It takes a pretty special crime thriller to sweep the top five categories at the Academy Awards - but then again, it's not every day we get to encounter a serial killer as eloquent, refined and utterly terrifying as Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter. Fresh from her FBI training at Quantico, young Clarice Starling suddenly finds herself on the high profile case of Buffalo Bill, a serial killer with a penchant for skinning bodies. If she can tap into the brilliant psychiatric mind of one Dr. Lecter, she just might have a shot at bringing down Bill - and rescuing his latest victim.
Top 10 Fun Facts
- Anthony Hopkins' Oscar-winning role nearly went to Gene Hackman, who also wanted to direct the film. Apparently the world wasn't ready for Hannibal Lecter and Lex Luthor to be the same guy.
- Other possible contenders for the role of everyone's favorite cannibal: Dustin Hoffman, Sean Connery, Robert DeNiro and Jack Nicholson (aka Rain Man, James Bond, Raging Bull and The Joker).
- The casting call was equally stacked on the female side; director Jonathan Demme claims some 300 actresses expressed interest in playing Clarice Starling - including Meg Ryan, Melanie Griffith and Geena Davis.
- Michelle Pfeiffer actually nabbed the part, but couldn't get past the dark script - she explained, "I got nervous about the subject matter." Enter Jodie Foster.
- Need help working on your Hannibal Lecter impression? Anthony Hopkins described the erudite serial killer's voice as "a combination of Truman Capote and Katherine Hepburn."
- Speaking of bizarre combinations, the character of Buffalo Bill is an amalgam of three different real serial killers: Ed Gein, Ted Bundy and Gary Heidnick.
- Fava beans, anyone? Lecter's infamous slurping noise was a spontaneous invention of Anthony Hopkins' during filming.
- Cameo alert: legendary horror director George A. Romero appears as the bearded man with Chilton when the guards forcibly remove Clarice from her meeting with Lecter.
- Mmm, props. The moth cocoon extracted from the "deceased" victim's throat was made from gummi bears and Tootsie Rolls - just in case the actress swallowed it.
- Hannibal Lecter earned the top spot on AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains (as a villain. Duh).