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Piers Morgan Live

An Interview with Anthony Hopkins; Discussion of Exorcism

Aired February 05, 2011 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST (voice-over): Anthony Hopkins has a new movie that will scare the hell out of you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know why Father Lucas is famous? He's done over a thousand exorcisms.

MORGAN: It's all about the rise of exorcisms around the world.

Does the devil walk among us? What do you believe?

Tonight, evil on screen and in real life.

SIR ANTHONY HOPKINS, ACTOR: Hi, Piers. Looking forward to seeing you. Behave.

MORGAN: Tony - I don't really feel comfortable calling you Tony. I sort of feel I should call you Sir Anthony.

HOPKINS: No. You call me Tony.

MORGAN: Really?

HOPKINS: Yes. If you're - I don't care how uncomfortable it is. Call me Tony.

I don't know. I mean, it's nice having been knighted and all that, but I - I feel uncomfortable when people call me -

MORGAN: Do you?

HOPKINS: Well, especially in this country because they usually get it wrong, say Sir Hopkins. I say, no, no, no, no. And I - no. I'm not uncomfortable with it, but I want you to be uncomfortable. So call me Tony.

MORGAN: Your new movie.


MORGAN: I saw it last night. It's a - it's a fascinating insight into a pretty dark world of exorcism.

HOPKINS: I'm afraid so.

MORGAN: "The Rite." What inspired you to do it? I - I've read interviews where you said that, you know, you're - you were looking a little bit ambiguous. You weren't too sure. Something grabbed you in the script. What was it?

HOPKINS: Well, first of all, I looked at the script and I thought I don't want to do another weirdo, because I'm not - wasn't quite sure. My agent thought, obviously, finish reading it -

MORGAN: And you do do the world's great weirdo, certainly.

HOPKINS: I guess so. Yes. But I've done two of them.

But - so I'm - he said Mikael Hafstrom wants to meet you. So we met in a hotel in Beverly Hills. We had breakfast, and I was so impressed by him because he's one of those - he's a Swede, and he's kind of a little distant, but that's his temperament, and laid back. He doesn't show - demonstrate great feelings, and I liked the idea that it was based on a true story and that he didn't want to do anything strange with it, you know, spinning heads and things and all that, although it would be a great -

MORGAN: Was it the fact that it was partly factual that attracted you to this? That there was this priest attached to the Vatican who just did these endless, extraordinary exorcisms? Was that what grabbed you, that it had happened?

HOPKINS: Yes. Well, because I played two parts. I played the priest, and the priest was possessed himself. So it was a great opportunity to show my chops, you know?

But it is for the sheer pleasure of doing it. And also the young actor, Colin O'Donoghue, was wonderful young actor. It's his first movie. He did his own movie test, sent it to Hollywood and through his agent and got the part.

So Mikael was the guy who said - and he was a great fan of "Rosemary's Baby," and a great fan of Polanski, and I thought -

MORGAN: One of your favorite scary movies.

HOPKINS: One my favorites. Yes. That and "The Shining."

But - but I think Mikael's idea was to do little, you know, less is more, like the opening of "The Shining" or "Rosemary's -"

MORGAN: You see, I was quite surprised that there wasn't more sort of death, gore and blood in the movie. It's not really that kind of film. When it comes, it's incredibly powerful, but it's not like it's relentless.

HOPKINS: Well, I think it's scary that it's a psychological movie. And you get a glimpse from (INAUDIBLE) - I don't want to give the plot away, but he sees something from the car and he sees something - an accident and all that. That's enough to terrify anyone.

But, through the rear - and there are shots in the film where you see Colin O'Donoghue react to the horrors of life, the hell on earth. Everyone lives it. And it makes you open your mind about the debate of life, the debate of whether the devil is an anthropomorphic figure or this -

MORGAN: But you believe there is a devil?

HOPKINS: Well, we had - I'll preface this by saying that, we had Father Gary Thomas, who is an exorcist. He's an exorcist. He's a Jesuit priest -

MORGAN: And he was your expert on the film, was he?

HOPKINS: Yes. And I checked my -how was my Latin? Because I had learned Latin. He said, Great. So what do you think of my - my Latin?

MORGAN: I thought it was quite impressive, given it's now forgotten and all.

HOPKINS: Yes. I've forgotten it all. And the Italian I learned.

But I said - he said - I said did you really believe the devil exists? He said, well, yes. I do. That's what he does.

So he said, what do you think about it? I said, well, I'm not a theologian. I'm an inclusivist, I guess. I - I'm not an atheist. I'm not an agnostic. I know you're a Catholic. I believed in God that Einstein believed in, a sort of Spinoza kind of interpretation.

MORGAN: Well, I want to play you just a clip because on this theme actually, from the film, and then we'll pick you back up on it.


