52 years ago, the world was introduced to a new type of horror film: Psycho. Alfred Hitchcock's creation, based on Robert Bloch's 1959 novel, took film in a direction it had never gone before with it's brutal depiction of violence and risque sexual scenes. If you haven't seen Psycho, you have at least heard about the historic scene where Janet Leigh's character, Marion Crane, is stabbed to death in her shower. While in 1960 this scene caused much controversy, it remains not only one of Hitchcock's most infamous film moments, but also the scene that pretty much defined Janet Leigh's career. On Friday, North America will get to see Scarlett Johansson transform into Leigh in Hitchcock — the movie about the filmmaker's life during the creation of Psycho — when it drops in theaters. But how, you might wonder, is Johansson able to fill the shoes of such a remarkable actress?
"I came on with my own experience living with [Janet's image] and having an idea how I wanted to portray her," Johansson told reporters at the New York City premiere of Hitchcock on Sunday. "[I tried to] to capture the essence of her." And she did just that. When it came to the shower scene, Johansson was able to perfectly recreate the exact emotion that Leigh demonstrated in Psycho.
But for clothed scenes, physical appearance and makeup also helped Johansson to morph into Leigh. “I was very fortunate to have Julie Hewett and Julie Weiss, our costume designer and our makeup artist, and our whole team [bring] their own experience with Hitchcock to the set," she said. "So it [was] a collaborative effort.”
Johansson even loved her early 1960s wardrobe. "It’s a nice period," she said. "Of course it’s a lot of foundation garment. And the shape, the silhouette, is always flattering."
And when it comes to Hitchcock, Johansson admitted that she's definitely a fan, especially of his movie Strangers on a Train. "I always liked that film,” she said. “I think as a child, I responded to the carousel scene. I like that it makes you feel slightly disoriented." She added, "It takes you on a roller coaster of suspense that Hitchcock was so talented with. It’s a classic.”
Living up to Janet Leigh's talent portrayed in Psycho must not have been an easy task, but Johansson blows away expectations with her performance in Hitchcock. Hitchcock drops in theaters this Friday, Nov. 23.
Watch the original shower scene from Psycho below.
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
[Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight]
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The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
Hollywood hardman Bruce Willis has settled a lawsuit against a childhood friend who allegedly tried to extort $100,000 from the actor.
The Die Hard star filed a lawsuit last year against Bruce DiMattia, claiming he "was overcome by greed and jealous of his former friend's success" and threatened to disclose personal information about the star unless Willis bought him a car and paid him $100,000.
However, the action star has reached a settlement with DiMattia and their dispute has been "amicably resolved."
Willis' publicist Paul Bloch says, "The filing of the lawsuit by Bruce Willis against Bruce DiMattia was based on a regrettable misunderstanding and was based on misinformation.
"Bruce Willis wishes Bruce DiMattia the best of luck in the future and Bruce DiMattia wishes him the same."
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Bruce Willis is fighting off claims he beat up a photographer in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, insisting he was simply shielding his eyes from flashbulbs when he accidentally made contact with a paparazzo.
But snapper Anthony Goodrich insists Willis pushed his camera into his face and chipped his tooth as he exited celebrity restaurant Koi.
And, while Willis' publicist is playing down the incident on website TMZ.com, the photographer insists he was injured enough to check into a hospital. He also filed a police report against the actor, alleging battery.
Goodrich tells TMZ.com, "He smashed my camera into my face... All I was doing was taking his picture. I didn't say one word. I didn't get in his way."
Willis' spokesman Paul Bloch claims Willis put his hand up "to protect himself" because he was "blinded by the lights" from photographers.
Bloch insists that at no time did Willis "hit, push, or hurt" anyone.
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