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'A Royal Affair' Helmer Nikolaj Arcel To Direct Remake Of Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rebecca'

by Cain Rodriguez
March 22, 2013 9:21 AM
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Rebecca Nikolaj Arcel

Though last year’s “Hitchcock” wasn’t as much as an awards contender as originally thought (HBO’s Toby Jones and Sienna Miller-starring “The Girl” didn’t arrive to much fanfare either), it hasn’t cooled Hollywood’s interest in bringing the works of Alfred Hitchcock to a younger generation. Deadline is reporting that DreamWorks and Working Title’s brewing remake of the iconic director’s “Rebecca” has landed itself a director.

Nikolaj Arcel, the director of the Oscar-nominated Danish film “A Royal Affair” and co-writer of the Swedish version of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” has officially signed on the helm the remake of the classic Hitchcock film. While we weren’t as enraptured by the Best Foreign Film nominee as others were, with our review from Berlinale calling it a “perfectly decent, lavishly mounted costume drama,” it’s clear that the Danish director has a way with actors. We hope he does well with “Rebecca” because he’s got his work cut out for him.

In case you need a reminder, the original Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier starring film was based on a Daphne Du Maurier novel that revolves around a young woman who marries a wealthy widowed man and goes to live in his grand home, only to find that the memory of his dead wife has an eerie hold on the staff and her husband. While some may call the very notion of remaking a Hitchcock film tantamount to sacrilege, we’re curious to see how differently the story could play out in a contemporary setting.

Eastern Promises” writer Steven Knight was tapped last year to write the film and another draft appears to be in the works before casting begins in earnest. Arcel is looking to knock out the adaptation of Don Winslow’s “The Power of Dog” with his 'Dragon Tattoo' co-writer Rasmus Heisterberg before he gets to work on “Rebecca.” In the meantime, let us know which Hitchcock films, if any, could be ripe territory for a remake.

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  • BEF | March 22, 2013 3:42 PMReply

    C'mon guys this is a book adaptation, not a remake. When celebrated auteur Todd Haynes filmed "Mildred Pierce" it was reported as an adaptation of the book, not a remake. Let's use the same verbage here.

  • El Hanso | March 22, 2013 10:32 AMReply

    "Rebecca" is one of my favourite Hitchcock films. One of the many reasons to love the film is Joan Fontaine, who is just extraordinary in the role. So I don't need a remake and I don't get the "bringing the works of Alfred Hitchcock to a younger generation" notion. Very few people bother checking out the original after a mediocre remake.
    Arcel seems to be a decent director, but it still seems unnecessary. Yet, since this seems to be on its way, it better be good. Casting Elizabeth Olsen or Alicia Vikander in the lead-role would be a not too bad start.

  • James | March 22, 2013 12:27 PM

    Also there are elements of the book that couldn't be explored in 1940, due to the production code. In particular, the ending had to be changed because the way the book ended was strictly forbidden by The Code. I think there's room for another version of this.

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