Movies: ‘Hitchcock’ Set to Roll

Principal photography for a new Hollywood drama about one of the greatest motion picture directors in history will start tomorrow here in Los Angeles.

The film, titled Hitchcock and based on the book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello, is set to star Academy Award® winners Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock and Helen Mirren as his wife, Alma, according to Fox Searchlight Pictures and Montecito Pictures in an announcement today. Sacha Gervasi is scheduled to direct the movie from a screenplay by John McLaughlin, with revisions by Ryan Murphy, Rebello and Gervasi. Montecito will produce and Fox Searchlight will release and co-finance with Cold Spring Pictures.

Hitchcock is to be a love story about one of the world’s most influential filmmakers, Hitchcock, and his wife and partner Alma Reville. It takes place during the making of Psycho (1960) and will feature Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins, Jessica Biel as Vera Miles, Michael Stuhlbarg as Lew Wasserman, Toni Collette as Hitchcock’s secretary Peggy, Michael Wincott as Ed Gein, Kurtwood Smith as Geoffrey Shurlock, Richard Portnow as Barney Balaban and Danny Huston as Whitfield Cook.

Anthony Hopkins received the Best Actor Oscar for The Silence of the Lambs (1991), based on the novel by Thomas Harris, and his work in The Lion in Winter (1968), A Change of Seasons (1980), The Bounty (1984), The Remains of the Day (1993), The Edge (1997), The Mask of Zorro (1998), The Human Stain (2004), The Wolfman (2010) – even Thor last year – is impeccable. Also, he’s played famous men in the past, portraying Israeli Prime Minster Yitzhak Rabin on television in Victory at Entebbe (1976), author C.S. Lewis in Shadowlands (1993), John Quincy Adams in Steven Spielberg’s Amistad (1997) and philosopher Ptolemy in Oliver Stone’s Alexander (2004). Mr. Hopkins is an outstanding and outspoken actor and Hitchcock‘s greatest asset.

Helen Mirren received an Oscar for Best Actress for The Queen and, she, too, has played larger than life figures. Besides the queen of England, she played the title role in the otherwise atrocious Showtime drama The Passion of Ayn Rand, for which she won an Emmy. But it must be noted that director Sacha Gervasi, who made his feature film directorial debut with Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2009) also wrote the screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s downbeat The Terminal in 2004. That and the fact that Montecito Pictures, which made the dreadful Up in the Air, is on board may result in a movie that’s either anti-heroic or, like The Terminal, about nothing. Or both, like Up in the Air. At least Mr. Hopkins and Ms. Mirren are exceptional actors, though Scarlett Johansson as Leigh could be a problem because she’s awful in nearly everything. Their participation alone makes this the movie to watch.

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