Actors' Take On Ridley Scott

Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore Talk About 'Hannibal' Roles

Charlie Rose talked with actors Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore about their new roles in the soon-to-be released Hannibal:

On Their Roles:

What is it about Hannibal Lecter that you, who fashioned the role in the beginning, find so interesting?

Hopkins: "He's the darkest side of ourselves."

"He's absolutely certain of what he does. He does it all very smoothly and cleanly, as if he's really sane. And, in fact, he's completely bonkers."

"In this he becomes a curator of a...library in Florence. And he's the arch sophisticate....He's a wine connoisseur, food taster. (Laughs) Scholar....A historian, brilliant knowledge of...Dante and Renaissance literature."

"In playing him, it's very easy. I just put on the clothes and do it."

"In Florence, I start off ...as the classical Lecter, lecturing and being smooth."

"He escapes from Florence, having killed a few people there. He comes to America."

"I had a sudden idea. I said, 'How about my cropping my hair very short, changing the whole look, and changing the whole physical structure of the man?'"

"I started building up a lot of muscle....I've been working out and all that. So I just wanted to make him like a mercenary, that he would be so fit and so strong that he could just snap somebody in two if they got... in his way."

"He's still the sort of Robin Hood of killers. He kills the - what do they call them? the terminally rude."

It's about love and vengeance?

Hopkins: "His obsession with Clarice Starling and her obsession with him."

"It's not exactly a romance, but ... there is that element. There's that erotic element in the story. I'm told. Ridley says it comes across very clearly."

"Jodie turned (the part) down; ... naturally, there was a mild disappointment."

"I was thrilled when...it came to... (Julianne) Moore....She's so terrific, and such a good... actress. And so sexy."

"And that's a necessary ingredient, I think, that she's brought ... a sexiness into it."

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Julianne Moore

Why Clarice for you? Why take this part?

Moore: "She's somebody who's extremely moral who's in a very difficult situation....I like her because...she's a straight arrow, she plays by the rules.

She believes there should be rules and that there's a right way to do things. ...And she's in a very, very challenging place, ...with a character like Lecter....There are no rules; there's nothing. It's just chaos.

Does it matter that she's been defined at an earlier time in her life, in ... an award-winning performance by another atress?

"Jodie's a wonderful actress... and she won an Academy Award....It's a fabulous performance....There's no way I can do what Jodie did."

"That was one movie, and this is another movie....Obviously I'm up against it. ... On the other hand, you can't worry about stuff. It's just a job."

Did you and Ridley see Clarice exactly the same?

Moore: Yeah, pretty much, we did."

"An actor and a director have to give each other room in terms of what the vision is, too. ... I have to be willing to kind of accept his stuff. He takes mine and...in the middle we come up with this...person."

"It was very easy with him because ... I felt that it really evolved. That the character evolved as our relationship evolved. And there were things that we both kind of figured out, particularly, what a straight arrow she was."

"That...was very interesting to both of us, that this was a person who was very... ordered, very straight."

They're attracted to each other. There's a tension because of that. It's not just a chase of Clarice having to capture him. There is beyond that.

"There's mutual admiration, because they're both very smart. And they both are somewhat isolated, ... and live kind of, dangerous lives."

The Director's Skills

You were happy with Ridley?

Hopkins: "It's turned out be ... one of the best collaborations."

"I've worked with some of the geniuses who are control freaks. And don't allow the actors to have any ideas. And I think that's insufferable."

"(Ridley)'s confident in the actors he has around him; he's confident in his crew."

"And he's there to be the director. ...The storyboards on his script are fascinating pieces of work. He has such a vision of what he wants to do."

"Of what he wants to see on screen. His filming of Florence and our surroundings in Florence are spectacular."

"There was a fight in the kitchen with...Julianne Moore. ... And it was a difficult...little scene to set up. And neither of us ...had done that much preparation."

"So we tried out a few things. ...He doesn't push you. He doesn't panic. But you get the sense that it's going to be OK. That whatever you do, you're going to come up with an idea, and you'll stay there until it comes up."

"He had a vague geography of what we were going to do. And suddenly, I thought, 'How about trying this?'...And he said, 'Great. OK. Let's go.'"

"And that happens because there's no pressure.... He's confident in himself."

"And it's a great complementary, two-way system. It's an open street."

What does Ridley Scott do for you in this movie, other than collaborate and take care of business?