HOPKINS: We're always looking for proof, certainty. The question is what on earth would do we do if we found it?


HOPKINS: Oh, yes. At times I experience a total loss of faith, days, months when I don't know what the hell I believe in, God or the devil, Santa Claus or Tinkerbell. Yet there's something that keeps digging and scraping away inside me. It feels like God's fingernail. And, finally, I can take no more of the pain and I get shoved out from the darkness back into the light.


MORGAN: How much of that is - is you?

HOPKINS: It's all me.

MORGAN: That's what I thought. You put that in there, didn't you?


MORGAN: And is that - and is that because you actually - that's really what you believe yourself?

HOPKINS: That's what I believe in. Well, I have e-mail correspondence with the director from - he lives in England and I live in California. And I said I wanted to give a dimension to this. He is in a lot of conflict himself.

And I said I'd like to add the line atheist, whatever the line is, about skeptics and atheists, how we obviously have a problem, and the young priest says, "You?" I say, "Oh, yes. Every day, many times I lose my faith." And I guess I have an open idea about it all.

MORGAN: Do you believe in God?

HOPKINS: Yes, I do. I do. I'm not an atheist. I don't know what it is. None of us do.

Everything is God. Everything is particle physics. I've read everything I can. I started reading Charles Darwin's "The Origin of the Species" and -

MORGAN: What do you don't like? You don't like absolutism, do you?


MORGAN: You don't - you don't like the sense of somebody being in the right, which tends to be the pretext of - most certainly on the more extreme ends of almost every religions is that they're fundamentally correct.

You don't like that. You think that's dangerous?

HOPKINS: I think it is dangerous. Certainty is one of the most awful terrors of - in the world because people were certain, "I know the truth." I - I made a point in the film, I was saying to the young priest, I said, so what do you believe in? The truth? Oh, yes, the truth. Look where that got us. Hitler, Stalin - they know the truth.

And I know atheists, brilliant atheists. I enjoy reading Christopher Hitchens and - and I'll examine everything. But, what I enjoy is uncertainty.

There's lines in this where I say cherish your doubts because there God is hiding. I don't know. You don't know. You're - you're a good Catholic, I'm sure.

MORGAN: Well -

HOPKINS: None of us know.

MORGAN: -- don't be too hasty.

HOPKINS: But none of us know.

MORGAN: There's been a surge in exorcisms around the world at the moment, which is very co-incidental for your - for your movie.

HOPKINS: That's true.

MORGAN: Very timely. But it's also - it's fascinating that there are so many people out there claiming to either be possessed or know people who're possessed, wanting a priest to come and exorcise them.


MORGAN: You know, what do you make of that phenomenon?

HOPKINS: Well, the safest answer I can give is I don't know. I don't know.

The priest, Father Gary, asked me, "So what do you think?" I said, "Well, I don't know." I think it may be a complete mental crack up, a mental catastrophe that happens.

The only pathetic theory I have is that if you - if you wake up in the morning and you're always negative and saying, oh, it's going to be a bad day and you walk around like this, you're going to invite something into yourself, in your nervous system, in your own subconscious mind. You're constantly putting yourself down, constantly looking on the dark side.

Some people suffer clinical depressions -

MORGAN: But Father Gary, who is your expert -


MORGAN: He clearly believes that there is, A) a devil, and, B) that people get possessed by the devil and need to be exorcised.


MORGAN: He's done this, doesn't he?

HOPKINS: He's done it, and he says some extraordinary things do happen, extrasensory perception things. I know. They have second sight and so on and so forth, and I believe him. I'd believe anything he told me. And I didn't make any judgment call on any of it because I'm there as an actor and -

MORGAN: Would you believe this movie if you didn't pretty more (ph) believe in this?

HOPKINS: No, I can't have a cynicism. And I used to be an atheist. I was an agnostic for many years.

MORGAN: What changed? What changed?

HOPKINS: Oh, something, a crisis in my life, some 35 years ago, and I was hell bent on destruction. And I just asked for a little bit of help, and suddenly, pow. It was just like, bingo.

MORGAN: So it's a fact that you, in that moment, as an atheist, you decided to pray to God, did you? HOPKINS: Oh, I - I did. I was here in New York at the time and I was in desperate straights. I was drinking - couldn't stop. Couldn't stop. And I was - it was like being possessed by a demon, an addiction, and I couldn't stop. And millions of people around like that. I could not stop.

There's no way I could get it, and I suddenly, in Los Angeles, I made that quantum leap when I asked for help. I just found something and a woman talked to me and she said, just trust in God. And I said, well, why not? And was such a quantum leap from this to that.

