Sacha Gervasi spoke to Première in 2013.
At the beginning of 2013 it was released in France Hitchcocka biopic of the filmmaker Birds returning specifically to the manufacturing of Psychosis. First then met its director Sacha Gervasi, to talk about this film carried by a five-star cast: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, James D’Arcy, Toni Collette, Michael Stuhlbarg…
We are sharing this interview on the occasion of the programming of the special Helen Mirren evening on Arte: this film will be followed by a documentary dedicated to the star of The Queen. Subtitle “A royal actress”it is already visible for free in replay on the channel’s website.
What is Hitchcock, the biopic of the filmmaker with Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren and Scarlett Johansson worth?
Sacha, what was the first Hitchcock film you saw?
Psychosis, at fifteen. Well, I must have seen others as a kid but this was the first time I knew that the film I was watching was by Hitchcock… We had set up a film club with friends and we had come up with a plan to rent cheap copies. The first three films we showed were Don’t look back, Easy Rider And Psychosis. Yeah, I took a few slaps that year! And since, Psychosis never really left my life…
The most overrated Hitchcock in your opinion?
Cold sweat. I love this movie, huh, let’s be clear. But he was recently elected “best film of all time” and I admit I don’t quite understand how he could have ended up there. Cold sweat is there a better movie than Citizen Kane ? Hmm, sorry, I’m not convinced…
The most underrated Hitchcock?
Fifth column. It’s one of his first American films and he experiments with a lot of tricks that he will reuse later. We often forget because his pitch is less sexy than that of, say, The unknown of the Nord-Express… But there are really great chases in it and incredible suspense. Otherwise, The Mountain Eagle (1926) isn’t bad either.
The Hitchcock you’ve seen the most in your life?
Is it Vertigo Or Courtyard window ? Psychosis Or Death to the Kits ? Maybe The 39 Steps. Unless it is The False Guilty…Sorry, this question cannot be answered. Even Rebeccawhich I don’t really like, I must have seen it a good dozen times, so…
The Hitchcock you’ve never seen?
Oh, there are plenty of them, especially among his first English films, those recently restored by the British Film Institute… But the one I would really like to get my hands on is the documentary on the concentration camps which he supervised the assembly (Memory of the Camps – editor’s note). A priori the only film where he addresses the questions of the Holocaust and Jewishness. Of course, it’s intriguing.
Your favorite Hitchcockian actress?
Patricia Hitchcock! She is great in Psychosis And The unknown of the Nord-Express. I love the idea that Hitchcock cast his own daughter, the flesh of his flesh, in the roles of frumpy dildos. He had a strange relationship with Patricia, she always ended up being the joke. It’s quite twisted, a little unhealthy, but you have to admit that it’s very fun to watch.
Your favorite Hitchcockian score?
That of Psychosis. Absolutely fucking crazy ! One of the greatest scores in cinema history. Try to imagine the shower scene without music… That’s how I managed to hire Danny Elfman for the soundtrack of my film: Bernard Herrmann is his God, he absolutely wanted to mix his musical notes with his.
Your favorite episode of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”?
Ugh. I never really liked this series, well below The Fourth Dimension Or Beyond reality. But on the other hand, I love the little intros. There’s one where Hitchcock is sitting behind a drum kit with a Beatles wig. Probably the most hilarious thing I’ve seen in my fucking life!
Your favorite Hitch cameo?
In The birds. You know, when he comes out of the store with two little dogs on a leash – they’re really his dogs, actually, Stanley and Jeffrey. It’s very graphic, very funny. Just perfect.
Which Hitchcock movie would you like to remake?
Wow, I would never do that! Totally sacrilegious. Besides, imagine that I have never seen the Psychosis by Gus Van Sant. Not my idea of fun. I didn’t like the idea, and I didn’t like the actors he cast. Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates? Seriously ?!?
Interview Frederic Foubert