A dark romance, My Cousin Rachel tells the story of a young Englishman who plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. His feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.
Director: Roger Michell
Writer: Roger Michell adapted from the novel by Daphne du Maurier
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger, Iain Glen, Pierfrancesco Favino, Simon Russell Beale
My Cousin Rachel was written in 1951 by Daphne du Maurier. So cinematic was her writing that Alfred Hitchcock made films from three of her novels: Jamaica Inn, The Birds, and Rebecca. On publication, My Cousin Rachel instantly became one of du Maurier’s most popular books. 20th Century Fox immediately snapped up the film rights and went straight into production, with two of the hottest stars of the day, Richard Burton and Olivia De Havilland. Originally released in 1952, the film won four Oscar® nominations.
The Mystery Of Rachel
Academy Award® winner Rachel Weisz is well-known for her roles, The Constant Gardner, The Deep Blue Sea, and The Lobster.
“Rachel (Weisz) was able to bring a haunting quality to the story, which is really the key to the whole film. You just don’t ever know for certain whether the character of Cousin Rachel is guilty or not. Rachel (Weisz) carries that off brilliantly. In one moment she’s charming, and in the next, she’s furious but still seems as if she is hiding something,” says Michell.
Weisz remembers that as soon as she finished the script she urgently called Michell to ask him. Is she or isn’t she innocent? “Roger told me he didn’t know and he didn’t want to know for sure. I thought that would be very exciting to explore and it made me really want to do this project,” says Weisz.
From Revenge, To Mad Love, To Fear
Philip Ashley is a rather naive young bachelor with little experience with women when he meets Cousin Rachel. An orphan for most of his life, he has lived a life of isolation on his adoptive cousin’s estate, with no mother or sisters to guide him.
The story follows his struggle to determine if his deceased guardian’s charming widow is either the woman of his dreams or a cold-blooded killer and inheritance-chasing gold-digger. He initially intends to seek retribution against Rachel, but she instead ignites in him a longing he’s never even known possible. A longing so intense he then becomes unsure he can trust it.
Claflin as Philip Ashley
Claflin is a rapidly rising film star. You may have seen him before in Me Before You, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and as Finnick O’Dair in The Hunger Games. For producer Kevin Loader, he brought two conflicting qualities essential for Philip Ashley. “He had to have an almost puppy-like boyishness but also a charming manliness, and Sam has the facility to play both. A husband and a father in real life and a very together young person, he can be very strong and magnetic but he also has a natural boyishness about him. He was just perfect for this innocent and naive young man who knows nothing about women.”