Movie Talk

New ‘Hitchcock’ trailer and Jessica Biel’s ultimate challenge

Movie Talk

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Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson and Janet Leigh (Photo: Fox Searchlight, Everett Collection)

The new trailer for for the upcoming film "Hitchcock" points to the huge challenges famed auteur Alfred Hitchcock had to overcome in order to get his classic 1960 thriller "Psycho" made -- including uncooperative Paramount executives who couldn't get behind killing off the leading lady halfway through the film.

Starring Anthony Hopkins as a dead on Hitchcock (no pun intended) and Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, the newly-revealed footage also illuminates the extent to which Hitchcock's wife and creative collaborator Alma Reville influenced him and his work. Reville, played by Helen Mirren, says at one point in an angry tone, "...I put up with those people who look through me as if I were invisible because all they can see is the great and glorious genius Alfred Hitchcock."

Offering a glimpse at comedic moments, a preoccupation with Janet Leigh's breasts is also teased in the trailer. Apparently their fullness created challenges to filming the famous shower scene -- something Johansson portrays as a concern leading up to the production: "From here up [motions to her upper torso] I'm not exactly boyish." And while the trailer does make reference to Hitchcock attempting to sneak in a hint of nudity into "Psycho," Leigh actually wore a flesh-colored bodysuit during filming (a double stood in for the more exposed shots in the sequence).

'Hitchcock' Theatrical Trailer

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Jessica Biel

Jessica Biel and Vera Miles (Photo: Fox Searchlight, Everett Collection)

But if you blink, you might miss one of the film's other stars -- Jessica Biel who plays Vera Miles, also an actress in "Psycho." Miles played the sister of Janet Leigh's character -- but she also worked with Hitchcock on other projects. Hitchcock groomed her for roles, trying -- and failing -- to make her look frumpy. "Hitchcock dressed her up in a wig and did everything could to make the beautiful Vera Miles look frumpy," "Hitchcock" director Sacha Gervasi recently told People. Miles is known to have enraged Hitchcock when she quit "Vertigo" to have a baby.

Apparently it was also a challenge to make Biel -- who often appears on men's magazine lists of hottest women -- to make her look less, well, sexy. "What Hitch tried to do to Vera we tried to do to Jessica, and the results were equally ridiculous. It is not possible to make Jessica Biel dowdy," Gervasi added. There is a brief shot in the trailer where you can see Biel as Miles not wearing her blond wig (and apparently not much of anything else).

Since the film is about the making of "Psycho," naturally the famous shower scene wherein Janet Leigh's character gets murdered is depicted. But it is not a shot-for-shot recreation, but rather shown through the eyes of Hitchcock's perspective, according to Gervasi.

[Photos: 'Hitchcock' movie stills]

And if that's not enough for you, "The Girl" is another upcoming Hitchcock biopic about the director's relationship with actress Tippi Hendren during the making of "The Birds." Our own Thelma Adams was on hand at The Hamptons International Film Festival to speak to the stars of "The Girl" -- Sienna Miller and Toby Jones. It will premiere on HBO on October 20.

"Hitchcock" lands in theaters November 23.

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