NEW YORK – Judging from her only real-life encounter with the great director Alfred Hitchcock, Helen Mirren is the last actress you’d expect to play his diminutive, influential wife Alma Reville on screen.
But the Oscar-winning Mirren deftly essays that very role in the witty biopic “Hitchcock,” and may well have set herself up for yet another Academy Award nomination (the fifth of her career).
Yet, when she was a young actress in the early 1970s, Mirren said she met briefly with Hitchcock while he was casting his serial-murder mystery “Frenzy.”
“I was a very young actress, just starting out, and I was sent for a meeting with him,” Mirren said during press interviews arranged by Fox Searchlight. “I don’t think he would have auditioned me. I think he either thought you looked right or you didn’t.
“I really had no idea who he was,” she said. “To me, he was old-school. I really wasn’t familiar with his movies and don’t even think I had seen ‘Psycho’ at that point.
“I was arrogant and ignorant at that time, and he was just not my kind of film director,” Mirren continued. “So I didn’t really like him, and I know he didn’t like me very much. He certainly didn’t cast me. I was, you know, as one is when one is young, just ridiculously self-opinionated.”
- Dennis King