In 1991, the world was enraptured by the psychological horror story of a young FBI trainee, Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) who was hunting a serial killer, “Buffalo Bill” (Ted Levine), who skinned his female victims. To catch him, she sought the advice of the imprisoned Dr Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer.
The Silence of the Lambs grossed $272.7 million worldwide on a $19 million budget, becoming the fifth highest-grossing film of 1991 worldwide.
Now, after thirty years, Foster and Hopkins have reunited in an interview with Variety, admitting that they not only scared the living daylights of the audience but even managed to spook themselves.
“We didn’t speak too much before the actual read-through,” Foster said during the interview. “And as you launched into Hannibal Lecter, I felt a chill come over the room. In a way, it was like we were almost too scared to talk to each other after that.”
To add to the chill factor, Hopkins also stayed in character between takes, even snapping at a member of the crew saying: “What are you doing in my cell?”
Director Jonathan Demme thought it was perfect. “You’re so weird!” he had said.
Hopkins also had helped set the scene for his character’s first meeting with Starling, saying to Demme: “‘I’d like to be standing there. I can smell her coming down the corridor.” Spooky.
According to Foster, the set provided no comfort either.
“It was such an eerie set,” she said. “All the different inmates, all very dark and moody, and then we come to Lecter’s: It’s kind of bright and fluorescent lighting and two-dimensional.”
The Silence of the Lambs, adapted from the 1988 novel of the same name by Thomas Harris, won Demme the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival. Then, the following year, it became the third film in history to win Academy Awards in all the top five categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Hopkins), Best Actress (Foster), and Best Adapted Screenplay.
In early January, a brand new crime drama series was announced, which will delve into the untold story of Starling.
The series will premiere on Stan on February 12 and stars Australia’s own Rebecca Breeds (The Originals, Pretty Little Liars) in the title role.
The series will follow FBI Agent Clarice Starling as she returns to the field in 1993, one year after the events of The Silence of the Lambs.