The teaser for HBO’s The Girl paints a mostly-harmless portrait of director Alfred Hitchocock – whose famous droll mannerisms and chummy appearance are captured by character actor Toby Jones – and teases his relationship with Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller), the leading lady of Hitchcock’s The Birds and Marnie.
However, the full-length trailer dives right into the unnerving behavior Hitchcock exhibited towards Hedren behind-the-scenes, hinting at a real-life story as uncomfortable and disturbing as any fictionalized psycho-drama the legendary filmmaker could concoct onscreen.
Gwyneth Hughes’ script for The Girl explores the dark nature of Hitchock’s time with Hedren from the latter’s perspective – at least, that’s the impression the trailer leaves. We’re presented with little to nothing of Alfie’s motivation or the logic behind his Jekyll-and-Hyde attitude towards Hedren; one moment, he’s sadistically subjecting her to multiples takes of a scene where she’s attacked by birds, the next he’s not-so-subtly propositioning her.
Nonetheless, Jones looks as comfortable in the role of Hitchcock as he did playing Truman Capote in Infamous and, more recently, one of the seven dwarfs in Snow White and the Huntsman; Imelda Staunton – an Oscar-nominee for Vera Drake and Jones’ fellow Harry Potter alum – fits into Alma Reville/Hitchcock’s shoes with equal ease. Miller likewise seems a good match for Hedren, managing to look her role as well as Jones and Staunton look their parts – all the while, providing a more empathetic human presence opposite Hitchcock (who’s as cold and double-faced in real life as the icy blondes frequently featured in his films).
The Girl was directed by Julian Jarrold, whose style range from British working class/drag queen comedy in Kinky Boots to the first installment in the grim Red Riding trilogy – and Becoming Jane, a Jane Austen semi-biography that favors the sort of sweeping romanticism often satirized by the author. Jarrold’s Hitchcock flick, by comparison, appears to be a more serious drama that emulates the tense atmosphere found throughout the filmmaker’s work – though, it’s probably fair to assume The Girl won’t be nearly so symbolism-heavy or expertly-crafted as one of Hitchcock’s own movies.
Look for The Girl to premiere on HBO on October 20th, 2012.