Dreamworks and Working Title Pictures are enabling us to visit Manderly again, with a remake of Rebecca, it's been announced.
The classic gothic story, penned by authoress Daphne du Maurier in 1938, sees a naive, nameless heroine marry the recently widowed and enigmatic Maxim de Winter, but she is haunted by the presence of Rebecca, Maxim's adored former wife.
Anyone involved in this new adaptation will have colossal clogs to fill. The undisputed king of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, famously adapted the story in 1941. (His version won a little gold man for Best Picture – his sole Oscar triumph.) Its actors were perfectly cast: handsome thespian Sir Laurence Olivier played Maxim de Winter, Joan Fontaine was the vulnerable innocent heroine, and Judith Anderson portrayed the staggeringly scary (and psychotic) Mrs Danvers.
There’s always hesitancy, a wash of dread, when you learn Hollywood’s planning a remake of a beloved Hitchcock flick. (Gus van Sant’s 1998 shot-by-shot remake of Psycho was simply pointless.) Fortunately, there is hope. This new adaptation of Rebecca, pitched as being a contemporary remake, is in the hands of Oscar nominated writer Steven Knight (Eastern promises and the superb Dirty pretty things) and veteran producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner (Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy). Let’s hope the casting is as favourable.