The Silence of the Lambs is probably one of the scariest movies that’s crossed the big screen, ever. Based on the bestselling novel by Thomas Harris it has become known for its superb acting and directing, chilling storyline, and unforgettable characters. But did you know that there are some behind-the-scenes facts about this film that’ll hook you in even more?
WHO ISN’T SCARED OF THE DENTIST?
Ever noticed that white jumpsuit Hannibal wore after they moved him from the facility in Baltimore? He was actually supposed to be wearing a yellow or orange jumpsuit but Anthony Hopkins, who played evil Hannibal Lecter, was inspired by his fear of dentists and thought it’d be even creepier if Lecter dressed like one. He was right.
FANGIRLING BEFORE SHE EVEN STARRED
Jodie Foster, who plays the lead role of Clarice Starling, actually tried to buy the rights to the book that the movie is based on. But it turned out Gene Hackman had beat her to it. So she settled for acting in it instead—and won an Oscar.
AN EVIL ALL ITS OWN
Buffalo Bill isn’t based on any one real-life serial killer but is actually based on three: Ted Bundy, Ed Gein, and Gary M. Heidnik. If that doesn’t give you the shivers…
DIRECTOR JONATHAN DEMME FELL IN LOVE WITH JODIE FOSTER
Director Jonathan Demme was so taken with actress Jodie Foster’s strength and courage that he called the movie’s production company Strong Heart Productions in her honor.
THE FBI SAW THE MOVIE’S RECRUITING POTENTIAL
The FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit assisted with the production of the film to make sure portrayals about the FBI and serial killers were correct. They also saw it as an opportunity to recruit more female agents.
AN UNLIKELY RELATIONSHIP
The book itself was inspired by the working relationship between criminology professor and profiler Robert Keppel and infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. Keppel sought out Bundy’s barbaric perspective in an attempt to solve the Green River Killer murders in Washington State.
HOPKINS GOT INSPIRED BY A STRANGE CREW
To create Hannibal’s hard-to-forget personality, voice, and mannerisms, Hopkins drew inspiration from Truman Capote, HAL (the scheming computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey), and Katharine Hepburn.
THE FILM’S THEME CAME FROM JODIE FOSTER
It wasn’t director Jonathan Demme who came up with the theme for the movie but rather Foster, who was a huge fan of the book. She told him she viewed the movie as being about one woman who was willing to do anything to save another woman from all of the terrible men. Demme loved it.
ACTOR TED LEVINE DID THOROUGH RESEARCH FOR HIS ROLE
In order to get into his role as Buffalo Bill, Ted Levine researched serial killers and even went to transgender bars and spoke with patrons.
JODIE FOSTER WASN’T THE FIRST OR SECOND CHOICE FOR CLARICE
It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Foster playing FBI agent Clarice, but the director originally wanted Michelle Pfeiffer for the role. After Pfeiffer turned it down he then tried to secure Meg Ryan, but she passed, too. Luckily for everyone Foster was persistent and landed the role.