Rebecca (2020) Exclusive Interview: Lily James and Armie Hammer

Lily James and Armie Hammer star in Ben Wheatley’s new film adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier‘s Rebecca. I recently got to chat with James and Hammer about working on the film and how they felt about being part of something that is so well-known in popular culture.

Scott Menzel: Congratulations on this film.

Armie Hammer: Thanks, dude.

Lily James: Thank-you.

Scott Menzel: My first question is about the source material. Did you discover the Alfred Hitchcock film, or the book first?

Armie Hammer: Do you want to go first? You go first.

Lily James: You go first.

Armie Hammer: No, no. You go.

Lily James: No, you go.

Armie Hammer: No, you go first.

Lily James: Let’s not waste five minutes saying, “You go”.

Armie Hammer: Okay, fine.

Lily James: I discovered the book first. I read the book when I was about 18 years old, and I loved it. It is one of my favorite books. For me, it was the book. I can’t remember when I first saw the movie but I re-watched it before shooting as well.

Armie Hammer: I came across both on this job. I had never seen the film before, and I abstained until after we were done. Then I’d never read the book. But then, after I got the job, I read it several times, so yeah.

Scott Menzel: Did you have any reservations about being part of a re-imagining of such an iconic film?

Lily James: Well, it was actually a re-imagining of the book, completely. We really weren’t trying to remake the Hitchcock film in any way. In the end, I just felt like there was great source material. Daphne du Maurier’s book is so rich and deep and complex and screwed up. I thought at the end, when I really thought about it, the perfect film for Wheatley, who is a very psychological and dark director, who really delves into humans, and what we’re capable of. Danger, horror, adrenaline, and suspense, really. I think this film is very suspenseful. The book is, so yeah, I was just really excited to be part of a story that I loved so much.

Scott Menzel: Thank-you. How about for you, Armie? Same question.

Armie Hammer: Well, the good thing about this is that everybody, and I mean everybody who was involved in the original project, is dead. They couldn’t really complain about it too much. So no, that wasn’t too much of what I was thinking about. Ben didn’t seem to be worried about it. I was like, “Look. If he’s not worried, I’m not worried. Whatever. It is what it is. Here we go. Let’s try it”.

Scott Menzel: Okay, great. Lily, going back over to you. Since you said that this was inspired by the book, but you did have the original film and the mini-series to go off of. How did you take such an iconic character, and make her your own?

Lily James: I don’t know. I wish I’d done that more, maybe. I don’t know. I guess inevitably, by it being me, it’s going to be my own. I’m going to channel it through who I am. Through my experience. Through what I relate to. Through my interpretation of the character. I didn’t really go about it going, “How can I make this own?”. Maybe I should have, and actually, maybe if I could do it again, I would. But I was really bound to the book. I love the book. I wanted to be as faithful to the book, and to my own experience, how it connected to me, and honor that. But maybe I should have been a bit more actively searching out ways to make it different. I guess I did inevitably. But also, it wasn’t my focus.

Scott Menzel: Well thank-you very much for your time. I am a big fan of both of your work whether it’s Hotel Mumbai, Baby Driver, Mamma Mia, Sorry To Bother You, they are all great. 

Lily James: Sorry To Bother You, he’s so great in that movie, isn’t he? I love that movie.

Armie Hammer: Lily and I are both in Sorry To Bother You.

Scott Menzel: I know, she has a small voice cameo.

Lily James: Oh yeah, I’m Tessa Thompson’s voice.

Scott Menzel: I was going to ask you if you actually met when working on that film.

Armie Hammer: No.

Lily James: No, no. We didn’t. But when I watched that movie, I saw that movie very soon … No, wait. Did you do that before this movie? Yeah, before this film, right?

Armie Hammer: Yeah.

Lily James: I remembered being when they told me Armie was doing this, I was like, “Fuck, that’s so cool”. Because I think that performance is, it was one of the best of that year or something. It was so good, Armie.

Scott Menzel: It’s absolutely bananas. He’s so frigging good in it.

Lily James: Bananas.

Scott Menzel: All right, take care. Nice talking to you both.

Rebecca  is now streaming exclusively on Netflix

Written by
Born in New Jersey, Scott D. Menzel has been a film fanatic since he was three years old. Growing up, he watched as many movies as he could and was highly influenced by Tim Burton, John Hughes, Robert Zemeckis, and Steven Spielberg. Scott has an Associates Degree in Marketing, a Bachelors in Mass Media, Communications and a Masters in Electronic Media. He has been writing film reviews under the alias of MovieManMenzel since 2003 and started his writing career as a contributing critic at IMDB.com and Joblo.com. In 2009, Scott launched MovieManMenzel.com where he posted several of his film reviews but in 2011 decided to shut down the site when he launched We Live Film.com, which he founded. In 2015, We Live Film became We Live Entertainment. The domain name changed occurred after months of debate but was done so that he and his fellow staff members could write about anything and everything in the world of entertainment.

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