Lily James says she ‘kept having panic attacks’ while filming Rebecca

Actor found it hard to ‘shake off’ living in her character’s ‘difficult headspace’

Ellie Harrison
Monday 09 December 2019 10:31

Lily James has said she “kept having panic attacks” during the filming of Rebecca, a new adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s classic gothic novel.

James plays newlywed Mrs de Winter in the Netflix movie, opposite Armie Hammer as her husband Maxim de Winter.

The story follows her character as she begins married life in Maxim's imposing coastal family estate, where she clashes with the oppressive housekeeper Mrs Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas) and lives in the shadow of her predecessor Rebecca.

“I found it really hard to let go of the character,” James told the audience at a Bafta masterclass held at the 2019 International Film Festival & Awards Macao.

“She’s really bullied and gas lighted, she lives in a difficult headspace. I kept having panic attacks after it finished, I couldn’t shake it off.”

James also said she expects the Ben Wheatley-directed film to be “very different” from Alfred Hitchcock’s Oscar-winning 1940 adaptation.

Alongside James and Hammer, the new version also stars Ann Dowd and Keeley Hawes.

Rebecca will be released in 2020.

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