Sunday, January 10, 2016

Anthony Hopkins Admits to Regretting Involvement with the Hannibal Sequels

Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs
In 1991, nobody could've guessed the impact that director Jonathan Demme's Silence of the Lambs would have on the general public. While it wasn't the first film to be based on serial killer Hannibal Lecter (that's Manhunter), it's the one that many revere as the greatest depiction of the man who loves a nice Chianti with some fava beans. That actor is none other than Anthony Hopkins, who would reprise the role in two additional sequels. However, in a recent interview with The Wrap, Hopkins admits that he is a little regretful about the role that earned him a Best Actor Oscar. He wishes that maybe he didn't continue to play the role that he will likely always be remembered best for.

Between 1991 and 2002, Hopkins played Hannibal Lecter in three films: Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Red Dragon. For fans of the serial killer, the two sequels are considered adequate companion pieces for one of the more unlikely protagonists for a franchise. However, nobody is really arguing that either of these films are better than Demme's original. Even if one simply goes off of Oscar nominations, the films pale in comparison and are by no means The Godfather Part II and III's of serial killer movies. While most actors are fine to reprise beloved characters, Hopkins had something that is both a tad predictable and a little unfortunate for fans of Hannibal and its strange legacy.

In an interview with The Wrap, Hopkins claimed that:
“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.”
When asked about the chance of doing any other films in the franchise, he expressed reluctance:
"I don’t want to do that. Done with that.”
The answer came about during a Television Critics Association panel for his new Starz movie The Dresser, which co-stars Ian McKellen.

It is a conflicting feeling to hear Hopkins badmouth his work. I will admit that I have not seen the sequels, so I have no judgment on their quality. However, I do consider Silence of the Lambs to be one of the best Best Picture winners in history (among my Top 10 in this category overall), and it's largely due to Hopkins' performance alongside Jodie Foster. I am not shocked by this news, but don't really understand why it's a big deal. However, it's still more striking that Hannibal Lecter has resonated with audiences up through a recent TV series called Hannibal, of which Mads Mikkelsen took over the title role. Either way, it's interesting to hear him denounce a role that gave him a legacy (though not necessarily for the film that initially did it). With all of that said, I will sustain opinion until I see those sequels and see if they're as bad as he seems to think.

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