Netflix is looking to bring a whole new generation to Manderley again with its sumptuous looking new adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's classic novel Rebecca. The original film, released eighty years ago, was directed by none other than Alfred Hitchcock, won the Academy Award for Best Picture and garnered Oscar nominations for all its lead actors, including Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, and Judith Anderson. So, to say this new version of the film has some big shoes to fill is something of a (massive) understatement.
But Netflix is certainly swinging for the fences with this attempt, stacking its remake with an all-star cast that includes Lily James, Artie Hammer, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ann Dowd and more. And if these recently released first-look images are any indication, it appears that we are all in for one sumptuous ride.
Downton Abbey alum James is playing the unfortunate "second Mrs. de Winter" who, upon arriving at her new husband’s estate, finds herself living in the shadow of Maxim De Winter’s first wife, the titular Rebecca. In the novel, the new Mrs. de Winter is our POV character and the reader's guide into the strange and, quite frankly, weird world of Manderley. Here, James herself will have to perform a similar role, playing a character who is kind and sweet, but more than a little naive. (James, if you ask me, is absolutely perfect for this part.)
At this point, it’s probably unnecessary - and even a bit unfair - to refer to James solely as a Downton alum, given the scope of success she’s found since leaving Highclere behind. Besides being a real-life Disney princess in the live-action adaptation of Cinderella, she’s played a younger Meryl Streep in Mama Mia! Here We Go Again, another charming period drama heroine in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and a gutsy secretary to Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.
Call Me By Your Name star - and current It Guy- Hammer plays her husband, the attractive and possibly dangerous Mr. de Winter, while Scott Thomas takes on the role of the iconic - and deeply terrifying - Mrs. Danvers. Unable to let go of her former mistress, Mrs. Danvers does her best to keep her legacy alive and to torment and gaslight the woman she sees as trying to take her place.
There's no word yet on who Dowd could be playing, though part of me wonders if she's not also playing Mrs. Danvers, just at a slightly older point in her life.
The Netflix synopsis describes the story as follows.
“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 premiere on Netflix on October 21.
What do you think of the look of this adaptation? Let's discuss in the comments.