Oscar-winning The Silence of the Lambs actress Jodie Foster introduced the Jonathan Demme-directed movie to an audience at the British Film Institute (BFI) over the weekend. While calling Lambs a “timeless” film that is still “relevant” today, she also dove deep into the production and revealed several actors who were considered for the now infamous role of Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
Foster told the audience that a number of U.S actors, including Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Dustin Hoffman, had been considered for the role, but that Demme wanted a Brit.
“Lecter is a manipulator and has a way of using language to keep people at bay… you wanted to see that Shakespearean monster. That’s why we jumped the pond.”
This coincides with previous stories that Demme originally approached and was turned down by Sean Connery. In fact, other actors considered for the role included Derek Jacobi and Daniel Day-Lewis.
Even more interesting, Foster admitted that she and Anthony Hopkins didn’t film together much during the shoot.
“I did the whole first part of the movie without him; he went off [after rehearsal] to go and shoot another movie. He only shot for 7 or 10 days or maybe even less. I never saw him until halfway through the movie.
“Much of the dialogue is straight to camera, a Hitchcock technique so some days I never even saw him,” she continued. “It was the last day of shooting and I was eating a tuna fish sandwich and I said ‘I was a little scared of you’ and he said ‘I was scared of you’ and then we had a big hug.”
The rest is history as The Silence of the Lambs won Academy Awards in all the top five categories: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Adapted Screenplay.