Hopkins to play Hannibal again despite being mauled by critics

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The Independent Online

Sir Anthony Hopkins is set to reprise his most famous role ­ again. The Welsh actor and Hollywood star is in talks to play the masked cannibal Dr Hannibal Lecter for a third time.

If he agrees, Hopkins will have to undergo a process of rejuvenation because the next film will be a prequel to the two original films, Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal.

The 63-year-old actor has been asked to play Lecter again in an adaptation of the original book about Hannibal, Red Dragon. Earlier this year Hopkins reprised the Lecter role in Hannibal, directed by Ridley Scott. The movie did not garner the critical acclaim of its predecessor, Silence of the Lambs, but did well at the box office, taking almost £180m worldwide.

Hopkins won an Oscar for Silence of the Lambs in 1992.

According to Variety magazine, the film studio which made Hannibal is already adapting Red Dragon into a film script, using the same writer who wrote the script for Silence of the Lambs.

The story introduces Hannibal when he is arrested for the first time by an ex-FBI agent who almost became one of his victims. It was already made into a film, called Manhunter, released in 1986 and starring Brian Cox as Dr Lecter. But Hopkins took over the role in 1991 when he acted alongside Jodie Foster.

Julianne Moore took over Foster's part in Hannibal.

Brett Ratner is in talks to direct Red Dragon and is likely to be paid £2.8m for overseeing the project.

While Hopkins will be able to reprise his familiar role, the nature of the prequel will mean that the script will have no place for Agent Starling, whether played by Jodie Foster or Julianne Moore.