His Place in the Sun; Sir Anthony Hopkins Traveled a Long Road out of Darkness to Find His Calling, Then His Success. after 50 Years as an Actor, He Remains a Driving Creative Force

By Zimmerman, Mike | Success, March 2010 | Go to article overview

His Place in the Sun; Sir Anthony Hopkins Traveled a Long Road out of Darkness to Find His Calling, Then His Success. after 50 Years as an Actor, He Remains a Driving Creative Force


Zimmerman, Mike, Success


ANTHONY HOPKINS calls his cliff-top Malibu, Calif., home a sanctuary. And in the obvious sense, it is. From the front yard, you stand several hundred feet above Zuma Beach, gazing out at the pristine Pacific. Breathtaking. Then walk to the back of the house--a large white colonial with a steep redtiled roof--and you enter another world submerged in junglelike vegetation. A series of paths winds through small, cozy clearings to several tiny outbuildings and a pool. It is utterly private. A hummingbird buzzes my head. Near the guesthouse, Hopkins pauses to study a spider web drenched in a sunbeam.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"Sometimes I don't want to leave," he says, but not because he prefers to lounge around his self-made paradise. Quite the opposite, in fact. He uses the word sanctuary to define a place that allows him to do all the things he needs to do. When he's not acting, Hopkins is a voracious reader, painter and composer. His paintings sell well, and he finds it stimulating and creative rather than relaxing. Which makes him want to do it. all the time.

"I have a busy brain," he tells me. "I don't find it that easy to stay still. My wife, Stella, checks me. She'll say, Just relax, sit down, why do you have to go all the time?' There's always something busy in me, something pushing me. I think it's very necessary to have a tension in life that keeps us moving. If we become totally peaceful, we die."

An Overriding Ambition

Sir Anthony--he prefers Tony--will probably always be known for his Oscar-winning role as Hannibal Lecter, the cannibalistic psychopath from the film adaptations of Thomas Harris's novels Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal That's a small sample. Now 72, he remains fit and driven (one of his outbuildings is a gym) and owner of a resume that keeps expanding. This February, he plays Benicio Del Toro's father in The Wolfman. And he recently worked with Woody Allen for the first time--"That was terrific," he says.

He's been an actor for more than 50 years now. In fact, the day I visit him is the 54th anniversary of his winning a scholarship at a local acting school in Cardiff, Wales. He was 17. At 24, he attended the Royal Academy, and eventually worked in Britain's National Theater with the likes of Laurence Olivier, who directed Hopkins in two plays. He liked how Olivier worked. Once the players had their roles and his direction down, Olivier turned them loose. "He expected you to be daring," Hopkins says. "'Be outrageous,' he'd say. 'Do something that hasn't been done before.' What a gift to give to someone."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Back then, Hopkins was cons tuned with an overriding ambition to become successful, he says. "I had no pretenses about, 'Oh, I'm just lucky to be an actor.' I was, 'I want to be rich and famous and successful!' I'd never say that to people. But if someone asked, that's the answer I'd give. They'd say, 'Oh, get you.' And I'd say, 'You want to stay here for the rest of your life walking around in wrinkled, tights? Be my guest.'"

Harnessing the Anger

Hopkins doesn't come off as arrogant as he says this. "I speak at all times as a human being. We're not saints. We're frail, fallible creatures." He cops to a lot of anger as a young man--anger he had to learn to let go of--but he knows that anger is what allowed him to eventually rise in his field. You see, Hopkins was a horrible student. He mentions dyslexia and at tent ion-deficit hyperactivity disorder in passing, but back then, there was no diagnosis for those symptoms other than "problem child."

"Oh, I was the source of worry for my parents, the only child," he says. 'There's something in me that's not geared to taking instruction. My brain doesn't take that information in. I wish it did. But it doesn't. So I had no apparent future because schooling and education are important, and I didn't seem to have the ability to grasp what was being taught me. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

His Place in the Sun; Sir Anthony Hopkins Traveled a Long Road out of Darkness to Find His Calling, Then His Success. after 50 Years as an Actor, He Remains a Driving Creative Force
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.