HBO has released the second teaser trailer for its upcoming biopic, The Girl, which focuses on the relationship between actress Tippi Hedren and director Alfred Hitchcock during the filming of his thriller classic, The Birds. Directed by Julian Jarrold (Becoming Jane) the film stars Sienna Miller (Stardust) as Tippi Hedren and Toby Jones (The Hunger Games) as Alfred Hitchcock. This biopic is going to be an all-out drama fest, not only because of its talented cast and crew, but because of Hitchcock and Hedren’s tumultuous working and personal relationship.
If you’ve ever seen the 1963 horror staple The Birds, you’ll notice that Hedren looks terrified during the final scene when birds are attacking her. Though she certainly demonstrates excellent acting skills, this is also because birds were, in fact, attacking her. Hitchcock promised Hedren that he’d use mechanical birds for the attack scene, but instead used real birds without giving Hedren a good old-fashioned heads up. Hedren endured five days of having live birds flung at her face, and eventually had to take a week-long medical leave due to the trauma caused by the ordeal.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Hitchcock famously derailed Hedren’s career by keeping her under contract for two years while refusing to cast her in any movies, and barring any other director’s attempts to hire her. Why would Hitchcock do that, you may ask? Because Hedren refused to sleep with him. This was a demeaning and unfair move, but sadly not an uncommon one for female actresses of that era to encounter. By the time Hedren was free from Hitchcock’s legal control, her rise to fame was largely forgotten, and no one in Hollywood wanted to hire her. Tippi Hedren never got another break and lived the rest of her life in relative obscurity. She made a public statement earlier this year where she said of Hitchcock, “(He) ruined my career, but he didn’t ruin my life.” This is a surprisingly chill statement from a woman who has every right to be bitter and angry.
Obviously this HBO movie is going to have all sorts of drama, intrigue and power play. Despite the creepy nature of Hedren and Hitchcock’s relationship (read: Alfred Hitchcock was an awful, misogynistic ass) the cool thing I’ve noticed from the trailers is that they seem to focus a lot on Hedren’s side of the story, and the struggle she faced as a young, talented actress dealing with the unreasonable demands of one of the most powerful men in the film industry. Though I have no idea if this sentiment will make it to the movie, I think it’s definitely worth checking out. The Girl willpremiere on HBO, Saturday, October 20th at 9 pm. Watch the trailers, and let me know what you guys think!