Lisa Rose/Globe
Josh Wolk
August 05, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Ever since Thomas Harris handed in the manuscript for ”Hannibal” in March, the big question has been whether Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins will reprise their ”Silence of the Lambs” roles for the film sequel. Some articles have suggested they will, and some have said they won’t. The truth, it turns out, is somewhere in between. ”It’s all been speculation,” Foster tells EW Online. ”Frankly, we haven’t wanted to talk about it. Like any good actor for hire, I’m waiting to see a script.”

As it stands, Foster and Hopkins are the only principals from the original team still considering the project. Director Jonathan Demme — who said he found the new novel too violent — has been replaced by Ridley Scott, and David Mamet is currently writing a script in place of Ted Tally. ”There aren’t two people who are more different than Ted Tally and David Mamet,” says Foster. ”But Mamet’s an extraordinary writer, so we’ll see. I’m just kind of on the sidelines, watching everything happen.”

It’s not like Foster needs the work. She recently finished shooting ”Anna and the King” (a nonmusical take on ”The King and I”) with Chow Yun-Fat, and she’s preparing to direct ”Flora Plum” — the story of a circus girl adopted by a 1930s freak show — with Claire Danes. The shoot was postponed until next year to work around Danes’ college schedule — something Foster, not surprisingly, applauds: You see, Danes is attending the director’s alma mater, Yale.

”It’s great,” says Foster, of reminiscing with Danes about her college days. ”She’ll say something happened on College Street or Park Street (two main Yale drags) and I’ll know exactly what she’s talking about.” But Foster stops short of handing out Bulldog how-to’s to the worldly student. ”(Claire) doesn’t need too much advice.” Not to disagree, Jodie, but did you see ”Mod Squad”?

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