“To be the object of someone’s obsession is horrible,” said Tippi Hedren, the actress who was very much the object of Alfred Hitchcock’s affections, for a large part of his career. Hedren’s tale of abuse and sexual harassment, whilst she was filming Hitchcock’s movies, such as The Birds and Marnie, is detailed in Donald Spoto’s biography of Hitchcock’s life and has now been committed to screen in The Girl, a BBC and HBO drama starring Sienna Miller as Tippi and Toby Jones in the role of the controlling movie director.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Hedren reveals that she told Miller to make sure that she was portrayed as a strong woman. “I wanted to make sure she understood where I was coming from,” she explained. “He was so insistent and obsessive, but I was an extremely strong young woman. There was no way he was going to get the better of me.”
Hedren also describes how she was conned into filming scenes in The Birds in which she was attacked by actual ravens, as opposed to the mechanical birds that were used elsewhere in the movie. After being pecked to within an inch of her life, the doctor ordered her to rest, much to Hitchcock’s chagrin. “She can’t rest for a week, we have nobody else to film,” came the unflinching director’s response. At the point that their relationship imploded, Hedren refused to speak to him, other than through intermediaries. He refused to call her by her name, referring to her only as The Girl.
BBC 2 will air The Girl on Boxing Day. Watch the trailer here: