Director Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Free Fire, High Rise) is currently developing a film adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s novel Rebecca. The story was originally adapted by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940, but Wheatley wants people to know that his film will not be a remake of Hitchock’s film, it will be a whole new imagining of the source material.
In the story, “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).”
When discussing his adaptation of Rebecca, the filmmaker explained to Empire:
“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.”
Wheatley also opened up about what drew him to the haunting psychological thriller, saying:
“I 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.”
Hitchcock’s Rebecca is the only film he ever made that won a Best Picture Oscar. The film is one of his masterpieces, but there is a lot of stuff from the book that he couldn’t put in the film because the subject matter was too dark for the time and the studio wouldn’t allow those things to be put in the film.
Wheatley will have the freedom to include those darker elements if he chooses to. I’m curious to see what he does with it, but even though he says that this his film will not be a remake, it will be compared to the original film by the fans.