by director Sacha Gervasi
As soon as I read John McLaughlin's brilliant script for Hitchcock, I felt immediately and intensely passionate about making it. On the surface, it was about the largely unknown struggle of one of the greatest directors of all time as he tried to make one of his greatest masterpieces. But peel away the layers a little and it was about an artist who felt like he was getting old and who was willing to risk everything just to feel young, relevant and alive again.
Having put all my own money into Anvil! The Story of Anvil, a deeply uncommercial documentary about two stoned 50-something headbangers from Toronto still trying to make their childhood dreams come true, I felt I had at least some small understanding of the incredible insanity it must have taken for Hitchcock to risk pretty much everything he had, including his reputation, just to connect viscerally with his audience.
But to me the film isn't just about that. It's about marriage and how hard it can be to sustain over the long haul. It's about acknowledging unseen partners who often deserve credit but whose creative contributions are sometimes left in the shadows. There's no one I know who hasn't at some point felt underappreciated, unacknowledged, or perhaps even eclipsed by their better half. And the Alfred and Alma story, mostly unknown to those outside of the fans and historians of Hitchcock, not only speaks to this, it also exposes the challenges and pressures of a lifelong creative partnership, and how hard it must be to live with anyone who is obsessive and stupid enough to try and make their living in the film business.
John's script was also immensely funny. I felt it did justice to Hitchcock's droll sense of humor while at the same time shedding light on this iconic man who was clearly, at some level, an agonized soul seeking to transcend his darkest fears through art. In keeping with Hitchcock's spirit, we made the conscious decision to try and make an entertaining "moo-vie" for the audience. As well as telling the story of what actually happened, the film explores what might have been going on in Hitch's psyche during this particularly intense and tumultuous period in his life.
We wanted to show Hitch's darkness, his obsessions with and his meanness to his leading ladies, his occasional cruelty to his own wife, and his violent, sometimes obsessive madness. But we also wanted to show the tenderness and romance that was clearly a big part of who he was, an aspect that can be seen in some of his more personal films, like Vertigo.
For so long Alfred Hitchcock has been either deified or vilified. But perhaps it's an over-simplification to try to explain him as either good or bad. Perhaps he was both. A complex, contradictory, flawed human being. This was this story that we wanted to tell. Taking on "Hitchcock" also offered the unique opportunity for me to work with some of the greatest actors alive. I can't think of many first time filmmakers who wouldn't have jumped at the chance to direct Anthony Hopkins or Helen Mirren, let alone to direct both of them, working together for the very first time. As a director and as an audience member, it was an extraordinary experience and honor to watch these two incredible artists bring the story to life.
We are all immensely proud of this film and hope you enjoy it.