Jeremy Irons: I don't regret turning down Silence of the Lambs role
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, the 61-year-old said he was happy he had turned down the role.
"I like doing edgy things, but at the time I had just done Dead Ringers and was about to star in Reversal of Fortune.
"I thought I just can't do it; I'm already too far down this road. And when I saw what Tony Hopkins had done, I thought, thank Christ I didn't do it."
Anthony Hopkins played the role of Lecter instead and netted the best actor Oscar for his efforts.
Jodie Foster, who starred as an FBI officer in The Silence of the Lambs, also received the best lead actress Oscar, while the film's Jonathan Demme took the gong for best director.
The film also netted the best picture and best screenplay Oscars.