Listen to this: they are making a movie about the making of a movie.
In this case, the movie concerned is Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock’s pioneering slasher classic from 1960. Scarlett Johansson is to play Janet Leigh, who starred as the short-lived Marion Caine, Anthony Hopkins is to play Hitch and Helen Mirren is to play his wife and collaborator, Alma. It has not yet been announced who will play Mother’s corpse, though the role could give Sean Penn’s flagging career a much-needed lift.
This raises the question: Dear Lord, why?
Anyone who has spent any time on a film set as an observer knows that film-making is a mind-numbingly tedious experience for those not directly involved. Even the making of a three-minute pop video – just the shooting of which often takes up to a week or more – is hardly filled with the jump-cut, flashy excitement that ends up on MTV or Viva.
The Telegraph quotes Variety magazine as saying the makers of Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho think they’re on to something “because it will concentrate on a specific untold story in the life of the director”.*
Yeah, right. What would that “specific untold story” be, do you think? Maybe that Hitch didn’t actually direct Psycho, or any of the other films bearing his name, but they were all really directed by the Earl of Oxford, or Walt Disney or even the painter Francis Bacon.
Might it have something more to do with the self-absorbed navel-gazing of some of the more conceited Hollywood types (and there are plenty of those) who think movie-goers are as fascinated with the tedious black arts of film production as film-makers are themselves?
With luck, the renowned “Curse of Psycho” will strike this production as surely as it struck Gus Van Sant with his vanity project, the doomed frame-by-frame remake of Psycho in 1998.
Further upcoming movies:
Evelyn Waugh and the Writing of Brideshead Revisited
Jack Vettriano and the Painting of The Singing Waiter
Phillipe Starck and the Designing of His Unusable Lemon Squeezer
* Actually, I couldn’t find that quote on the linked Variety story, so perhaps the Telegraph that bit up.