This week's Sunday Long Read is Tananarive Due's Vanity Fair interview with Jodie Foster and Sir Anthony Hopkins on the 30th anniversary of Silence of the Lambs, one of the scariest movies nerdy teenage me could have seen as the 90's were just getting underway.
When Jodie Foster and Sir Anthony Hopkins joined me on a video call to talk about The Silence of the Lambs for the movie’s 30th anniversary, they hadn’t seen each other in more than a decade, so there was more giddy laughter than you would expect from a conversation about murder and mayhem.
The late Jonathan Demme’s movie was, of course, based on the best-selling novel by Thomas Harris. It’s the story of FBI trainee Clarice Starling, who’s sent to the figurative depths of hell to probe the mind of the refined, if cannibalistic, serial killer Hannibal Lecter and secure his advice about capturing another depraved murderer named Buffalo Bill (played by Ted Levine). There has always been criticism of the way Silence represents transgender issues, which Foster speaks to here. But despite that asterisk, the movie swept all five of the top Oscar categories1, a feat not equaled in the decades since. It has spawned sequels, parodies, and the TV shows Hannibal and Clarice, not to mention the oft-repeated lines about a particular kind of wine and the perils of not properly moisturizing one’s skin.
Foster’s and Hopkins’s careers have yielded many marvels in the intervening years, including, most recently, the former’s turn as a dogged lawyer fighting for the freedom of a Muslim prisoner at Guantánamo Bay in The Mauritanian and the latter’s in a tour de force as a man battling dementia in The Father.
Our conversation? You guessed it. It was like having old friends for dinner.
This one is fascinating, folks. This is one of my all-time Top 10 movies, and I'm glad to see both Hopkins and Foster still talk about this film.
Still not eating dinner at his house though.