Jessica Biel Interview For ‘Hitchcock’
Lurking behind Alfred Hitchcock, cinema’s “master of suspense” – the extraordinary film icon known for orchestrating some of the most intense experiences of menace and intrigue audiences have ever seen, was a hidden side: his creatively explosive romance with his steadfast wife and filmmaking collaborator, Alma Reville. Sacha Gervasi’s ‘Hitchcock’ lays bare their captivating and complex love story. It does so through the sly, shadowy lens of their most daring filmmaking adventure: the making of the 1960 thriller, ‘Psycho,’ which would become the director’s most controversial and legendary film. When the tumultuous, against-the-odds production was over, nothing about movies would ever be the same – but few realised that it took two to pull it off.
Based on the book ‘Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho’ by Stephen Rebello, ‘Hitchock’ stars Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchock, Helen Mirren as Alma Reville, 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. ‘Hitchock’ is out in cinemas on November 23rd in the US and Febuary 8th, 2013 in the UK.
Vera Miles had a fascinating relationship with Alfred Hitchcock, was that something that appealed to you about joining this film? Vera was well aware of Hitchcock’s propensity to be controlling and hard on his cast….
Jessica Biel: Oh yeah. Two things excited me: being in a cast which consists of pretty much everyone that I’ve hoped to work with (laughs), and then the fact that this takes place in such an interesting and curious moment of this film icon’s life. I think their relationship was a little bit tricky. But they had massive respect for each other. She was a spitfire and a very independent woman. She worked tirelessly and she liked that he was the same way as a director. At the same time, I think Hitchcock was a little hurt when she chose to have a family so that rift is between them as ‘Psycho’ begins production.
Hitchcock, he always created very, very complicated women in his movies. His women were for the most part not perfect women; they were dysfunctional, had psychological issues, some would go crazy. From my point of view as an actress, these are the roles you want to play and he continually created these roles in his career.
How was it working alongside Anthony Hopkins in ‘Hitchcock’?
Jessica Biel: It was overwhelming, it was terrifying, it was nerve-wracking and it was utter jubilation (laughs). Most of all it was fun. Anthony, he’s an incredibly powerful personality, but he’s also very playful and he makes you feel very comfortable. So you can mess around a little bit, and he messes around a little bit with you – which I think is why ‘Hitchcock’ was such a great filmmaking experience for me. He’s like the Sun, you know? He’s the one everyone’s revolving around and I just felt this lightness and brightness from him constantly. And there’s never any judgement from him. You feel like you constantly want to please everyone, these people you’ve been dying to work with and who are your idols for so many years (laughs), and then when you finally get to work with them you think, “There’s no way I can be good enough.” But Anthony never makes you feel that way, he’s talking to you about your character, talking to you about the scene. He always says, “I hope you don’t mind if I make a suggestion,” and I’m thinking, “Really? Please, please make a suggestion, tell me exactly what to do!” (Laughs).
You mentioned how this cast features many actors you’ve admired for years. What was the collaboration process like on this film, especially given that it’s such a large ensemble cast?
Jessica Biel: What it does when everyone is on board making the same movie, in for the long hall, cares only about the product as a whole and not stuck on what your doing specifically, it just creates a bond. It creates a fluidity for these characters to come in and out, and it’s not about “stealing scenes”, it’s not about competition. It’s not about that at all, it’s like literally sitting in a huddle with your team members going, “Alright, what is the best way? What are the moves we’re going to make to make this bit work perfectly in the whole?” And that’s what has been happening here. Yes, these women are fierce….fiercely powerful and passionate and talented, but it’s like hanging out with women I’ve hung out with my whole life – somehow (laughs). They’re so warm and willing to share their lives and their experiences with you. With that there’s no way not to give a great performance, because you’re in a really warm environment.
Look out for a more in-depth interview with Jessica Biel for ‘Hitchock’ later on this week.
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