Looking back, it seems like such an easy decision: of course Alfred Hitchcock should have made Psycho, the 1960 thriller that is now one of the director’s most acclaimed films. Yet at the time the story—based on a true crime story that was widely seen as gory, trashy and titillating in the worst way possible—was a no-go in tightly buttoned Hollywood.
But, as the upcoming (Nov. 23 limited release) movie Hitchcock shows, that didn’t stop Hitchcock. With the support of his wife, Alma Reville—and with her creative help—he decided to finance the movie himself and see if he could make it work, even if it meant personal sacrifice. To play Hitchcock, Oscar-winning actor Anthony Hopkins wore facial prosthetics, contact lenses and paint to dull the color of his teeth—and, of course, he summoned the director’s famous voice and attitude. Oscar-winner Helen Mirren matches him line-for-line as Alma, as can be seen in this scene from the movie, available as an exclusive preview here at TIME.com.