Scarlett Johansson channels Janet Leigh in ‘Hitchcock’ role: how does she do? (update)

Scarlett Johansson

Here are some new stills from Hitchcock, the movie starring Anthony Hopkins in the titular role and revolves around the director’s relationship with his wife, Alma Reville, during the making of Psycho. Scarlett Johansson will star as Janet Leigh, and it’s difficult to get a handle on how Scarlett will play this role because we’re only seeing a still. Certainly, ScarJo can’t be any worse than that time Jessica Alba tried to channel Janet Leigh in a Latina photoshoot. However, the first trailer (which shall certainly feature Scarlett in a prominent fashion) for the movie is expected to appear online sometime today, and if it does, I’ll update this post. In the meantime, here’s the the new poster for Hitchcock, and Jessica Biel looks absolutely ridiculous as Vera Miles. Also, here are some details on the film from Entertainment Weekly:

Scarlett Johansson Jessica Biel

It might feel creepy to call a movie about the making of Psycho a “love story,” but that’s how Fox Searchlight and director Sacha Gervasi are pushing Hitchcock, which stars Anthony Hopkins as the iconic director and bevy of beauties as his leading ladies. Scarlett Johansson plays Janet Leigh, whose character Marion Crane has a date with the shower; Jessica Biel portrays Vera Miles, the level-headed heroine; and Helen Mirren is Hitch’s wife, Alma, his behind-the-scenes creative partner in every way. But the title of the film is not My Weekend With Janet or Hitchcock in Love. It’s simply Hitchcock, and for good reason. “Hitchcock’s so enigmatic in one sense,” says Gervasi, whose only previous feature was the 2008 documentary Anvil. “Someone who portrays zero emotion. We didn’t really know emotionally that much about Hitchcock, and suddenly you have this whole world that opens up when Anthony Hopkins plays the role. It’s extraordinary. And he really enjoyed tiptoeing up to people who had just arrived on the set and going, ‘Good evening.’ Making people jump. I think he really found the role quite delicious.”

The “love story” that might surprise — and hopefully enchant audiences — is Hitchcock’s relationship with his wife of 53 years. Of course, the director was notorious for obsessing over his much younger leading ladies, molding them to a certain degree. But according to the film, which is based on Stephen Rebello’s 1990 book, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, Alma was his rock. “I think Alma accepts Hitch for exactly who he is and knows his idiosyncrasies and his crazy predilections,” says Gervasi. “She allows him to have his obsessions and I think our movie is about a point where they sort of escalate. Their marriage is absolutely touched off by his increasing obsessions with these women, but they were ultimately fantasy relationships. Hitch lived in this world of fantasy; to him it was more real than real life. And I think Alma was able to kind of, in this film at least, smash it down a little bit.”

Revisiting the classic genre-defining thriller was a total pinch-me experience for Gervasi, especially when he got to shoot the film-within-the-film scenes that are such a part of movie history. “The original script supervisor from Psycho named Marshall Schlom walked on to the set and he saw Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock directing the scene, and he got incredibly emotional,” says Gervasi. “He’s getting on in years and said, ‘Thank you for giving me my memories back.’ To see that was the ultimate satisfaction. I think that was when all of us, Tony included, started to think, ‘My God, this is something potentially very special.’”


I appreciate that they’re putting a different spin on the movie besides just a straight-up, behind-the-scenes view of Psycho‘s production. Helen Mirren will certainly bring the fire as Alma, and Hopkins loves playing deliciously weird roles like this one. Even Jessica Biel hasn’t dampened my interest in this film … yet.

Here are some more stills, including one of James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins.

Update: The trailer has materialized online! Mirren is absolutely great and moves through a wide range of cheeky emotion. Scarlett looks good, but she sounds exactly like herself when she speaks.

Anthony Hopkins

James Darcy

Helen Mirren

Photos courtesy of and Fox Searchlight

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79 Responses to “Scarlett Johansson channels Janet Leigh in ‘Hitchcock’ role: how does she do? (update)”

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  1. gee says:

    I think the makeup looks amazing for this!

  2. lizzi says:

    Wow he does look kinda like anthony perkins!

  3. michkabibbles says:

    james d’arcy looks great. personally i think jessica biel looks better than johansson-she looks terrible in the still.

    it’ll be interesting to see how they portray hitchcock here. tippi hedren gave an interview saying he basically ruined her career because she wouldn’t be his full time prostitute. his mysoginism and obsessions are well acknowledged, but i’m curious about how far they’ll go with it (i’m not sure i believe hedren, either).

  4. TheOneAndOnlyOnly says:

    I’m not sure why i would watch a movie about making a movie – is this post modern deconstructionism gone wild – when i can just rent the original and be more entertained.

  5. V4Real says:

    Wow; Biel looks horrid in that still shot. I’m looking forward to the trailor.

    Is it just me or does Helen looks like Charlotte Ray; the lady from the Facts of Life.

