Even eighty years after its release, Alfred Hitchcock‘s REBECCA still stands as one of the director’s best films, and although it was based on the novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier, any subsequent adaptations will inevitably be compared to Hitchcock’s. The latest adaptation of the novel will be hitting Netflix later this year courtesy of Ben Wheatley (FREE FIRE), with a film that stars Lily James (YESTERDAY) as a young newlywed who arrives at her husband’s (Armie Hammer) imposing family estate on a windswept English coast and finds herself battling the shadow of his first wife Rebecca, whose legacy lives on in the house long after her death.
It’s not, in any sense, a remake of the Hitchcock film. Firmly not. Remaking a film is not that interesting to me, but the original source material is. I watched all the adaptations. It’s important to see what’s gone before, but that’s certainly not the focus.
The director added that he “wanted to make something that had more love in it. It’s part of trying to investigate other parts of being human. Rebecca has dark elements, and it has a psychological, haunting story within it, but it’s also about these two people in love. That was the main thing.” In addition to Lily James and Armie Hammer, REBECCA also stars Kristin Scott Thomas, Keeley Hawes, Ann Dowd, Sam Riley, Tom Goodman-Hill, Mark Lewis Jones, John Hollingworth, and Bill Paterson. Wheatley said previously said that he was also drawn to the shifting genre tones of the Daphne du Maurier novel. “The idea of du Maurier smuggling a ghost story and a thriller and a betrayal inside a romance story, like a Russian doll, was really good,” Wheatley said. “That genre-jumping thing is something I’ve had in my own work, and the connection made sense.” REBECCA was scripted by Jane Goldman and Joe Shrapnel & Anna Waterhouse.
The official synopsis for REBECCA:
After a whirlwind romance in Monte Carlo with handsome widower Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer), a newly married young woman (Lily James) arrives at Manderley, her new husband’s imposing family estate on a windswept English coast. Naive and inexperienced, she begins to settle into the trappings of her new life, but finds herself battling the shadow of Maxim’s first wife, the elegant and urbane Rebecca, whose haunting legacy is kept alive by Manderley’s sinister housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas). Directed by Ben Wheatley (High Rise, Free Fire) and produced by Working Title Films (Emma, Darkest Hour), REBECCA is a mesmerizing and gorgeously rendered psychological thriller based on Daphne du Maurier’s beloved 1938 gothic novel.
REBECCA will debut on Netflix on October 21, 2020.