Rite: Interview with Anthony Hopkins

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Anthony Hopkins stars in “The Rite,” directed by Mikael Håfström. The film, which also stars Colin O’Donoghue and Ciaran Hinds, is being released by New Line on January 28.

His character

 

As an actor, Hopkins has delved into the nature of evil, most notably with his embodiment of Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs.” Of “The Rite” he says, “There is a debate at play within the film: Is it the Devil? Is there such a personification? Or is it psychology? Is it Freud or God? Who can say?”

 

“What intrigued me about Father Lucas was wondering what his own position is in the world of theology,” comments Hopkins. “He’s a Jesuit, but he’s multi-dimensional. When Michael meets him, he doesn’t know what to make of him because the older priest is just an irascible and impatient man. And when this young man challenges his beliefs, Father Lucas says, ‘Relish your doubts. Nurture them. Be friends with your doubts because those are the things that will drive you on.’ Father Lucas holds doubts of his own, until terrifying things begin to happen to him.”

 

Working with newcomer Colin O’Donoghue

 

“I think Colin is extraordinary,” Hopkins remarks. “It was wonderful to work with him. He’s an exceptional actor, not to mention a very nice person.”

 

On director Mikael Håfström

 

The director’s sober yet visceral approach to bringing to life the world of exorcists and demons made a profound impression on many in his cast and crew. “Mikael doesn’t overstate things,” praises Hopkins. “He wants to make it very mundane where you’re in broad daylight and everything is normal, except that underneath the normality something really horrifying is happening. He moves his camera very quietly through the room, as if somebody is witnessing this.”