Anthony Hopkins was desperate to star in The Father

Anthony Hopkins in The Father
Anthony Hopkins in The Father Image credit:

You do not need much for persuasion to part with your hard earn cash at the cinema after hearing a movie won two Academy Awards and a couple of BAFTAs.

This Friday, June 11, Sir Anthony Hopkins proves why he has an Oscar on his mantelpiece for his lead role in The Father where he plays an 80-year-old, also by the name of Anthony.

The elderly man is striving to live independently, but his daughter Anne (Olivia Coleman) is concerned, she can see that her dad’s health is deteriorating showing possible signs of dementia.

Try as she might to finding care for Anthony he strongly rejects any support, but as his memory fades and he wastes away in front of her eyes life becomes

In a Q & A session to promote her movie writer Florian Zeller, who also scooped an Oscar, revealed they chose the leading character’s name in the hope Hopkins would sign up to the role.

“It was a dream at that stage, but it helps to have dreams,” Zeller explained “Everything has to start with a dream, especially in films. And it’s true that when I started to write the script – it was in French at the beginning – I used the name of the character as Anthony because it was my dream.

He continued, “And I remember when I shared my idea and my dream with my friends they thought I was mad because I’m French, this is my first feature film and he is Sir Anthony Hopkins! But my thought was that until somebody comes and tells you it’s not possible, then potentially it is.

“So I made the decision to believe in the potentiality and believe in the desire and I sent the script to Anthony through his agent and I waited. And then his agent called me and let me know that Anthony wanted to meet with me, so I took a plane to Los Angeles to meet with him and it was a very intense, powerful and joyful moment and this is how everything started.”

Hopkins was drawn to the role when he read the script and immediately showed interest when asked.

“It was so powerful, such a powerful script and so simple, so direct, so concise, so compact,” He said.

“So Florian and Christopher flew over from Europe and we met and I can only describe the memory as being very ordinary, unceremonious. And I said, ‘yes I really want to do it,’ and I just knew it was one of those extraordinary parts.”

But there was a problem, Hopkins was about to film his role in The Two Popes, released on Netflix in 2019 which went on to earn him a Best Actor nomination at the Oscars.

“So I turned to Florian and Christopher [Hampston, co-writer] and I said ‘I’ve got this thing will you wait for me?’” he explained.

“And Florian said, ‘yeah, we’ll wait for you.’ And I thought, this is a business, they’re not going to wait, but they did!

“For a small independent film, the chances of anyone waiting are pretty slim, because it’s a business, so I was mightily relieved. And it was the best time of my life!”

The Father is released in UK cinemas on Friday 11 June 2021.