The first, set in the gorgeous Monte Carlo, serves up a sun-soaked holiday romance between handsome widower Maxim de Winter and James’ unnamed character.
The second half, though, transforms the much-told story from one of high romance to chilling gothic drama.
Because, as the new Mr and Mrs de Winter arrive at Manderley (aka Maxim’s imposing family estate on the windswept Cornish coast), it quickly becomes clear that his late wife’s presence is still very much felt in every single nook and cranny.
And not everyone is happy that he’s moved on so quickly.
“I don’t believe in ghosts,” James’ character is heard to utter at the trailer’s close, her voice trembling.
Check it out:
As reported on 11 August: Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca – thanks to its overwhelming atmosphere of mystery, terror, violence, and the supernatural – isn’t just a classic of modern gothic literature: it’s just a classic, pure and simple.
As such, Rebecca has been adapted many times over for both stage and screen: the most famous version, starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, is Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 movie, which won the Oscar for Best Picture.
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You’d be forgiven for thinking, then, that we’d be over Rebecca by this point. You’d be forgiven, but you’d be wrong.
Here’s what you need to know about the film.
What’s the plot of Netflix’s Rebecca?
For those who haven’t read or seen Rebecca yet, the story is deceptively simple. After a whirlwind romance in Monte Carlo with handsome Cornish widower Maxim de Winter, an unnamed woman arrives at Manderley, her new husband’s imposing family estate on a windswept English coast.
Naive and inexperienced, the new Mrs de Winter begins to settle into the trappings of her new life. She hosts luncheons, spends time with her husband’s friends, gets to know her way around her sprawling gothic mansion. Y’know, the usual.
However, it’s not long before she finds herself battling the shadow of her husband’s first wife, Rebecca, who (allegedly) died in a tragic sailing accident. Maxim still seems desperately in love with the dead woman. Manderley’s oh-so-sinister housekeeper Mrs. Danvers, meanwhile, is point-blank obsessed with her. And no matter which way the new Mrs de Winter turns, she’s confronted by the presence of her predecessor.
Will she be able to escape the dead woman’s hold on her… before it’s too late?
Who makes up the cast of Netflix’s Rebecca?
Lily James takes the lead as the new Mrs de Winter, while Armie Hammer stars opposite her as her husband, Maxim. Kristin Scott Thomas is set to dazzle as Mrs. Danvers, Keeley Hawes has taken on the role of Maxim’s sister, Beatrice Lacey, and John Hollingworth will play her husband, Giles.
Elsewhere, Ann Dowd (as in, yes, Aunt Lydia of The Handmaid’s Tale) brings Mrs Van Hopper to life in all her gossiping glory. And Bill Paterson, Sam Riley, Mark Lewis Jones, and Tom Goodman-Hill will also take on key roles in the new adaptation, too.
Is there a trailer for Netflix’s Rebecca?
The new stills from Netflix’s adaptation of Rebecca have made it all too clear what we can expect from the film: think covetable costumes, gorgeously opulent settings, and a healthy dollop of slow-dawning dread.
James positively shines in her role as the film’s unnamed heroine, radiating ingénue vibes alongside Hammer’s intense take on Maxim – and Scott Thomas looks like she was positively born to play the manipulative and steely-eyed Mrs. Danvers, quite frankly.
And, while we’ve yet to see a trailer for the film, Netflix has promised that its version of Rebecca – directed by Ben Wheatley – will prove a “mesmerising and gorgeously rendered psychological thriller”.
A promise which seems all the more likely to be fulfilled when you consider the fact that Jane Goldman – as in, yeah, the writer behind the Kingsman movies, Kick-Ass and the forthcoming Game of Thrones prequel The Long Night – penned the bloody script.
When can I watch Netflix’s Rebecca?
The gothic adaptation is arriving on Netflix just in time for Halloween.
Is anyone else counting down the days until it becomes available to stream on 21 October?
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.