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Sir Anthony Hopkins has revealed to Jim Carrey he based his most famous character Hannibal Lecter on a tarantula and a crocodile.

The screen legend - who won an Oscar for his portrayal of the cannibalistic serial killer in The Silence of the Lambs - revealed his animal inspiration to Jim Carrey.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective star Carrey said: "We were having dinner one night and he asked me what method I used for Ace Ventura. I said, 'What I was trying to do was be a bird, a parakeet or a cockatiel - a fancy, cocky, male bird.' And Sir Anthony said, 'Oh my God, that's what I did with Hannibal Lecter. I was a tarantula and a crocodile."

In 2001, Lecter was voted the most memorable villain in movie history by the American Film Institute.

Hopkins, 70, has portrayed Lecter three times on the big screen, in The Silence of the Lambs, sequel Hannibal and prequel Red Dragon.