The fictional estate of Manderley has appeared onscreen several times, most recently in director Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of Rebecca for Netflix. Rather than select one house, Wheatley and his team composited the fictional Cornwall estate of Manderley with several locations, including famous filming location Hatfield House (which has also stood in for Wayne Manor and Windsor Castle). Production designer Sarah Greenwood used eight houses in total—Mapperton House in Beaminster and Loseley House in Guildford also comprised the interior, and the exterior was Cranborne Manor in Dorset—to craft an oppressive feeling. It meant that Mrs. de Winter, played by Lily James, was emotionally and physically consumed by the house.

“Normally a very important part of our job is to give geography to a place,” Greenwood told AD upon the film’s release. “But in fact in this instance it was kind of about breaking the geography. She always sort of was finding her way around. In a way the audience would also have that difficulty.”

The Little Stranger (2018)

Domhnall Gleeson in The Little Stranger

Photo: TCD/Prod.DB / Alamy Stock Photo

Lenny Abrahamson’s The Little Stranger, set in postwar Britain, centers its drama in the fictional Hundreds Hall, a once-grand estate now in disrepair. The house and its surrounding gardens were brought to life by production designer Simon Elliott using several existing houses. The filmmakers stitched together aspects of Hertfordshire’s Langleybury House, which Elliott almost completely refurbished for the film, and North Yorkshire’s Newby Hall, which stood in for a past version of Hundreds Hall from before the war.

“To support the idea that the house is haunted, I knew I wanted it to feel empty,” Elliott explained, noting that the intention was to subvert the expectations of the viewer by showcasing an untraditional Georgian manor. “With the house devoid of its clutter, I hope the audience sees and feels the house rather than be distracted by the items in it.”

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