What Happened When Anthony Hopkins Saw Silence Of The Lambs In Theaters

The Silence of the Lambs Hannibal Lecter creepy stare into your soul

After playing the infamous psychologist turned serial killer Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, Anthony Hopkins became a household name, an award winning actor, and patron to many people's nightmares. A good anecdote that supports that last claim was told in a recent interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, as Hopkins recounted the following story of inadvertently spooking a moviegoer during a screening of that very film:

I saw Silence of the Lambs in Atlantic City years ago, and with an audience, but nobody knew I was there. I was doing a film and someone said, 'Would you come to the theater with me?' So I went and I hid in the back. Then, the lights went out; there was a big storm. And someone in front of me said, 'It's a blackout, I think Hannibal Lector's at the theater!' She turned around and said, 'Oh my God he is!'

Now that has to be one of the funniest, but also one of the creepiest, ways that fate has called out someone on an off-handed joke. It's akin to going to a Friday the 13th screening, and joking that Jason is waiting in the audience, only for Kane Hodder to be sitting right behind you, hockey mask and all. But even that experience would pale in comparison to seeing Sir Anthony Hopkins sitting behind you, potentially just moments after you've seen him mutilate a guard and steal his face to make an escape attempt. If that moviegoer saw that same look of glee on Hopkins' face that he uses while recounting this story on Jimmy Kimmel Live, they'd probably start to laugh in a very relieved manner.

While Anthony Hopkins still had a pretty storied career before The Silence of the Lambs, what with films like The Elephant Man and Magic procuring him some fantastic notices on top of his career as a classically trained stage actor, it was Hannibal Lecter that made him an actor that Hollywood needed to keep employed. This showed in his decades long run of good fortune, which saw him playing some impressive parts in Bram Stoker's Dracula, Legends of the Fall, and most recently as a part of HBO's television remake of Westworld. After all, not just anyone gets to go on Jimmy Kimmel Live and tell the story about how they made an audience member fear for their life.

Fans of Anthony Hopkins are in luck this year as he is having a busy year on the big screen. He can currently be seen in Transformers: The Last Knight, which is in theaters now, but you'll also be able to see him reprise his role as Odin in Thor: Ragnarok, which is set for release on November 3rd. And, of course, you can also catch his performance as Dr. Robert Ford on Westworld, the first season of which is now available to stream in its entirety on HBOGo.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.