For the Birds?

October 22, 2012


Tippi Hedren in The Birds

“Hitch said we had to keep filming. The doctor said, ‘What are you trying to do, kill her?’”–Tippi Hedren

You ever have one of those days where you get on the set, you’re prepared, energized, ready to roll–and then you get ripped apart by a flock of wild birds? Or you get concussed by a vicious blow to the head? Or how about the times when you’re taken to the hospital for internal injuries that take weeks to heal? No? Consider yourself lucky.

In the new HBO film, The Girl, Sienna Miller depicts The Birds star, Tippi Hedren, as she is literally put through the ringer by the Master of Suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock. The film portrays a bitter and vindictive Hitchcock taking out his sexual outrage on an innocent actress just trying to do her job.

The nature of any set is one of emotions running high. If that’s not the case, the movie will surely suffer. And, particularly in horror films and intense dramas, there can be a good bit of pushing and pulling, jostling, and wrestling. This can be more prounounced in low-budget films where there’s little budget for a stunt coordinator and stuntman.

So be aware of your own physical boundries, and how far you’re willing to go for your role. I have a friend who broke 3 knuckles punching a brick wall for a particularly intense scene; he’s happy to have given his knuckles for his art, and wears the scars like a warrior. Others may not be as willing to sacrifice their bodies for the sake of high art.

How about you? What have you endured for your art? Has a director ever put you in a situation in which you had to stop the madness?