"People forget that Mozart wrote for commissions. There's a thing in psychology where they think if it's popular it can't be serious..."
- Sir Anthony Hopkins, who went from playing:
(On an aside, this Odin-Loki scene was so powerful I googled Tom Hiddleston after seeing it - no surprises "Loki" is another Eton alumni (like Mr Fantastic Beasts who went to school with Prince William. The British Royal, Not Gangsta Rapper))("Loki" also attended Cambridge. Beat that with a hammer, Thor)
Hands up, anyone else who saw the scene above and wondered why these two were in a blockbuster comic book adaptation popcorn movie wearing capes, rather than onstage spouting gibberish (fine, "English") while holding a skull. Because the capes are similar? 😛Anyway, back to Transformers.
Sir Anthony, as director Steven Spielberg has reportedly insisted on calling him, is known for some very serious hard work, practicing lines up to 300 times until they feel completely natural (what an inspiration for good ole' hard work!), once delivering a full 7 pages of lines related to legal jargon at one go. Sir Anthony has Asperger's (high-functioning autism). He has been known to describe his own childhood, "I grew up absolutely convinced I was stupid." He has also been known to struggle with alcoholism, once climbing behind the wheel of a car and disappearing for two months.
This is about how we all have our demons, and how somewhere in the struggle between our demons and our better angels, is a way to divert the energy toward creating something positive. I believe in some small part this is what Sir Anthony does. And it is truly inspiring for the challenges he faced. How amazing is it, to turn your demons into fuel to play Hannibal? It's about how someone innately anti-social and on the spectrum yet found his calling, and a way to shine. For we are all called to do the creative, sincere best with the hand we are dealt.And then Sir Anthony went to do a Transformers movie.
Listening to that voice delivering lines from a Transformers movie was really trippy. That same voice describes his experience thus:
"These computer whiz kids... whatever they do, I don't understand any of it at all.... That's a world way beyond me, I'm amazed... a new reality..." "When I saw that scene, with the.. <gestures> I laughed... ...sheer magic. Magic...."- Sir Anthony Hopkins, Transformers*: The Last Knight Interview
Indeed, one of Mark Wahlberg's most memorable lines in the movie is "Any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic." (There are whole articles plus discussion thread about the extent to which technology is magic based on this quote, originally by the brilliant futurist Arthur C. Clarke.)
Sir Anthony, knighted for real at Buckingham Palace for his "services to the arts" back in 1993, turns 80 later this year, gets in a car at 130 km/h with just the question "I don't have to drive it (at that speed) do I?" and appears to still be on a trip, to be constantly amazed by what life brings, what technology can do today.
Because really, "Magic" is spelled with a Capital T.Following Transformers, Sir Anthony returns to BBC's King Lear.
He must be having the time of his life.Ps:
1) *Transformers movies, multi-budget and all, have a sometime reputation for making no sense in storyline, nonetheless being affairs of spectacular special effects. And here's why I thought to look - Rockstar's tech camps on occasion have boasted camp directors who, in the first minutes of their introductory presos, have mentioned a previous life working on special effects for the Transformers (and Minority Report) movies before yes! moving into tech education for children and youth.
How Did They Transform That for the movies? You may be strangely mollified to know that they don't. I mean, obviously the toys I had as a child did, which is one reason I loved them - they were these wonderful swivel-y, fold-y, fidgety plastic things that provided endless fascination because you really did physically fold a robot into a car or plane or even insect (some probably being Hasbro knock-offs). For the movies however, they find a pivot-point and then literally chop off arms or legs and well, do absolutely anything they have to, to get the robot into the car/plane/ stereo/ dinosaur. Thank you, unnamed nerds in the depths of computer animation rooms of film industry, for trumping my OCD with Creative License.
See also The Science of Transformers: The Real Technology Behind The Transforming Robots
2) Check out this visual of the extent to which international box offices now increasingly drive Hollywood:
And here's where I really go off on a rant:
Hollywood movies in international markets? FINE. Better than fine. Every so often however, Hollywood decides to export something from abroad into their big, franchise machines. Donnie Yen as a Jedi in Star Wars?
N-ot so fine. I mean, some things simply weren't meant to go together, it's the unique history and culture that make them exactly what they are, and seemingly taking only the bits you want just seems....... wrong. There's "creative license" and then there's creative license. Like it does both Star Wars AND martial arts an injustice.
Jackie Chan with Chris Tucker in Rush Hour is another pet peeve. Slightly mollified because it's a comedy (at least it's not meant to be serious), but still: Highly respected Asian movie stars in Asian Kung Fu movies hit Hollywood radar. Hollywood's all "gotta get me some-a that". Completely transplants Asian guy into Star Wars franchise because Star Wars Gooood. Kung Fu Gooood. Asian Kung Fu Expert And Movie Star In Star Wars As Jedi must be SUPER GOOD.
No, no, it's not. Chopping robot parts to fit into car designs was fine as "Creative License" goes, but somehow the martial arts transplants are less so. Ditto the whole ninja craze exported to the west. Ninjago. Wearing a mask and jumping around fighting - get this - what look like Samurai bad guys who somehow don't need to cover their faces but the "good ninjas" do? It works for Spiderman. But ninjas, the concept of ninjas, was not heroic, they covered their faces because it was not honourable, they were not going to save the world, and then someone decided Let's Also Try And Make The Ninjas Turtles. And somehow the whole thing works in a more wholesome way than the Kardashians.
By the time the turtles eat pizza (OMG!!!) and start beat-boxing, no one cares anymore. I hope the SPCA puts up awareness signs that turtles don't really eat pizza. Oh, you think that doesn't happen? Umm.. After Finding Dory for eg, Youtubers started setting the record straight about what it REALLY takes to keep a Blue Hippo Tang.