July 27, 2017 | Rachel Seigel

Noteworthy Facts About Anthony Hopkins

The art of acting is not to act. Once you show them more, what you show them, in fact is bad acting.- Anthony Hopkins

Sir Anthony Hopkins is an Oscar-winning actor known for his roles in films such as The Silence of the Lambs, Remains of the Day, Legends of the Fall, and many more. Born in 1937 in Wales, he first took to the stage before pursuing a career in film. He is one of the greatest actors in Hollywood, and is still going strong.
Below are 48 Noteworthy facts about this accomplished actor.

Anthony Hopkins Facts

1. That’s “Sir Anthony Hopkins”

In 1993, Anthony Hopkins was knighted by the Queen for his contributions to the arts. After the ceremony, he said that he was “overwhelmed”, and “very honored”.

Welsh actor Sir Anthony Hopkins receives a CBE at Buckingham Palace in London, 3rd November 1987.Fox Photos, Getty Images

2. Struggle

Anthony Hopkins preferred painting, drawing, or playing piano to schoolwork. School was difficult for him, and he was always at the bottom of his class.

British actor, composer and artist Anthony Hopkins pictured at the inauguration of Pacific Press, Getty Images

3. A Legendary Influence

When Anthony Hopkins was 15, he met the legendary actor Richard Burton. With Burton’s encouragement, he enrolled at the College of Music and Drama in Cardiff where he found his vocation.

Welsh-born British actor Richard Burton (1925 - 1984)Evening Standard, Getty Images

4. Gunner

Anthony Hopkins spent two years serving in the Royal Artillery with the British Army before moving to London and training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

Welsh actor, director, and producer Anthony Hopkins, UK, 29th January 1971.Evening Standard, Getty Images


5. Bond

Anthony Hopkins was tapped for villain roles in the James Bond Franchise on multiple occasions. He auditioned for the villain in the unmade 3rd Timothy Dalton film and was the first choice of villain in Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies, but he turned down the roles. He was also rumored for a role in Skyfall, which was eventually played by Albert Finney.

 Anthony Hopkins wax figure at Madame Tussauds London.Rich Bowen, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

6. Could Have Been In Batman

In 2005, Hopkins was asked to play Alfred in Batman Begins, but turned down the role.

Actor Christian Bale, actor Michael Caine, director Christopher Nolan, producer Emma Thomas, actress Katie Holmes and actor Morgan Freeman arrive for the German premiere of Sean Gallup, Getty Images

7. Memorization

In preparation for his role as John Quincy Adams in the movie Amistad, Anthony Hopkins shocked the cast and crew by completely memorizing a seven-page courtroom speech and nailing the taping in one shot.

 Director Steven Spielberg (Left) Goes Over A Scene With Stars Anthony Hopkins (Center) And Morgan FreemanHandout, Getty Images

8. Quality not Quantity

Anthony Hopkins was only on screen for 24.52 minutes in The Silence of the Lambs, making it the second shortest performance in a movie to win an Academy Award.

Actor Anthony Hopkins at the 64th Annual Academy AwardsRon Galella, Getty Images

9. Can’t plan this stuff

Many of the touches that made the character so memorable were completely improvised by Hopkins. Mocking Jodie Foster’s southern accent, the distortion of the word “chianti”, and the slurping sounds he makes after describing eating the census-taker were not part of the script.

Mask of Hannibal Lecter in the Madame Tussauds museum in AmsterdamAnton_Ivanov, Shutterstock


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10. Don’t Blink!

Hopkins also decided not to blink while delivering his lines as Hannibal Lecter in order to make the character creepier.

Screenshot from the movie The Silence of the Lambs (1991)Orion, The Silence of the Lambs (1991)


11. Schooled

The University of Wales awarded him an honorary Doctor of Letters in 1988.

