You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Helen Mirren in ‘Hitchcock’

Eye on the Oscars: The Actress - Lead Actress Contenders

Helen Mirren isn’t known for playing characters that stand in the shadows. Her 2006 Oscar for “The Queen” came after taking on many roles as powerful women.

Yet as Alma Reville, wife of the famous director in “Hitchcock,” played by Anthony Hopkins, she’s her husband’s unacknowledged collaborator on scripts, editing and even directing.

Mirren came to appreciate her character’s significance when she read “Alma Hitchcock: The Woman Behind the Man” by the couple’s only child, Patricia.

“The daughter of this incredibly famous film director writes a biography and chooses to write it about her mother,” Mirren says. “It was huge to me. It gave her mother great status.”

Despite Alma’s lack of public recognition, Mirren says, “She wasn’t resentful or angry about the fact that history wiped her credit out.”

As part of her preparation, Mirren studied photos of Alma, which she says, revealed “an incredible energy, a lightness. … She’s laughing, smiling. I think Alfred Hitchcock made her laugh. Any woman will say a sense of humor is the sexiest thing in a relationship.”

Creating that relationship on screen came intuitively for Mirren and Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins, who had never worked together.

“It was as if we had done 10 years of repertory theater together,” Mirren says. “It was very natural. We were both coming at it from a rather British point of view: You learn your lines, get on there, do it and don’t make a fuss. You give the other actor the room and support to do what they need to do.”

Mirren enjoyed discovering a key unknown player in the industry in which she herself has made such a mark.

Mirren says: “It was like finding a little treasure as a woman, to find out about the women who were important in the history of film.”

| HOME | Quvenzhane Wallis >>

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Alan Rickman

    Film News Roundup: 'Galaxy Quest' Documentary Set for Release

    In today’s film news roundup, rescue drama “Not Without Hope” is back in development, a “Galaxy Quest” documentary is set for release and “The Two Popes” wins another award.  PROJECT REVIVED U.K.-based financing-production outfit Goldfinch has bought feature film rights to Nick Schuyler’s “Not Without Hope” and signed “The Fog” director Rupert Wainwright. The project [...]

  • Ryan Reynolds John Krasinkski

    Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski in Talks for 'Imaginary Friends' Movie

    Ryan Reynolds and John Krasinski are in talks to board the fantasy comedy “Imaginary Friends” at Paramount Studios. Paramount recently won the bidding for the property over Lionsgate and Sony. Krasinski will write, direct,  produce and star while Reynolds will co-star if the deals go through. The story centers on a man who can see [...]

  • Willem Dafoe attends the "Motherless Brooklyn"

    Willem Dafoe Joins Guillermo Del Toro's 'Nightmare Alley'

    Willem Dafoe has closed a deal to join Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of “Nightmare Alley.” Collider had first reported that Dafoe was being considered for a role in the film, but sources now say the “Lighthouse” star has closed a deal to join the cast. The “At [...]

  • 'To the Ends of the Earth'

    Busan Film Review: 'To the Ends of the Earth'

    “To the Ends of the Earth,” the story of a young Japanese journalist’s experiences in Uzbekistan filming a report for a Japanese TV travel show, was originally commissioned to celebrate 25 years of cordial diplomatic relations between director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s hyper-developed island homeland and the less affluent, landlocked Central Asian nation. As such we might [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Heading for $45 Million Launch, Topping 'Joker'

    Angelina Jolie will topple Joaquin Phoenix from the North American box office throne as her “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” should open in the $45 million range this weekend, while “Zombieland: Double Tap” will battle “Joker” for second place in the mid-$20 millions. The film, told from the perspective of the sorceress in “Sleeping Beauty,” is [...]

  • Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Watchmen

    Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Talks 'Watchmen,' 'Matrix 4': 'I’m Not Nervous At All'

    Yahya Adbul-Mateen II is facing some serious pressure. The actor is in the middle of a massive career surge, taking on roles in HBO’s “Watchmen” and the upcoming “Matrix 4” — and with those roles, the expectations of their fans.  “I have the responsibility of upholding something that was already done while also bringing in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content