MORGAN: And did you - did you literally pray? Did you go to a church or the -

HOPKINS: No, I - no, I didn't. I think because I asked for help, which is a form of prayer. Because you - if the ego - if I say, well, I can do it on my own. I can do anything on my own. I can conquer anything. That's nonsense. I can't conquer anything. I don't know you - I don't -

This guy says in the film, I say, I'm weak. I am powerless. I have no power. And I don't know anything. The priest says that's humility.

And I knew a psychiatrist in London who was a priest and I went to him to - I'm looking for guidance once, not therapy, and he said why do you want to become a Catholic. I said, I just need a center in my life. He said, well, think very carefully before you do that. It's a big deal.

He said what is the problem? I said I just feel a bit lost. He said, well, join the human race. And he told me about his own loss of faith, and not being a theologian myself, I thought - I said, what's it like? He said, it's hell. He said but you'll find your way back or you destroy yourself.

MORGAN: When we come back after a short break, I want to talk to you about one of the other great demons of your life - Hannibal Lecter.



HOPKINS: A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.




HOPKINS: A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: I mean, that is one of my favorite clips in the history of movies.

HOPKINS: You're very strange.

MORGAN: I mean, can you - can you still do it, with the same sinister face?

HOPKINS: Oh, dear God. You want me to do it again?

MORGAN: Yes. With - with the face. You can't laugh.

HOPKINS: OK. I can't. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

Hello, Clarice. That's a long time ago. That was 20 years ago I did that.

MORGAN: Did you still get asked to do that?


MORGAN: In a way, it's become almost your catch phrase?

HOPKINS: Yes. I used to get tired of it. Oh, come on. Give me a break. But I realized that this has been around for a long time.

MORGAN: The stuff of legend. Do you actually drink - do you ever drink Chianti?

HOPKINS: No. If I drink I'd end up in Mexico.

MORGAN: Have you ever eat fava beans?

HOPKINS: No. I don't even know what a fava bean is like. And I'm not a vegetarian. I don't know what fave beans are. Are they like baked beans? I don't know.

MORGAN: Apparently, sales of fava beans just collapsed after that film. What did that do to you, "Silence of the Lambs," in terms of your acting career?. You had a brilliant career before and you've had a great career since. The "Silence of the Lambs" became this kind of - I don't know, the stuff of legend really. It was one of the greatest terrifying characters ever, wasn't it?

HOPKINS: Yes. And I don't know how it happened. But I - I was in London. I was in the theater in London and I was bored stiff. I mean, I'm not a creature of the theater. People say I am, but I wasn't at all. I couldn't fit in with anyone. I'm not a team player. Couldn't do Shakespeare, walking around in wrinkled tights for the rest of my life. I wanted to be back in movies.

And a script came over to the theater one afternoon. My agent said read it. So I read it. And I said is it an offer? He said, I wouldn't finish it because - I said this is a part that will change my life. And Jonathan Demme came over, the director - saw me and met me, and I started on it. I thought this is one of those parts that come up once in a lifetime. Not a big part, it's (INAUDIBLE), but I knew how to play it. I just knew how to play that part. It's the shadow at the top of the stairs that terrifies all little kids. This nightmare of our lives. The dark unknown.

And I -

MORGAN: And even as you are saying that -


MORGAN: -- the gentle, warm, kind, sunny face that you had from the start of the interview ascended into suddenly this dark -

HOPKINS: Very dark.


HOPKINS: Well, I seize (ph) the dark at the top of the stairs, the shadow.

MORGAN: It's the eyes as well.


MORGAN: It's the whole thing, isn't it?

HOPKINS: They asked me the other day -

MORGAN: Let me tell you, you're unnerving me just by doing that.

HOPKINS: I just -

MORGAN: You just became Hannibal.

HOPKINS: I could - I could do that to people and I can scare them and said don't look at me like that. Why not? It's just making the - you make the eyes go dead and they'll blink. And it's a simple trick. It's acting.

MORGAN: Do you - do you have any vices now? Because when you gave up -

HOPKINS: Any vices?

MORGAN: Yes, any vices. Do you exercise -

HOPKINS: Oh, yes. Books. No, I love buying books. I'm - I'm addicted to buying books. Food is my only vice.

MORGAN: And if you were to exorcise stuff from your life now, given you being alcohol-free for 35 years, I presume drug free in that period. You don't smoke, do you?

HOPKINS: No. MORGAN: What would you exorcise? Most men, if I was exorcising something, I'd start with less booze or whatever, whatever. What would you do? Or do you feel you've had your great feeling of exercising (ph)?

HOPKINS: I have had everything taken out of me. I mean, I'm pretty mixed up inside. I mean, my wife thinks I am.

I don't know. I think I - I should be addicted to Mr. Nice Guy stuff. I used to do anything to please people, you know, say anything. And then gradually, the last couple years I've really have toughened up.

MORGAN: Have you?

