In 1998, director Gus Van Sant did a shot-by-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller "Psycho." Fast-forward to 2012, and now Hollywood is setting up a movie about the movie.
"Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho" (a truly wretched title sure to be changed--may we propose "Going Psycho"?) has just added Scarlett Johansson to its cast, in the role of scream queen Janet Leigh, and James D'Arcy as the Oedipal nightmare Norman Bates, reported Variety. They join Anthony Hopkins, who's been cast as Hitchcock himself.
Johansson's role is said to be quite the awards bait, a la Michelle Williams' Oscar-nominated role in "My Week With Marilyn," about Marilyn Monroe's dalliance with a young man while shooting "The Prince and the Showgirl."
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So is this the hot new trend-let? Movies about the making of real movies? There have been plenty of films about the making of movies--"Tropic Thunder," "Adaptation," "Get Shorty"--but typically they've been about the making of fictional films, not films that were actually made.
Another Hitchcock classic, "The Birds," is also being turned into movie fodder by HBO and the BBC, for a film called "The Girl," about his relationship with star Tippie Hedren.
Last year, in addition to "Marilyn," we had Martin Scorsese's "Hugo," the second half of which was about George Melies and the birth of modern film.
And on the 2011 Black List of best un-produced scripts floating around Hollywood there was "Chewie," by Evan Susser and Van Robichaux, a comedy about the making of "Star Wars," as told through the yes of Peter "Chewbacca" Mayhew.
We don't doubt there are any number of great stories about movie making, and movie makers are like the rest of us, they are their own favorite topic. All you have to do is re-watch Sunday's Oscars (go ahead, we dare you) to be reminded how much Hollywood loves Hollywood.
But there's something to be said for not seeing how the sausage is made, retaining the mystery. Movie magic, like real magic (whatever the hell that is) is best when it's unexplained. And do we really need to encourage narcissism?