Anthony Hopkins on his most famous role, why he loves painting, and why he'll never stop working

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Sir Anthony Hopkins is admitting that he’s a complete workaholic — and that’s not a bad thing.

The British star, 81, who is currently playing Pope Benedict XVI in the Netflix film The Two Popes, opens up in the Dec/Jan issue of AARP the Magazine about how he has a hard time sitting still.

“I’m a workaholic,” he says. “I act; I paint; I play music; I read a lot. It keeps the brain active. I’ll go on working until I drop.”

Hopkins says his wife Stella Arroyave, 63, is the only reason he knows when to take a breather.

“Stella is good at keeping me in a harness. I spend hours in the studio painting, and she’ll come in and say, ‘Enough.’ I don’t have much common sense.”

Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins attend The Two Popes Gala Event at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 18, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins attend The Two Popes premiere
| Credit: Rich Polk/Getty
Film and Television
Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs
| Credit: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

His wife Stella, whom he married in 2003, is also currently doing a documentary on the actor.

“One of my teachers told her I was a mystery [when I was young],” he says. “I didn’t speak to other kids; I didn’t play sports; I didn’t even go to the school plays. But I was tired of being called stupid, and I thought, ‘One day I’ll show you all.’ And I became this other person. My career took off.”

Despite playing dozens and dozens of roles over a 60-year acting career since the Oscar-winner is still perhaps most famously known for playing Dr. Hannibal Lecter in 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs, and its two follow up films.

Speaking of the role, Hopkins tells the magazine, “I have an instinct for those kinds of people. They’re narcissists. I don’t know if that’s in me — I just understand them. And I’ll never escape from that guy. When I started reading The Silence of the Lambs script, I told my agent, ‘This is the part of a lifetime.’ It changed everything for me.”