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Sofia Coppola Gives ‘The Beguiled’ a Modern, Feminist Perspective 

"When I saw the [Clint Eastwood] movie it was so fascinating to me that these macho filmmakers would make a story set in a girl's school in the South."

It’s not surprising that an


with filmmaker Sofia Coppola could go just about anywhere. It can go back to assess the aesthetics she successfully captured from her films

Marie Antoinette


The Virgin Suicides

. Or go further back: to 1971 when the Clint Eastwood drama

The Beguiled

was released — a story that Coppola has translated for the screen with stars Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell.

Or on to today: to the appeal of the state of Louisiana, to embracing a Southern Gothic style of filmmaking, and to the draw of shooting a film in a ‘real’ location where the Spanish moss growing wild outside is as much of a story as living local in a slow-paced charming Southern town.

For Coppola, filming

The Beguiled

brought together a dream cast, including Kidman, Farrell, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning. Set during the Civil War, the story is one of an injured Union soldier who arrives at an all-female Southern boarding school. 

The roles pushed the actors to take on characters quite unlike their real selves: Elle as a vain temptress; Kirsten as repressed and buttoned-up. And Kidman and Farrell were cast for what they do best: regal Nicole with nonetheless funny and twisted humor; Farrell for his charming and beguiling Colin-ness.

While Coppola isn’t a fan of remakes (“Why remake something that somebody’s already made?”) she felt this story was different. “[This] one I felt I could do a totally different version of the same story,” she says. “When I saw the [Clint Eastwood] movie it was so fascinating to me that these macho filmmakers would make a story set in a girl’s school in the South. It’s such a male point of view of a group of women that I thought ‘Okay, I want to tell that story from the women’s point of view.’ “I felt like I had to give these women a voice, and then I thought to flip it over from their point of view and [show] women during wartime; you always see stories about men at war, but I don’t think I’ve seen what happens to the women left behind,” she explains.