Dame Helen Mirren has been talking about her role in the new biopic Hitchcock. Sir Anthony Hopkins stars as the great film director Sir Alfred Hitchcock, with Mirren, in the eyes of some, stealing the show as his wife Alma Hitchcock.

However, Mirren – who has plenty of experience in biopics having played Queen Elizabeth II previously – said that the role was tricky to come, not least because Alma largely stayed out of the limelight during Hitchcock’s life despite working with him as well as being married to him. “There’s no film” of her, Mirren said to The Washington Post. “Just one tiny bit on YouTube, of Hitchcock getting his AFI [American Film Institute] award, and there’s Alma sitting next to him. I watched that over and over again, but they only cut to Alma” — she snaps her fingers — “for a nanosecond. It was so frustrating.”

Mirren also said that she didn’t really look like Alma, commenting: “I do wish I looked more like Alma, because Alma was a birdlike person, and the visual imagery of this tiny little woman with this huge, big man — and she’s the only one who’s got influence over him — I just loved that idea.” However, for many these disparities mattered little, with both Mirren and Hopkins the brightest lights in a film that hasn’t quite received wholesale praise – something unlikely given the gravitas of the man they were trying to portray.

What did the press think of Hitchcock?