University of Wales Registry, Cathays Park, CardiffHam II, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

12. #1 Villain

The American Film Institute ranked Hopkins’ performance in The Silence of the Lambs as #1 in its list of “100 years of the Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains”

Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Madame Tussauds wax museum in Amsterdam.Anton_Ivanov, Shutterstock

13. Recite and Repeat

Anthony Hopkins is known for going over his lines more than 200 times! He isn’t satisfied until the lines sound natural, and he can “do it without thinking”.

Actor Anthony Hopkins speaks at the Anthony Hopkins conversation and screening held at the Brenden Theatres inside the Palms Casino Resort during the CineVegas film festivalMichael Buckner, Getty Images

14. Done

When he’s done with a scene, Hopkins has stated that he discards his lines and doesn’t remember them later on. This is different than other actors who still remember their lines years later.

Sir Anthony Hopkins attends the US premiere of Timothy Hiatt, Getty Images

15. Imitation game

Anthony Hopkins is a gifted mimic. He is skilled at turning his Welsh accent into whatever is required for a role, and successfully duplicated the voice of Laurence Olivier for additional scenes in the restoration of Spartacus.

 Scott Hicks (R) directs actor Anthony HopkinsHandout, Getty Images

16. Through adversity

Few people know that Anthony Hopkins is dyslexic. The disability causes him to struggle with reading, but despite this, he’s adept at memorization which has served him well in his career.

Anthony Hopkins arrives at Kathy Hutchins, Shutterstock


17. Quitters never win

Immediately before being offered the now famous role in Silence of the Lambs, Anthony Hopkins was ready to give up on Hollywood and return home to London. He said his thinking was “Well that part of my life’s over; it’s a chapter closed. I suppose I’ll just have to settle for being a respectable actor poncing around the West End and doing respectable BBC work for the rest of my life.”

Actors Anthony Hopkins stars as Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Julianne Moore stars as FBI Agent Clarice Starling in HannibalHandout, Getty Images

18. Recovery

Just before his 38th birthday, Anthony Hopkins decided to quit drinking. He said he didn’t pick the time, but it chose him. As he describes it, “It was as if a voice said, ‘Ready! Go!’ It was that clear, the voice of gold. The best part of myself, my subconscious, came to rescue me.”

Actor Anthony Hopkins poses for a portrait in circa 1978Michael Ochs Archives, Getty Images

19. The Hopkins Waltz

When he was 19, Hopkins composed a waltz titled “And the Waltz Goes On”. He stored it away in a drawer for 50 years, and was shocked to learn that his wife, a fan of Andre Rieu, had sent it to the violinist for consideration. Andre Rieu premiered the piece in Vienna in 2011, and released an album that included the waltz.

Dutch violinist Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra perform on NBC's Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images

20. Distant Star

In 1986, Hopkins tried his hand at singing, releasing a single called “Distant Star”. It reached #75 on the Billboard UK singles chart.

Actor Anthony Hopkins leaves the BelAge Hotel.Bart Sherkow, Shutterstock

21. The Olivier Connection

Laurence Olivier spotted Anthony Hopkins when he was performing in Repertory Theatre, and invited him to join the Royal National Theatre in London.

Actor Anthony Hopkins as John Frankford and Joan Plowright as Anne in a rehearsal for the play 'A Woman Killed With Kindness'Frank Barratt, Getty Images

22. A Cat with a Mouse Between His Teeth

Hopkins became Olivier’s understudy in The Dance of Death, and filled in for him when he was struck with appendicitis. Of Hopkins, Oliver said this in his memoir: "A new young actor in the company of exceptional promise named Anthony Hopkins was understudying me and walked away with the part of Edgar like a cat with a mouse between its teeth."

Laurence Olivier (1907 - 1989) rehearses his role of Archie RiceExpress Newspapers, Getty Images


23. A Brush with Death

During the filming of the movie The Edge in Alberta, Canada, he fell into a river. He didn’t realize how the water could affect his body temperature and he quickly started to suffer from hypothermia. Luckily, he was rushed to a hospital for treatment.

