Anthony Hopkins Made Jodie Foster Feel Small and Humiliated in an Improvised Scene That Got Her Blood Boiling in Silence of the Lambs

Anthony Hopkins made Jodie Foster feel embarrassed while filming as the actress was just learning an accent and the senior actor called it out for not sounding real.

The Oscar-winning psychological thriller The Silence of the Lambs became an immediate hit for Hollywood in 1991.
Sir Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs

Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs
It grossed more than $270 million worldwide — which was a great amount of money for an R-rated feature at the time. Both Jodie Foster and her co-star Anthony Hopkins won Oscars for their performances, too.

But there was a time when, during the shoot of the memorable scene in the film, Hopkins made fun of the Nyad star. That incident left the actress feeling small and humiliated.
Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs (1991)Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs (1991)

In her Masterclass on Jodie Foster Teaches Filmmaking, the actor-director recalled a specific moment from The Silence of the Lambs where her co-star Anthony Hopkins teased the accent that she was practicing for. She also emphasized that it was an improvised scene that “was not rehearsed.” As she continued (via MasterClass):

“I was an actress learning how to speak in West Virginia accent, and when I heard of him, it really made me mad. It’s an interesting thing that happens. I think that you can feel that. You can feel this kind of shame of having tried so hard to be something, and having somebody humiliate you, and not being able to do about it because you’re smaller and more fragile and you’re scared.”

The actress expressed her feelings about this incident and mentioned that she was in the process of learning. The situation made her feel vulnerable because she couldn’t respond due to her position at that time.

Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins Were Scared of Each Other

Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs (1991).Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster in a still from The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
On The Graham Norton Show, the host asked Jodie Foster, “In The Silence of the Lambs, is it true did you never speak to Anthony Foster?” She exclaimed: “Nope, never spoke to him. He was scary! [started laughing].”

Foster then explained that glass partitions and jail cells separated them for most of the shoot, as Hannibal Lecter spent most of the time in confinement. “We got to the end of the movie and had never really had a conversation,” she said.

“I avoided him as much as I could. I really avoided him,” the Hollywood actress added. But later, it turned out that the fearful feeling was mutual, as she discovered on their last day of filming. “He came up to me… And I said — I don’t know, I sort of had a tear in my eye — I was like, ‘I was really scared of you.’ And he said, “I was scared of you!’”


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