“Learn the craft and be disciplined… What’s more important is to keep trying, and to consistently deliver the best you have to offer.” – Anthony Hopkins
When Anthony Hopkins shares his thoughts on acting, it’s definitely worth listening to what wisdom he has to share — particularly when it comes to how seriously actors should take themselves. Speaking with Augustman, Hopkins reflects on how being lucky played into his career and reveals what advice he imparts to young actors.
Though Hopkins has seven decades of experience in acting, he does credit his success to some luck. He explains, “It’s a mystery how I’ve got here, because I left school in 1957 with no idea where I was going. I did my military service for two years, then a bit of time in a repertory company. In 1965, I worked with Laurence Olivier as an understudy and boom, I was suddenly on stage with him. It can’t be. That feeling has been with me all my life, so I don’t question it. It just happens that you were there in the right place at the right time. It’s called kismet.”
Because Hopkins was mentored by Olivier, he sees the value of what he can pass on to younger actors. He reveals, “I try to help. I tell them to stop trying to be cool because it doesn’t work, to instead learn the craft and be disciplined. It’s not a competition. Being in competition with people is a waste of time. How do you compete? At the awards? You have five people who are happy to have been nominated, then you have four losers later, pretending to be happy. It’s all bullshit. What’s more important is to keep trying, and to consistently deliver the best you have to offer.”
Of course, it seems easy for an Oscar-winner like Hopkins to say that awards are “bullshit.” Going further, Hopkins says that it’s important for actors not to take themselves too seriously. He says, “All the glory and nonsense don’t mean a thing. If you’re lucky, you get your lucky break, you get to the top, you get acclaim. But you mustn’t take it seriously. If you take it seriously, if you think you’re unique, you’re dead. No one is unique, and no one is special. Actors, especially.”