Anthony Hopkins has expressed regret at having reprised his signature role of Hannibal Lecter in ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ follow-up films ‘Hannibal’ and ‘Red Dragon.’
The Oscar-winning actor addressed the matter very succinctly to The Wrap, who asked whether he would ever play Lecter again.
Hopkins simply replied, “No,” and when asked why, explained, ”I did it once. Made the mistake of doing it twice — three times. ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ is okay. It was a good film.”
The 78-year old actor concluded, “I don’t want to do that [again]. Done with that.”
Though Wales-born Hopkins had been in the business over 25 years before making ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ in 1990, the role of the brilliant but insane cannibal serial killer - initially offered to Gene Hackman - made him a superstar overnight.
Director Jonathan Demme’s film, based on Thomas Harris’s novel, went on to sweep the board at the Oscars, with best lead performance awards for both Jodie Foster and Hopkins - despite Hopkins having under 25 minutes of screen time.
The film’s enormous success broke down barriers for horror cinema, spawning a new movie subgenre which became hugely popular in the 1990s: the psychological thriller (other notable examples being ‘Se7en’ and ‘Copycat’).
However, 2001 sequel ‘Hannibal’ was troubled from the beginning. Neither Jonathan Demme nor Jodie Foster were impressed with Thomas Harris’ novel, and ultimately passed on the film to be replaced by Ridley Scott as director, and Julianne Moore as Clarice Starling.
Though it was not nearly so well received as ‘The Silence of the Lambs,’ ‘Hannibal’ performed well enough for a prequel to be made the next year: Brett Ratner’s ‘Red Dragon,’ a new take on Harris’ first Lecter novel which Michael Mann had previously been filmed in 1986 as ‘Manhunter’ (with Brian Cox in the role, for some reason named Lecktor).
A fourth film was later made in 2007′s ‘Hannibal Rising,’ another prequel starring Gaspard Ulliel as a much-younger Hannibal.
The character has since been revived to much greater acclaim in TV’s ‘Hannibal,’ starring Mads Mikkelsen, although this show was recently cancelled after three seasons.
Picture Credit: MGM-UA