Adapting a novel that has previously been made into one of the most iconic thrillers in cinema history is quite a challenge, but that’s the task Ben Wheatley took on when he agreed to direct a new version of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.
But Wheatley has been very clear that the new film is not a remake of the Alfred Hitchcock version – claiming that he “didn’t really think about” it when he was making the new film.
“I didn’t really think about the Hitchcock version, to be honest,” he told RadioTimes.com and other press. “I watched that and I watched the various TV versions mainly for due diligence, just to make sure that I wasn’t using anything from those adaptations that wasn’t in the book, so that was it really.”
Despite this, Wheatley says there was one Du Maurier film adaptation which did have an influence on his film, and indeed has inspired much of his previous work – namely, Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 film Don’t Look Now.
“I think [Don’t Look Now] is important to this film… In many ways more important than the Hitchock one,” he said. “And Roeg’s work, in general, is a big touchstone for me.”
Wheatley added that it was important that the film came across as a modern one, despite the period setting, and not as purely pastiche.
He said, “It was interesting, the conversations I had with [cinematographer] Laurie Rose when we were putting the film together, and it was the same set of conversations we had when we did High Rise… it’s better to make movies from the position you’re in now because we’re not like a covers band.
“We’d had those conversations about High Rise and it was like, oh, should we make it look like a 70’s film? We decided not to and it was a similar thing with this, it’s a modern movie and it’s shot with modern techniques.
“There may be slight nods to the past in terms of some of the blocking and some of the movement of the camera, but really the use of drones and steady cam and the speed in the way that the camera moves and the way that the exposure of the family can work in lower light and all those things, make it a modern movie through and through.”
Rebecca streams on Netflix from Wednesday 21st October