It must be fun to be Anthony Hopkins, scaring the living daylight out of people in shops whilst pretending to be Hannibal Lecter would be just one of the many perks. His latest project The Rite hits cinemas this weekend, but where will his most recent project rank against the highlights of a career that began 50 years ago? These are the films that his new supernatural horror is up against..
Appearing alongside Peter O’Toole, Katherine Hepburn and Timothy ‘Bond, James Bond. No, really’ Dalton, Hopkins makes one of his first appearances on the big screen. His performance in this classic costume drama earned him a BAFTA nomination as best supporting actor. Hopkins plays Richard the Lionheart in a battle between the sons of Henry II who are all jostling to become heir to the English throne.
If every actor has a seminal role, this was it for Anthony Hopkins. It not only earned him an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role, but gave sleepless nights to millions of viewers the world over. The terrifying mix of calm menace and extreme violence made Hannibal Lecter one of the most iconic on-screen killers ever. ‘I think he might be a very interesting person to have lunch with, providing you weren’t the lunch,’ Hopkins said about his most famous role. Just for fun, watch some of his other films and imagine him as Lecter in those. It’s particularly good with The Mask of Zorro and Hannibal… Oh, wait…
This time it’s period drama. Playing a loyal butler who eventually finds out that his loyalty was misguided (now there’s a spoiler for you), Hopkins fits seamlessly into a different type of role. With no action to be seen anywhere, it’s the quality of the dialogue that makes this movie and Hopkins and Emma Thompson provide two compelling characters. One warning though, this is a film that is unlikely to leave you feeling uplifted.
Playing American President and definitely ‘not a crook’ Richard Nixon in a biopic directed by Oliver Stone gained Hopkins yet another Oscar nomination. Despite that, the reaction to his performance was mixed with some critics claiming that he failed to capture the essence of the real Nixon but, in fairness, he pleased at least as many people as the real Nixon. Realistic or not, his performance as the USA’s most notorious President was certainly powerful and is epitomised by this scene where Hopkins’ Nixon, in his final days as President, has a moment of weakness in front of Paul Sorvino’s Henry Kissinger..
As if to prove he’s not only a leading man, Hopkins takes on the role of a retired hotel doorman in the tragic tale about the death of Robert Kennedy. This is role is an actor working for the love of it (and probably the money) and showing that just because you’re a big name doesn’t mean playing a smaller part is beneath you.