HOPKINS, (Sir) Anthony
Port Talbot, South Wales, 31 December 1937.
Attended Cowbridge Grammar School, Glamorgan; Royal Academy of Dramatic
Art, London, 1961–63; Cardiff College of Drama.
Married 1) Petronella Barker, 1967 (divorced 1972), daughter: Abigail; 2)
Jennifer Lynton, 1973.
1960—stage debut in
The Quare Fellow
, followed by repertory work; 1964—London stage debut in
; 1966–73—member of the National Theatre, London;
1967—film debut in
The White Bus
; 1974—appeared in
on Broadway, and directed the Los Angeles production, 1977;
1980s—theater work includes
Antony and Cleopatra
; TV mini-series include
War and Peace
and Great Expectations
Commander, Order of the British Empire, 1987; Best Actor, Academy Award,
The Silence of the Lambs
, 1991; knighted, 1 January 1993.
c/o CAA, 9830 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, 90212, U.S.A.
Films as Actor:
The White Bus (Anderson) (as Brechtian)
The Lion in Winter (Harvey) (as Richard the Lion-Hearted)
Hamlet (Richardson) (as Claudius); The Looking Glass War (Pierson) (as John Avery)
When Eight Bells Toll (Périer) (as Philip Calvert)
Young Winston (Attenborough) (as David Lloyd George)
A Doll's House (Garland) (as Torvald Helmer)
The Girl from Petrovka (Miller) (as Kostya); Juggernaut (Lester) (as Supt. John McCleod); All Creatures Great and Small (Whatham) (as Siegfried Farnon)
Dark Victory (Butler—for TV) (as Michael); Victory at Entebbe (Chomsky—for TV) (as Yitzhak Rabin); The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case (Kulik—for TV) (as Bruno Hauptmann)
Audrey Rose (Wise) (as Elliot Hoover); A Bridge Too Far (Attenborough) (as Lt. Col. John Frost)
Magic (Attenborough) (as Corky/Fats); International Velvet (Forbes) (as Capt. Johnson); Kean (Jones—for TV) (title role)
Mayflower: The Pilgrim's Adventure (Schaefer—for TV) (as Capt. Jones)
The Elephant Man (Lynch) (as Frederick Treves); A Change of Seasons (Richard Lang) (as Adam Evans)
The Bunker (Schaefer—for TV) (as Adolf Hitler); Othello (Miller—for TV) (title role); Peter and Paul (Day—for TV) (as St. Peter)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Tuchner—for TV) (as Quasimodo)
The Bounty (Donaldson) (as Captain Bligh); Io e il duce ( Mussolini and I ) (Negrin—for TV) (as Count Ciano); A Married Man (Davies and Jarrott—for TV) (as John Strickland)
Arch of Triumph (Hussein—for TV) (as Dr. Ravic); Guilty Conscience (Greene—for TV) (as Arthur Jamison); Heartland (Billington—for TV)
Blunt (Glenister—for TV) (as Guy Burgess); 84 Charing Cross Road (Jones) (as Frank Doel); The Good Father (Newell) (as Bill Hooper)
The Dawning (Knights—released in U.S. 1993) (as Major Angus Barry/Cassius); The Tenth Man (Gold—for TV) (as Chavel); Across the Lake (Maylam—for TV) (as Donald Campbell)
A Chorus of Disapproval (Winner) (as Dafydd Ap Llewellyn)
Desperate Hours (Cimino) (as Tim Cornell); One Man's War (Toledo—for TV) (as Joel Filartiga)
The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme) (as Dr. Hannibal "Cannibal" Lecter)
Howards End (Ivory) (as Henry Wilcox); Freejack (Murphy) (as McCandless); The Efficiency Expert ( Spotswood ) (Joffe) (as Wallace); Chaplin (Attenborough) (as George Hayden); Bram Stoker's Dracula (Coppola) (as Prof. Abraham Van Helsing); To Be the Best (Wharmby—for TV) (as Jack Figg)
The Remains of the Day (Ivory) (as Stevens); The Trial (David Jones) (as the priest); Shadowlands (Attenborough) (as Jack Lewis); . . . und der Himmel steht still ( The Innocent ) (Schlesinger) (as Bob Glass); Selected Exits (Tristram Powell—for TV) (as Gwyn Thomas); Earth and the American Dream (Couturie—doc) (voice only)
The Road to Wellville (Parker) (as Dr. John Harvey Kellogg); Legends of the Fall (Zwick) (as Colonel William Ludlow)
Nixon (Stone) (title role)
Marlon Brando: The Wild One (Joyce —for TV) (as himself); Surviving Picasso (Ivory) (as Pablo Picasso)
The Edge (Tamahori) (as Charles Morse); Amistad (Spielberg) (as John Quincy Adams)
Meet Joe Black (Brest, Smithee) (as William Parrish); The Mask of Zorro (Campbell) (as Don Diego de la Vega/Zorro)
Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Box (Leonard) (as Narrator); Instinct (Turtletaub) (as Ethan Powell); Titus (Taymor) (as Titus)
Mission Impossible 2 (Woo) (as IMF chief); Hannibal (Scott) (as Dr. Hannibal Lecter)
Films as Director:
Dylan Thomas: Return Journey
August (+ ro as Ieuan Davies)
By HOPKINS: book—
Anthony Hopkins' Snowdonia , with Graham Nobles, Grantown-on-Spey, 1993.
