Oscar Winner Anthony Hopkins Revealed How Asperger's Has Helped His Acting Career

Anthony Hopkins is one of the world’s greatest celebrities, a star of stage and screen who has been earning acclaim for more than 50 years. Hopkins, who has received countless awards and honors, is still acting even at the age of 83 — and every year, new generations of fans are introduced to his work, whether as the fearsome Hannibal Lector or as Odin in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

When it comes to his own private life, Hopkins is notoriously reticent, preferring to keep that part of his life well away from the spotlight. Still, he has opened up occasionally, including for a revealing interview in 2017 where he chatted about his Asperger’s diagnosis, and how he believes it has helped his acting career. 

How did Anthony Hopkins get into acting?

Hopkins was born in 1937 and raised in a working-class family in Wales. As a child, Hopkins was drawn to the art world and spent his days painting and playing music.

He was also inspired by the classical actors of stage productions, and ultimately, he decided to pursue a career as an actor. Hopkins graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in 1957 and went on to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London before making his stage debut.

In the ’60s, Hopkins built an incredible career as a stage performer, acting in Shakespeare productions alongside some of the world’s greatest talents, including Sir Laurence Olivier. In the late ’60s, Hopkins transitioned to films, earning early acclaim for his work in the movie A Lion in Winter

What is Anthony Hopkins best known for?

Hopkins continued to flourish as a film actor, appearing in numerous movies throughout the ’70s and ’80s. He proved that he had the ability to take on any role, from National Velvet to The Bounty.

However, it was in 1991 that Hopkins really made an impression, after he appeared as Hannibal Lector in the hit horror drama, The Silence of the Lambs. Hopkins went on to win an Academy Award for Best Actor thanks to his work in the film — even though he was only onscreen for less than 20 minutes total. 

Throughout the remainder of the ’90s, Hopkins continued to choose high-profile roles, in films such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Legends of the Fall, The Mask of Zorro, and Shadowlands. In the 2000s, Hopkins became a member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe when he was cast as Odin in Thor. He has since reprised the role multiple times and remains a fan-favorite for Marvel aficionados due to the gravity and brilliance that he brought to the role. 

Why does Anthony Hopkins believe that his Asperger’s syndrome has helped his acting?

These days, Hopkins remains hard at work, with his most recent role in The Father earning him critical acclaim. Through all of his fame and fortune, Hopkins has remained consistently himself — and in a 2017 interview, he opened up about his Asperger’s syndrome, which he was diagnosed with around 2007.

While the disorder, which often affects communication skills, has meant that Hopkins tends to avoid parties and certain social settings, he admitted that it has helped him as an actor: “I definitely look at people differently. I like to deconstruct, to pull a character apart, to work out what makes them tick and my view will not be the same as everyone else. I get offered a lot of controlling parts, maybe because that’s how people see me.”

Hopkins went on to say “maybe I am very controlled because I’ve had to be. I don’t question it, I just take the parts because I’m an actor and that’s what I do.” Certainly, Hopkins has carved in own path in Hollywood, regardless of what naysayers might have to say — and even in his eighties, is still going strong. 

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