The actor got his big break as a thespian working with British acting greats, but admits the experience grew tiresome, and his boredom with stage work pushed him to take on more movie roles – in particular the part of cannibal Lecter in the award-winning 1991 film.
In an interview with CNN newsman Piers Morgan, Hopkins says, “I’m not a creature of the theatre. People say I am, but I wasn’t at all. I couldn’t fit in with anyone. I’m not a team player. Couldn’t do Shakespeare, walking around in wrinkled tights for the rest of my life. I wanted to be back in movies.
“A script came over to the theatre one afternoon. My agent said read it. So I read it… Jonathan Demme came over, the director; he saw me and met me, and I started on it. I thought, ‘This is one of those parts that come up once in a lifetime.’ I just knew how to play that part. It’s the shadow at the top of the stairs that terrifies all little kids. This nightmare of our lives.”