Anthony Hopkins scared Jodie Foster on set

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The Big Picture

  • The Silence of the Lambs it was a risky film adaptation but it became a critical and commercial success, sweeping the top five Oscar categories.
  • Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of Hannibal Lecter terrified Jodie Foster on set, and his unnerving ability in the role has stood the test of time.
  • Jodie Foster admitted it The Graham Norton Show is free that she did not have a proper conversation with Hopkins while she was filming the movie.

Some shows are life-changing for performers and viewers alike. The right role can bring fame, awards and cultural iconography to an actor; audiences often imprint that role on an actor and always see them through that lens. In that regard, the criminals generate particularly charged reactions. Logically, viewers know that a human being and a fictional character are not the same. Many actors who specialize in evil roles could win an award for the best person in the world as easily as they could an Oscar. Nevertheless, there is something about lies circulating in our brain cells. A performer known for a particularly memorable villain appears, and we are intellectually overwhelmed. Common sense? Out the window.

Well, surprise! We humble fans aren’t the only ones guilty of that knee-jerk reaction. One suspense film, in particular, boasts a performance so cold that the actor’s direct co-star avoided him at all costs. And that film turns out to be one of the most interesting features of the 20th century as well as one of the few horror films to be recognized by the Oscars: The Silence of the Lambsby industry veterans Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins.

Related: The most evil and terrifying doctors in the history of horror

Making ‘Silence of the Lambs’ was dangerous

Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs
Photo via Orion Pictures

Based on the award-winning crime-thriller novel by Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs this is the second adaptation of a novel from the four-book Hannibal Lecter series but the first to star Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins later reprized “Hannibal the Cannibal” twice on screen, but before none other than Logan Roy himself, Brian Coxfrom the origin of the psychopath turned serial killer in 1986 Manhunter. Manhunterthen, based on the Harris novel Red Dragon and was an inspiration for many exhibitors Bryan Fullerand Hannibal series featuring everyone’s favorite franchise king Mads Mikkelsen.

Despite the novel’s success, Hollywood brass considered it a difficult if not impossible proposition to move. The Silence of the Lambs‘ serious content to movie theaters. It didn’t help matters that way Manhunter it was not a financial gain. Lamb a writer Ted Tally told The New York Times in 1991, “Prominent producer [said] this book could never be made into a movie and I shouldn’t even try.” Nevertheless, representative and rights holder Dino de Laurentiis let Orion Pictures go ahead with a film anchored by the director Jonathan Demme. Jodie Foster, fresh from her first Academy Award win for her tour-de-force The defendantlobbies for the lead role of Clarice Starling: a reserved, intuitive and steadfast FBI-trained agent who succeeds as an investigator without sacrificing her insatiable compassion.

Anthony Hopkins, playing the cultured, frighteningly intelligent, manipulative for kicks, and sometimes tender Dr. Lecter, declared that Tally’s screenplay was “the best script I’ve ever read” after only ten pages. Already an experienced stage and screen actor, Hopkins knew “just” how to approach the character. “He knows how to scare people,” he said GQ Magazine in 2021. “One rule for naturalists when they’re facing the big gorillas is don’t look at them. Because that’s dangerous. So when Lecter doesn’t take his eyes off, that’s scary.”

Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter scared Jodie Foster on set

Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins as Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs
Photo via Orion Pictures

Anthony Hopkins’ on-point instincts led to a stunning performance that scared his leading lady full stop. In an interview ahead The Graham Norton Show is free, Jodie Foster shares hilarious details about her experiences with Hopkins. The English actor has never done anything rude or out of the ordinary (well, apart from looking a little too creepy for her character), but after reading the first draft of the script, she was so afraid of him that he avoided him completely. Wearing a half-sun, she admits she’s never started a conversation. “It was scary!” she shouts in explanation. “I was saddened.”

In an interesting twist of attack, the effect of fear was mutual. Foster remembers how Hopkins approached her while she was having a “tuna fish sandwich” on the last day of shooting the film. “I almost had a tear in my eye,” she said. She admitted her horror at Hopkins’ face – and her co-star replied, “I was scared of you!” For Hopkins, his shyness boiled down to feeling honored to work with Foster. He explained in his Different “Actors on Actors” back for the 30th anniversary of the film “I couldn’t believe my luck, and I was scared to talk to you. I thought, she won an Oscar.” Besides being a valuable fact, let that be a lesson to anyone who doubts the legitimacy of a powerful woman’s screen presence!

One can hardly blame Foster for her response. Remember how logic does not always win over an actor just that good? After three decades, Anthony Hopkins’ uncanny ability as Hannibal Lecter has not aged or weakened with time in any way. That role immortalized the actor, and his character, within the media landscape. No shortage of pop culture references mimicked Hopkins’ delivery and the film’s own greatest hits in the years that followed. The Silence of the Lambs‘ Debut 1991. Best of all, despite very little overall screen time,​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​G-Foster​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​G evidence like Foster​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​V.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

As if Hopkins’ own experience wasn’t enough, director Jonathan Demme and the cinematographer Take Fujimoto he increased the unpleasantness of the atmosphere to almost unbearable levels by having Hopkins perform directly into the camera. This unusual situation, one Foster described as “kind of [Alfred] Hitchcockian technique” in it Graham Norton interview, he had the audience share Lecter’s line of sight and maintain direct eye contact with the editor Craig McKay mercifully cut to another scene. With Lecter’s full intent, a predatory intent aimed at raising The camera The Silence of the Lambs‘ the current tension is skin-crawling, actively disturbing transparency. Even though the set design kept Foster and Hopkins separated behind a “glass partition,” Lecter’s gaze felt personal, able to pierce through the screen and consume one whole. “Most of the time when he’s delivering his lines he’s not looking at me,” Foster continued, “he’s looking straight at the camera. And I’m somewhere in the back where he can’t see me.”

‘Silence of the Lambs’ was a critical and commercial success

Anthony Hopkins and Hannibal Lecter with a muzzle in The Silence of the Lambs
Photo via Orion Pictures

The Silence of the Lambs was a phenomenal financial success for the time, grossing $272M worldwide. It remains one of the few films to sweep the five “biggest” Oscar categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay ( although the sweep could be either in the Screenplay category). Lamb also holds a prestigious honor among horror fans for being the rare genre effort to earn an Oscar nod. Although 1973 The Exorcist was nominated for 10 Oscars, the genre’s top recognition, and won Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound, the Academy has long had an unfortunate tendency to snub horror a despite amazing performances, writing, and technical achievements.

Fortunately, The Silence of the Lambs it is a rare exception. This is this writer’s favorite film and an experience that opened my mind to the endless wonders that filmmaking could achieve. Lamb‘ the continued effectiveness is a testament to all parties involved, including and especially the methods that increase the lasting aura already caused by Hopkins’ performance. He really did things on screen that no one had done before, putting a new face on our worst nightmares and setting the standard of crime for ages to come.

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