It were Tippi Hedren playing the character of Melanie Daniels, not vice versa. But anybody can make a mistake, especially when the subject in question is an actress so identified with one character that confusing the player and the part is not only very understandable, but somewhat acceptable.
January Jones’ name has been tossed around as playing Tippi…or is it Melanie? Something almost sublimely perfect about that casting. Can you guess what it is? Even better, of course, is that Timothy Spall will be playing Alfred Hitchcock. Spall’s name is not particularly well known outside England, but his most famous character is known by billions of those under the age of 30 all around the world: Wormtail.
Yes, Spall will be going from rat to the man who made directing famous. Okay, maybe that title really goes to D.W. Griffith or Cecil B. DeMille, but Alfred Hitchcock was, inarguably, the first star director. And according to the script by Gwenyth Hughes, it was during the making of “The Birds” that Alfred Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren became entwined in a strange relationship that, according to the press release, ended up destroying their careers.
That particular plot point may be stretching things a bit, but at least Hedren thinks Hitchcock tried to destroy her career. In an interview with the Sunday Times, Hedren recounts in detail how Hitchcock only hired her as an unknown because no star would have been willing to put up with his plan to use live birds during an attack scene. Hedren also asserts that Hitchcock was, to use her phrase, obsessed with her. If you don’t actually read the article in the Times, here’s the gist: Hitch never took his eyes off her, invited her for champagne after each day’s shooting and, in ways she doesn’t really delve into, control her life. Hedren, to her great credit, had the courage to say no even when Hitchcock, again according to Hedren, Hitchcock began making demands during the filming of “Marnie” that she won’t divulge any details about.
Hitchcock told Tippi Hedren that he would ruin her career as a result of this revolt. She collected $600 a week for doing nothing. Making no movies. Watching her chance at stardom pass her by.
Okay, so Hitchcock destroyed Tippi Hedren’s career. But where’s the part where Hedren destroyed Hitch’s career? True, Hitchcock made only one really good film after “The Birds” but “Frenzy” contains one of his all time greatest and most chilling scenes. You can see it here. Keep in mind that Hitchcock came up with this tracking shot that is probably the best murder scene ever put on film, several years after “The Birds” supposedly destroyed his career.