Hopkins: "He brings his personality. He's very cheerful, very modest."

"I'm sure he's got a...very healthy ego. ...He has hinted that there were days, there were years some years ago that he was difficult, that he was tough, that he was demandng. ... I don't know Ridley that well, but I think he must have gone through a change."

"That he decided that it's pointless getting upset, ... as I've had to learn that for myself. It's pointless getting a temper or getting ugly over such inconsequential things."

"That is a tremendous help to me. Cause if you've got somebody who's sweating and biting their fingernails."

"And you think, 'Well, (Laughs) what's this all about? What's the point?'"

We're not, discovering the... art of brain surgery.... It's a movie, whatever it is. It's all going to end up in a vault here one day and shown in cut and scratched versions on TV. "

"So what he brings is his... relaxation, his knowledge and his experience, and his calmness."

Is Ridley Scott a great director?

Hopkins: "I'm not a film buff, but he tells the story well. Like John Huston... or like Spielberg, they tell the story in the most vivid way."

"It is also is the enthusiasm he has for it. He loves it. He comes in, and he lights a cigar. And he says, 'That's when I'm focused.' You know, smokes his cigar in the morning, and he's there concentrating. And he relishes it. That's what makes him good.

"Having said that I would probably never work again and all that, I come on the... film set. And I think, ...'What a wonderful way to live.' Whether it's being in the pig pen up here on the stable or...Florence."

But what difference ... does it make that Ridley Scott...?

Moore: "I expected somebody who was really... facile in...all aspects of...movie making. I don't think I expected somebody who was so kind of wonderfully human and engaged and fun and caring."

"He just expects that you'll be able to do it. And he's there to assist you in every way... and really loves movie-making.

"He's very prepared. He knows exactly what he wants and... how he's going to achieve it. At the same time, extremely flexible, so if you come in and you say, 'Well, what if?' He goes, 'Yeah, yeah, sure, of course do that.' "

"He's going to give you the frame. He's going to take care of the tension in the scene....He has such a strong visual sense of... what the dynamic in a scene is.

"He'll set it up; you can see it literally in the frame. You'll see one actor here, another one behind them; you'll see something else moving back here. So you realize he's told the story; he's already told the story in the shot. So you just have to fulfill your character within that shot."

He can handle almost every tone and handle it well... .There are like all these mini-movies, because we'd be doing... for one two week period, we'd be doing an action movie where it was, just a whole kind of shoot-out scene with cars crashing. ... And then you'd go inside the FBI offices and everybody would be talking ... all the odd dialogue stuff, all heavy drama stuff."

"Then you'd work with the animals. ...And there would be all these big pigs."

"So, he handled all of it, really well, and was completely unflappable."

"This is a guy who operates... three cameras at any given time, when we're doing an action sequence. Even if we're doing a dialogue sequence, he'll get two cameras going. ...It was very, very rare that there would be only one camera on the set."

"As an actor, it's exciting, cause you're in the middle of several different shots."

"When you're acting in a film, the... proscenium is the camera."

If you're doing something and there's a camera over here, and there's a camera over here and then you have to run into a closeup over here, ... it's terrifying because ... you don't know where the proscenium is at any given time. You realize that he can... choose it.

"That was something...I found terrifying and... liberating at the same time....It was something that...I've never seen anybody else do."

He had to walk you through getting...

Moore: "He just throws you in there. ...That's what he does. And I liked that, too. He has every expectation like a great director, or like a great teacher, ... that you will fulfill his needs."

Reflecting On Hopkins' Career

There was a time (when) you almost were ready to quit acting cause you'd had a bad experience.

Hopkins: "I don't like being controlled by directors who simply stare at the video monitor all day, and you don't see them. ...And they have no comments; they have nothing to give you back. And if they tell you do take after take after take, I said, 'That's it; get another actor.'"

"And I'd had that in the last couple of years. And I'd decided I had enough of this business. ... I didn't want to retire, but I just wanted to have a rest and get away from that."

Why do you do (the film business)?

"Oh, they pay me well. (Laughter) I get well paid there. Sure beats working for a living; I'll tell you that."

"I can't take the theater. Working... night after night after night."

There's no one project that ... you want to do while you're at your peak?

"No. This and Napoleon; I would like to play him. Napoleon. But I've wanted to play that for years."

"I want to conquer countries."

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