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Anthony Hopkins Is Writing His Biography: ‘I Do Have Quite a Memory’ (Exclusive)

The 86-year-old two-time Oscar winner stars in the new movie 'Freud's Last Session'

<p>Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock</p> Anthony Hopkins in 2023

Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock

Anthony Hopkins in 2023

Anthony Hopkins is putting it all down on the page.

“I'm writing a biography,” the 86-year-old actor says in the new issue of PEOPLE. “It's a weird process.”

Luckily for him, recalling events comes easily.

“I realized how I'm blessed with one thing. Maybe it's my actor’s brain. I do have quite a memory,” continues the star of The Silence of the Lambs. “I remember days of months in the years.”

And while he spends time looking back on his own life, his wife of 20 years, Stella, 67, is doing the same. She’s currently at work on a documentary about the two-time Oscar winner.

Hopkins says Stella has “carte blanche to [cover] everything,” though he doesn’t know how far along her project is.

Related: Anthony Hopkins, 86 Years Old and ‘In Good Health,’ Says ‘I’m Aware of My Mortality’ (Exclusive)

“I don't know. I don't ask her. It's quite a lot of film. I don't know when it's going to come out,” says Hopkins, who adds Stella interviewed his The Silence of the Lambs costar Jodie Foster for the film.

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Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic Anthony and Stella Hopkins
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic Anthony and Stella Hopkins

Hopkins has quite a story to tell.

Born in southern Wales to Richard and Muriel, who ran a bakery together, Hopkins says he was the “school dummy” and so directionless his father was in “despair.”

His dad’s sadness spurred him to action as a teen. “I said, ‘One day I will show you, both of you,’ ” he recalls.

Within 10 years, after studying at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Hopkins was serving as an understudy for Sir Laurence Olivier at London’s Royal National Theatre.

Related: Anthony Hopkins, 86, Is 'Reluctant' to Make TikTok Dancing Videos, but 'We Need a Laugh In Life' (Exclusive)

But Hopkins’s own distinguished career as a stage actor was nearly derailed by alcoholism. “I was drinking myself to death,” he says matter-of-factly. “One day I had a moment of sheer fright. I got some help. That was 48 years ago.”

At the time, he remembers a voice in his head telling him, “You can start living” — and he has taken that to heart since.

He has appeared in dozens of acclaimed films, including The Remains of the Day, Nixon and Amistad. In 2021, at age 83, he became the oldest person to win a Best Actor Oscar when he took home the trophy for his performance in The Father. He currently stars in the film Freud’s Last Session, playing father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud.

<p>Patrick Redmond / Sony Pictures Classics / Courtesy Everett</p>

Patrick Redmond / Sony Pictures Classics / Courtesy Everett

When he’s not working, Hopkins fills his days with what brings him joy: playing the piano, painting and spending time with family, including Stella. The secret to his happy marriage? “Just say yes,” he quips.

Overall, he feels a sense of gratitude for the good, the bad and everything in between.

“I’m just fortunate,” says Hopkins. “I went through ups and downs and depressions and despair and anger and all that stuff, but gradually the last few years [I’ve been] thinking, ‘Well, I’m still here.’ ”

Freud’s Last Session is in theaters now.

For more on Anthony Hopkins, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE.

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Read the original article on People.