Screenwriter Ted Tally on the 25th Anniversary of “Silence of the Lambs”

Posted on February 18, 2016 at 3:48 pm

“Silence of the Lambs” is one of only two films to sweep the Oscars, winning Best Picture, Actress, Actor, Director, and Adapted Screenplay. On the 25th anniversary, screenwriter Ted Tally spoke about the film to Rolling Stone’s Kory Grow. Here he is on Anthony Hopkins:

It was thrilling. It’s funny, I asked him one time how he came up with his voice, and he had some bizarre answer that makes sense to him. He said, “Well, I thought it was a cross between Katharine Hepburn and the computer Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey.” I mean, actors … What’re you gonna say?…I was worried he might be hammy. When filming began, I ran into him when he was having dinner in the hotel in Pittsburgh, all by himself. I actually had the temerity to ask him how he was going to play the part: “Do you think you’ll choose moments where his madness shows through?” He looked at me and said, “Oh, no. I think if you’re mad, you’re mad all the time.” I didn’t find it reassuring, performance wise. But he’s right. You don’t get to choose when you’re mad and sane.

Ultimately, it’s an incredible performance. I don’t know if you would notice this even, but he blinks only one time in the entire movie, and he does it very slowly and dramatically when he evokes some incredibly painful memory in her about the death of her father or something. It’s like sipping a glass of wine. Otherwise, his eyes are completely wide open. He trained himself to do that.

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