One of Colin Farrell’s more beguiling movies has made its way to Netflix and it’s a remake of a Clint Eastwood classic.
The Beguiled is the 2017 Sofia Coppola remake of the 1971 Southern Gothic Eastwood film of the same name and boasts a fine cast to include Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning. Both films were based on the 1966 Thomas P. Cullinan novel of the same title.
The story follows Martha Farnsworth (Kidman) as she runs a girls school during the Civil War. The toll of the war has had its effect on the school so when we first see Miss Farnsworth, it is only she, teacher Edwina Morrow (Dunst), and five students remaining.
One day while searching for mushrooms, young student Amy comes across a badly injured John McBurney (Colin Farrell). McBurney is an Irish immigrant and corporal in the Union Army. He’s been shot in the leg and has since deserted from the army.
Amy gets John back to the school where he falls unconscious. They lock him in a room while his wounds are tended to by Miss Farnsworth.
Immediately, the women, young and older, are smitten with the handsome McBurney.
Though they find John intriguing, some wish to deliver him as a prisoner of war. Miss Farnsworth, though, decides to let John’s leg heal before they decide what to do with him.
While John recovers, the women and girls visit him, bringing him gifts, wearing jewelry, and preparing for him a grand dinner. John returns their affection with some of his own, though his focus falls mainly on Miss Morrow (Dunst) and Miss Farnsworth.
John finally is healthy enough to leave but instead asks Miss Farnsworth to stay. He offers to be the school’s gardener. He also tells Miss Morrow he has fallen in love with her, another reason for him to remain.
To prove it, he tells Miss Morrow to wait for him in her room. When he doesn’t show up, she goes to find him. She follows the noise and finds John with the teenage pupil, Alicia (Fanning). John tries to calm down a very angry Miss Morrow and during their heated argument, she pushes him down the stairs, causing John to badly break his recently healed leg.
Upon seeing this, Miss Farnsworth determines the only way to save his life is to amputate his leg.
John survives the amputation, but does he survive the remainder of his stay?
Sofia Coppola was at first hesitant to take on The Beguiled. But after watching the original film, she was left trying to come up with ways to update the film while not losing its punch. The original 1971 film starred Clint Eastwood and was directed by Don Siegel, the pair teaming up later that year for the overly macho Dirty Harry.
“When I saw the movie it was so fascinating to me that these macho filmmakers – Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood – would make a story set in a girl’s school in the South,” Coppola told Film School Rejects. “It’s such a male point of view of a group of women that I thought “Okay, I want to tell that story from the women’s point of view.”
With her cast of Kidman, Dunst, and Fanning, her job became that much easier. “I felt like I had to give these women a voice,” Coppola continues, “and then I thought to flip it over from their point of view and [show] women during wartime; you always see stories about men at war, but I don’t think I’ve seen what happens to the women left behind.”
According to Coppola, Colin Farrell was a good sport about being the “token hunk.” She knew of his bad-boy persona but wanted to hear from the man himself. So, she asked him to share some of his stories with her. He did.
“He has that bad boy persona. He’s really charming,” Coppola explains. “He can’t be a dumb hunk because he has to be complicated enough to beguile them all. He knows how to turn it on for [each of the characters]. I believe him in that period. I asked him to tell me stories [about his past], but he’s a gentleman.”
Coppola’s The Beguiled was a critical hit when it premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. Her film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or and Coppola ended up winning the Best Director award for the film, becoming only the second female director to take home that honor.
Colin Farrell’s “bad boy” persona is well deserved. He has been linked to English singer/actress Amelia Warner with the rumor the two had married, though that was unproven. He’s also been linked to Britney Spears, model Nicole Narain, model Josie Maran, as well as Angelina Jolie, Maeve Quinlan, and Demi Moore.
On the film front, Colin Farrell continues to deliver solid performances. He’s made a name for himself with movies like American Outlaws, Phone Booth, S.W.A.T., Alexander, the remakes of Fright Night and Total Recall, and the live-action version of Dumbo.
Of all the roles Colin Farrell has played, it is his next that perhaps will be his most talked about. Farrell has joined the cast of Matt Reeves’ The Batman as Oswald Cobblepot aka the Penguin. The highly anticipated film is set to be released on March 4, 2022.
Until that time, you can check out Colin Farrell doing his impersonation of Clint Eastwood in Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, now playing on the super streamer Netflix.