Hannibal Lecter Is One of Anthony Hopkins Favorite Roles: ‘One of the Best Parts I’ve Ever Read’



  • Anthony Hopkins considers his role as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs to be “one of the best parts” he has ever read.
  • The late Jonathan Demme won the Best Director Oscar for the film, while Anthony Hopkins won his first Best Actor award.
  • Hopkins has fond memories of his working relationship with co-star Jodie Foster, praising her as a great actor who is laid back and practical.

Certainly, the fava bean-eating and Chianti-drinking Hannibal Lecter will go down as one of the most memorable villains in Hollywood history. But the role of the genius-level serial killer also made quite the impression on the actor who portrayed him in 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs. In fact, Anthony Hopkins still refers to the role as “one of the best” almost 33 years after the film originally dropped in theaters. Hopkins said in an interview with People:

“So, I opened it [script]. I sat in the dressing room in the theater, and I read through the first scene of Lecter. I said, ‘Is this an offer?’ He [Hopkins’ agent] said, ‘I’m not sure.’ I said, ‘I’m not going to read anymore, because this is one of the best parts I’ve ever read.’”

Jonathan Demme won the Best Director Oscar for his efforts on The Silence of the Lambs, while Hopkins won the first of his two Academy Awards for Best Actor (The Father being the other). Hopkins said in the same interview:

“We went out afterwards and we had some dinner. And I said, ‘Why’d you cast me?’ He [Demme] said, ‘Why? Have you got problems?’ I said, ‘No, no. Why did you cast me?’ So, we talked, but I knew how to play the part. And I don’t know. I do have an instinct about these roles. I could understand Lecter. I could understand the mystery of the man, the loner, the isolated voice in the dark, the man at the top of the stairs who’s not really there.”

Related: Best Anthony Hopkins Movies, Ranked

The Success of the Lambs

Silence of the Lambs
Silence of the Lambs

Release Date
February 1, 1991


To enter the mind of a killer she must challenge the mind of a madman.

The Silence of the Lambs won five of the seven Academy Awards it was nominated for, including Best Picture, Best Director for the late Jonathan Demme and Best Actress for Anthony Hopkins’ co-star, Jodie Foster. And the man who brought the charming but deadly Hannibal Lecter to life has nothing but kind words for his working relationship with Foster on The Silence of the Lambs. Hopkins said in the same interview with People:

She’s lovely. What’s wonderful about Jodie is that great actor that she is, she has no entourage. She just comes on the set and does it. Very laid back. Very cool. What I like about her, she’s very practical.

During a 2021 interview, which celebrated the 30th anniversary of The Silence of the Lambs, Hopkins was asked if he ever gets tired of hearing famous quotes from the film regurgitated by the fans. Hopkins told Vanity Fair:

“[Laughs.] No, I never get tired of it. I mean, it’s worn a bit thin now when people say, ‘Do the slurping sound.’ I say, ‘Okay.’ You know, fava beans and all that. But I’m amused by it. It’s a funny thing, because I remember a reaction I had when I was in New York, and I’d done the sequel Hannibal, you know, with Ridley Scott. I saw the poster somewhere, and I thought, ‘Why did I do that?’ And I remembered that it paid my mother’s hospital bills. [Laughs.] I thought, ‘Quit complaining, for God’s sake.'”

The Silence of the Lambs is available to stream on Max, at the time of this writing. And check out MovieWeb’s exclusive behind-the-scenes video, 15 Facts You May Not Know About The Silence of the Lambs, right now.

Share This Article
Leave a comment