It’s been 80 years since Alfred Hitchcock adapted Daphne du Maurier’s gothic novel, Rebecca, into a feature film. Now, Ben Wheatley is taking a stab at directing an adaptation of the psychosexual thriller for Netflix.
The 2020 adaptation of Rebecca stars Armie Hammer as Maxim de Winter, the handsome widower of the titular Rebecca, a role formerly inhabited by Laurence Olivier in 1940. Lily James steps in to the shoes formerly filled by Joan Fontaine, and plays the young woman who meets him on vacation in Monte Carlo, quickly falls in love, and marries him to become Mrs. De Winter. It’s not until she moves in to his large English estate that she realizes she is still living in the shadow of her husband’s first wife, and is slowly terrorized by Mrs. Danvers, the estate’s creepy housekeeper played by Kristin Scott Thomas.
The source material has been adapted for the screen a couple other times—in 1979 for the BBC, and again in 1997 for a made for television movie. While the music for the trailer of the 2020 version may seem to send this film veering towards the direction of something that could be considered camp, it’s important to remember that the original film adaptation of Rebecca is still highly regarded as one of the scariest psychological dramas of all time. Rebecca was the film that made Hitchcock famous in the United States after a two-decade career making films in England, and became both a commercial and critical success. It was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and is the only film directed by Hitchcock to win Best Picture.
The original Rebecca film also won Best Cinematography. This contemporary iteration appears to be aiming towards nabbing the same level of prestige, as the cinematography for the 2020 Rebecca was done by Laurie Rose, who was responsible for the sweeping landscape cinematography in this summer’s cottagecore period drama, Summerland.
Netflix promises its iteration of Rebecca will hit the small screen on October 21, as well as select theaters around the U.S.