HOPKINS: Oh, yes. I don't mess with people anymore. I think people - you know, when people say do you mind if I'm honest? I say, yes, bye. They say can I offer a criticism? No, go away. And I've had a few friends along the way, so-called friends, God bless them. But they've decided to offer me some unsolicited criticism and I said goodbye. And I'm doing them a favor because if they resent me I'll remove my presence from their lives. So I'm doing them a favor.

But, no, I'm really tough about that.

MORGAN: So you become more ruthless these days?

HOPKINS: It's not ruthless. It's self-preservation. I wouldn't hang around with people if they want to drag me down, go away. Do it to somebody else. Not to me, because I've got too much in my life. I work hard. And I - I enjoy my life. I like doing what I do. And anyone who wants to mix with me and start criticizing me and even in their attitude towards me, I'll just say God bless you, go on. Just leave me alone.

And I don't think that's ruthless. That's just smart common sense.

MORGAN: Are you - are you at peace with yourself these days?

HOPKINS: Yes, I am. I am. And I play piano and I write music and I paint. I think I am. I don't think I've - I don't feel any angst about things. I certainly as am getting older, one thing about getting older that things become less important. And I just turned 73. I look at this business that I'm in and I - you know, I work hard, but I don't take it seriously.

Working with this young actor, Colin O'Donoghue, I said you enjoy it. I really enjoy it. This is an opportunity of a lifetime. Enjoy it.

MORGAN: How hungry are you now for success? Because you've been - you've been nominated four times for Oscars. You've won an Oscar once.


MORGAN: Do you still have that burning drive to achieve, to get the acclaim of your peer group? HOPKINS: No. Because if you have high expectations, you'll never have peace. And I've gotten to an age and I just wanted to live my life. It's nice if something happens and it's successful. You know, honestly, I just feel that I've done everything beyond my greatest dreams, everything. So, I've got no complaints, no demons lurking around in the corners of my mind.

MORGAN: What were the moments you've had? What would be the moment you'd replay, right now, if you have the chance?

HOPKINS: Ah. You ask these awkward questions. I enjoyed getting the Oscar. I enjoyed that.

MORGAN: At that moment when you're sitting there and you - how many times have you been nominated before that?

HOPKINS: That's my first nomination.

MORGAN: So it's your first nomination. You sit there and they bring out the envelope.


MORGAN: And you know your head is being watched by a billion people worldwide. What's going through your mind?

HOPKINS: I didn't think I was going to get it. And then, when Kathy Bates came onstage, I thought - I think I've got this. And I don't know why. And when they - she called my name, I thought, oh, now I can make some bad movies. And I got up and I don't remember much about it.

MORGAN: Was that - was that the greatest rush you've ever experienced?

HOPKINS: Yes, it was. I got up there and I've - I thought I don't know what to say because I'm in a - I was in pretty heavy competition - Robert de Niro, Robin Williams, Nick Nolte.

MORGAN: Incredible actors you're up against, are you?

HOPKINS: Oh, yes, the greatest in the world. And I - I still - I remember the Oscar was there on that glass-topped table, and I thought, what happened? And that was it.

MORGAN: What - when you're standing there, because I'm - I'm unlikely to ever get this moment, when you're standing there, who were you thinking of?

HOPKINS: I've been thinking of my father, because he died 10 years previous, on that very night. And that came to my thought just then and I'd forgotten the date that he died and that's the night, I thought my father, he died 10 years ago tonight. I wonder if he's around somewhere.

MORGAN: Extraordinary coincidence. HOPKINS: It was. It was quite extraordinary. And I - because he - he was somebody who influenced me very deeply - my father.

MORGAN: What would he have made of that minute you're there?

HOPKINS: He probably smoked himself to death because he always smokes. He was always anxious about everything. He was a great guy. He - he gave me my values. He gave me an idea about not to take anything too seriously and he said he just get on with it. Stop making a big deal about everything.

And I think he would have been proud of that moment. He was a tough guy. He was a baker and he was a very hard man. But tears - he cry very quickly. He gets very emotional over my success, whatever. And - but he always tried to be a tough guy, you know.

MORGAN: When we come back, I want to talk you about - I can't even believe I'm saying this, Ace Ventura and the Hannibal Lecter link.

HOPKINS: OK. Ace Ventura. OK.


MORGAN: I want to show you a clip from - it's Jim Carrey and he's inside the Actor's Studio on Bravo.

HOPKINS: Oh, yes.

MORGAN: And I want to show this and see what you think.



JIM CARREY, ACTOR: I called Anthony Hopkins, because I love Anthony Hopkins. And so, I asked him to dinner. We found out over dinner that our - our method was exactly the same for Ace Ventura and Hannibal Lecter.


MORGAN: Did you know that?


MORGAN: Are you - are you perturbed (ph) by this?

HOPKINS: No. I - I did go to dinner with Jim, but I don't know him. I hardly know him. But we spent about a couple of hours. He's - he's an extraordinary guy.

