Hopkins says his costar from the 1991 thriller has a “healthy cynicism” about working in show business
“She's lovely,” the two-time Oscar winner, 86, who’s now starring in the movie Freud’s Last Session, tells PEOPLE. “What's wonderful about Jodie is that, great actor that she is, she has no entourage. She just comes on the set and does it. Very laid back. Very cool. What I like about her, she's very practical.”
In the 1991 thriller based on Thomas Harris’s 1988 bestseller, Hopkins played Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist and psychotic cannibal who’s locked up in an institution for the criminally insane.
FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Foster) interviews Lecter, hoping to gain insight into another serial killer known as Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine), who kidnaps women and skins them.
Over the course of the film, they develop a strange rapport and respect for each other, despite their obvious differences.
The movie, directed by Jonathan Demme, was a smash hit and won five Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Hopkins, Best Actress for Foster, Best Picture, Best Director for Demme and Best Adapted Screenplay for writer Ted Tally.
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Though Hopkins adores his former costar, he says he hasn’t seen her since they reunited for Variety’s Actors on Actors series over Zoom in 2021 to reminisce about the movie for its 30th anniversary.
"It's a life-changing adventure, that movie, for both of us," Foster, 58, told Hopkins at the time, adding, "I'm sure you still get people who come up to you and say, 'Would you like a nice Chianti?'"
"Oh yeah," he replied. "They do."
The pair also discussed developing their characters and the reaction to the movie.
Hopkins recalls how Foster, who has been open about her ambivalence regarding acting, told him she wasn’t sure if she wanted to continue in front of the camera, he says. (Foster has since kept busy as an actor, appearing in Nyad and the HBO series True Detective.)
“She's got that nice healthy cynicism about it. It's a job,” adds Hopkins, recalling an old anecdote from actor Robert Mitchum. “When he was asked, ‘Why did you act?’ He said, ‘It beats work.’ I love that. That's good. Beats working.”
Freud’s Last Session is in theaters now.
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