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'Older men tend to wear large rings on their pinkies. Perhaps it's a Welsh thing for Tony?'

Sep 6 2005

Paul Rowland, Western Mail


IT'S usually Hollywood actresses that are judged by their appearance, outfits and jewellery.

But yesterday it was Sir Anthony Hopkins who turned heads when he appeared at the Venice Film Festival sporting an enormous turquoise ring, believed to be worth thousands of pounds.

Dressed in a beige suit with open-necked white shirt he chatted to co-star Jake Gyllenhaal as they arrived to promote their new film Proof.

Looking slightly similar to a boiled sweet, the ring certainly drew the attention of onlookers as Sir Anthony attended a photocall. Leading lady Gwyneth Paltrow had intended joining Sir Anthony and Gylenhaal, but her flight from New York was cancelled.

Hopkins's style had more in common with Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean than any real fashion setters.

But commentators said he was actually showing his Welshness, as a large ring on the pinkie finger is worn by many South Wales men.

Leading Welsh fashion stylist Hannah Llewellyn argued the ring was just not suited to Hopkins, and could possibly look good on a younger model.

She said, "The ring doesn't seem to suit the image of him that we normally see in the press and on television, but perhaps it would be more suited to a younger male, who had the right type of clothes on to complement the jewellery.

"It looks rather bohemian - if you think David Beckham on the beach with a bare torso and lots of beads and other jewellery on, and maybe a straw cowboy hat and a pair of aviator sunglasses, it would suit the ring better and it would not seem so out of place.

"Then again, it might be more suited to the costumes in The Lord of the Rings!"

But Hannah said the size and positioning of the ring could be a little nod to the ancestry of the actor, who took American citizenship in 2000.

She added, "I don't think it's too big. Traditionally, an older generation of Welsh men tend to wear large, normally gold, rings on their pinkies. Perhaps it's a Welsh thing? As far as the colour is concerned, I like it, but then again I am a female!"

Speaking about his new film, Hopkins said it had been a pleasure to work with Paltrow, whom he rated as one of the two greatest actresses he had worked with. Jodie Foster was the other leading lady of his choice.

There was no place for Catherine Zeta-Jones at the top of the rankings, despite teaming up in The Mask of Zorro.

Hopkins, who later stepped out in a navy suit with his wife Stella, made Proof after taking a year's break from acting, but was tempted back into film-making when he read the script for the film, and was offered the chance to appear with Paltrow.

The Shakespeare in Love star made the film while pregnant with her daughter Apple, but said she had needed to take a break afterwards.

Paltrow still managed to speak at a press conference to promote the film, prior to its US opening on September 16, via a telephone link. "I was pregnant when I did the first shot of Proof, and I started to show by the end. It was very important to me to take some time to be with myself and my family and take it easy and enjoy being pregnant. When I had my daughter, I just fell in love with her, so then I was reticent about leaving her as a tiny baby and going back to work."


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