MORGAN: Well, it seems to me, Jim Carrey, one of the great kind of -

HOPKINS: Oh, yes.

MORGAN: -- method actors I've seen in many ways. Who to you have been the greatest actors of all?

HOPKINS: Past, present and -

MORGAN: Any, I don't mind.

HOPKINS: Well, De Niro and I think -

MORGAN: Is he - is he the greatest living actor?

HOPKINS: I think he is. I think he is. I think he's one of the great, great ones. In the past, I think the usual ones like Brando and people like that, Montgomery Clift. Oh, there's so many others and I don't -

MORGAN: What - to you, who is a great actor himself, what makes a great actor? What do you look for?

HOPKINS: Oh, I think the power of somebody like Brando or De Niro or Betty Davis, you know, going back through time. I know that De Niro is present and all that. But what makes a great actor? It's very difficult to say. I think it's a commitment of force, great commitment. Spencer Tracy had that great power. That James Cagney had that great power.

MORGAN: What do you mean by power? What do you mean?

HOPKINS: They have a grasp of everything. Like De Niro, they have - it's like they're on their chariot and they've got the reins there and they wouldn't let them go. They've - they'll follow the destiny of the work they're doing to the limit and -

MORGAN: Who do you see of the younger crop today that have - that may have that?

HOPKINS: DiCaprio certainly and I think I'm a great fan of Matt Damon.


HOPKINS: He's a terrific actor. Terrific actor. One of my favorite films is "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Great performance. Very sinister, very scary. He's a wonderful actor.

MORGAN: Are you drawn to the darker art?

HOPKINS: No, it's not - it's not that. I think when a story is really told beautifully as was in "The Talented Mr. Ripley," I thought Matt Damon's performance was spectacular. As indeed with Jude Law. DiCaprio is a wonderful actor. A great actor.

MORGAN: You come from the same tiny Welsh - it's Port Talbot in Wales. Is it a town? Is it - where it is?

HOPKINS: It should be - it's quite a large town. It's a large town.

MORGAN: The population of it would be what? HOPKINS: When I was born it's about 75,000, a lot smaller.

MORGAN: But you - you and Richartd Burton and other actors as well. Burton had a rather more chaotic life than you.


MORGAN: Because he never gave up the drinking.


MORGAN: He carried on right till the end. How significant to you do you think when you compare yourself to someone like him? Was that moment for you 35 years ago to say enough? How much more time did it bring you as a good actor, do you think?

HOPKINS: Well, I thought it was just the thing you did was just to drink and get smashed. I thought everyone did that. A mistake -- a lot of people don't do that. Burton was a big presence in my life although I didn't know the man. But he was a dark, glowering Celtic presence and he came from a very large mining family in Pontrhydyfen, up the road up the valley.

And I was raised in Port Talbot near where Burton was trained as a young actor. And I never really got to know him. I just met him once here in the dressing room and on Broadway and he took over the part that I had been playing in "Equus."

And he's a gloomy, brooding kind of actor. Very much like Brando. I think he was a great actor -- and a really great actor. And like Peter O'Toole of the Brits, you know, O'Toole and Albert Finney, those three.

MORGAN: Do all great actors have to have some kind of demon?

HOPKINS: I think you have to be -- yes, I think you have to have a bit of trouble in your life. If you don't, you're not very interesting. But you --

MORGAN: Does it give you the kind of tormented face that you need?

HOPKINS: It gives you the drive. I'll tell you what, in my case, I was such a dummy at school and so ostracized and isolated that I look back on it as a tremendous power, tremendous gift because it made me so angry. I thought, one day I just want to become famous and show them all. That's all I ever wanted was to become famous and end up in Hollywood. So I did.

MORGAN: Do you like -- do you like being famous now?

HOPKINS: Yes, it's fun. It's fun. It gives me a good life. Acting has been a great source of pleasure for me, and I hope I'm generous. I hope I haven't forgotten where I come from. I tell you -- can I tell you a quick story?

MORGAN: Of course. HOPKINS: When I was working at the National Theater with Laurence Olivier, I was doing a play -- this is 40 years ago, my mother and father came up to see it. And it was a Shakespearean play, some other -- you know, with Joan Plowright, Olivier's wife. So anyway, my father said -- he always made jokes -- he said, you don't want to hang around here in the theater doing Shakespeare. You should make money like Burton.

My mother said, oh he -- backstage -- they came backstage. My father said, oh, it was very good. Can't even remember the name of the play. Oh, it was very good. He was smoking cigarettes. There's a knock on the door, and Laurence Olivier came in. My mother went to a very strange color. I said, this is my mother. Laurence said, Mrs. Hopkins, how wonderful to meet you. This is my father. My father said to him, he said, how old are you? Olivier said born in 1907. My father said, same age as me. Both going down the hill (INAUDIBLE).


