Ben Wheatley wasn't 'haunted' by Hitchcock on Rebecca

Ben Wheatley wasn't 'haunted' by Hitchcock on Rebecca

Ben Wheatley was not "haunted" by Alfred Hitchcock when filming 'Rebecca'.

The 48-year-old director has helmed a new take on the romantic thriller, which had been adapted for the big screen by the 'Master of Suspense' back in 1940, but confessed he was more focused on emulating Daphne du Maurier's novel.

Ben explained: "It's not the Hitchcock film that haunts me. It's the du Maurier book. That's the shadow, that's the elephant in the room.

"You've been put in charge of bringing this book to the screen which is such a classic book and such a well-loved book. And that's where the tension is, because you're like, 'Oh my God, I don't want to screw this up.'"

Wheatley revealed that he had watched Hitchcock's classic in preparation for the project but only to make sure he didn't copy elements of the film.

He said: "I've watched everything, obviously, but it's more due diligence to make sure that we don't end up putting stuff in the film that was from the film adaptation and not from the book. There are crossover bits which were changed.

"When you're working with the same material, you end up with beats that are similar, but there's a lot of made-up stuff in the Hitchcock version that we just wanted to avoid having in our film."

Ben also opened up on the decision not to give the main character – played by Lily James – a name after she marries Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer) after the death of his first wife Rebecca in the Netflix production.

He told Digital Spy: "Technically, within the film, no one can shout to her, her name. What do they say? Like, 'Oi! You!' So that was a massive problem, but I think that's a big part of the book, it's really important.

"The fact that she's fighting for her own identity, and that identity is erased by the fact she doesn't have a name, and that struggle to become someone, to become human in the course of the movie. So, as painful and difficult as it was, we stuck to the book."