Tippi Hedren says the late film director Alfred Hitchcock was obsessed with her and ended up ruining her career just as she became a star in the 1960s.
Hedren, who starred in "The Birds," is the subject of an HBO film Saturday night, titled "The Girl," that explores Hitchcock's obsession with his leading lady. In an interview with HBO, Hedren said Hitchcock "had a penchant for falling in love a little bit with each of his actors." But it was different with her.
"The difference with Hitchcock and me was that it wasn't love. Because when you love someone, you treat them well. This became an obsession," the now 82-year-old actress said.
After starring in Hitchcock's "The Birds" and "Marnie," Hedren tried to get out of her seven-year contract with the director but he wouldn't allow it.
"I'll ruin your career," he allegedly told her.
As the "hot" new actress, she received many requests from other directors and producers to play a part in their films, but Hitchcock would tell them she was unavailable.
"He giveth and he taketh away," Hedren said of the British director who is considered one of the most creative filmmakers and a master of suspense.
In "The Birds," Hedren said she was told they'd use mechanical birds in a scene at the house near the end of the film. But they ended up using real ones. For five days, she said, cartons of ravens, gulls and a few pigeons were hurled at her. She ended up going under a doctor's care for a week.
At the end of the screening of "The Girl," where Hedren is portrayed by Sienna Miller and Hitchcock by Toby Jones, Hedren said everyone was stunned. "Nobody moved. Nobody talked," she described.
For her, it was "the most involved, emotionally tense 90 minutes" that she ever lived.
On a positive note, Hedren said Hitchcock did help her as an actress. She was a fashion model who needed to learn how to break down a script and become a character in a film. That's where the director coached her. "He was incredibly helpful with that side of the career," she stated.
Hedren was baptized Lutheran and went to church until she was 25, she said, adding that she learned a good sense of morals through her churchgoing background.
"The Girl" premieres Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.