OSCAR-winning actor SIR Anthony Hopkins has branded Hollywood director LORD Richard Attenborough "mad" after he offered him the role of GANDHI in the 1982 hit movie.

The Welsh actor who famously portrayed HANNIBAL THE CANNIBAL in THE Silence Of The Lambs was baffled by Lord Richard's suggestion he should play the Indian human rights activist.

Hopkins says, "He wanted me to play Gandhi - he must have gone through a moment of madness.

"Thank God Ben Kingsley did it and I didn't. It would have been a joke. I told my father that Attenborough wanted me and he said, 'Good God - a comedy is it? Who's going to play PANDIT NEHRU - HARRY SECOMBE?'"

Ben Kingsley went on to pick up the Best Actor gong for Gandhi at the OSCARs in 1983.

26/03/2004 14:15