Published Date: 10/07/2017
An atmospheric thriller from the Oscar winning writer/director Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation),
The Beguiled unfolds during the Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school. Its sheltered young women take in an injured enemy soldier. As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries, and taboos are broken in an unexpected turn of events.
Intrigued by the 1971 film The Beguiled, directed by Don Siegel and starring Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page, Coppola wanted to explore the theme of women isolated during the Civil War and in writing the screenplay adaptation, she went back to the gothic book of the same name by Thomas Cullen to tell the story from the female characters’ perspective for her film.
Coppola is reunited with two of her favourite leading ladies, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning, and directs for the first time Golden Globe Award winner Colin Farrell and Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman.
Kidman comments, “I thought it was exciting to work with a group of women and then put Colin in the equation. I was so happy to support Sofia as a female director, and I always thought that she made such atmospheric movies in such a signature style. That was the main thing which drew me to working with her.”
“I loved how contained the drama was, and there’s a bit of melodrama as well,” says her male co-star Colin Farrell, who had long wanted to make a movie with Coppola.
As it happens, when the filmmaker approached the actor with The Beguiled, he had only just completed production on another movie with Kidman (The Killing of a Sacred Deer). He quips, “Nicole and I are now each 50 percent of a small film repertory company. Nicole is a joy to work with. When she comes on the set, everyone gets a little bit better, from the actors to the electricians!”
While there is tension – both sexual and otherwise – throughout the story, Farrell gravitated to what he deems an “extraordinary” script because “it looks at how whatever innocence has been maintained in a time of war can be lost. It also explores how the more animalistic aspects of human behaviour can be provoked – and pervade – even when you’re not on the front lines.
“The violence of the human heart is a timeless theme, no matter what period a story takes place in.”
Dunst remarks, “The story is Southern Gothic, with things bubbling under until they get to a boiling point and then an explosion happens. It’s not horror, but it feels like there is horror in it, with intensity and destruction – all made more compelling because this is happening among women.
“When Sofia told me about the idea a couple of years ago, my impression was that she was drawn to the subject matter of so many women together alone.”
The role of McBurney intrigued Colin Farrell with every emotional and/or physical twist and turn. Farrell says, “He’s somewhat narcissistic, yet he’s a good judge of people in that he reads what they need. He senses what they may find disdainful and stays away from that, going instead to their soft spot – whether it’s giving a kind word or being more reserved.”
Having joined characters at their turning points in the 18th, 20th and 21st centuries, director Sofia Coppola now journeys to the 19th century with The Beguiled and we are intrigued to see the hotly touted movie hit Showcase screens.
The Beguiled is released July 14
CLICK HERE to view the trailer