I’m not sure what it says about the state of entertainment, but it looks like 2017 is going to be a banner year for the gothic genre on both the large and the small screen. Now another entry joins the fray: My Cousin Rachel from director Roger Michell (Notting Hill), with his screenplay based on the 1951 novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier. The film stars Rachel Weisz as the mysterious Rachel Ashley and Sam Claflin as her Philip, and if the first trailer is indicative of what audiences can expect, My Cousin Rachel will be a psychological gothic thriller about the hazards of love, suspicion, and jealousy.
From the official press release:
A dark romance, My Cousin Rachel tells the story of a young Englishman (Sam Claflin) who plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin (Rachel Weisz), believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.
What’s interesting to me about the casting here is Rachel Weisz is older than Sam Claflin by over a decade. While this is par for the course when casting leading men and their significantly younger female love interests, the inverse is still a rarity in Hollywood. Even more so when the plot is not directly trumpeting the female protagonist getting her groove back or being played for laughs as a desperate cougar. The fact that du Maurier wrote Rachel as a fully-dimensional character over six decades ago still reads as a unique and refreshing find says something about how Hollywood treats female characters and it’s nothing complimentary.
My Cousin Rachel will arrive in select theaters starting July 14, 2017.