ARMIE HAMMER: On Playing Maxim in Netflix’s “Rebecca”

Armie Hammer

We start our series of exclusive interviews with the stars of Netflix’s remake of Hitchcock’s Rebecca, with Armie Hammer.

INDULGE: Take us into your character, Maxim de Winter, and his attraction to the new Mrs. de Winter.

ARMIE: In the beginning of our story we find Maxim at the end of a sort of six month sojourn that he’s had to get away from Manderley. He has started the process of reincorporating into society after taking some much needed time off to collect himself, to gather his thoughts, and we find him in the South of France. While he’s there, unexpectedly, he finds the new Mrs de Winter.

Rebecca (L to R) Armie Hammer as Maxim de Winter, Lily James as Mrs. de Winter. Cr. KERRY BROWN/NETFLIX

He’s a bit of a wounded bird, he’s definitely got some damage, and you don’t even understand why. Certainly, the new Mrs de Winter doesn’t understand why until they go back to Manderley and see what he has run from. (She) is a new chance, a new lease on life, a breath of fresh air. He’s been in a long lasting toxic relationship that, for those who have read the book or seen the original Hitchcock film, know ended really poorly, about as poorly as any relationship can end. And he’s been on the lam, he’s been on the run both from himself, the law, all that. Enter this new woman who has this sweetness and purity, and almost innocence, that certainly the last Mrs de Winter didn’t have any of. So it’s a chance to start over and say, “This is what I want in this new relationship.” Unfortunately, he’s also carrying a lot of baggage with him and this starts to effect this new life he is trying to start.

When Maxim meets the new Mrs de Winter in France, it seems like she is the first person he has ever spent time with that gets him out of his head and gets him out of thinking of the situation he has been running from for so long…He thinks that she is like that balm, that salve that makes it all better, so…”I am going to marry you and take you back to Manderley.” The problem is you go back to the site of the original trauma and no matter how strong of a balm she is able to be, she’s not able to cover the wounds. There’s still a lot of triage necessary for Maxim to get over everything that’s happened. You quickly realize that he is going back to a haunted house albeit there isn’t an actual ghost there, but it’s haunted by memories and she’s just not quite enough to cover up all the memories he’s been running from.

Rebecca (L to R) Armie Hammer as Maxim de Winter, Director Ben Wheatley, Cr. KERRY BROWN/NETFLIX

INDULGE: What was it like to work with Director, Ben Wheatley? You’ve worked with him before on 2016’s Free Fire.

ARMIE: I love working with Ben. We’ve worked together before and I hope we get to work together again. He’s just such a fun director to work with because he’s very, very good at what he does, very efficient as a director. But also he doesn’t take it too seriously, in a stifling way. Obviously, he takes what he does seriously, but not in a way where you’re like “Dude, get over yourself!” He has an incredible work ethic, a sort of very almost blue collar mentality when it comes to work, which is — you work hard.

Rebecca (L to R) Lily James as Mrs. de Winter, Armie Hammer as Maxim de Winter. Cr. KERRY BROWN/NETFLIX

INDULGE: And working with your co-stars, Lily James? And, Kristin Scott Thomas, who we will be interviewing next?

ARMIE: Lili is the perfect actor to play the new Mrs de Winter! She brings a joie de vivre and sort of youthfulness to the part which, for someone like Maxim, who has been through a lot and has seen more than his fair share of trauma, is incredibly attractive and appealing. Lily brings that so well. She is also one of the more professional actors that I’ve ever worked with. Before every scene that we do, Lily has her script in one hand and the book in another and both of them look like tattered messes, just covered in scribbles and her notes and things that she wanted to incorporate — “But I like this line from the book more than this line from the script, so I’d love to do that, but also this line from the script is better than the book, but in the book, the tone is this, so maybe we can blah blah blah…” So she’s constantly cross-referencing all of these different source materials, which is really encouraging and you know while you’re in a scene to be doing that with some. And then Kristin — excuse me, Dame Kristin Scott Thomas — is a force to be reckoned with!

— Kelly Fine

Our next in the series of interviews with the stars of Rebecca will feature Kristin Scott Thomas.

Rebecca (2020) premieres on Netflix on October 21st.