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Tippi Hedren Recalls Alfred Hitchcock's Harassment for HBO's 'The Girl'

"He ruined my career," the actress says of her obsessive "Birds" and "Marnie" director, "but he didn't ruin my life."

Tippi Hedren Portrait - P 2012
Getty Images

Tippi Hedren, an icon among Alfred Hitchcock's leading ladies, has long been open about her trials working for the obsessive director.

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His fixation on Hedren, which prompted unwanted sexual advances, refusing to let her out of her contract and ultimately blacklisting her, is documented in HBO's upcoming film The Girl. And though Sienna Miller takes on the Birds and Marnie star in the scripted venture, Hedren is helping promote the project by endorsing its authenticity.

"People have said, 'Was he in love with you?' " she told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour Wednesday. "No, he wasn't. When you love someone, you treat them well. I think we're dealing with a mind here that is incomprehensible, and I certainly am not capable of discerning what was going through his mind or why."

Hedren says she's long past attempting to understand why he was so obsessed with her, nor does she care. "He ruined my career," she said, "but he didn't ruin my life."

As for the film, she spoke with scribe Gwyneth Hughes during the screenwriting process and helped Miller do research for the role. Once production was finished, HBO screened The Girl for Hedren's family and friends.

"I have to say that when I first heard Toby's [Jones] voice as Alfred Hitchcock, my body just froze," she said. "It was hard to go through all of those years that had been eclipsed into an hour and a half."

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The time constraints of the film also don't leave much room for what Hedren admits were some great experiences as well.

"It wasn't a constant barrage of harassment to me," she said, noting that her original work with Hitchcock as her drama coach was quite fulfilling. "There were times of delight and joy, all kinds of different things. ... There wasn't enough time to give an example of what other experiences were in existence during the Hitchcock-Hedren years."