It has been sixty three years since Richard Burton and Olivia de Havilland starred in Henry Koster’s cinematic adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s 1951 novel, My Cousin Rachel. The classic noir mystery is now set for modernization, however, with Sam Claflin and Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz taking the redefined lead roles, under the oversight of writer-director Roger Michell (Morning Glory, Hyde Park On The Hudson).
The story follows a young man’s descent into paranoia and confusion as he is stricken with grief at the loss of a beloved relative. When the widow, Rachel, arrives, he is torn between his growing love for her, and the belief that she could be a gold-digging femme fatale.
Check out the full plot summary below.
“Philip Ashley’s older cousin Ambrose, who raised the orphaned Philip as his own son, has died in Rome. Philip, the heir to the Ambrose’s beautiful English estate, is crushed that the man he loved died far from home. He is also suspicious. While in Italy, Ambrose fell in love with Rachel, a beautiful English and Italian woman. But the final, brief letters Ambrose wrote hint that his love had turned to paranoia and fear.
“Now Rachel has arrived at Philip’s newly inherited estate. Could this exquisite woman, who seems to genuinely share Philip’s grief at Ambrose’s death, really be as cruel as Philip imagined? Or is she the kind, passionate woman with whom Ambrose fell in love? Philip struggles to answer this question, knowing Ambrose’s estate, and his own future, will be destroyed if his answer is wrong.”
With the project seemingly intended to bring the period tale up to date, this becomes an exciting prospect. While the story is told from the perspective of Philip, the character of Rachel is complex and compelling. It has arguably been some time since we have seen Rachel Weisz have the opportunity to dig into a really well written, fully realized character (not since 2011’s The Deep Blue Sea, perhaps), and here she will need to tread a fine dramatic line to truly capture the required nuance – something she has ably achieved in the past.
With the original, 1952 film adaptation having earned a Golden Globe for Richard Burton, and four Academy Award nominations, Roger Michell’s upcoming take on My Cousin Rachel for Fox Searchlight has some big shoes to fill. There is no word yet on when this might go before the cameras, however, so there may be some time to wait.
Source: The Playlist