Who is Anthony Hopkins?: The Beloved Bad Guy


In fact, he can only be seen for 16 minutes in the entire film. But they have everything. Wrote with cannibal killer in Silence of the Lambs – worst villain since Norman Bates in Psycho Anthony Hopkins film history. He has been in front of the camera for more than 30 years. Julia and Clara Kuperberg, known for their portraits of stars, look back at the life and work of a Welsh baker’s son who, in his mid-50s, became a charismatic Hollywood film actor.

It didn’t seem like it at first. The future favorite of the audience did not have a successful start. He was a bad student: “I was just stupid. I didn’t understand anything at all.” Young Anthony’s career was correspondingly rocky. After military service in 1961 was admitted to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Four years later he was discovered by the legendary Sir Lawrence Olivier and became his student at the Royal National Theatre. (Hannibal Hopkins and Sir Anthony, Arte, Sunday, 10.05pm)

Theater was not his world. “I didn’t want to be a big Shakespearean actor. I didn’t want to spend my life standing on stage in pantyhose.” So, at age 37, he made the leap to Hollywood. It almost went wrong. Hopkins had been drinking for some time.

An illness he overcame – with which he still flirts: “I love drunkards, they’re the best,” he once said of Peter O’Toole, who helped him in his career.

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But first, Anthony Hopkins got into a destructive vortex. The cheerful Briton was considered unreliable. He stopped filming. If he hadn’t once happened as an actor, “I would have become a criminal.” The main film was the 1978 thriller Magic, in which Hopkins shines as a ventriloquist who hears voices and fears that others will find out about his personality disorder.

Now I can make bad movies too, it doesn’t matter.

Anthony Hopkins

For the first time, that diabolical brilliance that makes the Brit so unique shines through here. The role of the doctor in David Lynch’s masterpiece The Elephant Man eventually drew Hopkins to Jonathan Demme, who cast him as serial killer Hannibal Lecter.

This thriller became the definition of style. Hopkins didn’t play the deranged cannibal killer as a lunatic. On the contrary, he emphasized his intelligent, civilized – even exceptional – side. Only once, when he lets out that snarling hiss, does the animal monster break through.

Hopkins has rendered this villain with the iconic sensibility of a psychoanalyst. In 1992, the Oscar he received for this performance was a great relief: “I took the Oscar and thought: now I can make bad movies, it doesn’t matter.”

There are several of them. For performances in mediocre films, including 1981’s Seasons of Marriage, he was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor several times.

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He was Adolf Hitler in The Bunker (1981) and Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1982). He only accepted some of these role offers because he was afraid that someone else would get the role. In the best films, such as Oliver Stone’s 1995 “Nixon,” he brought a unique intensity to the fallen US president. The role of the perfect butler in the drama “What’s left of the day” is also unforgettable.

With rich archival material and numerous film and talk show excerpts in which two-time Oscar winner candid about the dark side of his life, the documentary creates a complex mosaic of the beloved villain. In 1993, the queen even knighted him. He doesn’t have many friends. How does he endure loneliness at the height of fame? With a “psychiatrist and a kick in the ass”.

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