Armie Hammer from Netflix’s Rebecca on complex characters, Lily James, and the movie’s controversial ending
Remakes, in theory, are simpler to execute than most films. There's an existing universe, a loyal following, and an inundation of source material to refer to should the need arise. And yet, there's no refuting the fact that producing a remake comes with its own set of challenges. Such projects are often fraught with the expectations of a fervent fan base; disparaged for bringing nothing new to the table or veering so far off course it bears no resemblance to the original. It's a highly-pressurised situation as any — one leading man, Armie Hammer, seems exempt by during his interview with Buro. Singapore.
The Hollywood heavyweight lends his presence to Rebecca; a re-imagination of the 1940s-thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock. We speak to him about book-to-movie adaptions, complex characters, and his take on that divisive ending. Spoilers, ahead.
You play Maxim de Winter, arguably a really complex character. What would you say is the most challenging part about bringing him to life?
There's a lot to Maxim that is challenging, but at the same time, he's such an interesting and beautiful character. He's challenging and complicated because of the trauma he's been through, and what he carries with him. I like that he's got these issues. I wish he was better at communicating. I wish he was better at talking to people about what he's feeling! [Laughs] I think that would help a lot. But you know, at the same time, no one's perfect.
What was it about the script — or book! — that made you want to take on the role?
The book is beautiful. I mean, the book was voted one of the best books of the century. It's an incredibly gorgeous book. But the thing that attracted me the most would just be the fact that Ben Wheatley was directing it, and I just wanted to work with him again.
Rebecca hinges largely on your performance and chemistry with co-star, Lily James. How did you go about preparing for that?
Well, it's all part of the job. That's what they need us to do. I've seen Lily's work before and I know her as an actress. We've also met before in passing and we actually did another film we were both in but we never, you know, actually worked together. It's called Sorry to Bother You. But I had no question that Lily was going to show up and do her job impeccably, and she did. So, I thought, now I'll just show up and do my job, and hopefully it all works out [Laughs].
So, about that ending when Manderly Manor burned down...
Yeah, burn it down [Laughs]. The house brought nothing but trouble anyway. Just burn it all down.
Rebecca is now available on Netflix.