‘Hitchcock’ crashes the awards season party with a last minute November release

Get ready for a lot of Alfred Hitchcock over the next few months. 

Fox Searchlight made a surprise announcement this morning that Sacha Gervasi’s “Hitchcock” will open in theaters on Nov. 23.  This was unexpected as “Hitchcock” was in production just this past Spring and while Searchlight felt they had something special on its hands, they didn’t believe they could get manufacture all the necessary trappings of a proper awards season prestige campaign in time.  The studio is so enamored with the film they’ve decided to take the chance.

Based on the novel “Alfred Hitchock and the Making of Psycho,” the drama stars Sir Anthony Hopkins as the iconic director, Helen Mirren as his wife Alma, Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins, Michael Stuhlbarg as Lew Wasserman, Jessica Biel as Vera Miles and Toni Collette as his assistant Peggy Robertson. While the film has been described as a behind-the-scenes look at the making of “Psycho,” it’s actually a love story between Hitchock and his wife who edited, supervised reshoots and worked on the screenplay.

“Hitchock” will be Gervasi’s feature directorial debut. He previously helmed the critically acclaimed documentary “Anvil: The Story of Anvil” and his produced screenplays include Steven Spielberg’s “The Terminal” and the indie “Henry’s Crime.”

The studio has high hopes for best picture, Hopkins in the best actor race, Mirren in best actress and possibly Johannson in supporting actress.  Danny Elfman is doing the score which hasn’t even been completed at press time.

“Hitchock” will open in limited release on Nov. 23.  That will be just a month after HBO’s “The Girl” debuts.  The HBO film stars Toby Jones as Hitchock and focuses on his relationship with star Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller).  That film finds Imelda Staunton playing Alma and Penelope Wilton as Peggy. It is scheduled to premiere on Oct. 20.  This has to be deja vu for Jones.  He previously starred as Truman Capote in Douglas McGrath’s “Infamous” only to have “Capote” arrive in theaters first with Philip Seymour Hoffman taking home his first Oscar for best actor.  Perhaps Jones and Hopkins can both win in their respective categories at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards.