With the arrival of Rebecca on Netflix, director Ben Wheatley appeared on the latest edition of The Breakdown series to discuss the film.
Wheatley kicked things off by explaining his interest in adapting Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel, which was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940. “It was intriguing, I thought I knew what it was,” he says, realizing he was unaware of the twist. “And then I read the script and I was completely wrong. It was so bizarre. That was the first thing that made me think there was something interesting going on. If I misremembered it, then maybe there’s something in that that could be taken to a modern audience.”
Starring Lily James and Armie Hammer, the film is about a newly married woman becoming tangled in her husband’s past. “The love affair between the two main characters is the fuel that powers the whole film,” Wheatley says. He claims that casting Hammer as Maxim de Winter and James as Mrs. de Winter is what made it more realistic: “As a couple, you would root for them and you’d be seduced by them and their love.”
Elsewhere in the video, Wheatley discussed his admiration for the script and how old-fashioned it felt. “It’ll jump from genre to genre to genre,” he says. “It’s not ashamed about how beautiful it all looks…but it’s also not winky, like, ‘It’s all a joke, everything is sarcastic and post-modern.’ It doesn’t do any of that stuff, and I think that’s the refreshing thing about it. And that’s what I’m hoping the audience will take away. They’re going to go, ‘I remember movies were like this. They’re really great.'”