For the record, I’m excited to see Scarlett Johansson play Janet Leigh, the ’60s starlet who gets mercilessly stabbed to death in Psycho, in the upcoming biopic Hitchcock. Judging from the trailer, she certainly looks the role and has a sweet mix of coyness and confusion as to how the unorthodox director Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) will treat her death scene. I think she’ll be a strong part of the cast.
But for some reason, this quote from ScarJo about shooting the infamous Psycho shower scene annoyed me. Talking to V magazine (via People), she sounds almost… self-congratulatory?
“We only had the luxury to shoot the scene for a day, and everybody was feeling very nervous because it involved water and nobody wants the actor to get wet. They were concerned with modesty and all these things—but I don’t care about any of that stuff and Janet Leigh never did either.
“You have got to be brave, get into the shower, and face Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock jabbing you in the face with a 12-inch kitchen knife. As much as Anthony Hopkins is a pussycat, he’s terrifying. Maybe I watched Silence of the Lambs too many times when I was a kid. Maybe I was having some flashbacks. So I didn’t need too much preparation for the scene.”
Her quote about not worrying about modesty seems disingenuous, but maybe that’s just me. She’s Scarlett Johansson! Of course she had no problem baring her body for a nude scene. Her first big movie, Lost in Translation, opens with a tracking shot on her ass. As a kid too young to see the movie but reading the reviews in Entertainment Weekly and other publications, it’s the one detail that always stuck with me til I finally rented it. One blogger wrote a whole “academic exploration” on it!
Because the drama of Hitchcock hinges on the prudish movie studios who won’t let the director feature an unclothed woman on-screen, it makes sense that Scarlett is discussing her own nude scene when promoting the film. Nudity used to be risque. Now it’s brave. But is it that brave when you have a body like Scarlett Johansson’s? When we’ve already seen your nude photos? I’m not sure, but maybe it’s just this quote. Because I loved it when she called out tabloids for claiming she crash-dieted to get her body for The Avengers. For the most part, I’d put Scarlett under the column of good celebrity body image role models.
Hitchcock comes to select theaters on November 23rd.
Photos: Fox Searchlight, IGN