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15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About The Silence Of The Lambs

15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About The Silence Of The Lambs

15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About The Silence Of The Lambs
Danielle de Wolfe
17 December 2013

22 years old and still able to terrify, The Silence of the Lambs is one of the few movies to win The Big Five Oscars (Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor and Actress).

How much do you know about the evil doings of Hannibal Lecter? Venture inside and find out.

You can buy the blu-ray here.

(Images: AllStar)


Anthony Hopkins had the idea of Lecter dressing in white because it would remind people of dentists and doctors, people who made them feel automatically apprehensive.


Gene Hackman optioned Thomas Harris' novel with the intention of directing it and playing Hannibal Lecter. He decided against this as the script became darker and darker.


The perspex cell that has become so much a part of the Lecter character was a creation of production designer Kristi Zea, invented purely because Jonathan Demme thought shooting through prison bars would ruin the mood of the scenes.


Michelle Pfeiffer was pursued for the role of Clarice Starling but turned it down because she felt nervous about the subject matter.


Buffalo Bill was an amalgam of serial killers Ed Gein (who skinned his victims), Gary Heidnick (who kept his victims in a hole in his basement) and Ted Bundy (who used a fake plaster cast to bait women into his van).


In the scene where Starling tells Lecter about the lambs a small crash can be heard part-way through. A crew member had dropped a wrench but Jodie Foster so liked the take, which she hadn't broken despite the noise, that she convinced Jonathan Demme to keep it.


Anthony Hopkins' voice for Hannibal Lecter was intended as a mix of Truman Capote and Katharine Hepburn.


Jodie Foster had tried to buy the rights, before discovering Hackman owned them, and then had to mount a long campaign to play Clarice Starling. Jonathan Demme saw many other actresses before Foster, including Meg Ryan, Geena Davis and Melanie Griffith.


Sean Connery was Demme's first choice to play Lecter.


The distinctive sound Lecter makes when discussing liver, fava beans and chianti was something Hopkins remembered Bela Lugosi doing in the film Dracula.


The moths, which were meant to be Death's Head Hawk Moths, were actually a completely different species with tiny 'masks' made from fake nails glued to their backs.


There are many shots of characters talking to Starling directly into the camera, but Starling is always shown looking slightly to one side of the camera. This was because Jonathan Demme wanted to make the audience see the film from Starling's point of view.


Jame Gumb's naked dance wasn't scripted and was the invention of Ted Levine, who wanted to show that Gumb was someone who just wanted to be somebody else.


The final day of shooting on the climactic basement scene took 22 hours.


The film was, somewhat incongruously, released on Valentine's Day.