Silence Of The Lambs Turns 30: Anthony Hopkins Thought It Was A Children’s Story When Script Arrived

The horror masterpiece 'Silence of the Lambs' turns 30 this year.

Anthony Hopkins thought Silence of the Lambs was a "children's story" before he read the script.

The 83-year-old actor played fictional cannibal serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lector in Jonathan Demme's classic 1991 horror — based on Thomas Harris' 1988 novel of the same name — and he was instantly won over once he realised the content of the film.

Speaking to co-star Jodie Foster — who played FBI trainee Clarice Starling in the movie — for Variety's 'Actors on Actor' series, he said: "I was in London in 1989, doing a play called M. Butterfly.

"My agent sent a script. He said, 'Why don’t you read this? It’s called Silence of the Lambs.’' I said, 'Is it a children’s story?'

"It was a hot summer afternoon, and the script came over and I started reading it. After 10 pages, I phoned my agent.

"I said, 'Is this a real offer? I want to know. This is the best part I’ve ever read.' "

Hopkins' performance helped create one of cinema's most iconic villains, but he was "nervous" about taking on the role.

He explained: "I was naturally nervous, an Englishman — a limey like me, a Welshman — playing an American serial killer.

"And I remember [director] Jonathan, when the camera picked me up, he said, 'Oh, my God. That’s it. Hopkins. You’re so weird!' And I said, 'Why, thank you.'

"And they wanted the lighting girl to come into my cell, and I said, 'What are you doing in my cell?'

"And [Jonathan] said, 'Oh, my God.' So I knew I had pressed the right button. Once you got that button, hold on to it — and go with it."

silence of the lambs 1991 anthony hopkins   jodie foster data
Sound of silence: Jodie Foste and Anthony Hopkins in 'The Silence of the Lambs', the first horror movie to win the Oscar for Best Picture. It also took home Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. 

Meanwhile, Foster noted how everyone on set took influence from the source material.

She added: " I remember that specific voice you had, the metallic tinge to your voice. Chris Newman was the sound mixer, and he also enhanced that. He was able to bring that up a little bit. I feel like we were all inspired by the book." 

In the 30-minute interview, Hopkins and Foster also traded anecdotes from their respective new movies, The Father, and The Mauritanian

Watch their interview here: 

— BANG

Photos: TPG News/Click Photos 

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