Look, the 1991 thriller The Silence of the Lambs is not for the faint of heart.

Most of the time, that’s because Anthony Hopkins‘Boneless portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a cannibalistic serial killer who used FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) Hunt down another murderer who kidnapped a senator’s daughter. (The film earned Hopkins and Foster Oscars and took home the trophy for Best Picture.) Obviously, the film is pretty intense – but in a new interview with Variety, Hopkins admitted he didn’t always know how intense it was .

In a conversation with Foster for Variety’s Actors on Actors, Hopkins described how his agent had sent him the script. “Is it a children’s story?” Hopkins remembered asking. “He said, ‘No, it’s with Jodie Foster.'”

Excited at the prospect of working with Foster, who was a prolific actress herself at the time with credits including Taxi Driver and The Accused on her resume, the star read the script from Ted Tally. After reading only the first 10 pages, he declared, “This is the best script I’ve ever read.”