Anthony Hopkins. Photo: Magnus Sundholm for the HFPA.
  • Golden Globe Awards

Nominee Profile 2020: Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”

Cecil B. deMille award recipient Sir Anthony Hopkins, born December 31, 1937, has led an astounding film career. The Welsh actor parlayed a successful stage career to become an A-list Hollywood actor, impressively portraying numerous versatile characters on the big screen. His unforgettable performances in movies such as The Remains of the Day, Nixon, Amistad received numerous awards (including a total of seven Globe nominations for Best Actor). And who could ever forget his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter, the magnificent, cultivated serial killer in Silence of the Lambs, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1992? Sir Anthony, trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, was knighted in 1993 for his contributions to the arts.His latest movie, The Two Popes explores two “holy” men as men, abiding in their faith but capable of weakness all the same. Before our eyes, Sir Anthony becomes Pope Benedict, mastering a grim Germanic laugh as he teases and argues with Pope Francis (played by Jonathan Pryce) about soccer, both acknowledging their own egos and struggles in connecting with God.Hopkins had previously worked with The Two Popes director Fernando Meirelles but never collaborated with Jonathan Pryce before. “We instantly hit it off,” acknowledges Hopkins. “We shared a lot of jokes and had such a wonderful time together. We do have two different styles of acting. His style is very loose and I tend to be kind of dissonant, I always like to know the lines.”Director Fernando Meirelles build his drama of faith and cautious antagonism around the showcase scenes between Hopkins and Pryce, putting the actors in settings – a garden in the Pope’s country, the Sistine Chapel – that emphasize the grandeur of their spiritual debate, and each man’s power.“My father was an atheist, my mother was an agnostic, (and) I never went to church,” admits Hopkins. “My life has been a journey, beyond my comprehension and some real big force has guided me (…) I do believe there is something vaster than myself, so yes, I call it God, so yes, I do have a spiritual being, I do believe. I am happier and laugh more now than I have ever been because this is all a joke. One day we are all going to die, as T.S. Eliot said, ‘I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker and I have seen the eternal footman hold my coat and snicker and in short, I was afraid.’ Death, it comes to us all.”In his spare time, the restless thespian is also an accomplished painter, plays the piano and even composed a waltz named “And The Waltz Goes On”. Dutch violinist and conductor Andre Rieu fell in love with his classical composition and arranged the piece. In 2011, it premiered in Vienna in the presence of Hopkins. A passionate animal lover, he is an active and fervent supporter of Greenpeace and has been featured in a television advertisement campaign, voicing concerns about Japan’s continuing annual whale hunt.Hopkins is soon turning 82 and has more energy than ever. He has been working hard in recent years, filming King Lear, The Pope, and The Father. “I am getting a little tired, so I better rest now. But not too much for when you rest that’s when death will get you.”