Mostly, that’s due to Anthony Hopkins‘ bone-chilling portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a cannibalistic serial killer tasked with helping FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) hunt down another murderer who has kidnapped a senator’s daughter. (The film earned Hopkins and Foster Oscars and took home the trophy for Best Picture.) Naturally, the movie is pretty intense—however, in a new interview with Variety, Hopkins admitted he wasn’t always aware how intense.
In a conversation with Foster for Variety‘s “Actors on Actors,” Hopkins described how his agent had sent him the script. “Is it a children’s story?” Hopkins recalled asking. “He said ‘No, it’s with Jodie Foster.'”
Excited by the prospect of working with Foster, who even at the time was a prolific actress with credits like Taxi Driver and The Accused on her resume, the star read the script by Ted Tally. Upon reading just the first 10 pages, he declared, “This is the best script I’ve ever read.”