“He ruined my career, but he didn’t ruin my life,” Tippi Hedren said of director Alfred Hitchcock on Wednesday, nearly 50 years after starring in his film “The Birds” and then his “Marnie.”
The HBO flick “The Girl” will document one of Hitchcock’s seriously messed-up obsessive relationships with his practically perfect blond stars — a list that also famously includes Grace Kelly and Kim Novak.
“The Girl” shows Hitchcock plucking ex-model Hedren from obscurity, molding her “Pygmalion”-like and grooming her to be a Hitchcock Blonde. He did so until he morphed from daddy figure to spurned suitor, HBO says, making “inappropriate” advances halfway through the filming of “The Birds.” The relationship turned from a “tsunami of unwanted attention” into cruel vindictiveness when she rejected his come-ons.
Sienna Miller plays Hedren to Toby Jones’s Hitchcock in “The Girl.” At Summer TV Press Tour, Hedren, now 82, said that “my body just froze” when she watched the movie and heard Jones’s Hitchcock.
HBO held a screening for 30 of her friends, she said — at the end of which, “Nobody moved, nobody said anything, until my daughter jumped up and said, ‘Now I have to go back into therapy.’ ”
“Studios were the power and I was at the end of that, and there was absolutely nothing I could do, legally,” Hedren said of her treatment at the hands of Hitchcock. “If this had happened today, I would be a very rich woman,” she added wistfully.
Asked whether Hitch was as “sad and despicable” a figure as he appears in the movie, Hedren said: “He was an extremely sad character. You’re dealing with a brain here that was unusual, genius and evil and deviant, almost to the point of dangerous.”