Q&A An­thony Hopkins on over­rated ac­tors and why he’s a home­body at heart.


Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - In­ter­view by TIFFANY BAKKER

You won an Acad­emy Award in 1992 for play­ing Dr Hannibal Lecter in The Si­lence Of The Lambs. Do peo­ple still come up to you on the street and men­tion Chi­anti and fava beans? Yes [laughs], but it doesn’t bother me at all. Peo­ple say the lines to me or want me to say them. They’re in­ter­ested [in the film] and want to know more. But it’s a long time ago. We made that film 27 years ago… I en­joyed do­ing it, but it’s like any other film. I was just lucky on that one, that’s all. Your co-star Jodie Fos­ter said in an in­ter­view she was pet­ri­fied of you on set and that you didn’t speak dur­ing film­ing. Is that how you re­mem­ber it? That’s not true. She said that on [UK chat show] The Graham Nor­ton Show. Jodie… she wasn’t be­ing truth­ful. It’s a good story, but we did talk. I was more ner­vous of her – she’d just won an Os­car for The Ac­cused. We’d have a chat be­tween takes or eat lunch to­gether, but I was stuck in­side of a glass booth most of the time. You’re one of many movie stars who’ve grav­i­tated to TV, hav­ing re­cently ap­peared in West­world. Is it just that films aren’t much chop any­more? I don’t know about that, but I thought West­world was ter­rific. The scripts were great [but] to tell you the truth, I didn’t know what the story was about be­cause I didn’t have time to learn it all; I had to learn my own part. I still don’t know what it was about [laughs]. Now you’re in the lat­est in­stal­ment of Trans­form­ers, a movie fran­chise about in­ter­change­able ro­bots and cars. Doesn’t seem like the sort of role you’d usu­ally go for… I like to work with good directors and Michael Bay was a ter­rific di­rec­tor, and to work with Mark Wahlberg was pretty good stuff. I had one of the best times I’ve had in a long time. We had a drone fly­ing in­side of a church. Only on a Michael Bay film would you have a drone in­side of a church. At 79, you’re also an ac­claimed artist and com­poser. How does that fit in with your act­ing? I play the pi­ano most days and I paint a lot. I’ve had shows in Las Ve­gas and Hous­ton re­cently. They sell! I don’t have any train­ing. A friend of mine said, “Don’t train. Once you start train­ing you will ruin your­self.” I just do what I want and go and paint. And that’s been the same for act­ing. You’re on Twit­ter. What do you make of so­cial me­dia? My wife [Stella Ar­roy­ave] does it for me. It was Mark Wahlberg who in­tro­duced me to it. We were in Ox­ford film­ing and he said, “Do you want to be on so­cial me­dia?” So I stood with him and got a photo on the film set. I was to­tally clue­less about it, which I tend to be about most things. Then my wife en­cour­aged me to do it. She’ll take a photo or a video and say, “Look in the cam­era and say hello.” She reads me the re­sponses from peo­ple and I’m very flat­tered and thrilled by them.

“There’s noth­ing spe­cial about ac­tors; it just hap­pens to be a well-paid pub­lic job”

Do younger ac­tors ever ask your ad­vice on nav­i­gat­ing Hol­ly­wood? They don’t ask me that much. If any­one asks me, “How do you deal with this busi­ness?” I say, “Don’t take it all so se­ri­ously. Just lighten up.” Some peo­ple get very se­ri­ous about it. One ac­tor asked me, “How do you stay sane?” I said just don’t act as if you’re en­ti­tled. Be­cause once you be­lieve you’re en­ti­tled, you’ll go slowly mad, be­cause you’re not spe­cial. We’re not spe­cial at all. There’s noth­ing spe­cial about ac­tors; it just hap­pens to be a well-paid pub­lic job. But some ac­tors – let’s be hon­est – do act as if they’re a bit spe­cial. Any­one who says they’re spe­cial is doomed. It makes you very unhappy be­cause then there’s this ex­pec­ta­tion all the time – work ex­pec­ta­tion or en­ti­tle­ment – then you go mad be­cause no­body’s go­ing to feed you like a baby. And I think the se­ri­ous side of the thing – the lethal side of it – is that you start be­liev­ing it and then grad­u­ally de­scend into a night­mare of things like al­co­hol and drugs. You see it hap­pen­ing. I re­mem­ber a fa­mous guy in Hol­ly­wood – I won’t say who – who died of an over­dose many years ago and all he wanted to do was go to par­ties, par­ties, par­ties. So the party side of Hol­ly­wood never in­ter­ested you? I thank God it wasn’t in my na­ture to en­joy that wild life. I’ve never en­joyed it. Par­ties, I can take or leave. I’ll oc­ca­sion­ally go to some­thing if there’s an event, but very rarely. I’d rather read a good book. You have played so many iconic roles. Can you pick a favourite? No, not re­ally. It all fades from the mem­ory. I don’t watch any­thing I’m in. I’ve got a cou­ple of things out now. I will go and see Trans­form­ers: The Last Knight be­cause there’s a pre­miere in Los An­ge­les, but I don’t pay much at­ten­tion to it. I’m not that in­ter­ested in my job. I mean, I love do­ing it, but I couldn’t care less about look­ing back on it. Some­times a film will be good, some­times it won’t be and well, so what? Who cares? You’re re­ally not both­ered? I saw a film of mine re­cently. I can’t even re­mem­ber what it was, and I saw a bit of it and was like, “I don’t even re­mem­ber do­ing that.” Oh my god, I’d for­got­ten all about it. I paint and go to art shows and I think, “Did I do that?” So it’s al­ways a pleas­ant sur­prise. So when would you say you’re hap­pi­est? Right now, be­ing alive. Trans­form­ers: The Last Knight is in cin­e­mas na­tion­wide on June 22.

``par­ties? I´d rather read a good book´´

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