The explosive-tempered oldies are back with Red 2, starring Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The action-comedy sees the retired CIA operatives return to track down a missing lethal device, with the safety of the entire world in their hands only to protect the political balance of world power. Of course, an endless stream of assassins, corrupt officials and terrorists stand in their way as they cross the globe for their mission. Anthony Hopkins plays Dr Edward Bailey, a genius physicist with evil intent.
In an exclusive with the cast and crew of Red 2, Anthony Hopkins sat down to discuss his role in the upcoming sequel, his method of acting and what attracts him to a role. With Lorenzo Di Bonaventura the producer at the helms as interviewer, Hopkins opened up warmly among his fellow cast members.
As invitingly conversational and warm as he is, he clearly takes his job as no joke, with the admission that months of preparation go into the role before shooting begins. Director Dean Parisot begins, ‘Tony was sending me emails a couple months before production trying to create this character and it was detailed as to what shoes Bailey would wear […] He reads the script over and over and slowly evolves a character that is so much more than what was written.’ Conceding to this zealous image, Hopkins agrees ‘I do go a bit overboard in reading the text… at least a couple hundred times,” says Hopkins. “But I do it so that I have a framework for improvising because you can open your brain up and not worry about the text because you know it cold. That's when acting gets fun’.
Nevertheless, the actor of films such as Silence of the Lambs, Nixon and The Remains of the Day is never too broody over the experience, as when asked if he saw the first one and thought they looked like they were having fun making it, he answered readily, 'yeah they looked like they were having a ball I like films that are action-packed, full of adventure and blowing up stuff... and stuff like that'.
Revel in playing his role he did, acknowledging his character's turn and development with a wry smile and the statement ‘Oh I enjoyed playing a raving lunatic, who is not really a lunatic. It's the madness within madness within madness, which makes you mad’, when asked about his role as the Doctor.
His love of films, which has been expressed with his long, dedicated career to his job in the industry, is evident as he discusses how he got into the sequel, remarking ‘ I'm a fan of all you guys [the creators and actors] and I loved the first one. My agent phoned and said "would you like the part" and I said "yeah, what's the part?", and when he said 'I don't know", I still said "well I'll do it". I read it, got in touch with him and asked "what you want me to do?" and here we are. I had more fun on this than I've had in a long time because I always got cast in stuffy British roles [laughs].’ Most fans would describe his varied career as such, but one thing is for sure, Red 2 will bolster his status as a top character actor and give him an unexpected turn in comedy. As long as fava beans aren't on offer, I for one can't wait to see it.