Sexual Tension, Broken Taboos in New Thriller “THE BEGUILED”
Focus Features presents The Beguiled, an atmospheric thriller from acclaimed writer/director Sofia Coppola and starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning.
(Watch the teaser trailer of The Beguiled below)
Adapted from the novel by Thomas Cullinan, The Beguiled is a sexually charged tale that 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.
Laced with elements of a taut psychological thriller, The Beguiled explores the theme of women isolated during the Civil War. In writing the screenplay adaptation, Sofia Coppola went back to the book to tell the story from the female characters’ perspective for her film.
While there is tension – both sexual and otherwise – throughout the story, Colin 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 behavior 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.”
Kirsten 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.”
Nicole 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.”
Elle Fanning adds, “Besides working with Sofia again, this was a reason for me to be part of The Beguiled: the women hold the power in this story – even though it’s set during the Civil War.”
The women’s wartime lives at the school are, as the story begins, heavily ritualized. Fanning notes, “They get up, they work in the garden at a certain time. There’s prayer, playing music, French lessons, dinner and bedtime. Until, everything gets shaken up; they take in the wounded soldier, and selfishness sets in.”