Here’s a story about a celebrity trying to do something heartwarming that he unfortunately didn’t fully think through first: Anthony Hopkins just showed up at this high school eight months early to ask a girl with a temporary neck brace to prom.
It seems like he was going for a Justin-Bieber-visits-terminally-ill-fan type stunt here, but he definitely missed the mark.
Hopkins attempted the not-quite-uplifting gesture earlier this week when he flew out to Mississippi to surprise a teen who he clearly believed was suffering from some kind of life-threatening illness, and whose spirits he assumed would be buoyed by his presence. The student, a high school senior named Jamie Devinson who was on her sixth day in a neck brace after a minor car accident, was visibly baffled when the 81-year-old Welsh actor showed up to her high school cafeteria with a poster reading “Hey Jamie: I can’t be Silence (of the Lambs) about it any longer! Will you go to prom with me?” Pointing to her neck brace, Hopkins told Jamie, “In your grave and pitiful condition, I’m sure you must be worried that you won’t find a date to your senior prom, but I, for one, think you’re just as beautiful as anyone else and I’d be honored to accompany you to the dance.” Hopkins then stood silently and stared unblinkingly, with his manager filming the interaction from behind a nearby garbage can, while Jamie and her friends nervously murmured to each other trying to figure out who he was.
After a long delay, Jamie nervously informed the Oscar winner that she was planning to graduate a semester early and would not be in town by the time prom rolled around in May. However, Hopkins did not seem to be listening, as he then suddenly blew on a shofar to get the cafeteria’s attention, took Jamie’s hand, and proudly announced that, “This crippled child shall be attending the promenade with none other than Hannibal Lecter himself!” Mortified, she quickly corrected him to save face in front of her snickering peers. Yet this did not deter Hopkins, who at this point seemed totally unwilling to abandon his viral stunt attempt, as he then handed Jamie a single rose he’d produced from his sock, kissed her hand, and informed her that if she did not live long enough to attend prom, he would still go in her memory. Luckily for Jamie, the bell then rang to signal the end of fifth period, and she and her friends quickly dispersed while Hopkins sat down at a lunch table and started eating a half-finished chicken sandwich a student had left behind.
Yikes. It’s definitely sort of nice to see a girl in a neck brace get asked on a date, but not by someone more than 60 years her senior whom she’s never heard of.
Clearly, Hopkins’ thoughtful gesture just didn’t land how he hoped it would. It had the potential to be a pretty cute celeb promposal, but the fact that he showed up eight months early to ask someone who wasn’t even terminally ill or a fan of his really just fucked things up from the get-go. And no offense to the best-behaved actor of 2014, but next time a stunt like this happens, we hope it’s with a more exciting actor, and a more deserving teen.