The Catholic University of America

Aug. 17, 2009

Anthony Hopkins Gives Impromptu Acting Lessons to CUA Music Students

Senior Music Major Crossley Hawn watches actor Anthony Hopkins recite Shakespheare during an improptu acting class in Perugia, Italy.

Sharon Christman, associate professor of music, and four Catholic University undergraduate music majors traveled to Italy for three weeks in July to take part in two distinguished music festivals.

While this learning opportunity in Italy alone was the experience of a lifetime for the students, the final master class was something none of them could have ever expected, Christman says.

Staying in the same hotel in Perugia as the CUA contingent was Anthony Hopkins, best known for his role as Hannibal Lector in "Silence of the Lambs," "Hannibal" and "Red Dragon." Christman asked Hopkins if he'd be willing to teach an actors' workshop class for the group and he agreed.

"He was so gracious and marvelous," Christman says, "He even recited Shakespeare for us."

The Academy Award-winning actor provided advice to the students on how to "take the stage" and encouraged them not to expect perfection, but to endeavor to make every performance a little better than the last, Christman says.

Hopkins shared stories of his acting lessons with Sir Laurence Olivier and anecdotes of Hollywood and other famous actors.

"You will not be as great now as you will be in 20 years," Hopkins told the group, according to Christman. Hopkins noted that nothing can take the place of time and experience. The CUA students on the trip included seniors Crossley Hawn from Lovettsville, Va., Ashley Alden from Stafford, Va, and Danielle Good from Gainesville, Fla., and sophomore Margaret Boehm from Northbrook, Ill.

The 71-year-old actor was visiting Perugia to hear the performance of a musical work that he wrote. He is also a painter.