Hannibal Lecter’s second appearance on the screen was in 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs, the film that allegedly helped sales of chianti, fava beans and skin lotion. Based on the novel by Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs starred Anthony Hopkins as serial killing cannibal, Doctor Lecter, and Jodie Foster as FBI agent Clarice Starling.
Though he can be chilling, I always found Hopkins interpretation of Lecter far more cartoon-like than the nuanced performance given by Scottish actor Brian Cox in Michael Mann’s first Lecter film Manhunter. Cox as Lecter (or “Lecktor” in the film) seemed believably sane, normal even, but allowed enough glimpses of the deadly psychopath lurking underneath to make his Lecter far more menacing. Interestingly, Demme originally had another Scot in mind for the role, Sean Connery.
As for Clarice Starling, Demme had wanted Michelle Pfeiffer for the role as they had worked well together on Married to the Mob. But the actress was nervous of the subject matter and turned the part down. It then fell to Foster, who had read the book and was keen to make the role her own, which she did. The film proved to be a major hit and cleaned up at the Oscars deservedly winning awards for the actors and director. This selection of photographs gives a sneak on to what was happening during the making of The Silence of the Lambs.