Anthony Hopkins: Master of Civility the Actor Reveals the Depth under His Dignified Portrayals

By David Sterritt, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, December 8, 1993 | Go to article overview

Anthony Hopkins: Master of Civility the Actor Reveals the Depth under His Dignified Portrayals


David Sterritt, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


HAVING a quiet talk with Anthony Hopkins a few weeks before the opening of "Shadowlands," his newest film, I had the same thought that occured to me during our first interview several years ago: This is a gentle, thoughtful man who approaches his life and work with calm, clear-headed sincerity.

True, some aspects of his career have pointed in different directions. In his younger years he was known for a quick temper, a demanding attitude, and excessive habits. And then there's the astounding sense of conviction he gave to the cannibalistic criminal named Hannibal Lector in "The Silence of the Lambs," the most eagerly discussed and professionally lauded horror movie of the past decade.

Yet for all the notoriety of that icily ingenious performance, Mr. Hopkins is still regarded as a richly civilized actor with a gift for dignified portrayals in literate stories. This image comes from his personal manner and also from his superlative recent work in "Howards End" and "The Remains of the Day," both from Merchant Ivory Productions, the most civilized film company in the business.

More evidence is found in "Shadowlands," featuring Hopkins as British author C.S. Lewis and Debra Winger as Joy Gresham, the American poet who sought him out, became his wife, and changed his life forever.

"People ask me why I've played all these repressed characters," says Hopkins with a smile, acknowledging the irony of two notably fastidious characterizations - first the "Remains of the Day" butler and now the "Shadowlands" author and scholar - arriving on screen within a few weeks of each other.

"I'm a bit like that myself," he continues, "although I've played a wide range of parts.... I like order. I like safety. I like comfort. I don't like too many big challenges, or being disturbed too much. I'm a bit selfish in that way. But as I'm getting older, I'm getting more abandoned about that, and I'm getting less fearful. I also think I have spiritual values in my life, as Lewis certainly did - although I sometimes wish mine were a little more developed!"

Lewis is best known as author of "The Chronicles of Narnia," a series of seven highly imaginative novels intended for children but equally enjoyed by many a grownup. Lewis was also a classicist and theologian, however, whose books and lectures range from brightly fanciful to seriously learned and earnestly spiritual in their goals.

Hopkins is not a big believer in researching the parts he plays, but he did do some investigating into Lewis's life when preparing for "Shadowlands," and he was fascinated by what he found. "I haven't really played a role like this - a troubled, romantic man who goes through an emotional catharsis - in a very long time," he says. "I have played men who go through an intellectual development, like Pierre in `War and Peace,' but that's from a different age. In this part I felt there was a great opportunity to go back and tap into my own emotional and spiritual life. …

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

Anthony Hopkins: Master of Civility the Actor Reveals the Depth under His Dignified Portrayals
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.