Sir Anthony Hopkins a Distant Welsh Star - Okey dokey
Welsh greats, there’s been a few notably Richard Burton, although he made some dud films (Exorcist 2, ew) he was rightly known for his Epics, small dramas, drinking, marriages to Elizabeth Taylor and infamously narrating Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. And not forgetting his rendition of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milkwood. Surprisingly he never got a star on Hollywood’s walk of fame which is outrageous. There’s not been a Welsh man like him since. Anthony Hopkins is extremely different - very personal, arguably unfathomable yet captivating, however, he wasn’t blessed with the leading man Hollywood looks of Burton but struck gold with the character of Hannibal Lecter (see the faces of Lecter).
Over the years Hopkins has threatened retirement several times but never followed through, maybe the money draws him back being the son of a baker and coming from less than affluent Port Talbot. Incidentally it was Burton who encouraged Hopkins to become an actor and he enrolled at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff graduating in 1957. He has always had a love of music and in 1986, he released a single called 'Distant Star'.
As well as many other acting parallels with Burton and sadly some personal ones. Sadly they both had an alcoholism problem and failed marriages. That said, Hopkins overcame his addiction. In 1992 he narrated a Jeff Wayne musical Spartacus with fellow Welsh girl Catherine Zeta Jones. While not as successful as War of the Worlds it was paradoxically significant mirroring Burton’s 1978 collaboration with Wayne due to his smooth, weighty Welsh tone.
It would be difficult to comment on Hopkins varied and rich body of work, a star himself he has worked alongside the many of the most renowned names. Personally, for me the aptly titled Magic (filmed the year Burton was recording War of the Worlds) which in my opinion is Hopkins defining film moment, encompassing an array of balanced emotions including a creepy, mesmerizing and venerable performance, that no stage play can capture for all time. Thanks to film it’s there forever to be enjoyed. For me even though he picked up an Oscar for Silence of the Lambs it’s the aforementioned that is arguably award worthy (it sadly only picked up a Saturn and Edgar award).
Since Lambs he’s had much success although many performances appear to be Sir Hopkins picking up a pay cheque, and rightly so. Each line could easily have been replaced by “okey dokey” with equal effect. “Okey dokey Mr Hunt”; “Alexander was Great, okey dokey”, “okey dokey CGI Beowulf”; “okey dokey Mina Harker”;“okey dokey Clarice”; “okey dokey you Wolfman” and “I am Odin okey dokey Thor my son”; you get the picture.
Debateably Fracture, Remains of the Day, Nixon and The Edge aside many of Hopkins films have the okey dokey factor that I can’t help feel is Sir Anthony Hopkins cheeky Welsh boy smiling way of saying - thank you very much Hollywood, you are the embodiment of everything I am not...Tee-hee, while laughing all the way to the bank... and good for him!