Stone: Oh, Oliver's crazy, but I like him. He's very rude to people. He insults people - he insults me - but you just have to give it back. He says to me, "Oh, you're getting old." So you shoot back with, "Yeah, so are you. You're getting bald, too. You've aged, you're getting balder. Actually, you look older than me, Oliver. It's no good dying your hair like that." But he's good. He's a very talented man. He can be a bit exhausting. I did about 18 hours on Alexander (2004). I never saw it. I understand it wasn't very good. I did 18 hours one night out in Borehamwood and thought, "No, that's it." Had a long rest after that.
On David Lynch: I wrote him a letter not so long ago because I'd seen The Elephant Man (1980) again. I wrote him a letter to apologise for my bad behaviour on that film. I was terribly behaved and very rebellious. He wanted to do too many takes and I couldn't do it. And he was a little remote and I could never understand what he was talking about which made me very irritable. I haven't seen him for years but he's a smart man, a very daring figure. I like David very much. Brilliant, I think.
My own father was a tough man. He was a pretty red hot guy but he was also cold. He was also slightly disappointed in me because I was not a good kid as a school boy, you know. But I learned from it, I liked that coldness, because it was harsh. And he taught me to be tough. So I know how to be tough. I know how to be strong. I know how to be ruthless. It's part of my nature. I wouldn't be an actor if I wasn't.
It's fun to get the Oscar, it was fun to get a knighthood. But you know, you wake up in the morning, the reality's still there. You're still mortal.
The movie industry is full of crazy people who think that they are God.
How do you play Hannibal Lecter? Well just don't move. Scare people by being still.
I'd been to the dentist, and I was seven years old, to have a tooth taken out. In those days they yanked it out. I was feeling nauseous and I hallucinated. I was in bed and I remember waking up with a knock at the door - a box was put in my bedroom. And it was full of encyclopedias, which my father had got me. I remember looking through those books and finding a knowledge. I learned everything I could.
For many, many years I felt like I didn't belong. I was a duffer at school - everything was incomprehensible to me.
I was an only child. My mother married into a family of in-laws. She felt like an outsider; which she was. She was a powerful force in my father's life. He was a baker - and she was ambitious for him. She didn't want him to be subservient to his father. She woke him up.
[on meeting his third wife, Stella Arroyave, a Colombian-born antiques dealer]: I married a remarkable woman who has changed a lot of my perception about myself and about life. She's very positive, very powerful. Every time I get a negative thought, she says, 'Cancel it'.
Once you accept the fact that there's nothing to fear, you drill into the primal oil well. I believe when we do things without fear, we can do anything. As long as you don't worry about the consequences.
[Twenty-three years after asking Burton for an autograph, Hopkins was on Broadway in Equus (1977). Burton was taking over the role from Hopkins, who asked to see him backstage: "He was about to go on stage and he said, 'Why haven't we worked together? You come from Taibach'. That's the only time I met him again.
It's nice to get a knighthood but in the end it's just the same old face in the mirror getting older and older - you have to shave every morning and you look at your face and think: this is it, this is the deal. And there's a wonderful harsh reality about that. Time is going by. I better get on with it. I better live.
I became an actor but I still don't feel that I'm a part of this profession. I never have - 50 years I've been doing it.
[on working with Woody Allen on You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010): "I wasn't sure how he would be - I'd heard stories that he was aloof. Woody says 'Okay, you come in through the door - let's rehearse it. Okay, that's good. Sure. Let's shoot it'. So we shoot it. 'Okay, very good. But improvise'."
[on British humour]: It's like Jewish humour. I love that.
We live in such a precious, pussyfooting society - everyone takes offence so quickly.
[He did try therapy, briefly, but didn't like it]: Well, you know you never actually fess up to everything - you try to cover your ground, cover your tracks - you want to sound interesting. Living here [in Los Angeles] - all men must cry. Well, I don't think we're wired that way. I think it's okay to express emotions and grief, but to make a habit of it, this endless psychobabble in our culture - everyone goes on The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986) and Dr. Phil (2002) - it makes me want to throw up. I mean, come on!
When I break with a friend it is sudden. I will give no warning ahead of time, just change my address and telephone number. They may be confused - but they'll survive. Nobody dies.
