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Anthony Hopkins On Being 'Hitchcock'

Academy Award winner explains what influenced him to play the iconic director

En español | Anthony Hopkins actually lost weight to play Alfred Hitchcock.

"I think if I'd put on the weight, I would have died," he says of his role in Hitchcock, which opened in limited release Nov. 23. "He was massively overweight. I lost 15 pounds because I didn't want to be overweight lugging that fat suit around."

See also: Anthony Hopkins proves that 'Hitchcock' was a genius

Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock

Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock — Courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures

Thanks to the suit, some very good makeup and an astonishing performance, the Oscar-winning Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs) is garnering awards buzz for his transformation into the innovative director — which includes capturing Hitch's notorious speech patterns. Hopkins, who met Hitchcock briefly in 1979, studied for the role by watching The Alfred Hitchcock Hour TV series, filmed interviews of Hitchcock and all of the director's major movies — from his early silent films through Psycho, which is Hitchcock's focus (specifically, his struggles to get the film made).

"I remember seeing Psycho when it first came out, in 1960," recounts Hopkins, 75. "I didn't realize it was such a scary film, and the music in the shower scene is the scariest part." Hitchcock initially didn't want music for that unforgettable scene, but his wife, Alma (played by Helen Mirren) — an editor and screenwriter, among her many moviemaking talents — insisted on the screeching score.

For Hopkins, the love story was what most attracted him to the script (by John J. McLaughlin, of Black Swan). "I thought Hitchcock was a particularly brilliant director," the actor explains, "but he was a troubled man and had this obsession with his movie stars. Still, he and Alma were together all those years. She was not just an ally of his — she was a great helper."

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