Alcoholism and aspiration fuelled the actors rise to the top. He talks masculinity, fame and why hes finally ready to play Lear
For anyone who gazes toward their later years with consternation, Sir Anthony Hopkins (” Tony, please “) is a proper tonic. He is 79, and happier than he has ever been. This is due to a mixture of things: his relationship with his wife of 15 times, Stella, who has encouraged him to keep fit, and to branch out into paint and classical piece; the calming of his inner fire, of which more later; and his work.
Hopkins love to work. Much of his self-esteem and vigour comes from acting-” Oh, yes, undertaking has deterred me leading. Work has given me my vigour”- and he is in no way contemplating slowing down. You can feel a quicksilver energy about him, a restlessness. Every so often, I think he’s going to stop the interrogation and take flight, but actually he’s enjoying himself and maintenances saying,” Ask me more! This is great !”
We meet in Rome, where he is making a Netflix film about the relationship between the last pope( Benedict) and the present one( Francis ). Hopkins is playing Benedict, Jonathan Pryce is Francis. He is enjoying this-” We’re filming in the Sistine Chapel tomorrow !”- and we are both relishing the lovely vistum across the city from the penthouse suite in the hotel where he’s staying. Still, he declares that the cinema we are here to talk about, the BBC’s King Lear, filmed in England and directed by Richard Eyre, is the piece of work that has realized him genuinely happy.” I felt,’ Yes, I can do this .’ I can do this sort of job. I didn’t keep walking. And it’s so invigorating, because I know I can do it, and I’ve got my sense of humour, my modesty, and nothing’s been destroyed .”
He’s played the fraction before, at the National Theatre in 1986, with David Hare directing.” I was …”- he weighs in his head “… 48 ,” he says.” Stupid. I didn’t realise I was too young. I has no such concept of how to do it. I was struggling .”
Now, he feels he’s got Lear right, and few would dissent. In a star-studded cast- Emma Thompson plays Goneril; Emily Watson, Regan; Jim Broadbent, Gloucester; Jim Carter, Kent; Andrew Scott, Edgar – it’s Hopkins who dominates. He is fantastic: his white hair close-cropped, his way like a heavy-headed bull, a scary dictator losing his abilities, a alcoholic who moves into terrifying rage.
Hopkins’ conjecture is that Lear’s wife died giving birth to Cordelia, and Lear produced her up, his favourite, as a tomboy. Of the older two daughters, Emily Watson said,” and I is in agreement with her, that they have become monsters, because he made them so “. Hopkins believes that Lear is panicked of the status of women, can’t understand them. Hence the horrid specificity of the curses he rains on his older daughters, damning their wombs. He tries refuge in mortals, surrounding himself with a unruly male army. The vistums where Lear wants to bring his retinue to Regan’s house are reminiscent of an horrific, all-boys-together drink-fest.
” I come from an entire generation where boys were gentlemen ,” Hopkins says.” There’s nothing soft or touchy-feely about any of us, where we were from in Wales. There’s a negative side to that, because we’re not very good at receiving charity or presenting it. We don’t understand it. After Richard Burton died, his brother Graham invited me to the Dorchester where they were all having a get-together, the brides and the men, all the sisters and brethren. All pee-pee. And I noticed the status of women were sipping their ports and brandy, but all the men were,’ Come on, sip! Drink !’ I belief,’ There’s something exceedingly Greek about this .’ Men together. You know, like the bouzouki dancers. It’s not homosexuality, but it is a sexuality, a kind of bonding. That’s what I was thinking of .”
Hopkins often use his past to find his acces into a character. Small incidents that stick in his attention, real people who inform. In the vistum with Kent, Edgar and the Fool, as Lear descends into madness, he has all three line up on a terrace and places them with the wrong names. Hopkins decided that Lear had pictured his father drown three puppies when he was young and imagined his friends to be those hounds.” Cruelty to an animal stays with you for the rest of your life ,” he says.” I formerly witnessed something like that, but I can’t think of it too much, it’s too upsetting. But that little grain of an affair doesn’t extend. It ripens with you .” When he depicts deliberately spooky beings- such as Hannibal Lecter or Robert Ford in the Westworld series– he plays them softly, emphasising their sinister dominate. His Lear, though, is explosive.” He’s completely bonkers- he titters at the cyclone. That’s what I like about him .”
In the cinema, Hopkins utilizes a horseshoe as his treetop. He questioned a friend, Drew Dalton, a props guy on Westworld who is also an Idaho farmer, to get onto for him, and he told him it was from an age-old mare, assume in 1925. When Hopkins talks about this mare, he gets a little teary.” I carry the horseshoe with me wherever I go now. I still get psychological about it- the dominance, and the loneliness, and the anguish of that mare. That’s Lear .”
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