What you may not know about The Silence of the Lambs

I am deeply grateful to International Movie Database(IMDb) for assembling trivia associated with one of my favorite films. Here is a selection:


o Jodie Foster claims that during the first meeting between Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling, Sir Anthony Hopkins‘s mocking of her southern accent was improvised on the spot. Foster’s horrified reaction was genuine since she felt personally attacked. She later thanked Hopkins for generating such an honest reaction.

o In preparation for his role, Sir Anthony Hopkins studied files of serial killers. Also, he visited prisons, and studied convicted murderers, and was present during some court hearings concerning gruesome
o After Lecter was moved from Baltimore, the plan was to dress him in a yellow or orange jumpsuit. Sir Anthony Hopkins convinced director Jonathan Demme and costume designer Colleen Atwood that the character would seem more clinical and unsettling if he was dressed in pure white. Hopkins has since said he got the idea from his fear of dentists.
o With twenty-four minutes and fifty-two seconds of screen time, Sir Anthony Hopkins‘ performance in this movie is the second shortest to ever win an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, with David Niven in Separate Tables (1958) beating him, at twenty-three minutes and thirty-nine seconds.
o When characters are talking to Starling (Jodie Foster), they often talk directly to the camera. When she is talking to them, she is always looking slightly off-camera. Director Jonathan Demme has explained that this was done so as the audience would directly experience her point-of-view, but not theirs, hence encouraging the audience to more readily identify with her.
o One of the inspirations from whom Sir Anthony Hopkins borrowed for his interpretation of Dr. Hannibal Lecter was a friend of his in London who rarely blinked when speaking, which unnerved anyone around him.
o Jodie Foster spent a great deal of time with FBI agent Mary Ann Krause prior to filming. Krause gave Foster the idea of Clarice Starling standing by her car crying. Krause told Foster that at times, the work just became so overwhelming that it was a good way to get an emotional release.
o The real-life FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit assisted in the making of this movie.
o The production received full cooperation from the FBI, as they saw it as a potential recruiting tool to hire more female agents.
o The Silence of the Lambs was inspired by the real-life relationship between University of Washington criminology professor and profiler Bob Keppel and serial killer Ted Bundy. Bundy helped Keppel investigate the Green River Serial Killings in Washington. Bundy was executed January 24, 1989. The Green River Killings were finally solved in 2001 when Gary Ridgway was arrested. On November 5, 2003, in a Seattle courtroom, Ridgway pled guilty to forty-eight counts of aggravated first degree murder.
o When Jonathan Demme filmed the scene where Lecter and Starling first meet, Sir Anthony Hopkins said he should look directly at the camera as it panned into his line of sight. He felt Lecter should be portrayed as “knowing everything.”
o This movie recouped its budget in its first week of release.
o Notoriously private and shy, author Thomas Harris declined the opportunity to be involved in this movie in any way, though he did wish the cast and crew the best of luck with the adaptation.
o When Sir Anthony Hopkins found out that he was cast as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, based on his performance as Dr. Frederick Treves in The Elephant Man (1980), he questioned director Jonathan Demme, and said “But Dr. Treves was a good man”, to which Demme replied “So is Lecter, he is a good man too. Just trapped in an insane mind.”
o When Sir Anthony Hopkins‘s agent called him in London, to tell him that he was sending him a script called “The Silence of the Lambs,” Hopkins immediately thought he might be going up for a children’s movie.
o When studying the character he played, Sir Anthony Hopkins noticed similar characteristics in reptiles. Reptiles only blink when they want to, and do it consciously. Therefore, in the movie, Hopkins only blinks in special moments and very consciously.


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