Alfred Hitchcock, by way of heavy metal?

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EXCLUSIVE: There are very few filmmakers who would make great film subjects, but if you had to choose one, Alfred Hitchcock probably would be it. Visionary and irascible, the suspense pioneer lived a complicated life -- and that was just on the set. One envisions a movie about him in the throes of a creative challenge sharing parallels with some of the best of striving-artist movies -- like, say ‘Anvil! The Story of Anvil,’ Sacha Gervasi’s 2009 documentary about the fallen heavy-metal pioneers trying to find their way back to the top.

Which is why it seems perfect that Gervasi is in discussions to write and direct a scripted film based on a chapter in the career of Sir Alfred. According to two insiders who’ve been briefed on the plans, executives at Ivan Reitman’s Montecito Pictures are in discussions with Gervasi to take the reins of ‘Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Psycho,’ ‘ a long-gestating film based on Stephen Rebello’s 20-year-old book about, well, just what the title says. (It previously had drafts written by Rebello and ‘Black Swan’ writer John McLaughlin.)


Among Rebello’s many insights is that the 1960 hit ‘Psycho’ was a departure for the ‘North by Northwest’ director, a more explicitly shocking film that was meant to compete with other low-budget horror pictures -- ‘The Blair Witch Project’ of its day.

There have been numerous Hollywood A-listers mentioned in association with the Hitchcock biopic, including actor Anthony Hopkins. But if Gervasi, who drew acclaaim for both the comedy and the heartbreak of ‘Anvil!,’ winds up directing the film, one can imagine plenty of wry understatement and clever pacing -- the very qualities, come to think of it, that its subject might have appreciated.

-- Steven Zeitchik