One actor realizes that his opinion isn’t more valuable than anyone else’s. Maybe he could have this chat with Alyssa Milano.
There are some people in Hollywood that think just because a lot of people like to watch them read lines that other people wrote, that means that their opinions should carry more weight than the average person. Sir Anthony Hopkins isn’t one of those people.
In October, Brad Pitt met with Hopkins and discussed their craft, aging, and embracing their mistakes. The interview was recently published in Interview magazine.
It was a fascinating dialogue as the duo discussed mistakes they have made, philosophy, and thoughts on modern film. Whatever you think of them as individuals, it is interesting to have talented actors discussing the nature of humanity. Sure, they’re not philosophers, but they are keen observers. That’s what makes them great actors.
There were a couple of moments that stuck out. Like this one:
HOPKINS: People ask me questions about present situations in life, and I say, “I don’t know, I’m just an actor. I don’t have any opinions. Actors are pretty stupid. My opinion is not worth anything. There’s no controversy for me, so don’t engage me in it, because I’m not going to participate.”
In context, Hopkins was saying that he didn’t see many of the green screen films but did see Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood and thought it was fun, but… they don’t “grab” him.
Still, his self-deprecating statement that his opinion isn’t worth anything shows a humility that is rare in Hollywood.
Let’s be frank here, Anthony Hopkins is not one of the average Hollywood dolts. Aside from being one of the finest actors in Tinsel Town with a continuously successful career, he is also a talented composer.
If there was someone worth listening to in Hollywood, it would be someone like Hopkins who can see through to the humanity of the characters that he plays — including the difficulty of playing real-life characters authentically.
An interesting segment of the interview includes the part where he discussed his role as Richard Nixon.
HOPKINS: Oliver Stone gave me the part of Nixon, and I remember thinking, “Why would he give me that part?” And he said, “Because I’ve read interviews about you being a loner. That was Nixon.” So I watched a lot of Nixon films. I went down to Yorba Linda, California, to see the house where he was born. Bill Clinton told me that when he became president, he would phone Nixon every week.
HOPKINS: He’d ask him about China and Russia. Clinton said this of him: He was a brilliant politician, but there was something in him that was so insecure. And Oliver just tried to portray the man as he was—neither good or bad, but a man who makes mistakes, as we all do. I found it very emotional to play him, because I could feel what it must have been like, the disgrace of having to resign. And then the humiliation of having to say goodbye.
PITT: Getting on the helicopter.
HOPKINS: And then I read about his wife. She couldn’t bear to look down at the lawn of the White House as they took off.
PITT: It’s a fascinating story from a humanistic point of view. The indelible moment for me was when he—you—have the moment of, “Why don’t they like me?”
HOPKINS: That’s it. You can see the pain in him, and you think, “Well, am I better than him? No. I’m not better than him. I’ve got my own immoral quirks.”
Imagine any other actor admitting to being able to not just relate to Richard Nixon, but also realizing that he is no better-than the disgraced former President.
Perhaps it’s that the actor is now 81 and realizes that life is what it is — filled with both successes and failures, and we’re all human.
It’s something that more of those Hollywood know-it-alls should realize.