Sienna Miller may soon prove herself as an actress. The 30-year-old, known more for her personal tribulations than her film roles, is set to star in the HBO film “The Girl,” about the relationship between Alfred Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren, one of his famed muses. Miller plays Hedren in a role that — based on the trailer — appears more challenging than the parts she typically plays.
Directed by Julian Jarrold, “The Girl” is based on claims made by Hedren that Hitchcock sexually harassed her on the set of “The Birds” and “Marnie” in the early 1960s. According to The Wrap, the film suggests that Hitchcock (played by Toby Jones) punished the actress and model and threatened to destroy her career after she turned down his sexual advances.
(Hedren, now 82, is perhaps better known now as Melanie Griffith's mother than as the star of two 50-year-old films.)
In recent years, several actresses have given critically lauded performances in HBO films and miniseries. Who could forget Kate Winslet’s riveting performance in “Mildred Pierce” or Julianne Moore’s depiction of Sarah Palin in “The Game Change?” Based on the network’s record, it’s safe to say that the odds are in Miller’s favor. The film may allow her to win over those who have criticized her in the past.
Since her breakout role as an unstable party girl in 2004’s “Alfie,” her resume has been riddled with lackluster films like “Casanova” (2005) and “Camille” (2007). She did, however, earn a degree of acclaim for her portrayal of drug-addicted socialite and Andy Warhol hanger-on Edie Sedgwick in 2006’s “Factory Girl.”
Of the performance, Stephen Holden of the New York Times said, “[I]f Ms. Miller doesn’t have Sedgwick’s throaty smoker’s voice and aristocratic air, she gives a furious, thrashing performance as a lost little rich girl.”
In 2010, Miller won raves for her performance as a dimwitted starlet in “Interview,” which Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called a “gutsy tour de force.” The film earned Miller a London Film Critics Award nomination as well as an Independent Spirit Award nomination.
Yet both films failed to reach audiences outside of the art house circuit. By comparison, “GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra,” her highest grossing film to date, was by no means a character vehicle.
In 2009, Miller tried her hand at theater and appeared in the Broadway production of “After Miss Julie.” Though the role had the potential to gain her a newfound respect in the industry, her performance was savagely panned.
Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal found her Broadway debut horrendous.
“As for Ms. Miller, a model turned second-tier movie star, all she does is stalk around the stage striking vampy poses and looking really, really skinny,” said Teachout. “I almost felt sorry for her, but the truth is that she has no more business playing a classic stage role than I have posing for the cover of Vogue. The Roundabout Theatre Company should be ashamed of itself for asking her to do so.”
Despite the unfavorable reception, Miller returned to the stage in 2011 as the star of “Flare Path” on London’s West End.
This time, critics praised her.
"Her performance as the conflicted actress-heroine," said Paul Taylor of The Independent,"is genuinely heart-tugging in the subtle way it communicates this young woman's struggle between patriotic duty and extra-marital desire."
Unfortunately for Miller, much of the public’s perception of her has been wrapped up in her personal life. When she began dating Jude Law in 2004, their romance became a tabloid spectacle. In 2005, after the pair became engaged, the Sunday Mirror revealed that he had an affair with his children’s nanny (Law has three children with first wife Sadie Frost). Law issued a public apology to Miller, but their relationship did not survive the affair.
Miller was one of the celebrities at the center of the News of the World phone hacking scandal. According to the BBC, the now-disgraced and closed newspaper admitted to hacking the actress’s phone and is set to pay her 100,000 pounds in damages.
In July, Miller welcomed a daughter, Marlow, with fiancé Tom Sturridge.
“The Girl” is set to premiere on HBO on Saturday, Oct. 20.