Screenshot from the movie The Edge (1997)Twentieth Century, The Edge (1997)

24. Bears it all

Anthony Hopkins worked with Bart the Bear in two separate movies. The first was Legends of the Fall, and the second The Edge.

Actors Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt in the film Stringer, Getty Images

25. Sneaky

Anthony Hopkins once gave moviegoers a shock when he snuck into a screening of Silence of the Lambs. He was hiding in the back of the theatre, but was noticed by a woman in the audience when weather caused an interruption in the film.

Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins arrives for premiere for the film "Proof"Franco Origlia, Getty Images

26. President Hopkins (On Film)

Anthony Hopkins has the distinction of playing two different U.S. Presidents. The first was Nixon in the movie Nixon in 1995, and the second was John Quincy Adams in Amistad.

 In this composite image a comparison has been made between Richard Nixon (L) and Actor Anthony Hopkins.Keystone, Getty Images

27. The Debut of a King

Hopkins played the future King Richard the II opposite Katherine Hepburn in the 1968 film Lion in Winter. The film was also his big-screen debut.

Screenshot from the movie The Lion in Winter (1968), Anthony Hopkins as Richard the LionheartHaworth, The Lion in Winter (1968)

28. Horsing around

While filming the close-ups for the jousting scenes in Lion in Winter, his horse got spooked and bolted. Hopkins fell off the horse and broke his arm, temporarily suspending filming.

Screenshot from the movie The Lion in Winter (1968)Haworth, The Lion in Winter (1968)

29. The Shy Artist

Anthony Hopkins is an accomplished painter, but refers to himself as a “shy artist”. While he’s gained wide acclaim for his acting, he calls painting and composing his first loves, and he paints daily in his Malibu studio simply for the love of it.

Paintings entitled 'Abas' (L) and 'Midas' (R) by actor Sir Anthony HopkinsBEN STANSALL, Getty Images

30. Ouch

Anthony Hopkins made his Broadway debut as Dr. Dysart in the U.S. premiere of Equus. Hopkins was later replaced by the same man who got him into acting, Richard Burton.

Screenshot from the movie Equus (1977)United Artists, Equus (1977)

31. Anthony Hopkins or Burt Munro?

Burt Munro’s children visited Anthony Hopkins on the set of The World’s Fastest Indian. His acting was so authentic that they were all moved to tears.

Screenshot from the movie The World's Fastest Indian (2005)Magnolia, The World's Fastest Indian (2005)

32. Escaping Hannibal

Immediately following Silence of the Lambs, Anthony Hopkins took the role of Van Helsing in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He took the role in order to avoid being typecast.

Screenshot from the movie Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)Columbia, Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

33. The Role is Taken

Liam Neeson wanted the role of Van Helsing, but due to Hopkins’ success, he was given the role instead.

Actor Liam Neeson arrives at the Christopher Reeve memorial service October 29, 2004 in New York City.Stephen Chernin, Getty Images

34. Strong

While filming Lion in Winter, Katherine Hepburn gave Anthony Hopkins a piece of advice which he’s followed ever since. She advised him to “Read the lines. Just be. Just speak the lines” and not to overact. This is an ability he’s always admired in actors like Spencer Tracey and others of that generation.

Screenshot from the movie The Lion in Winter (1968)Haworth, The Lion in Winter (1968)

35. Bittersweet

The day that Anthony Hopkins won his Oscar for Silence of the Lambs was also the 11th anniversary of his father’s death.

Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins arrives for the 73rd Annual Academy AwardsStaff, Getty Images

36. A Practical Joker

During one of Los Angeles Charity Midnight Mission’s regular movie nights, Hopkins played a practical joke audience members enjoying the movie. He was asked by the director of the charity to tap a few people on the shoulder at the end of the movie, and to say "hello" in his Hannibal voice. The men were suitably spooked, and Hopkins reportedly got a huge kick out of the prank.

