I've been cast as big bank villain, says Sir Anthony

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The Independent Culture

He's a big name, cutting big deals for big films in a big country and making big money advertising a big bank, but Sir Anthony Hopkins has been turned into a big villain by the residents of his small home town.

The Welsh-born actor, who recently took American citizenship, has written to a Welsh Assembly member complaining that he has been made a scapegoat in the storm over Barclays Bank closures.

Gwenda Thomas wrote to Sir Anthony several times over his appearance in the advertisement during her campaign against the closure of 171 branches, including the one in his home town, Port Talbot.

In a hand-written letter, the Hollywood star said he felt he had been made the "villain of the piece", when he was not, in fact, responsible for the bank.

"I just have to set the record straight by saying that I do not run Barclays Bank. So if I have to be the chosen villain of the piece - so be it," he wrote.

The actor, who was reportedly paid £75,000 for his role in the advertisement with the slogan "A Big World Needs A Big Bank", said he had been made to look responsible for "leaving thousands of people destitute". He also pointed out that the commercial was filmed last June, months before the closures were announced, and said it seemed that the advertisement had "scandalised all of Wales".

Barclays closed 10 branches in rural Wales, including one in Port Talbot, near where Sir Anthony grew up and where his father was a baker.

Ms Thomas has already called for Sir Anthony to be stripped of the honour of being a Freeman of Port Talbot, which he was awarded four years ago, because of his decision to become an American. That, she said, was even worse than his appearance in those infamous television advertisements.

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