Hopkins Defends Hannibal, Talks Prequel

At the Berlin Film Festival to promote Hannibal, Anthony Hopkins defended the film from critics who have said that its violence was gratuitous.

"We are fascinated by the darkness in ourselves, we are fascinated by the shadow, we are fascinated by the bogeyman," Hopkins said about the popularity of his character, Hannibal Lecter.

"You live through someone else's nightmare for a few minutes while you're safely in the theater eating popcorn. Now, if people are repulsed and terrified, so be it, I understand that, as well. It is not everyone's taste, if you forgive the pun," he said. "I don't think the people that see this film need to see a psychiatrist."

He may have been referring to co-star Julianne Moore's comments to Vanity Fair that she had to discuss the violence in the film with her shrink after completing the project.

Hannibal opened on Friday in the United States and Canada and has enjoyed the third most successful opening box-office weekend ever, grossing $58 million in its first three days of release.

"I must confess I expected it to be big, but not this big," Hannibal producer Dino De Laurentiis told Reuters. The film, which cost $80 million to make, premiered internationally on Sunday at the Berlin Film Festival.

Playing Hannibal Again Hopkins said he was ready to appear in a film version of Red Dragon, Thomas Harris' first book to feature Lecter, which is set before the events in Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal. It was already filmed in 1986 by Michael Mann as Manhunter, with Brian Cox playing Lecter.

"I would like to do one more, a sequel, which is being discussed," he said. "Hopefully that will be fairly soon; I don't know, maybe next year."

Hopkins would also profit handsomely from another sequel. He earned more than $10 million for Hannibal.

The actor, who won an Oscar in 1991 for playing the cannibal in Silence, said he found the character of Lecter fascinating. "I enjoy playing him very much," he said. "When I first read the script of Silence of the Lambs, I was fascinated instantly by him."

Reuters contributed to this story.

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