Monday, March 26, 2012

Jessica Biel joins The Making of Psycho

Update: 3/26/2-12
According to Deadline Jessical Biel has committed to the second female lead in the Sacha Gervasi-directed Alfred Hitchcock And The Making Of Psycho. Biel will play Vera Miles, who played Lila Crane in the 1960 classic.
It's got to be some  kind of tribute to the iconic status of Hitchcock that a 52 year old book about the making of Psycho is now being made as a film. And that there is such a buzz about it.

The book, The Making of Psycho, was reissued as a Nook book in 2010 so I will def be giving it a look.
Here's what the B&N.com site says about it
A gripping behind-the-scenes look inside the classic suspense shocker—and the creative genius who revolutionized filmmaking
First released in June 1960, Psycho altered the landscape of horror films forever. But just as compelling as the movie itself is the story behind it.
Stephen Rebello brings to life the creation of one of Hollywood’s most iconic films, from the story of Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein, the real-life inspiration for the character of Norman Bates, to Hitchcock’s groundbreaking achievements in cinematography, sound, editing, and promotion. Packed with captivating insights from the film’s stars, writers, and crewmembers, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho is a riveting and definitive history of a signature Hitchcock cinematic masterpiece.
This inside view of the master director creating cinema's boldest thriller, Psycho "...helps readers comprehend the original shock of the film."--New York Times

While there are those who kvetch - "Oh no, not another 'making of' movie! We've already had Orson Welles and Me and My Week with Marilyn, what do we need with another one of these??"  -  I am thrilled at the idea of this icon joining their ranks. I was a tour guide at Universal Studios in the early 80's and there was always something unsettling about passing by the Psycho house and the Bates motel. They were just sets, paint and boards, nothing more but it was hard to ignore the chill as we passed, hard not to stare into that window and wonder. That's Hitchcock's power. A power that remains to this day.
I think it's notable that Hitchock, like Orson Welles, like Marilyn Monroe has reached mythic proportions in the public mind. These artists had become characters long before they were characters in films. I'm looking forward to seeing how this complex man and brilliant -if controversial - director is portrayed on film.
And I do think Anthony Hopkins is the right actor to do it. I know there are some Timothy Spall fans who are tee'd off and I agree, looks-wise, Spall is spot on. But filmmaking and acting isn't just about looks and while Spall is talented, and perhaps would do an outstanding job; he doesn't have the power to carry a film. No one is going to see a film because he's in it whereas, with the legendary Sir Anthony Hopkins, that chance remains.
Although with the recent casting of Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, there's so much chatter about ScarJo naked in the shower that no one actually cares who Hitchock is right now!


My understanding is that the Janet Leigh role isn't quite as cental a part as that of the filmmaker's wife, Alma Reville.  Apparently she was the ultimate woman behind the man, creative, intelligent and powerful. Helen Mirren is on board for that part. But I bet when it comes to marketing much will be made of that shower scene!*
Poor Anthony Perkins - playing Norman Bates seems to have ruined his career - is played by James D'arcy, a perfect physical matchup! D'arcy has been steadily working for the past decade and a half but honestly,  I haven't seen him in anything. He was in Madonna's W.E. as Edward which I guess I will get around to seeing at some point.
The script is by John McGlaughlin of Black Swan fame.
The title The Making of Psycho  does sound like a documentary, which will probably scare most people away. I imagine a new title is in the works. Any ideas?

*When I was a Universal Studios tourguide we used to tell the story of how Alfred Hitchcock received thousands of fan letters. But not all of them were positive. One letter was from a frantic father who was very upset because his young daughter had seen the movie and was so traumatized she refused to take showers. Hitchock was reportedly unimpressed and wrote calmly back "My dear sir, Tell her to take baths instead."  True?  I couldn't say.

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