Sir Anthony Hopkins says his experience on the dramatic thriller Fracture was one of the best of his career. Hopkins credits a great script by Daniel Pyne and Glenn Gers, a talented group of actors, and director Gregory Hoblit with making the set and the film itself a pleasure to work on. In Fracture Hopkins again gets to sink his teeth into the part of villain you can't help but be mesmerized by.
The Appeal of Fracture: With Hannibal Lecter and now with Fracture’s Ted Crawford, Hopkins has pretty much perfected the likeable villain character. But Hopkins is quick to point out he’s only played those two thus far. “I've only played two. It's not a question of just playing killers. I've played lots of other roles, but this film I liked because the script was so good. It was different but as good I think as Silence of the Lambs and it's all to do with structure, I think. I can't give you a direct answer.
When my agent sent me the script, he said, ‘I recommend you read this. Greg Hoblit's directing.’ I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, I know Greg.’ I'd seen Primal Fear and some others he'd done. Then I read the script and I phoned my agent back after page 35. I said, ‘This is really good.’ I finished the script [and] I said, ‘Well, if Greg wants to, I'd love to do it,’ because it's one of those scripts that you don't get very often.
I'm a fan of this sort of movie, like Sleepers or Primal Fear, Presumed Innocent, Jagged Edge. Those things that keep you entertained. They're thrillers, and that's what I liked about it. I can usually tell, this sounds weird, but the script, especially if it's been recommended and I read it and I look at it, even the way it's been set out, even the kind of lineup of the dialogue and if there's not too much description… If it's just minimal description or stage directions, film direction, I have a hunch that it's going to be good. Then I read this and I thought it was the best script I'd had since Silence of the Lambs. It's a very clean structure. It's very clear, concise, economic in its delivery and that's why it appealed to me.”
Sticking to the Script: “If a script is really well written you don't need to… Well, I never like to rewrite because I'm not a writer," explained Hopkins. "I leave that to the writer. But when you feel good with the dialogue, and it's got moments when you think in your solar plexus, ‘This is really good,’ and that's what I felt about this. And it just happens to be that he's a killer. It's got nothing to do with anything else. It's just it came my way. Maybe they thought I'd be good at it because I played Hannibal Lecter, but I don't know. I met Greg Hoblit at breakfast one morning and after that, ‘So what do you think?’ I said, ‘Well, it's the best script I've had in a long time so I really would like to do it.’ And that's the answer.”
Getting Specific About the Dialogue: Hopkins could actually point out one line in particular that grabbed his attention. “It's the oddest thing because it's like one single line that really got to me. It's just a simple line in the interview scene, the interrogation scene, which is one of the best scenes in the film as far as I'm concerned. It's the line when he says, he asks me a question and I give him a stupid answer. I give him the reverse answer. He says, ‘I'm not going to play games with you.’ I say, ‘Afraid you have to, old sport.’ I thought, ‘Yeah, that's it.’ It's very much like the Lecter thing, all that stuff. The clever put downs, the sharp incisive kind of mind.”
The Relationship Between His Career and Ryan Gosling’s: There’s much more to the onscreen relationship between killer (Hopkins) and prosecuting attorney (Gosling) than just the standard adversarial relationship. “Well, it's also a formula kind of movie when you think of it because it's like the Levinson/Link movies, Columbo, the TV things," said Hopkins. "You'd always see this high-powered man who commits the murder at the beginning, usually dressed in a business suit living in Bel Air, and he commits this perfect murder. Then in comes this complete idiot, Peter Falk, in his dirty raincoat and his broken down car, ‘Ah, let me just, ah, yeah, yeah…’ It's one formula. And you see this guy, Ryan Gosling - who's a wonderful actor - his broken down car, his poor apartment and bad clothes, and he's always late for appointments. He's a mess. And yet I think the audience will like that because the guy's obviously very clever and very smart and relentless, and believes in justice and gets his guy.”
If Ted Crawford and Hannibal Lecter Played Chess Who Would Win? “I think they'd be a match for each other. It's so funny how the formula is though that in Lecter's case, his opponent is a young woman who's very smart, which challenges Lecter's intellect. ‘This young woman's really, she's great. I like her. She's got guts.’ And with Crawford, it's a different personality. When we were filming it, it did cross my mind a few times... I thought, ‘This is a really juicy part.’ I said to Greg one day, we're doing the scene [where] Billy Burke comes in, the cop, after I say, ‘I shot my wife in the head,’ and I saw it on the playback monitor. It was lit a certain way and I said, ‘It's a bit close to Silence of the Lambs.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, maybe it is. We ought to adjust the lighting a bit.’ He said, ‘Do you mind?’ I said, ‘It's okay, whatever,’ because I don't want to go back to the old. I mean , I've done Lecter three times now. But it was fun. People compare it, but that's good. It's all right because they were both good. The first one was a very successful film. If they compare it, that's okay.”