Paul Thomas Anderson says he was inspired by Hitchcock's "Rebecca" for his upcoming "Phantom Thread."

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We are less than two months away from Paul Thomas Anderson's "Phantom Thread" being released and, yet, we still find ourselves in need of many answers to some of the film's hidden mysteries, mostly revolving around the plot.

PTA gave his first official interview for the film to Entertainment Weekly yesterday and it  seems like more questions have indeed been filled in. First off, he mentions fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga as his muse for the creation of Daniel Day-Lewis' Reynolds Woodcock: 


"He led very monastic life, completely consumed with his work — sometimes at the expense of other things in his life. Our characters become something very different. Our story focuses on if you have a character like that, what would it take to disrupt his life. Usually, it’s love that does that."

He then mentions that it's not your standard love story and that Alfred Hitchcock's "Rebecca" was his inspiration:


"It’s not your standard love story. It’s more peculiar for sure. A lot of directors have tried and failed to make Rebecca. I’m probably next in line, but it’s a different story. I’m a large aficionado of those large Gothic romance movies as the old masters might do them. What I like about those kinds of love stories is that they’re very suspenseful. A good dollop of suspense with a love story is a nice combination."


"Rebecca" was Alfred Hitchcock early-career gothic-romance. It dealt with the director's masterful use of suspense but also had an invigorating "love story" at its central core. Joan Fontaine's character, filled with youthful innocence and abundant clumsiness in fitting into the bourgeois world, was a simple working-class woman that felt like the outsider. She shacked up with millionaire Maxim De Winter (Laurence Olivier,) but he was still haunted by his deceased wife Rebecca and struggling to move on. That wasn't the only problem for Fontaine's character, she also has to contend with Olvier's housekeepr Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) who seemed to be in denial mode in regards to Rebecca's death and saw De Winter's new wife as a threat. This only scratches the surface and the film was basically a fight between these two women for the attention and love of their millionaire husband, who had his own demons to contend with. Great film.

Suffice to say, I don't buy that PTA will go full-on Hitchcock here, he's more likely been seduced by the three-way affair. in "Rebecca" than by the gothic love story. In the "Phantom Thread" synopsis it states that dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) falls for "strong-willed" Alma (Vicky Krieps), who "soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover." The problem is that his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville)  is his business partner and sees "his carefully tailored life disrupted by love." The synopsis concludes by saying that the film is about "the women who keep his world running." Intriguing to say the least, but could this be PTA's most classical film in terms of narrative?

Earlier last month I wrote:

"Looks like Daniel Day-Lewis is going out swinging. This appears to be less esoteric than PTA's last couple of films and he is serving as his own DP. At the very least, 35mm is very much alive and on full display here. If any other director (and lead actor) made this, I probably wouldn't give two sh*ts about seeing it (I've never found any movie about rich people's problems interesting in any way), but with P.T. Anderson... I'll be first in line. If any other director (and lead actor) made this, I probably wouldn't give a damn about seeing it (I've never found any movie about rich people's problems interesting in any way), but with P.T. Anderson... I'll be first in line."

I wrote a little somethin' for The Playlist about this [Read HERE]


“Phantom Thread” will be released on December 25th.


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