Sofia Coppola earned Hollywood's attention ever since her unique and influential directorial debut in the highly-rated Lost in Translation, which won her a 2003 Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Her ability to personalize and mesh the meeting of two characters from very different walks of life is incredibly thought-provoking, and her success earned praise from The New York Times in its review of the film:
"In the handful of films she has done — including her short, 'Lick the Star' — Ms. Coppola has shown an interest in emotional way stations. Her characters are caught between past and future — lost in transition."
However, in the newly released teaser trailer for Coppola's latest film The Beguiled, her ability to bring about emotionally-driven performances seems to be at its peak, albeit eerily.
The film is an adaptation of Thomas Cullinan's novel of the same name, and it takes place during Civil War-era America. It focuses on a girls' boarding school that takes in an injured Union soldier, who engages in a dangerous game with the women after he plays with each of their hearts. The film stars Colin Farrell as the wounded soldier, along with Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst as some of the women from the boarding school.
The teaser offers quick but intense imagery as well as several shocking moments involving the women, who take matters into their own hands to put the Union soldier in his place. In one particular segment, there is a hair-raising scream from a voice that appears to be the soldier's as the women are seated at a table and looking at him.
"What have you done to me, you vengeful bitches?"
Coppola has dealt with similar clash of the sexist themes in one of her earliest films, "Lick the Star," in which a group of junior high girls devise a plan to poison several boys by way of their school lunches. In an interview with W Magazine, Coppola talked about the inspiration for that film coming from real-life experiences she had in junior high.
"I was interested in that whole–the dynamics between girls at that age … that they're really the meanest creatures in the world at seventh grade" Coppola said.
From the looks of the teaser, Coppola's newest offering finds her exploring darker subject matter in what seems to be her first thriller. Fans of the horror genre will not only be excited for the film because of its ominous feel, but also because Coppola is at the reigns. The star-studded cast also screams promise, and if Lost in Translation or The Virgin Suicides are any indicator, it is to show that Coppola understands how to let her stars take center stage and develop characters that are integral to her films' overall impact.
'The Beguiled' is set to open in select cities on June 23, with an expansion on June 30.