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‘Silence Of The Lambs’ Actor Recalls His Research To Portray Buffalo Bill

LevineSome of the people there had hormones and augmented stuff, but they all had penises and they’d all get out there and lip-sync to Barbra Streisand and the latest thing. They were female impersonators and they were wonderful. I talked to a lovely, probably 5-foot-1 Hispanic boy-girl and bought him a drink. I asked, ‘Why do you do this?’ He said, ‘When I’m a dude on the street, I’m just a little Puerto Rican motherfucker. When I’m here, I’m a hot Latina mama.’ It struck me that it was about power. He was a pathetic excuse for a man on all kinds of levels. But by trying to become a woman, he gains power, and hence the moth — the larva turning into the butterfly, the whole thing blossoming — it was the same impetus as a female impersonator, but it became psychotic. It was donning the cloak of feminine power.”

Ted Levine, speaking with Rolling Stone about visiting transvestite bars to research his character Buffalo Bill in the 1991 thriller The Silence of the Lambs

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  • Billy Budd

    This movie character was not flattering to gays. They should have presented another gay character in the movie. A NORMAL one, in order to have some balance.

  • unclemike

    This movie character was not flattering to gays, because this movie character was not gay.

  • Goforit

    @unclemike: @Billy Budd: I am going to have to side with unclemike on this one. I totally did not consider Buffalo Bill to be gay any more than Hanibal Lecter. And as far as a more “normal” gay character…. An argument could be made about Clarice. She was played by Jodi Foster after all.

  • Billy Budd

    Whatever his exact sexuality was, he WAS an LGBT character. And Jodie Foster might be Lesbian, but Clarice showed no indication that she was. I keep my suggestion. I do not change my view. No.

  • jantheman4903

    @Billy Budd: balance? lol how do u balance against buffalo bill? maybe a nice well adjusted lesbian who skins boys? no you do not change my view. No.

  • Brian

    Buffalo Bill was a homicidal fetishist. He had a fetish for the female form, fantasizing about it in front of the mirror with his penis pushed back between his legs to make himself look female.

    In terms of the sex he was sexually attracted to, could be either male or female He could be fantasizing that he’s a woman who’s attracted to men, or he could be fantasizing about being a woman who’s attracted to women.

    Sexual orientation kind of criss-crosses with fetish here.

  • Kangol

    His character was horribly transphobic, and what he’s saying about is also transphobic. The character should have been a typical, nutcase straight man, since they’re the ones most likely to be serial killers. Instead, the film’s writers linked queer sexuality to deranged murderousness.

  • Glücklich

    Ed Harrington’s Tumblr page has a number of spoofs of Buffalo Bill. Worth perusing in your free time.

    I’ve not read the book so maybe the character portrayal in the film is totally different. If it isn’t, why not bitch about the book? Or is everyone just looking to get all pissy about some fictional character from a 25 year old movie (28 year old book) Queerty decides to throw on their site? Stop looking for shit – old shit – to be mad about. Let it go.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Well, we’re still talking about this film all these years later, so it must have had an impact. To this day, I give vans, parked next to my car, the eye. This film and the book were immense. It made me wonder how weird the author must be, to be able to produce such fiction from his mind.

  • 1EqualityUSA


    Queerty, why is the site being so weird? Comments are disappearing without cause.

  • Glücklich

    Server farm’s built over an ancient Indian burial ground.

    Oh now the PC waa-waa crowd will say I’m being ghost-phobic.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    It’s annoying and I wish it would stop. Maybe the Tedious Right is sabotaging Queerty? I try breaking the comments up in bits and pieces. There are no foul words, nor anything offensive. Odd. Indian burial ground fodder.

  • Glücklich

    I get a few of those. Who knows? On a Scalia post I typed out the comment only to have it evaporate multiple times but my “What the fuck…?” went through just fine.

    Queerty/Wordpress (or whatever), let’s maybe not fob debugging off to the interns mmmmkay?

  • 1EqualityUSA

    mmmmkay…ghost-phobic, that’s the spirit!

  • Kangol

    @1EqualityUSA: Wait, is this the thread where you posted Red Dragon (test) and I posted Blue Dragon (test) in response? Because if so they both disappeared. If it’s another thread, nevermind.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Yes, kangol, this was the thread. I suspect our comments are at the bottom of some well in a stony basement screaming, “I’ve got your dog, mister!”

Comments are closed.