Anthony Hopkins ‘scared’ to speak to Jodie Foster ahead of Silence of the Lambs

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Anthony Hopkins has said that he was scared to speak with Jodie Foster as they started work on Silence of the Lambs.

The pair spoke to each other as part of VARIETY’s Emmy Award-winning Variety Studio: Actors on Actors series as their iconic film The Silence of the Lambs celebrates its 30th anniversary.

The pair each won Academy Awards for their performances in the film, with Hopkins playing scheming cannibal Hannibal Lecter and Foster playing trouble but strong FBI agent Clarice Starling.

In the interview for Variety, 83-year-old Anthony has revealed that he was nervous to speak with her.

"I remember, I was in London in 1989, doing a play called ‘M. Butterfly.’ My agent sent a script. He said, ‘Why don’t you read this? It’s called ‘Silence of the Lambs.’’ I said, ‘Is it a children’s story?’ It was a hot summer afternoon, and the script came over and I started reading it."

Anthony Hopkins says he was 'scared' to speak to Jodie Foster ahead of Silence of the Lambs
(Image: Amazon/VARIETY Studio)

He continued: "After 10 pages, I phoned my agent. I said, ‘Is this a real offer? I want to know. This is the best part I’ve ever read.’ I read the rest of the script, and Jonathan [Demme] came over on a Saturday afternoon and we had dinner. And I said, ‘Is this for real?’

"And he said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘OK.’ He was such a wonderful guy to work with. I couldn't believe my luck, and I was scared to speak to you. I thought, ‘She just won an Oscar.’"

Jodie Foster also revealed how she felt after Anthony spoke as Hannibal Lecter
(Image: Amazon/VARIETY Studio)

Jodie Foster and Sir Anthony Hopkins both won Oscars for their roles in the film
(Image: EPA)

In the interview, 58-year-old Jodie also discussed her experience of meeting the thespian for the first time.

"We didn't get to speak too much before the actual read-through," she recalled. "We just sort of kind of waved from across the room and then sat down at the table.

"And as you launched into Hannibal Lecter, I felt a chill come over the room. In a way, it was like we were almost too scared to talk to each other after that."

Jodie played Clarice Starling in The Silence Of The Lambs
(Image: Rank)

Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter (centre) Silence Of The Lambs

Meanwhile, Jodie also discussed how her mother had debated her decision to take on the role of Clarice Starling, now a celebrated heroine of Hollywood history.

She explained: "I understood that was her strength. In some ways, she was just like the victims — another girl in another town. The fact that she could relate to those victims made her the hero."

The two actors have two films due for release and potential awards attention soon.

The pair reunited for the 30th anniversary of The Silence of the Lambs
(Image: Amazon/VARIETY Studio)

Anthony stars in The Father opposite Olivia Colman in a drama that deals with the impact of dementia, while Jodie stars in political-legal thriller The Mauritanian alongside The Serpent star Tahar Rahim and Shailene Woodley.

The Father is released on March 12 in the UK, while The Mauritanian is released on February 26.

Variety magazine is available on January 20.

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