Tippi Hedren was a model when Alfred Hitchcock gave her the lead in The Birds, and this may come as a shock to you, but it turns out that the big, fat powerful film director didn’t always treat the hot, blonde young model with decency and professionalism. In fact, it sounds like he made her wash the proverbial Ferrari. Hedren, now 82, discussed her relationship with Ol’ Grabby Hands, the Master(bator) of Suspense, at Television Critics Association panel for The Girl, a movie airing on HBO in October starring Toby Jones as Hitchcock and Sienna Miller as Hedren. ADDITIONAL TRIVIA: Hedren’s daughter is Melanie Griffiths.
Hedren still doesn’t know how to describe Hitchcock’s fixation. “It wasn’t love,” she said. “When you love someone, you treat them well.”
Although there were times of “delight and joy” as Hitchcock personally coached her on her acting, there were other times when he treated her horribly.
Those events form the spine of director Julian Jarrold’s “The Girl.” “The Girl” shows Hitchcock aggressively forcing a kiss on Hedren in the back seat of a car during the filming of “The Birds,” and later demanding that she “make yourself available to me sexually.” The film also suggests that Hitchcock punished her for rejecting his advances. In one scene, he sends a prop bird crashing through phone booth glass without warning her. Another sequence shows her forcing her to work with live birds for five days for the film’s attic scene. Hedren suffered multiple cuts, including to her face, in both cases, according to the film.
Hedren couldn’t escape Hitchcock’s control because she was under contract, and the director refused to let her work for others once she refused to work with him again after “Marnie.” There were no laws in place to protect women from such harassment.
Still, Hedren said Wednesday, she “lived through it beautifully.”
“He ruined my career but he didn’t ruin my life,” she said. “If this had happened today I would be a very rich woman.”
The film is based on the book “Spellbound by Beauty,” by Donald Spoto. Screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes interviewed several people familiar with the Hitchcock-Hedren dynamic, including costume supervisor Rita Riggs, “Marnie” actress Diane Baker, and Hitchcock’s first assistant director Jim Brown, who is prominently portrayed in “The Girl.” [via TheWrap]
I don’t want to minimize any of this, because it sounds terrible. I can’t imagine how hard it must’ve been to get a guy to take you seriously when you’re a model, and it’s 1963, and your name is “Tippi.” Being mean to a girl because she won’t date you is such a pathetic, childish thing to do. Everyone knows the thing to do is to write a long letter spelling out every reason you didn’t want that bitch anyway, and then print it out and eat it, because YOU’RE AN ADULT!
This is neither here nor there, but I had a French film professor in college who would always talk about Hitchcock, but she’d pronounce it ‘itchcock. It was always ‘itchcock this and ‘itchcock that. To this day I can’t see his face or hear his name without thinking of venereal disease. Karma?