The Girl will focus on Alfred Hitchcock’s dangerous and isolating obsession with Hedren, whom he plucked from obscurity to star in The Birds.
Hitchcock was notoriously possessive of his starlets, but his behaviour took a tyrannical turn when it came to Hedren. The director asserted control of Hedren’s diet, interactions with male co-stars and on- and off-screen wardrobe (he retained costume designer Edith Head to make Hedren over as a successor to Grace Kelly).
Eventually, Hitchcock had Hedren followed around town and sent samples of her handwriting to analysts in his bid to grow closer to his star.
‘Everyone knows Hitchcock was keen on his blondes,’ screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes told the Daily Mail. ‘Unfortunately for Tippi, he developed a twisted and obsessive love for her that left her feeling isolated and terrified. He made repeated sexual advances towards her and tried to take over her life. Today we would call it sexual harassment but that concept had not been accepted back then.’
Hedren finally quit when Hitchcock issued an ultimatum about his intentions. Her career over, Hedren married and had a family, including daughter Melanie Griffiths. Now 81 years old, Hedren has met Miller to discuss the role.
The film will begin shooting on Thursday this week and broadcast on BBC2 next year.