By HOPKINS: articles—
Interviews, in Photoplay (London), August 1978 and September 1984.
Interview with Rod Lurie, in Empire (London), June 1991.
"I Like That," interview in New Yorker , 16 March 1992.
"Nicholson? Brando? (April Fool) It's . . . an Interview with Anthony Hopkins," interview with Lisa Liebman, in Interview (New York), April 1992.
"O.K., Says Anthony Hopkins, More Mr. Nice Guy," interview with Alex Witchel, in New York Times , 19 December 1993.
Interview with Lawrence Grobel, in Playboy (Chicago), March 1994.
Duncan, Andrew, "Now I'm At Peace, With No Axes To Grind," in Radio Times (London), 22 October 1994.
"In a League of His Own," interview with Barry Norman, in Radio Times (London), 2 March 1996.
On HOPKINS: books—
Fack, Quentin, Anthony Hopkins: Too Good to Waste: A Biography , London, 1989; rev. ed., 1993.
Hare, David, Writing Left-Handed , London, 1991.
Callan, Michael Feeney, Anthony Hopkins: In Darkness and Light , London, 1993.
Falk, Quentin, Anthony Hopkins: The Authorized Biography , Northampton, 1994; rev. ed., London, 2000.
On HOPKINS: articles—
Ecran (Paris), May 1979.
Current Biography 1980 , New York, 1980.
Films Illustrated (London), December 1980.
L'Ecran Fantastique (Paris), July-August 1984.
Wilson, P., "Anthony Hopkins," in Film Monthly , June 1991.
Kaye, Elizabeth, "Anthony Hopkins for Your Approval," in Premiere (New York), February 1994.
Kiener, Robert, "The Rebirth of Anthony Hopkins," in Reader's Digest (Canadian), July 1994.
Bennetts, L., "Knight Rider," in Vanity Fair (New York), October 1996.
* * *
Anthony Hopkins appeared in films for two decades without advancing to screen stardom. His performances, many of them in smaller-budget films, were lauded by critics, but audiences did not eagerly await his next movie appearance or place his name on lists of screen favorites. Perhaps his problem was that he lacked an identifiable persona and never developed into a Hollywood "type"; he seemed always to be hiding in period costumes or thick makeup. All the years of relative anonymity ended with his Oscar-winning performance in the most abhorrent role of his career, that of Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs , one of the most popular and well-publicized pictures of 1991.
Now, in middle age, Hopkins's rugged looks and extraordinarily appealing voice (which often have led critics and fans to comparisons with fellow Welshman Richard Burton) are adding zest to an array of projects with which he has been associated, whether they be television movies, prestige art films, or extravagant Hollywood productions. His authoritative presence and incomparable acting ability are the elements which make him a standout performer, but it is his screen magnetism, displayed finally in choice star roles, which made him an international movie star.
Like his mentor Laurence Olivier, who often acted while camouflaged in thick makeup, Hopkins acquired a remarkable chameleon quality in his acting quite early in his career and kept with it for years. This has suited him particularly when taking on a series of biographical roles—Lloyd George, Adolf Hitler, Bruno Hauptmann, Donald Campbell, Captain Bligh, Yitzhak Rabin, Richard the Lion-Hearted, and even Richard Nixon—as well as with outrageous fictional grotesques such as Quasimodo, Lambert Le Roux, and Hannibal Lecter.