  6. KellyinSeattle says:

    Love Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins….I think Scarlett’s hair looks weird in the pic. Jessica Biel?? Um, okay. Justin must have pulled some strings to get his bangsy “fiance” the job….probably so he has more time without her. Maybe she can play a corpse…she looks like one.

  7. Cathy says:

    I’ve never been a Hitchock fan, but this movie sounds interesting.

  8. sara says:

    I can´t wait to see this film and Scarlett looks gorgeous, well always looks gorgeous

  9. epiphany says:

    Where or where are the cinematic creative geniuses? All we get are remakes of old movies and cartoon characters anymore. You certainly couldn’t make “Midnight Cowboy”, “Taxi Driver”, or “the Godfather” in today’s Hollywood.

    • Macey says:

      I was just about to post the same thing. Are there no more writers out there that they cant come up with something new instead of just remaking classics over and over? The remakes almost always bomb b/c they are then compared to the originals. I never even bother watching them b/c they just look like a lame and cheap remake no matter how hard they try.

    • Missy says:

      Hollywood seems to go into phases, at the moment it’s all remakes, biopics and bad adaptations. The last time we had a massive out pour of creative flow in auteurs was the 90′s, so I think we’re due………hopefully soon *sigh*

  10. lady_luck says:

    Don’t think she particularly pulls it off. I always associate Scarlett (particularly after Sean Penn) to be quite trashy. She will have a hard time eminating some of the classic actresses for that reason. Simply because Scarjo lacks class. She is more of a milk- slurpy, roll around in the hay tart.

    Hellen Mirren on the other hand – one of my favourites! That woman is amazing.

  11. J Allen Grim says:

    Am I the only one who thinks the Hitchcock make-up looks terrible?

    • Eve says:

      No. I think they went overboard with Hopkins make-up.

      That happens a lot with “Biography Movies” (especially in Hollywood). They try really hard to make the actors physically look like the people they’re portraying, when it should be more about the acting itself (it should be a “movie” performance, not a “Saturday Night Live sketch” one).

    • Bluedog says:

      I agree; the makeup is horrid. Hopkins chin and neck don’t look flesh-like at all. He’s obviously wearing a neck appliance.

      • Mrs. Darcy says:

        I agree, I think it’s as bad as Nixon, when they go overboard like that I just can’t concentrate/buy the character, and of anyone Anthony Hopkins can pull off not needing to look exactly like the character, he’s freaking Anthony Hopkins.I think ScarJo’s look is a pretty good approximation but she does semem stiff as a board. Not even Helen Mirren can save this one I think. I think the BBC Toby Jones/Sienna Miller as Tippi Hedron one might be a better bet. Much as I love Sir Anthony I just can’t see past the rubber mask here, it’s bordering on Michael Myers, eek.

  12. lem says:

    HBO is doing a hitchcock behind-the-scenes movie about the making of The Birds. It seems like it’s about the same sort of storyline (re: his relationship with the cast of the film) but a different movie.

  13. ladybert62 says:

    Helen Mirren is such an outstanding actress she could play Hitchcock and be convincing!

    Janet Leigh was beautiful and classy – Ms. Johannson is neither.

  14. dooliloo says:

    Biel and Johansson in the same movie? Well… that’s saying something.

  15. apsutter says:

    Jessica Biel is the worst!! However, I love Hitchcock’s movies and this looks very interesting.

  16. SamiHami says:

    ScarJo looks awful. She is definitely not pulling this off. Actually, Biel looks pretty good! Very in-character.

    I really don’t get the fascination with ScarJo. She is not very attractive and is a terrible actress.

    • Cazzie says:

      I agree – no idea why this person keeps on getting work. There are so many talented actresses out there, yet producers keep hiring the non-threatening “I’m so smart, look at me, I prefer the company of men! I’m a pseudo-tomboy!” actress.

      On the bright side, judging from the photos this week, SJ is starting to lose her looks….should take about five years for the jobs to peter out. At that point she can quietly marry some rich guy and go shopping for the rest of her days.

      • darth says:

        HAHA! Totally agree with you guys.
        Doesn’t she realize that she’s in a period piece and that women back then didn’t act so tomboyish and overt? She seems to have made ZERO attempt at not only giving an accurate portrayal of Janet Leigh, (who was too awesome and classy to be played by ScarHO in the first place), but even in adopting the mannerisms, dialect, and overall feel of women in general from that time period.
        Guess she’s so full of herself by now that she doesn’t think she should have to try to adapt to a character. She probably thinks we’re all much more interested in seeing her as herself than as the person she’s supposed to be portraying.
        Lame actress. She’s going to drown next to real talent like Hopkins and Mirren.

      • Mrs. Darcy says:

        @darth – While I couldn’t agree more that she is not much of an actress and seems jarring in this clip, to me that is as much the fault of the director/the whole production in not ensuring some attention to period detail, that can’t all be fobbed off on the actress, especially if she is not very bright, etc. She is working with Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren,if they can’t lift her up no one can, but then again I don’t get the impression of her that she is someone who thinks they need to glean much from better talents. Still, if her mannerisms and portrayal are completely off/untrue, I cannot really blame that all on her, that is the fault of the director.

