Sofia Coppola excluded the one non-white character from ‘The Beguiled’

U.S. Premiere Of "The Beguiled"

I saw the original, Clint Eastwood-led version of The Beguiled many years ago. I remember the basic gist of the story, and I mostly remember young, attractive Clint Eastwood. I didn’t really remember that there was a “slave” character named Hallie, played by actress Mae Mercer. Hallie is tasked with taking care of the wounded Union soldier and she becomes part of tangled sexual and racial politics at the heart of the story as well. Considering the book/story takes place against the backdrop of the (ongoing) Civil War, it made sense to have a slave character, a woman, who was seemingly left behind during the war, just as these white Southern belles were left behind too. Except that in Sofia Coppola’s new version of The Beguiled, Coppola has completely edited out the Hallie character in favor of just telling the stories of the white women. Huh. Obviously, Sofia’s choice has been met with some criticism. Coppola spoke to Buzzfeed about the absence of the Hallie character and more:

The story of the isolation of these white women: “I really thought it was interesting because it was a group of women all living together, all different ages with different stages of maturity, and how they interact. It’s a group of women kind of isolated in the world… I’m definitely attracted to stories about female characters, and characters that I can relate to. I’m interested in stories of groups of women together.”

Shooting the film in New Orleans, surrounded by Trump signs: “The election happened while we were filming, so that was really a mess,” the filmmaker said. The 2016 presidential campaign brought issues of sexism and racism to a fever pitch of constant discussion. “When I started working on the script, it was a couple of years ago, and I was just interested in the power dynamics. And then when we were filming and that was going on, it definitely resonated.”

The debate about Confederate monuments: The filmmaker said she “wasn’t really looking at the political aspects” of the Confederacy as she was writing and directing The Beguiled. “At the heart of the story, it’s really about the power dynamics between men and women that are universal, but that are sort of heightened in this kind of premise.”

Editing out the Hallie character: “I didn’t want to brush over such an important topic in a light way,” Coppola told BuzzFeed News in an emailed statement of her decision to not include the character. “Young girls watch my films and this was not the depiction of an African-American character I would want to show them.” It’s a storytelling choice many on social media have criticized. “Of course I understand that that would be brought up,” Coppola said in her interview with BuzzFeed News. “I was clear about my decision — because I want to be respectful to that history.”

Whether including Hallie would have offered a more racially nuanced view of the story: “I feel like you can’t show everyone’s perspective in a story. I was really focused on just this one group of women who were really isolated and weren’t prepared. A lot of slaves had left at that time, so they were really— that emphasized that they were cut off from the world. [Hallie’s] story’s a really interesting story, but it’s a whole other story, so I was really focused on these women.”

She’s open to doing films with non-white actors: “I would love to have a more racially diverse cast whenever I can. It didn’t work for this story, but of course I’m very open to stories about many different experiences and points of view.”

[From Buzzfeed]

Yeah, her filmography doesn’t suggest that she’s a filmmaker open to racial diversity. I understand her argument that she can’t do everything and tell every story and she already stands out from other directors because she has a history of making films which focus on the female characters. That being said, Coppola is being too cute by half on some things. She made a conscious choice to edit out the one non-white character, even if the character was significant in the source material and the first film. She says she didn’t want to “brush over” the topic of slavery… as if that was her only choice? Like, include the character and brush over her, or completely whitewash the story, and Coppola made her choice. I guess it never occurred to her that she could include the character and offer a nuanced view of black womanhood at that time, and have that story alongside the stories of the white women. Basically, only white women’s experiences get to be “universal,” at least according to Coppola.

Also too cute by half? She says she was interested in the “power dynamics” yet she wasn’t looking at “the political aspects” of the Confederacy. THAT IS THE SAME THING. Sexual power plays are political. Femininity is political. The story is about a Union soldier in the South. It is political. Buzzfeed did a companion analysis/review of Coppola’s film which is worth a read too, and the author criticizes Coppola.

The Beguiled Premiere

Photos courtesy of WENN.

 

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154 Responses to “Sofia Coppola excluded the one non-white character from ‘The Beguiled’”

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  1. AlmondJoy says:

    “I would love to have a more racially diverse cast whenever I can.”

    Lies. You CAN have a racially diverse cast anytime. People of color live normal lives and eat, drink and have relationships just the same as you do. We have stories to tell just like you do. It’s in your power to do so but clearly you just don’t WANT a racially diverse cast.

  2. rachel says:

    If I understand her, black women don’t experienced gender biased?! This is so typical, those directors have so many excuses to exlude black women history. The Beguiled make me think of Detroit by Katherine Bigolow, in the original story there is a black woman involved in the incident and so far none of that is represented in the trailer. This is tiring.

  3. Char says:

    The question is: does black people want Sofia Coppola or a white director to tell their stories? Cause there are very talented black directors/writers/producers who could do it in a better way and that know what they are talking about.

    • Helene says:

      If she had included black women the same people complaining would also complain that because she is not a black woman she would not be able to tell the story of a black woman comaining. She cannot win. She is one of the few directors telling female stories.

