Sir Anthony Hopkins, All-American

Is it because taxes are lower in the U.S. than in the U.K.? Does he loathe the British tabloids? Or is it because he really, really liked playing Nixon? Whatever the reason, Anthony Hopkins gave up the Union Jack for the stars and stripes and became a U.S. citizen here today.

Without any hoopla or fanfare, the 1992 Oscar winner (“Silence of the Lambs“) was stealthily ushered through a back entrance in and out of a downtown federal courthouse for a short (and very private) swearing in by a judge in the late afternoon. Hopkins evaded a throng of reporters who wanted to ask him about his citizenship switch.

According to certain sources, John Travolta and Steven Spielberg attended the ceremony as witnesses.

Even Hopkins‘ publicist wasn’t able to shed much light on the Welsh actor’s motivations.

“I believe it’s because he’s lived here for a number of years, and he thinks it’s the right thing to do,” rep Catherine Olim told “I know it’s something he’s very enthusiastic about.”

There was no immediate word as to how, if at all, Hopkins‘ change of allegiance will affect his status as a knight of the realm. Hopkins was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in March 1993.

It’s not known whether Hopkins had the cojones to wear his Hannibal face mask for the ceremony. But here’s hoping he did.