Fox Searchlight has apparently decided that Anthony Hopkins‘ performance as Sir Alfred in Sacha Gervasi‘s Hitchcock is good enough to be in the Best Actor race. They announced today that the film, a kind of dramedy about the making of Psycho, will open on 11.23.12. That’ll be almost a month to the day fter the debut airing of HBO’s The Girl, a dark side of the coiner that portrays Hitch as a sexually predatory genius.
You know what I’d like to see? A movie about the making of Strangers on a Train, which marked a comeback for Hitch. In my mind he went into a kind of slump with The Paradine Case. He rebounded in a technical sense with Rope, but then he slumped right back with Stage Fright and Under Capricorn. Strangers on a Train was his big resurgence and the start of his best decade.
Hitchcock costars Scarlett Johnasson as Janet Leigh, Helen Mirren as Alma Reville, Jessica Biel as Vera Miles, Toni Collette as Peggy Robertson and James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins. Michael Wincott as Ed Gein, Paul Schackman as Bernard Herrmann, Josh Yeo as John Gavin and Richard Chassler as Martin Balsam.
I read a version of the Hitchcock script eons ago, and it’s just a good, steady procedural — this happened and then that happened and then this happened. It will rise or fall on the performances, and not just Hopklins’ but Helen Mirren’s, I’m guessing.
I wrote the following on March 1, 2012: “If I was casting Fox Searchlight’s Hitchcock, I would never choose the buxom, thick-lipped Scarlet Johansson to play the thin-lipped, somewhat rigid-mannered Janet Leigh.
“There’s a reason Leigh was a star from the early ’50s to early ’60s — it was a generally uptight, conformist, buttoned-down era, and Leigh’s cautious look and vibe fit right into that. She wasn’t Anna Magnani or Sophia Loren or Gloria Grahame. She was large-boobed, but she was basically Miss (or Mrs.) White Picket Fence. Her face didn’t move a muscle in The Vikings.
“And if Johansson had been time-machined back to the early ’50s she would have never made it as a big-league actress. At best she would have been the tart, the cigarette girl — Barbara Nichols in Sweet Smell of Success. Conversely Leigh probably wouldn’t have found much success if she’d begun in the mid to late ’90s. Correct and cautious wouldn’t have made it in the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky blowjob era.”