November 21st, 2012
03:45 PM ET
Even when you're a legend yourself, the thought of playing one for the screen is still frightening.
Such was the case for Anthony Hopkins, who transforms into Alfred Hitchcock for this month's "Hitchcock," which is based on the book "Alfred Hitchcock and the making of 'Psycho'" and directed by Sacha Gervasi.
"[Hitchcock] was an amazing personality and a great genius, and for me it was daunting taking on such a loved figure," Hopkins told press Sunday. "Such a notorious man as well because he had a wicked sense of humor and he was a complicated man."
The 75-year-old actor was determined to get it right, and that included Hitchcock's look and voice. He was very careful about what he ate, and donned a prosthetic, suit, brown contact lens and a shaved head to mimic the history-making filmmaker, absorbing his vocal habits from watching "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" on TV.
"I felt secure, I felt good," Hopkins said, "but when the film was finished and completed then I got very insecure and paranoid ... I wasn’t sure how I had done."
Hopkins not only knew those who knew Hitchcock, such as James Stewart and Janet Leigh, but he also briefly met the filmmaker once upon a time.
"He didn’t give you very much, but I think he was a complex man, probably a very sensitive man and deeply disappointed when they never really encouraged him or gave him an Oscar," Hopkins said. "I think it hurt him because he knew he was making money for them, for the studios. I think it troubled him, and that’s why he did 'Psycho' - it was his revenge in a way."
Helen Mirren portrays Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville, and while she agreed that the role of Hitchcock presented "slightly dangerous territory," she also doesn't think Hopkins has anything to be insecure about.
"[I]f you’re brilliant then everyone will forget it’s you, anyway, as one does when watching Tony Hopkins, and I did working with him," Mirren said. "I completely forgot it was him. I accepted him as this person, Hitch."
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