09 December 12
Internationally acclaimed British actor Sir Anthony Hopkins discussed his illustrious career in A Life In Pictures interview sponsored by Deutsche Bank and conducted by Francine Stock.
During the course of the interview, Hopkins spoke at length about his favourite roles and what continues to motivate him as an actor. From sharing the screen alongside Katharine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter (1968) to his latest incarnation as Alfred Hitchcock, Hopkins recounted numerous on-set anecdotes and performed several impressive vocal impressions.
Hopkins expressed his uncertainty at undertaking some of his more notable roles. When he first heard the title The Silence of the Lambs (1991), he initially thought it was going to be a children's film. On Nixon (1995), he revealed that Oliver Stone had to coax him into playing the infamous US President by suggesting that he was "being a chicken".
However, he explained that it was this insecurity and determination to prove himself that has ultimately driven his entire career. "A young actor recently asked me if it was normal to feel insecure," he remarked. "I reassured him that it certainty was".
"My ambitions? I always wanted to be in the movies."
During a remarkable on-screen career spanning six decades, Sir Anthony Hopkins has established himself as one of the most versatile and respected actors in film and television. Famed for his passionately intense performances and his ability to embody real-life characters as diverse as Adolf Hitler, Pablo Picasso and Richard Nixon, the Welsh actor found global fame relatively late in his career, despite decades of critical acclaim.
Hopkins’ acting career began in 1955 when, aged 18, he joined a YMCA dramatic club. He continued his dramatic training over the next decade, but it wasn’t until 1965, when he was accepted into Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre Company, that his career really began to take off. Hopkins landed the role of Richard the Lionheart in a 1968 film adaptation of The Lion in Winter and earned a Supporting Actor BAFTA nomination with this debut feature performance.
Despite continuing to receive praise for his work in the following years and picking up BAFTA and Emmy awards for his television work, Hopkins was battling with what he described as “a pretty self-destructive life” off-screen. He resolved to reform in 1975 and has since claimed that it was only after putting his demons behind him that he was finally able to enjoy acting. Notable roles in Magic (1978), The Elephant Man (1980) and The Bounty (1984) followed throughout the next decade, but, approaching 50, Hopkins had resigned himself to being, in his own words, “a respectable actor poncing around on the West End and doing respectable BBC work for the rest of my life”.
That all changed in 1991 when Hopkins was cast as Dr Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. Winning the BAFTA and Oscar for Leading Actor for his chilling and horrifying portrayal of the cannibalistic serial killer transformed his career, and he soon found himself one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actors. In 1993 Hopkins received a knighthood for services to the arts and continued his BAFTA success after being nominated twice in the Leading Actor category – his portrayal of novelist C S Lewis in Shadowlands (1993) triumphing over his performance as James Stevens in The Remains of the Day (1993).
When Hopkins was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship in 2008 he stated that, although he could now be more selective, he had no plans to stop acting – despite his rekindled interest in music and painting. Since then Hopkins has worked on films as diverse as Universal’s remake of The Wolfman (2010) and Kenneth Branagh ’s superhero adventure Thor (2011) to Woody Allen ’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010) and Fernando Meirelles’ drama 360 (2011).
At the time of writing, Hopkins portrayal of another real-life character – the titular ‘Master of Suspense’ in Hitchcock (2012) will soon hit UK screens. With Thor: The Dark World (2013), Red 2 (2013) and Darren Aronofsky’s Noah (2014) also on the horizon, Hopkins is showing no signs of slowing down.
Hopkins has been nominated for a total of five BAFTA Film Awards , winning two. He has also been nominated for two BAFTA Television Awards , winning one. His first win came in 1972 for his portrayal of Pierre Bezukhov in the television series War and Peace. He subsequently won two Acting awards for his roles as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and C S Lewis in Shadowlands (1993). In 2008 he was honoured with the British Academy Fellowship.
Sir Anthony Hopkins with his British Academy Fellowship 2008
Sir Anthony Hopkins with Tilda Swinton and Marion Cotillard 2008
Sir Anthony Hopkins at the LA Britannia Awards 1995
Sir Anthony Hopkins and Angela Lansbury at the LA Britannia Awards 1995
This BAFTA: A Life In Pictures Interview was generously sponsored by...
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