Whether it’s a guy living in an airport like Viktor Navorski in The Terminal, or Anvil in Toronto, or Alfred Hitchcock who’s imprisoned by his success; there is a common thread to all these characters. I don’t know why I’m particularly drawn to it. It’s been pointed out to me, and I don’t understand it myself.
I think Alma Reville was the only one Alfred Hitchcock trusted. When it came to issues of taste or what the audience wanted, down to editing, script and casting, he would turn to her first. She was his partner.
Being English definitely gave me some insight into these eccentric Brits puttering around Hollywood.
I went to film school and studied Alfred Hitchcock. I knew of Alma Reville existence, but had no idea really who she was or how influential she was on him. She stayed in the shadows. Go online, and there are hardly any images or film of her. She really stayed out of the limelight on purpose. She didn’t want it, and I think that’s one of the reasons that she’s really lost in the shadows of Hitchcock’s history to a degree.
I think everyone who saw Alfred Hitchcock Psycho movie, as I did when I was young, was impacted. The shower scene is nuts. It still is, and I think what’s wonderful about it is that it’s universal. People understand the darkness and the violence, and it’s shocking.
I think it’s impossible to get any movie made, let alone a character story. Even with big stars, which we had, there were challenges. But we got through it, and we’re really happy that we made the movie. It’s easier to make giant robot movies, but I’m not in that game.
The good thing about the Anvil school of filmmaking was that it was fly by the seat of your pants. There was no safety net.
I really relate to outsider characters. Especially the eccentric, lunatic weirdos like Alfred Hitchcock, Viktor Navorski in The Terminal, or the Anvil guys. Everything I’ve done is about these quite eccentric, exotic outsiders who you might see in a certain light at first, but once you scratch the surface a little, you realize that they’re not that different from you. I think there’s an element of that which unites.
I love the idea of creative collaboration. I love the idea of exploring marriages, particularly ones that are in process for a long time.
Of course, when you’re doing something that’s unexpected, people are going to have a very specific point of view about it, but I think it’s all good to have a healthy debate about who Hitchcock was and what that means to people. He means a lot of different things to a lot of different people because the films are so great. If the movies were not great, no one would be bothering to show any interest.
When you take on Hitchcock you know it’s gonna provoke some sort of controversy, because there were so many people talking about the book [Stephen Rebello’s Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho] and wanting it to be the film about the making of this movie [Psycho]. But that’s been done. That’s been done in the book, and Stephen Rebello himself was like, “I want a movie which is an entertainment for the audience.” So we made the conscious decision.