Sofia Coppola says the word “reboot” is a dirty word in her family, but that didn’t matter when she chose to offer a re-imagining of The Beguiled. In light of the recent call for gender equality in cinema, Coppola saw this as the perfect opportunity to retell The Beguiled with more suspense and greater exploration of the male/female dynamic.
Sofia Coppola Couldn’t Resist Rebooting The Beguiled
While attending the 19th Annual Provincetown Film Festival, Ms. Coppola took an opportunity to share her thoughts on rebooting The Beguiled for modern-day audiences, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Daughter of famed filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia comes from Hollywood royalty and she reveals her father often snubbed his nose at reboots, declaring that the only reason to reboot any film is to make a fast buck.
It was an opinion Sofia never argued with nor considered defying, until the thought of rebooting The Beguiled compelled her to write an updated adaptation of the Thomas Cullinan novel.
In the 1971 adaptation, Clint Eastwood plays a Union soldier and a very bad man, taken in by a group of naive young women at girls’ school. Ms. Coppola saw an opportunity to give greater depth to the exploration of how a worldly man would interact with a group of sheltered women in the Civil War era.
“This whole other side of how the story could be told. Clint’s character is obviously a bad guy in the Don Siegel film,” says Sofia in comparing the two versions of The Beguiled. “But we wanted to make Colin a little more mysterious and charming.”
For Sofia Coppola, The Beguiled Is About Empowering Women
While Sofia loves Don Siegel’s adaptation of The Beguiled, she tells GQ that she wasn’t particularly fond of the way women were portrayed in the 1971 film. The director saw an opportunity to update The Beguiled with more believable and more interesting female characters, hoping she could make them relatable to modern audiences.
Unlike Siegel’s version, Coppola wrote and directed The Beguiled with a female-centric slant, telling the story from the women’s perspective. In doing so, Ms. Coppola feels that she’s delivered a more faithful adaptation, as Cullinan’s 1966 novel tells the story from the girls’ point of view.
Sofia adds that she disliked the idea presented in Siegel’s The Beguiled, wherein the man comes in and fools these women. Instead, Ms. Coppola launched her adaptation by exploring the world within this girls’ school, which is suddenly thrown into disarray by the arrival of a stranger.
The Beguiled, starring Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning, hits theaters on June 30.
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