He has played President Richard Nixon, Hannibal Lecter and vampire slayer Van Helsing - but Sir Anthony Hopkins says he still found the role of Alfred Hitchcock "daunting".
The 74-year-old Oscar Award-winner was in London together with Dame Helen Mirren for the premiere their new film, Hitchcock.
The movie tells the story of the master of suspense's relationship with wife Alma Reville during the making of his 1960 hit slasher film Psycho.
Speaking on the red carpet outside the British Film Institute on London's South Bank, Sir Anthony said he was "obviously a little nervous" about the role.
"I didn't want to hear my voice back or see any of it, I wouldn't see any playback because I didn't want to shock myself," the Welshman said. "I saw the film when it was finally cut together and I was very pleased with it.
"It was a tough role to play, just tricky because everyone knows him and he has been such a formidable presence in our living rooms through the years and probably the most famous director of all time - so it was daunting."
Sir Anthony, who used a prosthetic "fat suit" to get into the director's skin, also defended Hitch against critics who say he had a dark side.
He said: "I don't think he was a monster - he was very witty, he didn't tolerate small talk. He was a very practical man and he didn't have any time for nonsense."
Dame Helen described her character, Hitchcock's wife Alma Reville, as the director's "artistic and domestic rock". "People say there were four hands on Hitchcock's movies and two of them were Alma's," she said.
Dame Helen, decked out in a stylish black Dolce & Gabanna outfit, said she was having a "pretty good year" after working with Sir Anthony in Hitchcock and Al Pacino in an upcoming biopic about legendary music producer Phil Spector.