And afterwards my mother said, that was Laurence Olivier. He said, He breathes oxygen just like we do. And that -- I loved him for that because he was, you know, breathes oxygen. That's -- and actors get serious about themselves, oh, come on.

MORGAN: Which of the actresses do you really most admire?

HOPKINS: Without a doubt, Jodie Foster.

MORGAN: Do you stay in touch with her?

HOPKINS: No. I don't have many friends who are actors. I don't have any friends who are actors.

MORGAN: Really? None at all?

HOPKINS: None at all. I mean, I like actors, but I didn't want to be friends with them. You know, I've got my life.

MORGAN: I could imagine Jodie giving you a bit of a --.

HOPKINS: She -- she --

MORGAN: If she had to be Agent Starling against you again.

HOPKINS: I met her on the beach one day. I was walking or jogging or something. And she was with -- and she was pushing her baby in the --

MORGAN: Really?

HOPKINS: Yes. I said, Jodie, hi, how are you? But that's the only time I've seen her.

MORGAN: You didn't suddenly start doing your little Hannibal act for old time's sake?

HOPKINS: No. If it start doing that, you have to lock me up. MORGAN: When we come back after this break, I want to talk to you about your decision to uproot and come to America.


MORGAN: Which has become really your home.


MORGAN: So you said of your wife, Stella, she's the only person you're scared of. Is that true?

HOPKINS: I just obey orders. She's wonderful -- she's a wonderful woman and she takes care of me. She's always telling me to slow down. Slow down because I get into trouble. I've got the energy of a 35- year-old man.

MORGAN: Are you easy to live with, do you think?4

HOPKINS: I'm very easy. You have to ask my wife that. I am.

MORGAN: Have you got better at marriage as you've got older?

HOPKINS: I think so. I think so, yes. I know I have. I'm not so consumed -- I hope I'm not consumed by myself at all really. I -- we have a lot of fun together. We're very stay-at-home people. We don't go out much. And that's the way --

MORGAN: If you had your time again -- this is your third marriage, would you have played things differently in your previous marriages?

HOPKINS: You can't go back and second guess yourself. That's destiny. That's fate. I wasn't a good husband. I wasn't a good father and all that. And I was very unsettled as a young man. Even after I gave up the old sauce, living in England it's a great country to be in, but I just never felt comfortable there. And I tried working in the theater and I didn't feel comfortable there. I didn't -- I just --

MORGAN: What is it you loved about America? Because you uprooted here and you've been here ever since pretty much on and off. Why do you love America so much?

HOPKINS: I think it was just something to do with the post-war years. We knew American soldiers. Two of them died in the Battle of the Bulge and all that. And I got to know America by osmosis in a way. There was something luminous about America. I always wanted to go to New York.

My father bought me some encyclopedias when I was a little kid. So I knew everything about America by reading these -- I knew the height of the Empire State Building and all that.

So I was indoctrinated by my own, whatever it was, brainwashing, I guess. And I could never -- as I said, in school I wasn't bright at all. I couldn't play sports. So I was a little out of it. And then I went into the theater thinking that would answer my problems and all that. And I didn't fit in there. And I admire people like Judy Dench and Ian McKellen who can do that. I can't. And one day I said, Bye, and I took --

MORGAN: One of your favorite parts of American culture is the talent show phenomenon that's come about, particularly "American Idol" I know you love. What do you make --

HOPKINS: My wife loves it. She makes me watch it.

MORGAN: Well, you can't use that defense, Tony. You obviously love it yourself.

HOPKINS: Well, I'm a -- you know, I'm a guy.

MORGAN: What do you make of the new "American Idol" judging panel? Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez with Randy?

HOPKINS: They're terrific. They've got a lot of compassion. They're different from Simon Cowell. I mean, now he's pretty tough. So are you. But --

MORGAN: Do you miss a bit of that grit though?

HOPKINS: Well, I don't know. This is --

MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE) British sarcasm.

HOPKINS: Well, I do enjoy that. But I think it's good for these people to be very compassionate. I mean, I'm amazed thought that J. Lo can hardly say no to them. She's -- I think that's terrific. These kids who come up, that takes a lot of courage. I think that's the American dream. And I've become addicted to that.

MORGAN: Isn't Randy one of your mates?

HOPKINS: Yes. Yes. I'm always (INAUDIBLE).

MORGAN: Is he your only famous friend?

HOPKINS: He's my only famous friend. We had one dinner together, but I think he got sick of trying to contact me because I kept changing my phone number. I'm very paranoid. People say, are you on the run from someone?

MORGAN: Are you?


MORGAN: It's a big year for the Brits again at the Oscars this year and also for one of your other co-stars, Natalie Portman, who you star in "Thor" with. I know you didn't actually film with her but, obviously, a great actress. Do you go to the Oscars?

