On the list of British thespians that have achieved critical and commercial success in Hollywood, Sir Anthony Hopkins comes out pretty close to the very best. The Welsh actor, director, and producer is one of the most prolific actors to have ever come out of the country, recognisable for his performances on both stage and screen, winning several awards across both disciplines, as well as a coveted knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.
His career started on the stage, too, training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London when he was spotted by Laurence Olivier, who invited him to join the Royal National Theatre in 1965. Appearing in acclaimed productions of King Lear, Coriolanus and Macbeth, later in his stage career in 1985, Hopkins would win a Laurence Olivier Award for his performance in Pravda, a satire about the Thatcher-era of Britain created by David Hare.
Just two years after he joined the Royal National Theatre, Hopkins achieved cinematic recognition as Richard the Lionheart in The Lion in Winter, a performance that would open the floodgates for the actor’s influence in the industry. Collaborations with Richard Attenborough, David Lynch and Jonathan Demme would follow, with the latter director helping him to earn his first Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of serial killer Hannibal Lecter.
Having worked with some of the finest filmmakers ever to grace the silver screen, as well as such modern names as Taika Waititi, Darren Aronofsky and Robert Zemeckis, Hopkins revealed in an interview with The Talks, whom from his illustrious career has inspired him the most.
“There have been a number of them, and they all have their own quirky way of working,” the actor revealed, adding, “I’ve worked with Oliver Stone, Spielberg, a number of them. Some of the best, and I’ve been lucky. When I direct I try to keep it a unique design of my own. Naturally you’re influenced”.
Portraying the 37th U.S President Richard Nixon in Oliver Stone’s 1995 drama Nixon, Hopkins was nominated for an Academy Award, losing out to Nicolas Cage and his performance in the fierce romantic drama, Leaving Las Vegas. As for Steven Spielberg, the actor starred in his somewhat forgettable 1997 mystery Amistad alongside the likes of Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey and Djimon Hounsou.
Whilst he doesn’t outright name the one director who has inspired him the most, he does have a lot to say about Oliver Stone, adding, “Stone is a great director, and I’ve seen many films over the years”. Though, ever the professional, the actor further asserts, “I try to create stuff out of my own imagination. I want to break all the rules and mess about with it and make a different movie just for the fun of it”.
Hopkins is due to star in Zack Snyder’s upcoming epic Rebel Moon alongside such names as Charlie Hunnam, Sofia Boutella and Cary Elwes.