The horror masterpiece “Silence of the Lambs” premiered 30 years ago in 1991 forever cementing Anthony Hopkins’ reputation as the ultimate villain (Hannibal Lecter) and Jodie Foster as the brilliant protagonist (Clarice Starling). The duo reunited to discuss the film that brought them together and what they’re currently working on for Variety’s Actors on Actors presented by Amazon Studios.
“We didn’t speak too much before the actual read-through,” Foster recalls. “And as you launched into Hannibal Lecter, I felt a chill come over the room. In a way, it was like we were almost too scared to talk to each other after that.”
Hopkins admitted that when he first read the script for “Silence of the Lambs” the name fooled. “I was in London in 1989, doing a play called ‘M. Butterfly.’ My agent sent a script. He said, ‘Why don’t you read this? It’s called ‘Silence of the Lambs.’’ I said, ‘Is it a children’s story?’ It was a hot summer afternoon, and the script came over and I started reading it. After 10 pages, I phoned my agent. I said, ‘Is this a real offer? I want to know. This is the best part I’ve ever read.’ I read the rest of the script, and Jonathan came over on a Saturday afternoon and we had dinner. And I said, ‘Is this for real?’ And he said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘OK.’ He was such a wonderful guy to work with. I couldn’t believe my luck, and I was scared to speak to you. I thought, ‘She just won an Oscar.'”
Hopkins is currently starring in “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics) and Foster plays a lawyer in “The Mauritanian” (STX Entertainment).