'Hitchcock' Star Jessica Biel on the Challenge of Having 'A Successful Career and a Private Life'

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'Hitchcock' Premiere
Jessica Biel and Scarlett Johansson at the Hitchcock New York premiere
Jessica Biel offers some bold choices on the carpet. Read More »

For her role in Hitchcock, Jessica Biel wanted to meet Vera Miles. She plays the co-star of Psycho, a fascinating new movie about Alfred Hitchcock and his wife Alma Reville during the filming of his horror masterpiece. But the 83-year-old actress had no interest in meeting the young actress who would be portraying her.

“She’s retired and doesn’t have a public life at all,” Biel explained. So instead, she met with one of her grandsons -- who was quite happy to meet and talk about his grandmother.

When Biel retold this story at the ‘Hitchcock’ press conference in New York, it was instantly met with chortles from the other cast members sitting on the dais. "Of course he wanted to meet you!" chuckled Toni Collette.

“No, no it wasn’t like that!” Biel protested. “He was very nice and respectful and he’s married! He’s highly protective of his grandmother and loves her.”

 

The newlywed admitted that she was nervous about playing a real person, but those fears were allayed by director Sacha Gervasi.

“I was very fearful about doing an impersonation, and I spoke to Sacha a lot about that. Going along I realized that it was impossible to create someone fully, but you have to grasp a facet for who she was as a mother and a woman. We also talked a lot about what it was like for her being on the Psycho set.”

“She had a sense of humor and grace and that’s what I was trying to go for. I hope it worked.” Biel definitely pulls it off: Her Vera Miles comes across as a smart, sassy woman who offers advice for her screen sister, Janet Leigh, when it comes to dealing with their brilliant but disturbed director Alfred Hitchcock.

The 30-year old, who first became famous on 7th Heaven, left the distinct impression that she could relate to Miles’ struggle to be a serious actress who struggled with maintaining a personal life.

“Vera wasn’t interested in being a star,” explained Biel. “She did lots of theater, which was very fulfilling for her. She didn’t want to be a star, but a respected actor. I think it’s terribly hard now to have a successful career and a private life. It’s very challenging.”

“I find it very hard to have any kind of privacy in my life,” said the just married Mrs. Timberlake. “I guess it’s a balance. I would love the days of no internet and TMZ. Google is great, but it is a challenge!”

Hitchcock opens in theaters November 21. Watch Celebuzz' profile of Alfred Hitchcock and 2012's glut of Hitchcock-related projects below.

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