HOPKINS: I went about two years ago, I think. I presented something. I'm not comfortable in that. I just go, oh, come on. I'm not cynical about it. But I'm not a great social animal. I'm not a partygoer. I'm not into all that, you know, like the British say, darling and all that stuff, you know.

MORGAN: All the lovey stuff.

HOPKINS: Oh, God, no. I can't -- it gives me a rash.

MORGAN: Does it really?

HOPKINS: I don't know what it is. It makes me very uncomfortable.

MORGAN: Is that one of the reasons you live out in Malibu?

HOPKINS: Yes, as far away from --

MORGAN: The sea and the wind and that's all you have to deal with.

HOPKINS: That's it, yes.

MORGAN: Is there a lot of phoniness really that does on in the business?

HOPKINS: Well, I'm not going to say that. It's --

MORGAN: You're too nice to say that. You're too nice to say that.

HOPKINS: I'm not nice at all. I'm not nice. But I do think people take themselves very seriously. And I always want to do all the politically incorrect things and I do.

MORGAN: Do you think there's been a sort of breakdown in priorities?

HOPKINS: Yes, I do.

MORGAN: That people have forgotten --

HOPKINS: Too much money. Well, you know, if you look at it in a sociological way, psychological way, some of the young kids now come along they have masses of money. And you see them on the rehab shows. You know, they end up in rehab because they can't cope with it. And if you're told that you're God and if you're told that you're special, you're going to start hitting that booze and those drugs because you can't cope with that. The ego can't cope with that.

Partying is fine. I did a lot of partying when I was a young guy. But there's a limit to it. It will kill you in the end. And I'm not here to preach, you know, abstinence and all that. But I think you have to -- if you don't get your priorities right, you're always being chased by the tabloids and the paparazzi and you go out hunting for them yourself. You're in dead, dead trouble.

MORGAN: How would you like to be remembered? If you could write your own epitaph?

HOPKINS: If I wrote my own epitaph, it would be -- well, first of all, do you know Mel Blanc, the vocal guy? MORGAN: Of course.

HOPKINS: He said, that's all folks. That was his epitaph. My epitaph would be, what was that all about? Just like that.

MORGAN: Thank you so much.

HOPKINS: Thank you very much.

MORGAN: I really appreciate it.

HOPKINS: Thank you.

MORGAN: Coming up next. A real life exorcism caught on tape.


MORGAN: Anthony Hopkins' latest movie "The Rite" comes at a time of a great surge in exorcism worldwide. Real people calling on exorcists to cast out evil spirits.

Michelle Reading's mother, Pat, had 16 exorcisms over the course of a decade. John Zaffis is an expert in the field who investigated her case.

MORGAN: John, let me just start with you. I want to show you the video first and get your --


MORGAN: -- and get your immediate reaction to what we are going to see here. Because what we are about to see, Michelle, is your mother actually undergoing an exorcism for real, right?



MORGAN: I mean, John, this is very harrowing stuff. It must be very hard for you to watch as well, Michelle. But I'm going to start with you, John. You looked into this.


MORGAN: And you're under absolutely no illusion that what we're seeing there is completely genuine and Michelle's mother was possessed.

ZAFFIS: Oh, absolutely. Everything was ruled out. She had all kinds of testing done. Physical, mental, absolutely everything was ruled out. And as time was going on during the investigation with them, Pat started falling victim to this. She was exhibiting, you know, several of the different signs that we look for. Gaining an enormous amount of strength. Talking in a language she wasn't familiar with. Familiar with different things.

I mean, she would just start tossing these big, hulky guys around holding her down like they were rag dolls.

MORGAN: Are these -- are these classic signs of somebody who has been, in your view, possessed by the devil?

ZAFFIS: Oh, absolutely. It falls right into the category of what a true possession actually is.

MORGAN: Michelle, obviously, very difficult for you to have to watch this. Your mother has passed away since this video.


MORGAN: She went through 16 exorcisms.


MORGAN: I mean, it must have been, as a daughter, just almost unbearable to watch this, wasn't it?

READING: It's a nightmare. It was a nightmare. And I knew if I wasn't there for her, in a way, after the fact, you know, no one really -- no one seemed to be able to, on a daily basis, understand it.

MORGAN: Was there a time when your mother was perfectly normal or did she always have this?

READING: No, no, no. She was perfectly normal. It happened almost over a ten year span. The entire thing.

MORGAN: Do you remember the first time it happened?

READING: Oh, yes, I do. I really do.

MORGAN: How old were you?

READING: Fifteen.

MORGAN: And it was a similar scene to the one we witnessed?

READING: Yes, actually that looked like one of the first ones. It was done in the home. And it's -- yes, that's how she acted.

