Based on stellar perfs in such pics as “Factory Girl” and “Layer Cake,” Sienna Miller has been one to watch for many years, but now she’s offically been tabbed for the One to Acclaim Award at the Hamptons Film Fest.
A former model who was born in the States but raised in London, the actress has a handful of bigscreen pics upcoming but none of those may not give her the career bump that she may receive by playing Tippi Hedren in HBO’s telepic “The Girl,” due to premiere at the fest Saturday and debut on the pay cabler Oct. 20.
Directed by Julian Jarrold from a Gwyneth Hughes screenplay based on Donald Spoto’s “Spellbound by Beauty,” Miller’s Hedren is a fashion model hired by Alfred Hitchcock (Toby Jones) to star in his film “The Birds.” Hitchcock doesn’t care that she has no acting experience.
For him, the birds will be the star and Tippi will be the blond Galatea to his sadistic, self-loathing Pygmalion. The battle of wills, resumed in “Marnie,” virtually destroys them both. The statue doesn’t become human; the human becomes a statue.
Miller brings life to it nonetheless.
“The script was brilliant and Toby helped raise my game,” she says on the phone from a small town above the Amalfi coast, where she was vacationing with actor Tom Sturridge and their 2-month old daughter.
“In the beginning Tippi does come off as cold. I went to meet the real Tippi to help understand the role, and found that under the cool Scandinavian exterior she’s a warm and maternal figure,” Miller explains. “It was a physically demanding shoot. I was in my first trimester, throwing up a lot. One of the great challenges was maintaining Tippi’s stoicism.”
To Hitchcock, every blond he cast was the Girl, whether it was Hedren, Janet Leigh or Grace Kelly. So, if he were still alive, would the master of suspense be able to inflict such manipulative cruelty on his female leads?
“The film industry is different now,” Miller says. “It no longer operates in a man’s world.”
The hazards come from a different source. Miller was famously the injured party in a Jude Law indiscretion, which left her hounded and even terrorized by paparazzi.
“I successfully sued to change the law in England. Once they made my life a nightmare, but now my life in London is brilliant,” she says.
Away from the camera, Miller has devoted herself to social activism and philanthropy. She’s global ambassador for the International Medical Corps.
“I’ve gone to Haiti, Ethiopia and the Congo. I go to help, but I gain perspective,” she adds. “It works both ways.”
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