It's 1938, and word is Carole Lombard's being considered for the lead in an adaptation of a popular book whose film rights were purchased by David O. Selznick.
No, not that one.
While the producer focused much of his attention on the mega-property "Gone With The Wind," where he's shown with Lombard, Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and director Victor Fleming at its December 1939 premiere in Atlanta, he also pursued other projects. One was noted by Louella Parsons in her syndicated column, shown in the Sept. 2, 1938 Davenport (Iowa) Daily Times:
The book? "Rebecca," by Daphne du Maurier. Like "GWTW," it would win the Academy Award for Best Picture, though its would come in 1940. The book already was popular in Great Britain, and now was a hit on the other side of the pond, as illustrated by this review -- next to a blurb about Carole's association with the film -- in the Oct. 2 El Paso Times:
Who would be Lombard's leading man? According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, it would be Ronald Colman:
Note one name not associated with the movie: Alfred Hitchcock. "Rebecca" would be his first American film, but in the fall of 1938, I'm not certain Carole had yet met him.
As we all know, Joan Fontaine, not Lombard, won the lead role in "Rebecca" (and soon an Academy Award for Best Actress). Why wasn't Carole ultimately picked? Age, most likely. The Mrs. de Winter character was 23 in the novel, and Lombard turned 30 in October 1938. In contrast, Fontaine was nine years younger.
It'd have been interesting to see Carole in such a project, but while she didn't work on either "GWTW" or "Rebecca," she did get the chance to work with Hitch, in "Mr. & Mrs. Smith."