ALSO: See how Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal fared in our Badass Bracket!
It seems predetermined that Anthony Hopkins would pursue a career in acting and become one of the world’s most respected performers. It was Richard Burton who first encouraged young Anthony for a life on the stage, and soon Hopkins was understudy to Laurence Olivier. In good company, Anthony was at home as an actor. By 1968, at the age of 31, he was Richard I in “The Lion in Winter.” After this experience, he knew the realm of movies was where he wanted to be.
While born in Wales and learning the ropes in England, Anthony came to America in the 1970s. After building steady credits during that decade, it was with “The Elephant Man” in 1980 that Anthony became more recognized. He teamed with Mel Gibson on “The Bounty” in 1984, and by decade’s end believed his romance with Hollywood was over. He returned home, appearing on BBC-produced television films. But there was a madman within him still needing to be unleashed. When director Jonathan Demme called offering him the part of a cannibalistic crazy doctor named Hannibal, Anthony Hopkins licked his lips.
“The Silence of the Lambs” brought Hopkins his Oscar for his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter, and in his mid 50s, made him an A-list star. Powerhouse turns in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” “The Remains of the Day” and “Shadowlands” led to his Oscar nominated “Nixon” for Oliver Stone – a role Hopkins puts as one of his most challenging. Over the next decade he was all over the place, from “M: I-2” to a couple more rounds as Hannibal, with appearances in both indie and mainstream pictures. It doesn’t matter for Anthony Hopkins, who loves acting no matter what. He’s directed two narrative films, “August” and “Slipstream.” He’s also a piano player and even released a single in 1986 called “Distant Star.” In interviews, he claims retirement is near but not before he can give “King Lear” a crack – which would be an incredible conclusion to a brilliant career.
Anthony on the Web
Detailed biography of the Welsh-turned American citizen actor.
Janice’s Anthony Hopkins Fan Website
Interesting page with plenty of material from a devoted fan.
Suicide Girls Interview
Anthony discusses some of his challenging roles.
BBC Films Interview
Sir Anthony on returning as Hannibal in the 2001 sequel.
Total Film Interview
2006 interview with Anthony on the role he’d like to close his career on.
Anthony on the Screen
Sir Anthony Hopkins has appeared in around 100 projects on film and television. His first notable role is part of the cast that includes Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn in “The Lion in Winter” in 1968. He’s British Prime Minister David Lloyd George three times in the early 1970s, portrays Israeli P.M. Yitzhak Rabin in “Victory at Entebbe,” is the surgeon behind “The Elephant Man,” Adolf Hitler in “The Bunker,” and Othello in a TV movie. Three times he’s Dr. Hannibal the Cannibal: 1991’s “The Silence of the Lambs,” 2001’s “Hannibal” for Ridley Scott and “Red Dragon in 2002. He’s Professor Van Helsing for Coppola in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” appears in “Chaplin” for director Richard Attenborough (who he’s worked with five times), is C.S. Lewis in “Shadowlands,” nominated for “Nixon,” plays Picasso in “Surviving Picasso,” and is former President John Quincy Adams for Spielberg in “Amistad.” He’s Ptolemy in Stone’s “Alexander,” Daniel Webster in “The Devil and Daniel Webster,” and Burt Munro (his favorite character) in “The World’s Fastest Indian.” He also appears in “Proof,” “Bobby,” and “All the King’s Men.”
Recently, Anthony’s film “Slipstream” premiered at Sundance in 2007. His list of distinguished roles continues as King Hrothgar in Robert Zemeckis’ “Beowulf,” due out Thanksgiving 2007. He’s the lead in the Merchant-Ivory production “City of Your Final Destination” and he’s working alongside Benicio del Toro in “The Wolf Man,” due out in 2009. “King Lear” still looms. We’ll be waiting.
On keeping fit:
“I have a punishing workout regimen. Every day I do 3 minutes on a treadmill, then I lie down, drink a glass of vodka and smoke a cigarette.”
On the brain:
“You can never trust the human mind anyway. It's a death trap.”
“Why love if losing hurts so much? I have no answers anymore; only the life I have lived. The pain now is part of the happiness then.”