Besides the historical pieces in which he appeared, his pre-1990s performances do include a few unbalanced characters who may have laid a foundation for him to become celluloid's most credible cannibal killer. For instance, in Magic he played a demented ventriloquist, and in Audrey Rose he was a menacing stranger who claims a 12-year-old girl is his dead daughter reincarnated.
The international celebrity that he had sought since his humble, lower-middle-class boyhood in South Wales finally arrived with his chilling performance as a psychotic serial killer in The Silence of the Lambs . Hopkins's definitive interpretation of the warped, nightmarish criminal who not only murders but also dines on his prey flabbergasted audiences. His odd facial expressions, and the wiggling of his tongue in an eel-like manner, heavily contributed to the film's well-earned status as a classic of the horror genre.
Hopkins's two follow-up pictures were James Ivory's Howards End and The Remains of the Day . These two cinematic gems (both of which co-starred Emma Thompson) made him a darling of the art-house crowd. In the first film, which is based on a novel of Edwardian England by E. M. Forster, he plays a widower with a mahogany veneer that hides a chip-board heart. The subtle bearing of Hopkins's character underscores the snobbery among Britain's classes of that time, and the repression of emotion that was called for by the existing social conventions. In the second film, Hopkins plays a tradition-bound head butler who sacrifices his personal emotions and desires in the line of duty. Both of these characters are quiet beings who internalize their feelings. As such, their on-screen depictions could well have been stiff, blank signposts in the hands of a lesser actor, but Hopkins made both into three-dimensional and exciting individuals.
Shadowlands brought Hopkins the opportunity to play a full-fledged romantic gentleman in the character of real-life British writer C. S. Lewis. For this film, Hopkins began as a rather stiff, cloistered middle-aged Oxford educator who flowers as he becomes infused with love for a forthright American poet (Debra Winger). Hopkins's development from bookworm to enthusiastic lover showed audiences a most welcomed romantic quality. This role was, in a way, a graduated version or expansion of the character of the kindly bookstore salesman he played in 84 Charing Cross Road .
Hopkins is an actor who can take on most any role. His presence can even make an otherwise mundane film mandatory viewing. Such is the case in The Road to Wellville , a disappointing adaptation of T. Coraghessan Boyle's comic novel, in which he transcends the poor script to give a delightfully animated, over-the-top performance—complete with silly, bucktoothed grin—as John H. Kellogg, the real-life inventor of corn flakes. In Legends of the Fall , the more sobering saga of early twentieth-century life in Montana, he is seen as the independent, feisty, and humanistic patriarch who has sired a trio of sons. In the latter part of this film, he is called upon to portray an elderly, partially paralyzed stroke victim who is left with marred speech. Under heavy makeup (again), he drags his disfigured body without ever losing his character's sense of eminence and dignity. It is the sort of specialty role Olivier himself would have fancied.
One suspects that Olivier, a fine Titus Andronicus in Peter Brook's memorable 1950s UK theatre production, would have approved heartily of Hopkins' extraordinary turn-of-the-millennium performance as the increasingly deranged olf Roman warrior in Titus , the bloodily vivid feature directing debut of Julie Taymor, who staged the musical The Lion King on both sides of the Atlantic. It marked Hopkins' first encounter with Shakespeare for more than a decade when he had appeared in King Lear and Antony and Cleopotra backto-back at the National Theatre. Before he completed filming Titus in Rome, Hopkins suddenly announced he was going to quit acting because he was disillusioned with his career. Later he claimed he'd been misquoted, and merely felt burned out and just needed a rest.
After averaging at least two films a year throughout most of the 1990s the workaholic Hopkins, who has moved full-time to Los Angeles, stopped taking major roles for 18 months. His movie comeback smacks of Hollywood opportunism and a very substantial payday, reprising the role of Dr. Lecter in the new film version of author Thomas Harris's long-awaited Silence of the Lambs sequel, Hannibal. Neither original director Jonathan Demme nor co-star Jodie Foster decided to join him for the ride this time around.