Although better known for the adaptation made by the incomparable Alfred Hitchcock back in 1940, Rebecca is a gothic novel by English author Dame Daphne du Maurier. It became a best seller with almost 3 million copies sold between its publication in 1938 and 1965. It’s been categorized under the genres of crime, gothic, mystery and romance. Since it first saw the light it has become a cultural reference, being adapted or mentioned uncountable times in other literary publications, radio, film, theater, television and almost any other channel you can think of. Even one edition of the book was used by the Germans in World War II as the key to a book code; how about that for the cultural impact of a fiction piece?
In the book, while working as the companion to a rich American woman on holiday in Monte Carlo, a naïve young woman in her early 20s becomes in love with a wealthy Englishman, Maxim de Winter, a 42-year-old widower. After a fortnight of courtship, she agrees to marry him. With the wedding and honeymoon past, she accompanies him to his mansion in Cornwall, the beautiful West Country estate Manderley, in England. Mrs. Danvers, the sinister housekeeper, was profoundly devoted to the first Mrs de Winter, named Rebecca, who died in a boating accident about a year before Maxim and the second Mrs de Winter met. She continually attempts to undermine the new Mrs de Winter psychologically, subtly suggesting to her that she will never attain the beauty, urbanity, and charm her predecessor possessed. Also, she is soon convinced that Maxim regrets his impetuous decision to marry her and is still deeply in love with the seemingly perfect Rebecca. The shitstorm starts at Manderley’s annual costume ball, when Mrs. Danvers manipulates the protagonist into wearing a replica of the dress shown in a portrait of one of the former inhabitants of the house, hiding the fact that the same costume was worn by Rebecca to much acclaim shortly before her death. A story of mixed feelings, love and hate, treason and hidden intentions, where the young Mrs de Winter will have to play her cards well if she doesn’t want to end up being another tragic accident like Rebecca was.
Variety reported last week that popular streaming service Netflix has greenlit its own adaptation of the novel and will be part of their Netflix Originals catalog. Ben Wheatley, an award-winning filmmaker director of titles like Free Fire (2016), High-Rise (2015), Sightseers (2012) or Kill List (2011) is set to direct. Jane Goldman, a frequent collaborator of Matthew Vaughn who has written the screenplays of successful films like Kick-Ass (2010), X-Men: First Class (2011), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) and the 3 films of the Kingsman saga, will write the new adaptation based on the original Rebecca novel.
This new Rebecca is currently in the state of pre-production and will start filming next spring. So far, Lily James, the protagonist of fantasy oriented films like Cinderella (2015) and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016), who can also be recently seen in Baby Driver (2017), will incarnate the young Mrs de Winter. On the other side, Armie Hammer, star in Nocturnal Animals (2016), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), The Lone Ranger (2013) and Blackout (2008), will be Maxim de Winter. It is still unknown who will be Mrs. Danvers but what about Tilda Swinton? This is our bet, and hopefully, the producers think the same because that would be an eccellent addition to the cast and powerness of the movie, don’t you think?