Exclusive Interview with Sofia Coppola, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning #TheBeguiled

The Beguiled is in select theaters June 23 and nationwide June 30, 2017

I was invited to Los Angeles recently 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. You may remember the old movie with Clint Eastwood of the same name but did you know it was a book? I had no idea. I recently received the book as well so I am going to finish reading it and get back to you on how awesome it is. I got the chance to see the movie early in advance of my interviews and it is definitely a must see! Directed by Sofia Coppola, who has already won Best Director at Cannes for the film and it stars Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning. All amazing actors who did a great job with this film.

“The Beguiled” is an atmospheric thriller from acclaimed writer/director Sofia Coppola. The story 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.

Sofia Coppola was drawn to this movie because “I really wanted to do something beautiful. I was so sick of that kind of pop culture that it just wasn’t aesthetic.” She also told us that it reminded her of another film that she worked on with Kirsten Dunst that I absolutely love, “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.” She spoke with us during our interview about how every bit of the movie was designed to show the tension and starkness of the time. The entire film was shot on film instead of digital like most films are now to show the kind of old timey feel. She also just used a quite score with just background noises of the war and the outside noises.

“I wanted to really have as much tension as we could and the sexual tension and what’s going to happen, and so with the sound, I thought keeping the music really minimal, and there’s just kind of these ominous tones underneath and letting the sound of the cannons and the nature that usually when you have music it kind of breaks the tension, to really try to keep that tension suspended the whole film as much as we could.”

Sofia Coppola wanted to show how trapped the women there could feel from all ages. Especially with Kirsten Dunst’s character. Kirsten told us, “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.” And her character does in such a way that I was shocked. I asked her how she was able to tamp down her natural exuberance and she laughed. Its true though that Kirsten is just naturally a fun, expressive character. Sofia Coppola even laughed and told us that when she was talking about casting Kirsten as Edwina that a friend of hers said, “There’s nothing repressed about Kirsten.  Like how’s she going to do that?”.

Sofia Coppola also wanted her audience to connect with the film so she had to add a bit of modernity to it. “Yeah, I mean for me I wanted the story to, I wanted a modern audience to be able to connect to it, even though it’s set in another time, but we wanted it to be believable and accurate of the time.  And I think the hardest part was the dialogue because as you improvise dialogue you’re like oh it has to sound real of the period, but you don’t want it to sound so foreign that you can’t, it doesn’t feel natural.  So that, to me, was a challenging part and even we would have to come up with stuff on set.  But then we did, we spent like a week before rehearsal, before shooting we rehearsed and we had an etiquette teacher and a dancing instructor and a Civil War reenactor teaching us about the bandaging and we had a sewing person

Sofia said she already had her leading ladies in mind when she was casting. She wanted Nicole Kidman for the strong headmistress, Kirsten Dunst for Edwina, and Elle Fanning for the alluring Alicia. Elle Fanning was another character who is not like herself in real life. Sofia had mentioned that Elle is so sweet and fresh in all her roles so it was a different thing for her to play such a calculating character. Elle just seemed to be have fun to be there. I have been a fan of hers since she was quite young so I loved her talking so excitedly about the movie. She told us about the movie being cast in the same house as Beyonce’s “Lemonade” video. We all laughed about it. She said “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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The Beguiled is in select theaters June 23 and nationwide June 30, 2017


Author: Kat

Kat is a married mom of three kids aged 19, 11, and 8 that lives close to Birmingham, AL. She loves cats, books, cooking, hockey, and watching movies. She is an admitted nerd, comic book lover, action figure & barbie doll collector, blackjack dealer, beginner croupier, and all around queen of the dorks. You can reach her at [email protected] to talk about product reviews, press trips, sponsorships, or brand messaging.

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