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'Hitchcock' star Scarlett Johansson: Watching 'Psycho' at age 7 'petrified me'

It's Scarlett Johansson Tuesday on TODAY! And having tackled the weather (due to Al Roker's laryngitis) and otherwise utterly charmed everyone on the show, the four-time Golden Globe nominee sat down with Matt Lauer to address the real reason she was hanging out -- her new film, "Hitchcock."

In the film, Johansson plays actress Janet Leigh, star of Alfred Hitchcock's movie "Psycho," and said it was a real treat to work alongside Oscar-winning stars Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren (who play Hitchcock and his wife Alma respectively). There was no need for "Sir" or "Dame" on the set, she noted: "They're incredibly casual; it's 'Tony,' of course ... and Helen, we just called her, 'Hey you.'"

Less pleasant was actually seeing "Psycho" at a very young age, she recalled: "I was raised on Hitchcock films," she said. "My mother is a huge film buff and I saw 'Psycho' probably when I was too young, I mean I was like 7 or 8 and it was incredibly traumatizing. ... It petrified me."

As an adult, however, she was probably equally traumatized by re-enacting the famous shower scene from the film. In "Hitchcock," the director isn't convinced by Leigh's screams, so he steps in to terrify her properly -- and it worked, on both Leigh and Johansson, who flashed back to another of Hopkins' iconic roles.

"When you have Tony Hopkins there stabbing at you with a completely frenzied psychotic look on his face, you don’t need (the film's classic soundtrack to get in the mood)," said Johansson. "Seeing his ("Silence of the Lambs" character) Hannibal Lecter from also way too young was enough to give me that naturalistic feeling."


Fortunately, ScarJo appears to have recovered nicely, even if she is exploring her options as weather lady.

"Hitchcock" opened in limited U.S. theaters on Nov. 23.

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