MORGAN: It's terrifying for you and the family to watch this.

READING: Yes. Actually my father and sister couldn't handle it. And it -- I had to be there for her. And I didn't mind. I mean, I knew -- I knew that it wasn't her brain malfunctioning. I knew she wasn't psychotic. She didn't drink. Never did drugs. I knew something was wrong with her. And it was obvious. And the way she acted, it was frightening, but it wasn't exaggerated.

So, I mean, but it's still frightening. I mean, the strength she had and that she gained. I mean, she tossed grown men that were holding her down off of her. I mean, as you saw in that, she had to be tied down. MORGAN: Do you believe that she was possessed by the devil or evil spirits?

READING: I do. Did I believe that was possible before it happened to her? Open mind, maybe. Having it happen to your mother and knowing your mother for that long and then having it happen, I do.

MORGAN: We're going to take a short break now. When we come back, I want to talk to you, John, about the explosion in the number of people coming forward now wanting exorcisms.

And I'll talk to you again, Michelle, really about how your life and your family life was just thrown into complete turmoil by what happened. And how you deal with it if your family is engulfed with this kind of situation.


MORGAN: So I guess the obvious question is, why would this happen to somebody like Patty (ph)?

ZAFFIS: Pat Reading was an exception. She wasn't involved with anything. She never practiced anything. And she was what we call a sole (ph) victim that is purely these things happened randomly. One day she was out in the yard hanging out laundry. And she claimed that something came over her that day. We were never able to find anything substantial behind it. And shortly right after that, the haunting broke out in the home. And then she ended up falling victim to actual pure possession.

MORGAN: Anthony Hopkins spoke earlier about his new film "The Rite" which deals specifically with a real-life story about a great exorcist (INAUDIBLE) priest, if you like. There are a huge number of people coming forward now, more than ever before around the world, wanting people to be exorcised. Either themselves because they're terrified of what's happening to them or people that they care -- they care about.

When she came around after this --


MORGAN: -- and she had 16 of these incidents where you had to bring a priest in, right?


MORGAN: When she came around, did she have any memory of what had happened?

READING: No memory at all. It was a blank moment in time for her. She'd be very emotional though afterwards because she'd either be lying on a couch if we did one in our home with a priest. Or she would be at the chapel.

MORGAN: And would you tell her what had happened? Were you honest with her?

READING: In the beginning, I didn't want to tell her everything. As time went on and she would ask more questions, she wanted to know. And I felt, at that time, she should know.

MORGAN: Did you show her the video?

READING: I don't believe that one, no.

ZAFFIS: No. Pat really never saw any of them.

MORGAN: I mean, so for people who are watching this who may have a similar situation going on in their homes, how should they deal with this?

ZAFFIS: Basically, rule everything out from a medical perspective, a psychological perspective. And if there's really something on a spiritual level going on, reach out. There's a lot of spiritual people out there to be able to help people. And very accessible to, you know, counseling and helping people, you know.

It makes it much easier for (INAUDIBLE) if they are mentally ill because we can just basically say they need to be diagnosed with something and put on medication.

READING: And treated, yes.

MORGAN: I mean, Michelle, your mother died of cancer.


MORGAN: What I've been told about people who go through a number of exorcisms is that they often do die of some kind of terminal disease. Do you believe that they're linked in some way?

READING: She had what they believe was pancreatic cancer or colon cancer. I think in a way they are linked. I think it's because of the stress of what their bodies go through.

ZAFFIS: Again, that's a very common factor. We know, medically, you know, if you put a lot of stress on the body, brings diseases into the forefront. Now, I've been dealt with -- I've dealt with quite a few of these cases where people went through possession and they come up with all kinds of different diseases. But cancer is one of the prominent ones.

MORGAN: I suppose, finally, the obvious problem here, it seems to me, is that your mother had 16 exorcisms. Nothing worked.


MORGAN: I mean, why should people bother, John, in having these if they're not going to work?

ZAFFIS: Well, the key factor with this is very seldomly (ph) an exorcism or a deliverance is very successful on one try. And the best analogy I have, it's like taking an onion and you keep peeling it away and peeling it away until you get to the source. Because it's very seldomly (ph) just one spirit. It's usual multiple spirits. And usually if you keep going and you can finally get the name of the spirit or the demon, it makes it much easier for the exorcist to get that person freed. Why? Because it has to respond once its name is revealed.

MORGAN: Michelle, thank you for coming in. It couldn't be easy especially to watch that. You've never seen that video before.

READING: No. I was in it, but I'd never seen it.

MORGAN: I hope you find some peace in your life now because I can't even imagine what 10 years of having to see your mother go through that must have been like for you. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

And, John, thank you. (INAUDIBLE) remains a large part inexplicable, but fascinating at the same time.


MORGAN: Thank you very much.