Fame fazes film roy­alty

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

E has played US Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon, Han­ni­bal Lecter and vam­pire slayer Van Hels­ing – but Sir An­thony Hop­kins says he still found the role of Al­fred Hitch­cock ‘‘daunt­ing’’.

The 74-year-old Academy Award­win­ner stars op­po­site Dame He­len Mir­ren in the new film, Hitch­cock, which tells the story of the master of sus­pense’s re­la­tion­ship with wife Alma Reville dur­ing the mak­ing of his 1960 hit slasher film, Psy­cho.

Hop­kins ad­mits he was ‘‘ob­vi­ously a lit­tle ner­vous’’ about the role.

‘‘I didn’t want to hear my voice back or see any of it. I wouldn’t see any play­back be­cause I didn’t want to shock my­self,’’ he says.

‘‘I saw the film when it was fi­nally cut to­gether and I was very pleased with it. It was a tough role to play, just tricky be­cause ev­ery­one knows him and he has been such a for­mi­da­ble pres­ence in our liv­ing rooms through the years and prob­a­bly the most fa­mous di­rec­tor of all time – so it was daunt­ing.’’

Hop­kins, who used a pros­thetic ‘‘fat suit’’ to get into the di­rec­tor’s skin, de­fends Hitch­cock against crit­ics who say he had a dark side.

‘‘I don’t think he was a mon­ster – he was very witty. He didn’t tol­er­ate small talk,’’ the Welsh ac­tor says.

‘‘He was a very prac­ti­cal man and he didn’t have any time for non­sense.’’

Mir­ren de­scribes her char­ac­ter, Hitch­cock’s wife Alma Reville, as the di­rec­tor’s ‘‘artis­tic and domestic rock’’.

‘‘Peo­ple say there were four hands on Hitch­cock’s movies and two of them were Alma’s,’’ she says.

Mir­ren, 67, says she en­joyed a ‘‘pretty good year’’ in 2012 af­ter work­ing with Sir An­thony in Hitch­cock and with Al Pa­cino on an up­com­ing biopic about leg­endary mu­sic pro­ducer Phil Spec­tor. Sur­pris­ingly, Hitch­cock marked her first col­lab­o­ra­tion with Hop­kins.

‘‘I was ner­vous, as you can imag­ine, ‘‘ she says.

‘‘He is such a hugely iconic ac­tor and so bril­liant. But, on the other hand, we both come out of the­atre so we had that un­der­stand­ing be­tween us and it turned out to be a really won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence.’’

First-time di­rec­tor Sacha Ger­vasi says he also had to over­come nerves about work­ing with two of Bri­tish cin­ema’s most re­spected ac­tors.

‘‘I re­mem­ber in the first day of re­hearsals I was sit­ting there, watch­ing them read the scenes, and I thought ‘My God, this is ex­tra­or­di­nary’,’’ he says.

‘‘It was a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence.’’ He­len Mir­ren as Hitch­cock’s wife, Alma Reville.

opens to­day.

Sir An­thony Hop­kins as the fa­mous Al­fred Hitch­cock.

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