It’s been a long time since Oscar-winning writer/director Sofia Coppola was able to elicit the buzz that followed around 2003’s Lost in Translation. Her sophomore effort as a director opened her filmmaking up to mainstream audiences, prompting many to wonder if the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola could one day command the same reverence her father does.
With five feature films now under her belt, Coppola is getting set to release her sixth this upcoming summer. The Beguiled is based on the 1966 novel of the same name, by author Thomas Cullinan and was first adapted as a film in 1971, which starred Clint Eastwood. Having previously created her own period piece with 2006’s Marie Antoinette, the aesthetic of Mississippi during the American Civil War might be something that Coppola could do justice to.
After being treated to some official stills from The Beguiled, the first official trailer (which can be seen above) has arrived, courtesy of Focus Features. The trailer shifts gears in its all too brief runtime, plucking the viewer from the dreamy gothic imagery of 1863 to a period era romance, before venturing into what appears to be much darker subject matter. The cast is a heavy-hitting one, starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning.
All the hallmarks of Coppola’s style can be found in this first trailer – the emphasis on natural lighting, color and focus, setting and costumes, etc. Viewers could even be forgiven for assuming that the film is a horror, given the way the trailer is cut and the manner in which it unfolds. The actual story of The Beguiled follows the impact that a wounded Union soldier (Colin Farrell) makes on the inhabitants of a Confederate boarding school for girls, after they take him in and nurse him back to health. As one by one the girls fall in love with him, they turn on each other. Eventually, the entire home falls into a state of discord.
Despite Marie Antoinette not being the film that many had hoped it would be, Coppola’s ability to create an immersive period drama was perhaps one of the few highlights of that effort. Time and experience have hopefully served to strength that aspect of her work. The Beguiled has a lot going for it in this first short look and while it’s unlikely to be a blockbuster, there’s every reason to believe that it could indeed be something special.
Whether you’re a Sofia Coppola fan or not, it’s not hard to see that Lost in Translation was her greatest success to date. And whether or not she’ll ever rival that achievement has been the subject of conversation for many over the years. The Beguiled has the look of an awards contender, but of course, it’s far too soon to speculate on such things. Still, based on this brief trailer, there’s something intriguing about Coppola's latest effort. It will be interesting to see what the future brings for The Beguiled and its audiences.
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The Beguiled arrives in theaters June 23rd, 2017.
Source: Focus Features