If Alfred Hitchcock were alive today, it’s a safe bet that he’d be working with Scarlett Johansson… or at least pursuing her to star in one of his thrillers. ‘Hitch’ as he liked his girls to call him, was a fan of the platinum blonde and persuaded Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, Kim Novak, Tippi Hedren and Janet Leigh to be terrorised in the name of his art.
But tonight a film about his marriage was promoted at the New York premiere by not just the ultimate Hitchcock blonde but by a brunette in a leading role…step forward sparkling Jessica Biel. Hitchcock famously noted: ‘Blondes make the best victims. They’re like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints.’
And Johansson, 27, faces a scary ordeal as Janet Leigh in the big screen exploration of the auteur’s dark side. She plays Leigh – mother to another star, Jamie Lee Curtis – in the build up and filming of 1960’s Psycho, in which the young starlet is murdered in the shower by Anthony Perkins, playing walking Freudian nightmare, Norman Bates.
The real villain of Hitchcock, however, is the London born master of suspense, who jabbed at Leigh with a knife while she stood naked in the shower… just to get the shot right. Biel,30, offers able support in the role of actress Vera Miles, who played Leigh’s on-screen sister in the seminal horror flick.
But it’s Helen Mirren who takes on the role of the director’s real leading as she plays his wife Alma. The 67-year-old looked incredible as always even with slightly dubious ruffles on her outfit that would’ve floored a less red carpet star. Scarlett chatted about filming with her Hitch to V Magazine, played by Anthony Hopkins.
She said: ‘We only had the luxury to shoot the scene for a day, and everybody was feeling very nervous because it involved water and nobody wants the actor to get wet. ‘They were concerned with modesty and all these things, but I don’t care about any of that stuff and Janet Leigh never did either.
‘You have got to be brave, get into the shower, and face Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock jabbing you in the face with a 12-inch kitchen knife, you know?’ She added: ‘As much as Anthony Hopkins is a pussycat, he’s terrifying. ‘Maybe I watched Silence of the Lambs too many times when I was a kid. Maybe I was having some flash-backs. So I didn’t need too much preparation for the scene.’