Variety is reporting that Colin Farrell is in talks to join Sofia Coppola’s remake of the 1971 Civil War drama The Beguiled, joining cast members Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning. Let’s talk about why that might be wonderful.
The original, directed by Don Siegel and starring Clint Eastwood, is SUPER ripe for a remake today, but to get into exactly why would kind of spoil the hell out of it. Let’s just say the film, concerning a wounded, conniving Union soldier’s encounter with an all-female boarding school offering him aid and shelter, explores predatory sexual behavior, male privilege, and the psychosexual dynamics of 1971 by way of the late 1800s. Its politics are of their time, but The Beguiled veers pretty far afield of its director’s and star’s other 1971 offering, the considerably more conservative Dirty Harry. Still, a remake of the premise could be a real minefield depending on who’s driving it (e.g, a Joe Carnahan-helmed remake of The Beguiled would certainly be one thing; a Neil LaBute take on the material would be another).
But with Sofia Coppola writing and directing, it’s a safe bet the remake will take the original’s premise and do it a kind of justice that wasn’t really on the table in 1971. We’re going to have lots to discuss when this movie comes out. (I don’t mean to sound vague, but really, watch the original! These things are important.)
If you are unfamiliar with the original, you’ll have to trust me when I say that Colin Farrell, in talks to play the role of the manipulative soldier, is kind of perfect casting - both for the project itself, and in Farrell’s larger career arc of late. Even when the end product is wobbly, it’s been kind of a pleasure to watch Farrell age into this period of his career, and the idea of him playing the Eastwood role in a new version of The Beguiled just makes a ton of sense. This was - and remains - a project on which to keep an eye.