Not a movie set, but I worked on the theatrical version of the play M.Butterfly in London’s West End which starred Anthony Hopkins.
Hopkins was already a movie star in the UK and had been for years, but after he left M.Butterfly he went to Hollywood to work on a little picture called Silence Of The Lambs.
For about three months, almost every evening, I got see Anthony Hopkins deliver a power house of a performance. In particular, M.Butterfly ends with a soliloquy and transformation. Every night was different. Sometimes the differences were subtle, but often they were dramatic. Theatrical crews can be quite jaded, but pretty much everyone watched that finale soliloquy pretty much every night.
Nobody was surprised when about 18 months later Tony became an international superstar.
M.Butterfly is a difficult play. The movie, for example, does not really work. But Hopkins held an audience of 1,200 enthralled every night and a much smaller audence, who knew what the lines were, and knew what was coming, not just enthralled but reverential.
(This originally appeared on Quote as a reply to: Has anyone who has worked on a movie set ever been awe-struck by a particular actor’s ability?)