Tony Award-winning Broadway star Dan Fogler is out to raise his Hollywood profile, and he's doing it by stepping into cinema's most famous profile: Alfred Hitchcock's. Fogler is set to star as the iconic director in "Number 13," a comedy-thriller the "Balls of Fury" thesp likened to "Shakespeare in Love."
"You see Hitchcock for two weeks out of his life in [his] early 20s," Fogler said of the plot of the film that will also star Ewan McGregor and Sir Ben Kingsley. "He just finished his first movie, which is supposed to be a comedy, but it's not. So he's freaking out about it and realizes that if he just switches a few things, it can become a thriller. [And] that's how he finds his niche."
The real-life story of Hitchcock's "Number 13" (or "Mrs. Peabody") is a mystery worthy of the acclaimed director himself — the movie was only partially completed before it was pulled from production in 1922. Despite decades of searching, neither the footage nor the script has ever been found, making it more than likely that everything associated with the film has been lost to history. For his part, Hitchcock rarely ever spoke about his first directorial project.
Prudent, thinks Fogler. Better to be thought of as the greatest director of all time than to give away your trade secrets.
"[The movie is] cool if you're a Hitchcock fan," he said. "Just like 'Shakespeare in Love,' you see how he comes up with certain ideas [for future films] from events that happened during the course of the movie."
But whereas "Shakespeare in Love" plays like a cross between "Romeo and Juliet" and "Twelfth Night," with a screwball plot reminiscent of the bard's great comedies, "Number 13" takes its inspiration from Hitchcock's more prevalent themes of suspense and mystery, placing the young director in a role all too familiar to fans of his later work — that of a man wrongly accused.
"The lead actor [Ernest Thesiger], who commissioned me to make the film, basically wants to make a comedy, but he's just not funny. He suddenly disappears, [so] Hitchcock does some interesting editing to make the character look like he got killed [in the film]," Fogler revealed of the flick's early twist. "And [since] the actual actor has disappeared, everyone starts wondering: Did Hitchcock kill him? They start to suspect me in [a fake] murder."
Kingsley is slated to appear as Thesiger, Fogler said. And the man who points the finger at Hitchcock?
"The one who starts to suspect Hitchcock [is McGregor]," Fogler revealed. "He [plays] the editor, the guy I hire to cut my film."
According to Fogler, no start date for the film has yet been announced.
Check out everything we've got on "Number 13."
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