Last week I was invited to Los Angeles to interview Sofia Coppola, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning from The Beguiled. The Beguiled opens in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on June 23rd and expands to additional theaters on June 30th. Directed by Sofia Coppola, who has already won Best Director at Cannes for the film, and stars Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning; it’s a definite must-see!
When Sofia, Kirsten and Elle entered the screening room to begin the interviews for The Beguiled, you could feel the “girl power” . They walked tall, with confidence and was geniunely excited to discuss this project with us. So, of course the interview began with many “girl power-ish” questions. Here are some highlights from the day.
Sofia On Taking On This Film
I really wanted to do something beautiful. I was so sick of that kind of pop culture that it just wasn’t aesthetic. I wanted to do something beautiful, but that’s all I knew. And then my friend told me about “The Beguiled” and said, “I think you need to see that and remake it. I thought I would never remake someone else’s film. But then when I saw it I knew what she was talking about, that it was right for reinterpretation and that it was, you know, a story about a group of women told from a ‘70s man point of view of the soldier finding them and I thought oh, I just kept thinking about it.
It reminded me of “Virgin Suicides”. There was something about it that I could connect to that aesthetic of these women trapped in this house. I got the book, it was out of print, and it’s told from the female character’s point of view and I starting thinking about what it was like for them and to set up this world, this isolated world of these women living together and then this enemy soldier comes in. I love, the premise is so loaded, and to me, the story has so much about the power between men and women shifting back and forth and so heightened in this southern atmosphere. And I’ve always loved the south. It’s so exotic to me.
On Bringing “Modernity” Into A Civil War Time Piece
SOFIA: Oh, that’s a good question. I just imagine what it was like for the women at the that time and how they were raised to be these lovely ladies and the whole idea of etiquette and charm and catering to men was really how they were raised, and then all of a sudden, they were on their own and had to learn how to survive and just imagine that these characters had to find their strength, especially Miss Martha, to protect these women. I just thought about the human aspect of these women of what their lives were like and how they had to find strength to survive.
KIRSTEN: I just felt like the whole house was so suffocating, you know. So by the time we bring this enemy in, there’s so many, for my character, there’s so much opposition inside of her because she’s trying to be a good Christian and a good example for the girls, and yet there’s this enemy. Then on top of it, she has so much repression, and then she’s under Miss Martha’s thumb. So Edwina’s just ready to explode.
Sofia On Being A Director And Mother
They were so proud when I won the director award. They went and told everyone at school. I went to speak to my daughter, my ten year old’s class, and they were all, they were so proud and telling everyone like, “My mom won a director award.” So they had heard about it. It was really sweet. And I was so proud because they were, even my first grader was telling someone in the class said, “Oh she told the class.” I didn’t know that she even understood that. So that was sweet. I was lucky that my husband could watch our girls while were filming because I don’t want to take them out of school, but they came and visited.
The would visit the set a few times and they came by when I was editing. But I’m glad that he was able to be there to take them to school while I was in New Orleans filming and just to have the support of my mom. She stayed with them one week when we couldn’t be there. I just appreciate all the support of the people that helped me so that I could do this. Because it’s so intense when you’re shooting a film and now I’m looking forward to getting the movie out and having a vacation and getting to be with my kids and focus on them.
Kirsten On Working With Sofia
I always looked up to Sofia like an older cool sister. As the years go on the gap closes as you get older, but I just remember a lot of the things in that movie [The Virgin Suicides], I’d never done in real life. I was a very innocent 16-year-old. So like having to jump on Josh in the car and doing these things, I was so nervous about, but I was also so lucky because it was in Sofia’s hands, and it was a transition movie for me, from being considered a child into more adult. So, people saw me in a different light that was so nice the way it was handled and I had Sofia as a role model from such a young girl. You’re so influenced at that time, I had a good role model at a young age.
Elle On “The House” Being In Beyonce’s Lemonade
We saw that chair. The little girls, they saw the chair and then looked it up and then it was the exact same chair. And then we asked the owners, I was like mad that they didn’t tell us. I was like, “You didn’t tell us that they shot ‘Lemonade’ here?” And they were like, “Oh yeah, yeah, Beyoncé was here.” Like this is a way bigger deal then that!
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