Anthony Hopkins Caught in a 'Slipstream'

Perhaps known best for his role as Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs," Anthony Hopkins takes on several roles for his newest movie.

The knighted star wrote, directed, starred in and composed the musical score for "Slipstream," a movie about one man's struggle to separate fiction from reality.

Hopkins' wife, Stella, encouraged him to write a screenplay for himself four years ago after his mother died.

"I thought, 'Why not?' So I put one of those [writing] software … into my computer and I sat down one day … and started the first scene," Hopkins said of the origins of the movie. "I'm not a professional writer … I thought, 'Just write.'"

Watch Peter Travers' entire interview with Anthony Hopkins on "Popcorn," which airs exclusively on ABC News Now.

"Slipstream" centers around a writer whose fictional characters start to show up in real life.

The first-time scripter drew upon his love of movies to help him craft the story.

"The first scene in the film, I wanted a sudden impact of an image of some person, some face meeting a sudden impact," Hopkins said. "Because the films that impress me, American films that really impress me, are 'Sunset Boulevard,' the film starts at the end … those odd films like Burt Lancaster's 'The Swimmer' and 'The Killers' … I wanted to write that sort of script. I had no idea where to go with it. I didn't analyze it. I just wrote it thoughtlessly."

Eventually Hopkins came up with 120 pages which he said Steven Spielberg told him was good, but that he'd "have a tough time making this movie because no studio would touch it."

Living in a Slipstream

Many are wondering what the film is about and the relation to its creator.

"A few days ago it naturally got me thinking, 'Well, what was this about? Why did I write it? How did I manage to put such a great cast of actors together?'" Hopkins said. "I figured it out in an autobiographical way. It's a sort of a sketch of my own inner life."

In the movie, Hopkins' character is going through a crisis where he starts to blur reality and fiction -- which is where the actor drew his inspiration for the movie's title.

"I've had those moments of crisis in my life where I've had a glimpse of another dimension," he said. "You know those moments where you're in a crisis … and I was looking for a title … I was down on Pacific Coast Highway in Los Angeles and these huge trucks were going by … I remember sitting in the car waiting and this huge truck passed by and the whole car shook."

Hopkins was able to relate the force of the passing truck to trying times in life.

"'Slipstream' is the displacement of air when something is displaced in our lives when we go through a crisis, so I thought that's [the title.]"

Hopkins shot this movie in the Mojave Desert, and the hot and unfamiliar location may have launched his cast and crew into a slipstream of their own.

"It was hot, but I remember I said the first day, I said, 'Look out for the rattlesnakes in the grass because it's very hot. Scorpions, rattlesnakes …I want you all to survive,'" Hopkins recalled.

In the end, Hopkins didn't set out to become a professional writer or change people's ideas of him. He just wanted to push his creative boundaries.

"I want to do something really outrageous. I want to really screw with people's brains. I want to really annoy people. I want to really provoke them," he said. "I put everything I could into it."

He also wanted to challenge our notions of reality. Hopkins said that the fixation on celebrity culture and reality television has skewed our perception of real life.

"What a strange world we are living in. It's like the circus, it's like circuses and when you extend that it becomes the Roman Empire," he said. "Reality TV -- what we are watching is almost symbolic of gladiators. It is a sign that it's the end of Western civilization. I didn't want to put that into '[Slipstream]' but it's almost there."