Week 4 – Actors of The Silence of the Lambs

Title:  Silence of the Lambs

Director:  Jonathan Demme

Year:  1991

Jodie Foster (Clarice Starling)
Anthony Hopkins (Dr. Hannibal Lecter)
Ted Levine (Jame Gumb/Buffalo Bill)

Jodie Foster:


Jodie began her career in a television commercial at the age of 4.  By the time she was 10 she was appearing in sitcoms and also made her film debut.  Her breakthrough role occurred in 1976 as a child prostitute starring opposite Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver (1976), a role in which gave her the first nomination for an Academy Award.  However, she wouldn’t win her first Academy Award until 1988 for her role in The Accused (1988) and then again for her role in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) (Jodie Foster).

For her role in The Silence of the Lambs and for just all other projects she’s involved in, I would classify Jodie as a “wild card” actor, as she has proven many times over that she can play any type of role exceptionally.  She is able to flawlessly go from an FBI agent in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) to the musical remake, Anna and the King (1999) to fantasy film, Nim’s Island (2008).


Anthony Hopkins:


Hopkins is a Welsh born actor who graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in 1957 (Anthony Hopkins).  He began his career in the theatre where he made a considerable name for himself.   He got his break in 1968, playing Richard I, in The Lion in Winter (1968) (Anthony Hopkins).  He has been nominated for four Academy Awards for his roles.  He won the Best Actor for his role as Dr. Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991).

Anthony Hopkins is considered by many to be on the greatest living actors.  As such, he also can be considered a “wild card” actor.  Interestingly, he claims to despise “method actors”.  In interview with the Huffington Post (2012), Hopkins states; “There’s no such thing. Well, you can do it if you want, but I don’t go along with being called ‘Mr. Hitchcock.’ I think that’s a lot of crap. I just don’t understand that. If actors want to do that, fine. If they want to be miserable, that’s up to them. I’m not interested. It’s a job. I do the job. I’m certainly not going to make my life miserable just to be a character.”(Hopkins, 2012).  Although Hopkins’ character, Dr. Lecter was only in the movie for a total of 17 minutes, the effect he had on audiences worldwide were far greater, as the first person that comes to mind when thinking of the movie is the cannibalistic doctor.  Hoping for the same success as The Silence of the Lambs (1991) there were two subsequent sequels, also starring Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Lecter; Hannibal (2001) and Red Dragon (2002).  There was also a prequel, Hannibal Rising (2007).  Today there is also a rather successful television series called Hannibal (Hannibal Lecter, 2013).


Ted Levine:


Ted Levine was born in Ohio in 1957. He performed in local theater throughout the years in Vermont, Michigan and West Virginia before settling in Chicago where he joined The Remains, whom he performed with throughout the 80’s before he began working in television and film (Ted Levine).  Ted’s most famous break-out role came as the role of Jame Gumb aka Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs (1991).

Although his physical part in movie was small; it was one of the focal points of the entire movie.  For this specific role, I would classify Ted Levine as a “character actor” as he is a relatively unknown actor yet in high demand and will always be known for his role as Buffalo Bill, a psychopathic killer that skins his victims.

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Anthony Hopkins. (n.d.). Retrieved November 25, 2014, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Hopkins#Awards_and_nominations

Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From Watching to Seeing, 2nd Ed. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education Inc.

Hannibal Lecter (franchise)  (2013). Retrieved November 25, 2014, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannibal_Lecter_(franchise)

Hopkins, A. (2012, November 20). Anthony Hopkins On Method Actors: ‘What A Pain In The A**’. (D. Carlson, Interviewer)

Jodie Foster. (n.d.). Retrieved November 25, 2014, from IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000149/bio

Ted Levine. (n.d.). Retrieved November 25, 2014, from IMBd: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0505971/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm


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