When it comes to our feelings about the upcoming making-of-"Psycho" feature film, "Hitchcock," we were pretty much sold with the casting of A-listers Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Toni Collette, Jessica Biel, etc. Then the publicity campaign started this week with an old timey poster, followed Wednesday (October 10) by the release of the first trailer, which is such a perfectly packaged teaser that we are supremely stoked.
Here are the five key scenes in the "Hitchcock" trailer:
The first few seconds of the trailer are a fitting setup and send-up to the Master of Suspense in that we see quick cuts of suspenseful moments/potential murders straight from the mind of Hopkins-as-Hitchcock which are delivered to us via various camera angles and a voiceover: "All of us harbor dark recess of violence and horror. I'm just a man hiding in a corner with a camera." We also see Hopkins peering through blinds, his shadow creeping into a frame with Scarlett Johansson as "Psycho" leading lady Janet Leigh.
The heading here basically says it all, as Johansson is shown filming Leigh's classic shower scene with Hitchcock miming the stabbing motion behind the camera. No, there isn't any nudity in this particular trailer but there are several mentions of the proper way to film Johansson/Leigh's sizable bosom and how it later makes its way into the final cut of "Psycho."
Those of us unfamiliar with the making of story behind "Psycho" will likely be interested to learn that at the time, Hollywood at large was not at all keen on financing Hitchcock's big screen adaptation of Robert Bloch's 1959 novel. We see Hitchcock writing his own checks to finance the film, along with arguments with his wife over having to mortgage their home in order to support the production.
The final key elements of the trailer are the soon-to-be-award-nominated performances by Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren. Judging from what we've glimpsed in the trailer, Hopkins' uncanny impersonation/transformation into Hitchcock might rival that of Daniel Day-Lewis' for "Lincoln." We see him at his highs and lows, which Hopkins plays up and plays into in the best ways possible. The shiniest, most memorable scenes in the trailer all involve Hopkins — and Mirren.
With a leading man like Hopkins it could be easy to forget about the other players in the picture — were it not for his equally magnetic leading lady, Helen Mirren. In addition to the brief teases we get of their wholly engaging scene work, i.e. heated arguments, calm-but-lethal directives issued over a breakfast table, laughs shared over nudity in a final cut etc., Mirren dazzles with her Oscar-winning acting chops as well as her lovely presence. She is a tour de force as Hitchcock's devoted but independent wife, holding her own. Whether shown in dressed-down gardening garb or all glammed up, she lights up the screen.
"Hitchcock" opens in limited release November 23.