Ben Wheatley has emerged as one of contemporary cinema’s most dynamic genre filmmakers, thanks to projects such as “Kill List,” “Sightseers,” “High Rise,” and “Free Fire,” and now he’s taking on one of the most famous genre stories ever written: Daphne du Maurier’s Gothic classic “Rebecca.” Backed by Netflix, Wheatley’s “Rebecca” is the first major film adaptation of the novel since Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 version starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. Hitchcock’s adaptation won the Oscar for Best Picture. Can Wheatley deliver a retelling of the same caliber? Netflix’s trailer for the new “Rebecca” below gives moviegoers their first look at what Wheatley has hinted is a new take on the material.
Netflix’s official synopsis for “Rebecca” reads: “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 she 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).”
“Rebecca” marks a reunion between Wheatley and Hammer after the pair worked together on the director’s “Free Fire.” The film is one of two major star vehicles for Hammer set for release this October, along with Kenneth Branagh’s star-studded Agatha Christie murder mystery “Death on the Nile,” in which the “Call Me by Your Name” actor stars opposite Gal Gadot and more. Branagh also directed James in her breakout role in Disney’s live-action “Cinderella,” and she most recently landed major roles in studio projects like “Mamma Mia Here We Go Again!” and “Yesterday.”
In addition to Hitchcock’s Oscar-winning “Rebecca,” Daphne du Maurier’s novel has also been adapted into a 1979 BBC movie starring Jeremy Brett and Joanna David and a 1997 television film starring Charles Dance and Emilia Fox. The novel has sold over 2 million copies and has never gone out of print since its first publication in 1938.
“Rebecca” will be available to stream on Netflix starting October 21. Watch the official trailer for the Gothic drama in the video below.