Director Sacha Gervasi sat at the back of Hollywood's Grauman's Chinese Theatre last year when "Shame" enjoyed its centerpiece gala screening at the 2011 AFI Fest. He returned to the historic theater Thursday night with his own movie, "Hitchcock," and during a tearful introduction, Gervasi repeatedly acknowledged he could scarcely believe he was there.
"We actually just finished the film 20 minutes ago," Gervasi joked while acknowledging the movie's editor, Pamela Martin. "Can we still take notes, Pam?"
"Hitchock" was a late addition to this year's awards-season calendar and, judging from the reaction of the packed house at the 2012 AFI Fest's opening night, it appears a welcome inclusion. The film focuses on the marriage of the famed director (Anthony Hopkins) and wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren) during the period when the couple gambled their own money to self-finance "Psycho." The cast also includes Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, Jessica Biel playing Vera Miles and James D'Arcy as a twitchy Tony Perkins.
D'Arcy was the only lead on hand Thursday night. Hopkins and Mirren sent a taped message from London where they're shooting "Red 2." Johansson is rehearsing "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" in New York. And Biel, fresh off her wedding to Justin Timberlake on Oct. 19, is honeymooning.