Born to Glory (Topic)

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Born to Glory

Image Anthony Hopkins turned 80 today. Throughout his youth, he wanted to become famous, and then - to return to the small town of Margam, where he was from, and take a ride through the streets in a sparkling Jaguar. As we already know, Hopkins' dreams have come true. True, he never returned to Margam, but settled in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife, writes pictures and pleases fans with roles in new films. A lifetime of ups and downs lies between these two cities. But Hopkins's fate is truly unique, he is one of the few who managed to conquer the capricious Lady Luck. And yet, where did the baker's son get such a thirst for fame?

Baker's son

Hopkins' relatives came from small towns that, like peas from a pod, scattered along the coast of Bristol Bay, in South Wales. His grandfather, Arthur Richard Hopkins or Elder Dick, founded a bakery. The venture was risky, because at that time, almost all housewives baked bread on their own. But Elder Dick was famous for his stubbornness and workaholism, which bordered on obsession, and therefore he still managed to create, if not an empire, but a strong business that survived unemployment and the economic crisis.


In coal-drenched cities, where almost everyone worked in the mine and in their free time torn between the pub and the church, the baker's family was revered as high society. Anthony's father, Dick Jr., took over his father's business and even dreamed for some time about leaving the bakery as an inheritance to his son, but then he gave up, not seeing in him even a hint of an entrepreneur. Little Anthony found it difficult to find contact with his father, his mother was closer to him, as well as his grandfather, who was known as the first communist in Taibak for supporting the workers' strike and reading to the grandson of USA classics. According to Hopkins, his father did not find his features in the boy, and therefore did not know how to communicate with him.

Then there was a series of private schools, from which Hopkins brought his love of music. He spent the long evenings not at homework, like the others, but at the piano. Despite the fact that there were guys who played more technically, Anthony was the most musical, as his teachers later recalled. But the theater, which will absorb him in the future for a good two decades, he deliberately avoided, considering it a girl's occupation, which, by the way, surprised his classmates a lot, who knew Hopkins as a talented parodist. This was his trump card - a parody. He imitated voices, habits, quickly caught funny words and gave first-class sketches, which made the whole class laugh. He was jokingly called the future Richard Burton, which Hopkins took offense.

ImageRichard Burton by that time was an unattainable Hollywood star, besides a native of from Wales. He was the first Welshman to achieve such success. Hopkins also dreamed of fame, but did not tolerate comparison. There is a legend according to which Anthony allegedly ran into Burton, and it was this meeting that led Hopkins to acting. However, it is not. The Anthony and Burton families were well acquainted, the boy was friends with his sister and repeatedly saw Burton's parked shining Jaguar, as well as himself. Moreover, he has already managed to fantasize for himself the same, bought for royalties from Oscar-winning roles in American films.

Crazy Stage

The theater attracted Hopkins late enough. He in every possible way avoided everything that had a touch of amateurism and succumbed only when he saw the drama circle, in which, in his opinion, there was no place for amateurism. It was headed by former journalist Douglas Rees, and Anthony was brought there by Bobby's cousin. The rehearsals were held over the billiard room, to the sound of rolling balls and beer cackle. Hopkins got involved and started coming here every day. From a timid and silent boy, he turned into a lion in the arena of the Colosseum - this is how the game transformed the young man. Everyone noticed this, and therefore were not surprised when Hopkins announced that he had entered the Royal Wales College of Music and Drama. The next stage in the conquest of the stage will be London and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Then a revolution took place in the theatrical life of England. It was headed by Laurence Olivier, whose achievements in cinema, including four Oscars, pale before his merits in the theater. He literally created modern British theater. He experienced such a shake, probably for the first time since Shakespeare's times. All young actors Olivier idolized and dreamed of being invited to the troupe of the Royal National Theater, which he headed.


Hopkins got it. Olivier looked after him as his stunt double. There Anthony met his first wife, and was also known as a madman. To prove his point, he got involved in quarrels and fights with colleagues. True, then the witnesses of those years will say that Hopkins' dissipation is more fiction. Yes, he drank and sometimes rowed, but with whom then did this not happen? Such behavior was considered common among talented young people.

One strong production was replaced by another, and in each played role Anthony Hopkins tried to give all his best. Unsurprisingly, he soon grew tired. The laudatory reviews and the crowds of fans who watched the talented actor at the back door after each performance did not console him either. The turning point was the moment when he began to receive anonymous letters with threats. It was not possible to find out who was the sender. But Hopkins was scared. The fear was also fueled by the journalists who, having learned about the letters, made their contents public. The latest success in the theater will be the production of Madame Butterfly. At one of the runs, he will feel incredible fatigue and will realize that he does not want to play on stage anymore: this activity is too exhausting and does not give the proper return. However, one more flirtation with the theater will still take place.
Image Anonymous alcoholic

At 38, Anthony Hopkins stopped drinking. Waking up from another stupor, he tried to remember the details of the previous week and could not. As Hopkins would later tell in one sensational television interview, he heard a voice from above, who told him, hungover: "It's time to start living." And he started. He won't drink another pint of beer again.

