The Beguiled premiered in Los Angeles on Monday night ahead of its June 23 release. Director Sofia Coppola, Nicole Kidman, Quentin Tarantino, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning and producer Youree Henley all graced the red carpet.
Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) is a wounded Union soldier who shows up on the doorsteps of a ladies’ seminary.
Nicole Kidman is the headmistress Martha Farnsworth who shows him kindness and tends to him, but it’s not long before the ladies get caught up in McBurney and desires, as well as jealous feelings arise.
Henley who is a producer on the film and has worked with Coppola on The Bling Ring said, “She is the best. She is smart and has a wonderful energy. Her sets are always so civilized.” He added, “She doesn’t make that many films and when she decides to make one we line up to do it. One of the special things about her. Her films really feel like a Sofia movie when you watch them you know they have her stamp and that’s exciting.”
Sofia called Henley a few years ago saying she was interested in making the 1966 novel by Thomas P Cullinan and was first adapted by Clint Eastwood in 1971 said, “I wasn’t familiar with the original film and I couldn’t visualize it. She sent me the script, I read it and it was clear from that point.” He said, “I have yet to see the original because I wanted to be in her version of it, and I wanted to make her movie. That’s what we did. That’s how it started. She wrote it for Elle, Kirsten and had Nicole in mind.”
Getting the film attached to a studio was an easy choice, Henley says, “We always knew we’d make it with Focus Features because they own the original property through Universal.”
Shot on location in Louisiana, Henley explained, “We made it under a very tight schedule, shooting it in 26 days. We had constraints because of the minors who are under 18 and in a lot of scenes. Scheduling that, also trying to shoot in order, and what was best for the actor storywise was a challenge but we did it.”
The film’s dialogue has caught on in social media, specifically, Vengeful Bitches. “At first, I was prudish on that, but then it took off. It’s been fun for people to get behind that.” He said.
Elle Fanning who plays Alicia in the film said, “I’ve always been a girl who knows what I wanted in life. Being a young woman now, I’m 19 and I’m a woman, but I still feel like a girl. You still learn as you grow up about the things that you want, and you can have what you want. That’s so important to know.” Talking about how it was to work with a nearly all-female cast and with Coppola, Fanning said, “Sofia is someone who became so successful in staying true to herself in creating the projects that she wants to tell and also being very classy. She’s the most tasteful and chic woman I know and I hope to be like her.”
Describing the on-set atmosphere, Fanning said, “Kirsten and I had fun, there was certainly a lot of giggling on set.”
Emma Howard appears in the film as Emily, another girl in Ms. Farnworth’s school told us she was in awe. “I auditioned and didn’t think I was going to get the part. I was really excited about the cast and Sofia. I was in disbelief when I got the callback. I went in and there was a lot of talking because they wanted to get to know who I was.” Howard went on to say, “I was really intimated by them as I have looked up to them since I was a child. They made me feel like their equal and they’re amazing.” She said.
Sofia Coppola talked about working with her cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd. The two had previously worked on commercials and La Traviata, an opera directed by Coppola. The Beguiled was their first feature. “I loved working with him. He’s such an artist and he brought me so much.” Coppola talked about the visual inspirations for her Southern Gothic film said, “We looked at a lot of photography and portraits of the time and we pulled a lot of references from that material.”
“I auditioned and didn’t think I was going to get the part. I was really excited about the cast and Sofia. I was in disbelief when I got the callback. I went in and there was a lot of talking because they wanted to get to know who I was.”