I was told years ago that I suffer from 'terminal reasonableness'. From that point on I thought that was something to work on. Not to become a son of a bitch, but to say no. Now, after all these years, I can say: 'What part of the word 'no' do you not understand?'
I don't want to be anything else other than what I am. I can say that with passion. No regrets.
There's an epitaph on my mother's grave - I brought her over years ago and she's buried up in the Hollywood Hills - from a poem written in 1896 by Ernest Dowson: 'They are not long, the days of wine and roses: Out of a misty dream / Our path emerges for a while, then closes / Within a dream.' Isn't that beautiful?
[At age 72]: I'm not getting the parts I was 20 years ago - but I'm still doing okay. The prospect of that blank wall where there's no more work - it doesn't fill me with dread.
I sometimes wake at night and I can hear the sea and I think: what the hell am I doing here? How did I get here?" And I make no excuses. I say 'tough titty.' Also 'TYFP' - 'That's your f****** problem. '
From the moment I made that decision [in 1975 to give up drinking] a very powerful thought shot into my brain - it's all over, now you can start living. It's extraordinary. That's what I'm aware of today. The powerful spirit in me. I'm not callous. It's expediency. I will not be taken for a fool any more.
I may sound to you like a really hard man - I am not ashamed of it at all. I'm not hard, I'm honest.
[on paintings he has done] I suppose I could call them primitive because again, as I have no academic training, I could no longer sit in an art class drawing apples or vases or nudes - I can't feel hemmed in.
[on acting} I'm not going to turn my back on it until they tell me it's over and we don't want you anymore. So if they say they want me I will go ahead and do it, learn my lines. You know, do what I do. So it's the best time of my life now.
Beware the tyranny of the weak. They just suck you dry. They're always complaining. I go, "How are you doing?" They say "Ahh..." and they moan and try to take from you. I know a number of people like that, but I can't waste my time on them.
Over the years I worked with a couple of younger actors who reminded me of myself. I like bad boys. I worked with Russell Crowe in Australia before he became a star. Russell is a bad boy. I think he is terrific. Richard Burton was a bad boy, but he shook the rafters of the world. I think it is good to be bad - I was bad all my life. I still am.
On Peter O'Toole: I had some bizarre nights with Peter when we made The Lion in Winter (1968), but to be honest I don't remember them. He enjoyed his drink - and I did, too. We weren't close friends or anything but we got drunk very quickly and there was always amusement and laughter. I love drunks; they are terrific - except when they throw up on you.
I hated the Sixties. It was one long wet Wednesday afternoon in the Waterloo Road. For most of it I was drinking myself into oblivion.
We like to look into the dark side of ourselves and I think that causes us great fascination and fear. That's why people like Hannibal Lecter. He was a man caught in a monstrous mind.
I've got no problem if people want to spend hours beforehand preparing before they come on-set, as long as they don't keep you waiting. And I've read Stanislavski and did the Method myself, and all that, but now I've simplified it: learn your lines, show up, and get on with it.
On Laurence Olivier: He was a pretty colorful personality. He had tremendous drive, and ambition, and was a real force. A very nice guy and a titanic talent. His sort of talent has, in the eyes of cynics, become rather unfashionable. There are people who knock Olivier quite often, but not a single one of them could ever touch him in terms of talent. I thought he was an extraordinary man.
[on playing Hannibal Lecter for the third time in Red Dragon (2002)] I really wanted to play him with much more ferocious energy, and avoid the jokes. I really wanted to show what a true monster he is. He's a killer. He's a dangerous man, not Mr. Cutesy. This isn't a franchise, like Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). This is a dangerous man, who's better off in jail. So that's the premise we went with.
I'm not good at being cooped up with anyone for very long. Maybe that's why I wasn't designed for marriage. I'm not good at any kind of relationship with people, really. I mean, I've had a number of good ones, but I get restless and I take off.
On Richard Attenborough: Richard's a nice guy, very persuasive, a great salesman in the sense that he gets what he wants from you. He can charm a lot of people. He's a good man. I haven't seen him for a long time.
You know when some of these megaphones of Hollywood show up on these award shows, and just never shut the f**k up? I just want to say 'Accept your award. Say "thank you," and get off!' I'm just not interested in all that bulls**t. There are surgeons and nurses and teachers, people out there who really deserve awards.