Actor Anthony Hopkins stars as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in "Hannibal."Handout, Getty Images

37. The Strange Coincidence

When Anthony Hopkins signed on to star in The Girl from Petrovka, he went to London to try and purchase a copy of the book, but was unable to find one. Coincidentally, he found a seemingly discarded copy on a bench near the train station and took it. Two years later during filming, the book's author said that he didn’t have a copy of his own book as he’d lent his last one (with annotations) to a friend who’d lost it in London. When Hopkins showed him his copy, it turned out that it was in fact the author's lost copy.

Screenshot from the movie The Girl from Petrovka (1974)Universal, The Girl from Petrovka (1974)

38. The Anthony Hopkins School

A drama school in Invercargill, New Zealand is named after Anthony Hopkins. Since he was in New Zealand filming at the time, he was able to attend its opening and inspire future generations of actors.

Actor Anthony Hopkins, right, director Roger Donaldson, centre, and producer Gary Hannam, right, attend the TIFF New Zealand Film Commission and Investment New Zealand Cocktail Party Darryl James, Getty Images

39. Taking work home

Martha Stewart began dating Anthony Hopkins in the early 90s after her marriage to Andrew Stewart ended. She broke off the relationship after seeing Silence of the Lambs, because she couldn’t separate him from his character.

Martha Stewart attends a Tribute Dinner Honoring Jonathan Waxman, Rob Sands and Richard SandsDenis Contreras, Getty Images

40. Walked

In 1973, Anthony Hopkins walked out on his role as Macbeth in London’s National Theatre run having decided that he didn’t really fit into theatre life.

Anthony Hopkins and Diana Rigg in Shakespeare's tragedy 'Macbeth'.Steve Wood, Getty Images

41. Fan boy

Anthony Hopkins is a Breaking Bad super fan, and apparently binge-watched the entire series in a two-week marathon. He was so impressed by the series that he sent a fan e-mail to Bryan Cranston, noting: “Your performance as Walter White was the best acting I have seen—ever.”

Screenshot from the TV series Breaking BadBagoGames, Flickr

42. Baked

Anthony Hopkins’ parents ran a local bakery and he would often help out in the shop when he was young. Thankfully though, he expressed no desire to follow in his father’s footsteps, and chose to go into acting instead.

Anthony Hopkins in the WNYC studiosWNYC New York Public Radio, Flickr

43. The Biography That Never Was

Anthony Hopkins was contracted to write his autobiography. He abandoned the project soon after starting it, returning the advance to the publisher because he found his life boring.

Actor Anthony Hopkins speaks at his hand and footprint ceremonyVince Bucci, Getty Images

44. Hot and Cold

In 1980, Anthony Hopkins was nominated for Worst Actor in A Change of Seasons at the very first Razzie Awards.

Screenshot from the movie A Change of Seasons (1980)Twentieth Century, A Change of Seasons (1980)

45. Eat Like Picasso

One of the ways that Anthony Hopkins got into character for his role as Picasso in Surviving Picasso was to eat what Picasso ate every day. It also didn’t hurt that Hopkins was a painter in his real life.

Anthony Hopkins stars in his new movie "Surviving Picasso"Handout, Getty Images

46. Became a U.S. Citizen

Anthony Hopkins moved to California in 1990, and became an official U.S. Citizen in 2000. He did, however also retain his UK Citizenship and his knighthood.

Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins waves to the crowdDan Callister, Getty Images

47. I would be too

During filming of Silence of the Lambs, Jody Foster was so scared of Anthony Hopkins that she avoided him as much as possible, and didn’t speak to him until the last day of shooting. When they did finally speak, Hopkins admitted that he’d been scared of her too!

Screenshot from the movie The Silence of the Lambs (1991)Orion, The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

48. Lifetime Achievement

Over the span of his career, Anthony Hopkins has been nominated for 57 awards with 47 wins. In 2006, he received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement, and has been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Actor Anthony Hopkins star on the Hollywood Walk of FameVince Bucci, Getty Images

Sources- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29



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