Toni Collette On Hitchcock And The Shocking Moment With Anthony Hopkins On Set
I imagine it could be intimidating working with someone with a reputation as prestigious as Hopkins', was it more or less intimidating when he seems like Hitchcock?
Well, Hitchcock, I'm seeing him through Peggy's eyes, and she's someone who rolls her eyes at him and knows every little idiosyncratic quirk, so I don't think she's taken by what seems to be quite a domineering, controlling, moody, insecure man.
And she also seems aware of his weaknesses.
Yeah, but she's also incredibly protective. So I think she's aware of the flaws and the greatness, and takes it all in her stride.
Having worked with him for so long, do you believe Peggy shared Hitch's sense of macabre humor or just understood it?
I think she probably oscillated between the two, but I don't think any of them really, initially were supportive of his idea to adapt Psycho into a film. I think they were shocked and thought it may have been a folly until they realized how obsessed he was. And then you get on the train because that's the job. I think they were all aware of him as a whole person and that's why they were so—um—easy in a way.
What was your first exposure to Hitchcock?
I think I was aware of the shower scene [from Psycho]. In terms of pop culture it's such a known kind of image and the music is also very familiar. So perhaps as a teenager? I remember doing this kind of thing [gesturing iconic stabbing motion, then laughs warmly.] Then throughout my life I've kind of taken his films in. Yeah, it's interesting with Psycho, because—obviously making the film I watched it again—and I found Tony Perkins performance—and other people disagree—but I found it really, really contemporary. I mean, it could have been in a film now. But they are all so—I love how stylized they are, and how beautiful they are to look at. And Hitch was kind of a rebel, kind of a rock star. Even the way he promoted his movies, he just thought outside the box and that's always inspirational.
Do you have a favorite Hitchcock movie?
I love the voyeurism of Rear Window.
Do you remember the first time you saw Psycho?
I can't remember when it was. It might have been in my early twenties—I don't know if I was in my teens or twenties—life is chugging along! My memory is going to shit.
I think it's hard to pick out that movie, like I can't remember a time before I knew the ending, and I don't remember the first time I saw the movie. But I watched it again yesterday and was shocked at how differently I saw it.
How you remembered it to how you see it now?
Well, also how I experienced it. Like you said about Anthony Perkins, I feel if that movie had come out now, there'd be tumblr pages dedicated to how dreamy he is.
Yeah yeah yeah, totally.
Which makes it even more disturbing.
I agree I think the fact that somebody can be so monstrous and so fragile; it was a really great performance. It was good casting I guess. I don't know how involved Hitch was as a director, where he says, "I don't know, you do it." So I don't know how much of it was the actor and how much was the script. I mean, you never know do you. It's always a combination.
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