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‘The Silence of the Lambs’ Making-Of Documentary: How the ‘Replacement Players’ Made an Enduring Classic

From the IndieWire Vault: Imagine a "Silence" with Gene Hackman and Michelle Pfeiffer.

The Silence of the Lambs” belongs to an exclusive club: Jonathan Demme’s 1991 thriller is one of only three films to win Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay, the other two being “It Happened One Night” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” For today’s look back into the Indiewire Vault, avail yourself of “Inside Story: The Silence of the Lambs.”

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The making-of documentary, which premiered on Biography Channel in 2010, tells “the story of a how a group of replacement players came together to turn the horror genre on its ear by transforming a mass-market thriller into a film classic for the ages.” That “replacement players” designation comes from the fact that none of the key players were originally intended as such: Gene Hackman was originally attached to direct and possibly star; Michelle Pfeiffer was eventual director Demme’s first choice to play the role of Clarice Starling, which went to Jodie Foster; Sean Connery was approached to play Hannibal Lecter (he turned it down) before Anthony Hopkins.

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“The Inside Story” features interviews with all of those replacement players. Watch the full 90-minute special below.

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