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'Rebecca' proves to be the novel that keeps on giving

Tue, 20th Oct 2020 11:00

By Rollo Ross

LOS ANGELES, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Daphne du Maurier's beloved
novel “Rebecca” has seen multiple screen adaptations but the
director of the latest film version believes his may be the
closest to the 1938 book.

The thriller about a young, naive woman who marries an older
aristocrat but finds herself in the shadow of his late wife,
Rebecca, was an Oscar best picture winner for director Alfred
Hitchcock in 1940, starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine.
But the ending of the book was changed.

The new film, directed by Ben Wheatley and starring Lily
James, Armie Hammer and Kristin Scott Thomas, will be released
on Netflix on Wednesday.

“I went back to it and kind of re-read it and realized that
this is the first script for a feature version of the book that
had all the plot in it. Before, there had been things taken out
and major story points which had been removed," Wheatley said.

James, who plays the young woman, said the novel was packed
with themes including male-female power dynamics as well as
"obsession and jealousy and the patriarchy and everything within
a very addictive, commercial, gothic horror thriller romance."

Scott Thomas, a longtime fan of the book, said she was
thrilled to be cast as the manipulative housekeeper Mrs.
Danvers, played in the 1940 version by Judith Anderson.

“I reveled in creating her, in creating the image and in the
sort of construction of her. But actually doing it, actually
being her when they say ‘Action’ and having to be so beastly,
it’s actually quite hard,” she said.

"I think people love those sort of stories where something
suddenly appears incredibly realistic and true and you can
really identify with it and then suddenly it sort of slips into
something a bit more of a fantasy,” Scott Thomas said
(Reporting by Rollo Ross; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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