One of my favourite all-rounders when it comes to acting is Sir Anthony Hopkins. After hearing that he was going to be in a brand new superhero flick, I spent some time looking into his film career and was astonished to see the wealth of roles he has under his belt.
Hopkins is the multi-award winning Welsh film, stage, and television actor that has played everyone from Saint Paul to Adolph Hitler. Perhaps best known for his depiction of eponymous serial killer Hannibal ‘the cannibal’ Lecter, in Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs, as well as the sequel Hannibal (2001), and prequel Red Dragon (2002).
Hopkins has portrayed so many notable characters from history, literature, and the arts, that it’s no surprise we will see him in yet another role of stature. In this year’s hotly anticipated Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment epic adventure Thor, he will be Odin, the major god of Norse mythology, and father to Thor, (played by Australian Chris Hemsworth). The film is based on the Stan Lee comic book version, and directed by Kenneth Branagh.
Hopkins celluloid career began back in 1958 with The White Bus. But his notable performances in Elephant Man (1980), Mutiny on the Bounty (1984), and 84 Charing Cross Road (1986) ensured further success. In the 1990s, he continued with Howard’s End (1991), Dracula (1992), The Remains of the Day, Shadowlands (both in 1993), Nixon (1995), and The Mask of Zorro (1998), to name just a few.
In the decade that followed, Hopkins notched up no less than twenty-three big-screen films, and one computer game voice over! He seems to have an uncanny knack for picking the stories that tap into the public psyche and, for an actor of his generation (he’s seventy four) winning the popularity stakes.
First off the block this year is The Rite, by Swedish director Mikael Hafstrom, due out on January 28th. It tells the story of sceptical seminary student Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue) who reluctantly attends the Vatican’s exorcism school. While in Rome Michael meets Father Lucas Trevant, played by Hopkins, an unorthodox priest who introduces him to the darker side of the Catholic faith.
Inspired by Matt Baglio’s novel ‘The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist’, it’s a very creepy adaptation, made all the more frightening by the fact that it’s semi-biographical. Anything with a soundtrack of haunting choirs chanting prayers and incantations reminiscent of The Omen is sure to disturb.
Currently in pre-production is The Song of Names based on Norman Lebrecht’s highly acclaimed novel. The film tells the story of two Jewish boys growing up in London. Martin befriends a Warsaw refugee and violin prodigy named Dovidl. When Dovidl mysteriously vanishes Martin is left heartbroken and confused.
If that wasn’t enough, Hopkins is also in talks with producers for the role of the evil sorcerer Pharotu in Arabian Nights, also still in pre-production. The film is a re-telling of “One Thousand and One Nights’, and showcases the usual suspects of Sinbad, Aladdin, and the Genie.
With four movies on the slate in 2011, including Thor, due out in May, it’s going to be another bumper year for Sir Anthony Hopkins. Now that’s what I call a mighty prolific actor.