If Anthony Hopkins fans know anything, it's the fact that the Oscar-winner knows how to scare the pants off of moviegoers. The obvious, most-famous example is his award-winning turn as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in "Silence of the Lambs" and the subsequent sequels. It's been awhile since we've seen Sir Hopkins play dark and devious, but with the release of exorcism thriller "The Rite" on Friday (January 28), fans can reacquaint themselves with a bit of Hopkins' tricks and treats.

In the film, which is based on real-life events, Hopkins plays unorthodox exorcist Father Lucas. Without delving into spoiler territory — no more than what the creepy promotional posters give away — when MTV News caught up with the actor recently, we asked him to take us through his process of playing possessed.

Hopkins explained that most of his performances come from extensive preparation. For "The Rite," he learned Latin and Italian for certain scenes, and spent a lot of time alone in his hotel room going over the script.

"I would be there in my den, my man's cave, going over and over [the] script," Hopkins said. "Gradually, as you go through it over and over, all these voices and interpretations come to you," he explained, adding that by the time he was ready to film the key possession sequences, he knew the material so well he was open to improvisation.

"I put all kinds of very suggestive sexual stuff into it which they cut out, but stuff that would provoke people. I knew that the response was good because [director] Mikael Håfström's said, 'You're crazy.' "

Hopkins went on to say, with a smile, that he just knows how to "get people."

"I know how to do those parts," he said. "Not because I'm scary, but because I know how to scare people. ... It's a question of being quiet and not overplaying it," he explained. "You let the script and the audiences do the work for you. You don't have to play evil."

Check out everything we've got on "The Rite."

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