      • Sisi says:

        - She seems to have made ZERO attempt in adopting the mannerisms, dialect, and overall feel of women in general from that time period -

        Lmao, this weekend a Jessica Biel movie was on the telly and the story took place late 1920′s.
        What you said about ScarJo above is EXACTLY what I said about Biel after watching part of that movie.

  17. Reece says:

    Dunno if my love of Mirren and Hopkins can overcome the distaste for Biel and ScarJo. How much ARE they ACTUALLY in this movie?

  18. Christie says:

    I don’t know if it’s because Psycho is my favourite Hitchcock film but I am not really looking forward to this movie.

  19. j.eyre says:

    I will be interested in the Alma storyline. Their collaboration is often overlooked, I feel.

  20. Anguishedcorn says:

    I think it looks very interesting!

    However, I’m just struck every time I see ScarJo, with how bad her skin looks. All the time. Doesn’t she notice that when she sees pics of herself? It’s baffling.

  21. the original bellaluna says:

    They had me at Hopkins and Mirren.

  22. darth says:

    If ScarHO is supposed to be playing Janet Leigh, she doesn’t seem to know it. As always, she’s too in love with herself to get outside of her own ego enough to play someone else. She just looks and acts like Scarlett Johansen wearing a costume. Such an overrated actress. It looked like a few years ago that she might fully disappear, but thanks to The Avengers and her Obama fame-whoring it looks like she’s back for a second round.
    At least they balanced out the cast with sure-fire talent like Helen Mirren. The huge gap that separates them in talent is strikingly obvious in this trailer alone.

  23. Camille (TheOriginal) says:

    It looks terrible and Scarlett can’t act for sh*t.

  24. Sara says:

    Making a movie about making a movie, now that’s some creative stuff Hollywood. Good grief.

  25. Lizi says:

    huge hitchcock fan.she pulls it off.this comment is hemingway style.

  26. Tilly says:

    Am I the only one that is desperate to see an original movie? It seems that every project is based on something that was already done i.e. comic book, T.V. show, news story, other movie etc. I WANT TO BE SURPRISED!

  27. Carolyn says:

    This film is going to be embarrassing. For the fact that Mirren and Hopkins are stellar actors and “become” their characters and will contrast so badly with JT’s exes who think they’re the stars and their lack of real talent will become obvious. You can’t just put on a wig to be in character.

    So not intersted in this movie. Wasn’t Hitchcock a horrible person? What slant are they going to put on this one?

  28. Madison says:

    This is one remake that just might work. ScaJo and Helen Mirren both look really good and with their acting will be able to pull it off, too bad they also put Jessica Biel in this movie here’s hoping it’s only one scene she does look ridiculous in that picture.

  29. Anne says:

    The trailer looks awesome , Scarlett is so good in it and obviously Anthony and Hellen also.

    I think this can be very interesting, i can´t wait to see it .

  30. normades says:

    Dame Helen saves this from being a hot mess. She is awesome. Maybe I don’t know enough about Janet Leigh, but did she have speach problems??? That line Scarjo spits out is painful.

  31. The Original Mia says:

    Looks interesting. Both Hitchcock movies do.

    They overdid Anthony’s makeup, but he makes a very convincing Hitchcock. Oscar noms for both leads to be sure.

  32. Aria says:

    I want to see this movie soooo badly! I know. Guilty!

  33. Ally8 says:

    OK, this is one of those daft things where there are two similar productions. Personally, I think this cast looks more interesting:

    The Girl
    with Toby Jones as Hitch, and Sienna Miller as Tippi

    I gather that The Girl focuses more on Hitchcock’s creepy crush on Hedren, whereas this one looks like a tedious making-of reenactment. Can we not have movies like this where some reporter or other such character announces to the audience how famous the subjects of the biopic are? It’s the biopic equivalent of the laugh track, telling the audience how important the movie is, since the characters were super famous dontchaknow.

    Both Hopkins’ and Johanssen’s make-up is distractingly dreadful. And the film looks like they recycled the ingredients from My Week with Marilyn.

  34. LittleDeadGirl says:

    I’m a huge Hitchcock fan so I’m not super thrilled about this being made. I also wish they’d have done it on something less popular than Pyscho.

    After seeing the trailer I don’t mind it … I mean I want to love it … but I’m shocked that my judgement is on Perkins and not on the others but he did NOT do enough disguising his own voice. He sounds nothing like Alfred … he sounds like himself. Makeup is good enough … but the voice. Not good at all and Hitchcock had a very distinct voice I’d have thought it’d have been asier to immitate.

  35. Schnikes says:

    ScarJo is soooooooooo lucky she has a big rack cuz her acting skill is Lohan-caliber at best. Just god awful every time! This is her “I have wig therefor I am” performance I see.

  36. A says:

    Dame Helen and Sir Anthony FTW. All the critics who have seen the screening are tossing their names around in the Best Actor and Actress category.