[on The Silence of the Lambs (1991)] As soon as I saw that script I knew this was one of those special parts. I don't know why, it's just an instinct. I'd never heard of the book. I'd never heard of Thomas Harris. I read the script and they told me Jonathan Demme was doing it - I'd never heard of him, either. So I watched Married to the Mob (1988) and Something Wild (1986), which I thought was a terrific film. And we had the great cast: Jodie Foster. I knew it was something good. That was the only surefire one where I knew it was going to work. I remember my first meeting with Jodie in New York, for a reading of the whole script. Jodie had just won the Oscar for The Accused (1988) and I was kind of impressed at this wonderful young actor. I was a little intimidated, a little quiet, shy.....I didn't realise she felt the same!
[on Hannibal (2001)] They offered me the part and a very good salary, so I thought, "Why not?" First of all I didn't think I wanted to do it again, but then they said it was going off to Venice or wherever, so I watched The Silence of the Lambs (1991) briefly and thought, "Okay, let's have another go at this." I didn't care, really. If that's what they want, then okay. When Jodie [Foster] dropped out, Ridley [Scott] said to me, "What do you think of certain actors?" I said "I think Julianne Moore is very, very good." I'd worked with her on Surviving Picasso (1996). And she pulled it off beautifully. If the film succeeded or not, I don't mind. You move on.
I went to America years ago because I felt I didn't fit in here [UK]. I worked with some good people here, like Judi Dench and all that. But I never fitted into a group of actors here. I was on the outside; I was like a sore thumb. I didn't have any friends who were actors at all - I never did. I've always been on the outside, which is good. But it was difficult being on London in this very strange acting community. All that "theatre, dahling" - I just found it insufferable. It was just boring. So I did the thing I'd wanted to do all my life, which was to make movies. I've never felt a part of this profession, but I enjoy it. Working with Katharine Hepburn on The Lion in Winter (1968), she said to me, "Don't act. Read the lines. Just be." I said, "Okay." She said, "Watch Spencer Tracy. He didn't act. He just spoke the lines." I thought, "Well, that's pretty good advice." I think the actors from that generation were wonderful. They didn't act. They just came on and they did it, and the characters were wonderful. People say, "They didn't act. They were always themselves." Well, who else were they going to be? In England we have a tradition where everyone is acting. Too much acting.
We're living in a pretty strange time. I went into a shop to buy my wife some clothes. They had this big plasma screen on with these women on the catwalk. I thought, 'God Almighty, what have we become?' These girls - anorexic, walking like machines, no soul. You look at fashion magazines and you think, 'What are we living in?' You look at the red carpet, Paris Hilton, and you think, 'Is there anything going on up there?' It's a mass enslavement, it's kind of fascism. It's the androgyny of the human soul. I don't think people think any more. Maybe I'm just old.
[on Shirley MacLaine] The most obnoxious actress I've ever worked with.
[on how he prepares for the characters he plays] I learn the text!
[on what his idea of a good night is] Staying in and watching Mob Wives on TV. I don't have many friends; I'm very much a loner. As a child I was very isolated and I've never been really close to anyone. Ask nothing, expect nothing. That's my creed. We're all just a bunch of sinners crashing around in the darkness.
[on what he considers his greatest achievement] Everything rather blends into one now. It was very nice to get an Oscar but now it just rusts and tarnishes on the sideboard near the TV. You can't take any of it too seriously. Death comes to us all. Not long ago I was in Arlington cemetery by JFK's grave and I thought how the great years of his presidency were just blown away like ashes. Nothing really is of any importance and there's a peace in that.
[on why he relocated to the U.S.] Many people talk of London as being the heart of the swinging 60s. It wasn't for me. What I remember is the grey mist hanging over the Waterloo Road on a Wednesday afternoon. It was so depressing I moved to the land of Donald Duck.
I've never considered myself a great actor. I'm a fluke. I work hard and I see through the bastards and to this day I have massive energy; I think it keeps a youthfulness in me. I never slow down because I love to work. I did four films last year. My agent says, 'Would you like to read the phone book next week for them [directors]?' And I say, 'Yeah OK.'
I was away for a few weeks in a hotel watching new releases. Some I had to switch off after eight minutes. I couldn't understand what anyone was saying.

Salary (4)

Mission: Impossible II (2000) $5,000,000
Hannibal (2001) $15,000,000
Red Dragon (2002) $20,000,000
The Wolfman (2010) $15,000,000

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page