Lily James: ‘Filming Rebecca preyed on my own insecurities’

Lily James was unsettled while working on the new adaptation of Rebecca because playing Mrs. de Winter preyed on her own insecurities.In Ben Wheatley’s upcoming adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s novel, the Cinderella actress portrays de Winter, the…

Lily James was unsettled while working on the new adaptation of Rebecca because playing Mrs. de Winter preyed on her own insecurities.

In Ben Wheatley’s upcoming adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s novel, the Cinderella actress portrays de Winter, the second wife of Armie Hammer’s Maxim, who is forced to live in the shadow of his dead first wife, Rebecca.

Yet, James has now shared that the role ended up affecting her mental health and she began having panic attacks because her “deeply insecure” character preyed on her own issues.

“I found it really hard to let the second Mrs. de Winter go,” she told AnOther magazine. “God, the inner workings of her mind. She’s in such conflict, such turmoil. I started having real panic attacks. My heart would beat so fast.

“For a while after filming, I felt unsettled and discombobulated. It’s certainly the role I’ve inhabited the most. Even talking about it, I get kind of breathless. It’s crazy. It was a really powerful experience. I’m definitely an insecure person and the character is so deeply insecure that playing her preyed on my own insecurities. But that was quite an amazing dichotomy.”

James first revealed the role gave her panic attacks when she gave a BAFTA masterclass at the 2019 International Film Festival & Awards in Macao in December.

“She’s really bullied and gaslighted, she lives in a difficult headspace… I kept having panic attacks after it finished, I couldn’t shake it off,” the 30-year-old said at the time.

She also revealed the Netflix film will be “very different” to Alfred Hitchcock’s Oscar-winning adaptation, which starred Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine and was released in 1940.

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