Anthony Hopkins: ‘Life is absurd, we take everything too seriously’

Thirty years after winning his first Oscar for one of the most iconic characters in film history, Hannibal Lecter in The silence of the inocents, Anthony Hopkins repeated the statuette for its magnificent performance in The father, in a radically opposite and fragile record of a man suffering from senile dementia. The film opens this Thursday in Argentina.

In real life, the actor of Welsh origin exhibits a friendly demeanor and excellent humor that contrasts with the turbulence of both characters: he tells anecdotes, recites poems and puts his audience in his pocket, including Olivia Colman, his co-star and daughter in fiction.

“Life is absurd, it’s ridiculous, we take everything too seriously,” says 83-year-old Hopkins. “I try to cultivate the art of indifference, not in a sense of coldness, but the things that a few years ago I thought important now do not seem so to me, we are all going to die and that is the blackest and funniest joke.”

At 83, Hopkins is the oldest to win the Oscar for best male lead. Photo BF Argentina

The father It is the debut of the French writer and playwright Florian Zeller. His great discovery is that he places the viewer in the mind of the patient, makes him experience his confusion, his anger, his fear.

Well known

The father it also won a second Oscar, for best adapted screenplay (Florian Zeller is the author of the original play, and the libretto was written with Christopher Hampton). And she had four other nominations: movie, supporting actress, for Olivia Colman, editing and production design.

Hopkins recalls that when he read the script he felt something similar to what happened to him The silence of the inocents. He knew instantly that he wanted to. “I met with Florian and said yes, but I had pending the filming of The two Popes (along with Jonathan Pryce and the direction of Fernando Meirelles) and I was really worried that they wouldn’t wait for me, but they did, “he says.

"I met with Florian and said yes, but I had the filming of 'The Two Papas', I was worried that they would not wait for me ...".  BF photo

“I met with Florian and I said yes, but I had the filming of ‘The two Papas’, I was worried that they would not wait for me …”. Photo BF

In the case of Hannibal Lecter, Hopkins recalls that when he began to read the script, he asked his agent if the deal was already closed. “He said no and I didn’t want to read any more until I knew, because he was the best character I could have ever dreamed of.”

He says that to keep his brain active he plays the piano, paints or memorizes poems by Dylan Thomas, but when it comes to talking about his merits as an actor or uncovering the secrets of some of the most legendary scenes of his career, he insists on subtracting importance.

“Acting does not require being a genius or a great intellectual effort, there will be people who are interested in making it look like that, but no,” he defends.

With Jodie Foster, on the set of "The silence of the inocents".  Photo Clarín Archive

With Jodie Foster, on the set of “The Silence of the Innocents”. Photo Clarín Archive

“On The silence of the inocents, Jodie came with a coffee in hand, we would stare at each other through a glass wall and we would drop the text. It is done. Sometimes we still meet to eat together and we talk about how much fun this way of making a living is. “

According to Zeller, Hopkins is an instinctive actor. “I’m just old”, replies the interpreter, “I have been active for many years so I know some tricks; the Stanislavski method is wonderful and I practiced it when I was young, but now it is more common sense than anything else”.

“When you reach 83, I don’t know if you’re smarter or stupider, but you certainly don’t waste time thinking too much about yourself,” he adds. “When it comes to acting, I just do it and that’s it, and with an actress by my side like Olivia, a wonderful director and a good script like this one, that’s the most important thing,” he adds in reference to The father.

Hopkins was not in the "ceremonies" of the Oscar.  He then recorded a video remembering candidate Chadwick Boseman.  AFP photo

Hopkins was not at the Oscar “ceremonies.” He then recorded a video remembering candidate Chadwick Boseman. AFP photo

However, at another point in the interview he confesses that when they were filming, between takes, he would stand in front of a mirror and repeat to himself: “This is just a game, OK? I don’t suffer from dementia, I’m acting, I’m acting” .

“You have to be careful with the message that you transfer to your subconscious because you can believe it,” he explains. “I remind my brain of things, when it tells me that my memory is failing or that I am getting older, I say no, that I am still young and strong, and the brain believes it, it really works.”

This image released by Sony Pictures Classics shows Olivia Colman, left, and Anthony Hopkins in a scene from "The Father." (Sean Gleason/Sony Pictures Classics via AP)

This image released by Sony Pictures Classics shows Olivia Colman, left, and Anthony Hopkins in a scene from “The Father.” (Sean Gleason/Sony Pictures Classics via AP)

Nor does he practice looking back too much. “My past seems like a dream to me, I feel like I can’t be responsible for anything, I don’t know why I became an actor, I don’t remember, I tend to think that everything has been a solipsism, that my parents never existed, they are only memories” .

His father died more than 40 years ago from heart disease. “He was in the hospital and I knew he was dying, that he was not going to leave, but suddenly you see yourself making strange promises; I told him that when he got out I would take him on a car trip from New York to Los Angeles and a few days later I went to see him and he was sitting there with a road map of the United States, so happy. “

“It is painful when you know that they are dying, but I suppose the only thing you can do is reassure them and let them know that you are there,” he says. His mother passed away years later. “My wife Stella was with her and to reassure her she told her that when she got to the other side she would meet her husband again. My mother, who was not very religious, answered her: ‘Will it be very expensive?’ He had a great sense of humor at the end. “

Source: EFE Agency

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Anthony Hopkins: ‘Life is absurd, we take everything too seriously’