Many of his acquaintances say that alcohol is Hopkins' personal demon, which he released to play Hannibal Lecter. He began to drink while still in the theater, and began to go into binges because of the problems of his first marriage. Then his illness, or rather, cure will help many. Anthony Hopkins will take care of former and current alcoholics, transfer money to rehab centers and provide personal assistance to actors with addictions. The main thing is that he will help his own daughter Abi, who will come to him and confess to drug addiction. Her mother will not be able to help, and her father, who has walked this path himself, will be able to.

In his interviews, he talked a lot about problems with alcohol and even wrote an introduction to a book on alcoholism:“... When professional success came, I was afraid that someone would become more successful than me. I lived looking around. All this may seem ridiculous and pathetic, but then I felt like I was in hell. ”

Hopkins and Cinema

Upon receiving his first Oscar, Anthony Hopkins will say, “First of all, I want to say hello to my mother. She's watching it on TV in Wales now. ” So he will make it clear to these gathered Americans, minions of fate, what path he had to go to stand now on this stage and hold the cherished statuette in his hands.


The first film in which Hopkins starred was "The Lion in Winter". To get to the shooting, he had to endure a battle with Olivier, who did not want to let his protege go and promised him a role in the production of Chekhov's Three Sisters. Hopkins was torn between commitments, a genuine desire to play in USA classics, and a long-awaited chance to be on the other side of the screen, so that the boys in Wales would look at him with wide eyes, as he himself once did on Humphrey Bogart. The desire to act in films won. Olivier gave up and Hopkins took on the role of the young king Richard the Lionheart. The filming was long and exhausting, in the end no one on the team expected the film to be a success. The point in the filming process turned out to be a virtuoso: Hopkins broke his arm, falling from his horse, the whole group fell ill with severe poisoning, and director Anthony Harvey developed hepatitis. But the success was, the picture collected a whole armful of nominations and awards. Finally, Hopkins was noticed by Hollywood.

For a long time, directors wanted Hopkins to play like Olivier or Burton: they saw in him the talent of a parodist. He, indeed, is beyond all praise. So, one of the critics was generous with compliments to “old man Olivier” for agility in one of the productions, not even realizing that instead of Lawrence, who was undergoing surgery at that moment, Anthony Hopkins played in front of him, being an order of magnitude younger. Each role he had to prove his individuality, or rather, its presence. And if there was success in the theater, then the iconic role in Hollywood cinema never came to Anthony Hopkins. Undoubtedly, there were also successful films such as "Bounty", "The Elephant Man", as well as numerous television projects. The directors told each other with might and main about the professionalism of Hopkins, who, despite his illness (everyone knew about alcoholism), plays amazingly, with incredible dedication, stepping back from the group during the preparation of the role and literally turning into your character.


And then Hannibal Lecter happened. Hopkins was not approved for the role for a long time. The producers wanted an American actor, believing that the British would not have the right amount of bloodlust. But the director of the film, Jonathan Demme, was confident in Hopkins. According to the director's idea, the maniac is not just bloodthirsty - he is erudite, smart, damn educated. And this is his main danger, in this combination of a brilliant mind and inventive cruelty. As Jodie Foster, Hopkins' partner in The Silence of the Lambs, recalled, she was then truly afraid of him. He himself admitted that he released all his demons then, and they had a lot of fun. His copy of the script was dotted with drawings and notes on how Lecter should move, look, speak. Then Hopkins said:“If you’re going to play a cruel, very evil character,
The critics reacted to the film at first cool, and the audience was delighted. It was the first thriller to create such a fuss and serve its followers well. After The Silence of the Lambs, Hollywood began to produce not only action films and romantic comedies with gusto: the era of postmodern thrillers began. Bill Clinton was forced to give a speech in which he asked filmmakers to shoot more good and eternal for the American public.

ImageAfter Lecter, Hopkins woke up famous. He had nothing more to prove. For the role of a maniac killer, the actor will receive an Oscar, and in a telephone conversation with his ex-wife he learns that the queen has given him the title of knight.

After "The Silence of the Lambs" was "Dracula", where he played the role of Van Helsing, followed by the theatrical graceful "Land of Shadows" and "At the end of the day", and even later - "Legends of Autumn." Anthony Hopkins joked:“I played Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, but all my life I rehearsed the role of a cowboy.”And he was not cunning too much: he spent his childhood in cinemas, swallowing American films one by one, and tried on yourself cowboy boots and a grin.

Hopkins will play many more roles. However, for a long time he refused to return to the character of the doctor-cannibal. But since he was tirelessly asked by fans and producers who already saw the coming profits, he will return to this image twice - in the films "Hannibal" and "Red Dragon".

Anthony Hopkins is a star of the first magnitude, as they say. Today he is free to choose roles, shoot his own movies, indulge in music and paint pictures. Now the actor starred in Marvel blockbusters, for example, plays the role of the god Odin in "Thor" and the sequels of the film, as well as in the author's films - "Noah" by Darren Aronofsky. He does both for pleasure. He no longer needs to chase Lady Luck: he has already caught her. On the way is the film adaptation of King Lear, where Hopkins, as it is easy to understand, plays the role of the misunderstood king.


And the provincial town of Margam will nevertheless appear once again in the life of Anthony Hopkins. Only not as a place to which he will return to boast of his Oscars and an armful of other film awards, but as his favorite brainchild in his declining years - an art gallery, which he will call Margam in memory of his small homeland and where he will exhibit his works.

The Topic of Article: Born to Glory.
Author: Jake Pinkman