Anthony Hopkins interview: Hannibal (2001)

Promotional image from Hannibal

Interview by James Mottram; previously published on BBC Movies.

Last updated: 27 November 2008

Did you ever think a sequel would happen to The Silence Of The Lambs?

I didn't think about a sequel because sequels don't often work, and Thomas Harris takes a long time to write. So I let it go. Then two years ago, the book was written and here we are. As you know, Jonathan Demme and Jodie Foster dropped out, and I was mildly disappointed, but I certainly didn't go out of my way to persuade him. I thought maybe that was the way it was meant to be.

Did you have any influence on the re-casting of Clarice?

I did ask if I had any casting influence with Clarice, but my agent said 'No, you don't have absolute casting power, but I'm sure you can make suggestions'. I'd heard Julianne Moore's name mentioned, and Ridley phoned me and he asked me what I thought. I said that I'd worked with her once before and she's got tremendous power.

Are you scared to play Hannibal Lecter?

Am I scared of him? No, I just play him. It's a funny thing. It's like I don't belong to him at all. He came out of Thomas Harris, then through me, and onto the screen. I talk about him as if he's him. Which is maybe a psychological projection.

In the book, Hannibal has had plastic surgery. Why not in the film?

Ridley and I agreed to leave the face alone. It's as if he's making a statement - 'catch me if you can'. With his big hat, he's so obvious that nobody thinks he's Hannibal Lecter. I've always thought he's a very elegant man, a Renaissance Man.

Are you hungry enough to play Hannibal again?

I would like to do one more, which is being discussed with Dino De Laurentiis, and Ridley, and hopefully that will be fairly soon - maybe next year.

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