      • HK9 says:

        That’s your assumption. This woman didn’t even try.

      • Kate says:

        As long as she is ignoring woc, she’s not really telling female stories because NEWS FLASH, woc are also women.

      • AlmondMilk says:

        @helene

        Maybe the same people would have “complained.”

        Maybe none of the same people would have complained. Maybe they would have loved it.

        Maybe a majority of people who are not the same. people complaining would not have complained, and maybe only a small portion of the people complaining would have complained.

        Guess what? Who cares. Artists are allowed to create and as a rule shouldn’t GAF.

        Guess what again? The more important issue beyond the group of people you say are “complaining” (a group that you dgaf about) is that Sophia Coppola maybe should include a black “slave” character who was a seminal part of the original story set during the backdrop of the civil war.

        We’re not talking about a goddess circle of against the backdrop of 1990′s Malibu. This is a backdrop of the south, women, the confederacy, and slavery and it is sans a black woman.

        Shameful.

        You folks are acting like a white director who wanted to make a film about people who died on 9/11, could omit the stories of the people of color who died and that would be totally cool with you.

        Sick.

      • Valois says:

        Celine Sciamma received some critcism for casting an all-black cast for Girlhood despite being white herself, but the overall response was extremly positive. Especially because (unlike Coppola) she made some valid points and didn’t lie her way through interviews. So no, I don’t agree with you. Overall, you can win.

      • Aiobhan Targaryen says:

        @Helene No, she is not one of the few directors telling female stories. She is another white women telling stories about white women; white women are not all women, all women are not white women. Just in case I need to repeat it: all females aren’t white women!!!!!

        @ Char. For me, it is more about people backing up their words with actions. If you say you want to discuss women’s issues and you only have 5 white women that look like the same woman in varying stages of her life, then are you not talking about women. Women is the plural version of woman. Since it is plural then you need to actually think and use it like it is supposed to be used. By design it is meant to be more inclusive because it is more than one thing. If you say you believe in equality, that you are not a racist, and have respect for non-whites, then why would it not be just automatic that you would include the black woman. I’ll go even further and say change the story so that it can include other non-white and non-black women and it still mean the same thing: a story about women and the complicated relationship we have with men. Or in this case, the complicated relationship we have with white men, cause white guys don’t represent all guys.

        When you put the qualifier “white” in front of women it sets a different tone and expectation than just saying women. A story about “women” is much more broad in scope. She is possibly unintentionally ( I don’t believe that but I am trying to be generous here) narrowing the scope of a “story about women” when she only casts white women in the film. There are Black women, Asian women, Latina women, and women who are Mixed Race. When you respect someone and their story, you don’t set it aside and leave it for someone else. You pick it up and carry it just like you expect someone else to do it for you. She could have spoken to black female historians to get more depth about how to write Hallie and be respectful to the character. She was never going to get it 100% right, but she damn sure is 100% wrong for her decision to not do anything at all.

      • LAK says:

        Nevermind telling stories about women in general. Sofia Coppola tends to stories about blonde white women almost exclusively. I guess in her view the range of white women doesn’t exist and possibly the existence of non white women is too much for tiny mind to contemplate.

        If that’s not institutionalised prejudice AND racism i don’t know what is.

    • Are both of you willfully ignoring the fact that this is a remake?! The story was already there. Coppola actually, literally removed a black character that was already there.

    • Alex says:

      We want black people to tell our stories for sure. But don’t erase us from history because you don’t know how to write black characters.
      You know what would help? Hiring ONE black writer for your writing team. Boom problem solved
      Hollywood’s problem is they are lazy, overwhelmingly male and white. If you hire more than white men and women maybe you would have a deeper story

      • Char says:

        @Alex I agree with you that erasing isn’t the right option and that she could totally hire a black writer. My point is that she is a privilleged white woman, so it probably didn’t even crossed her mind.

      • vauvert says:

        Exactly. I mean look at the cast photo. A bunch of white blondes. Look at the story of the script – not even an original script and she chose to make one major change – big surprise, removing the woc character. Sophia is a big fat hypocrite and I say this as a white woman who’s sick and tired of the trite excuses.
        There’s always some reason to justify discrimination and racism – there were no actors to fill the roles – BS, the Marco Polo Netflix show managed to find superb actors to fill Asian roles, thank you very much – to “there’s no interest in the story” – yeah, look at Wonder Woman beating out the Tom Cruise and Depp mega million productions, ha! to “no one wants to see a black superhero” – more BS, I can hardly wait to see Black Panther and if I feel that way, I can’t begin to imagine what it will mean to the black community to finally see themselves represented like that in a Marvel blockbuster. It just goes on and on. In a much smaller way I see it with Eastern European characters too – always a hooker or stupid criminal with bad accents. Pardon me for having given the world Brancusi, Ionescu, Coanda – and that’s just three Romanians off the top of my head.

        Anyway, rant over. Won’t see this film and Sophia can take her excuses and shove it.

    • AlmondMilk says:

      Do you realize what a ridiculously insulting question this is @Char?

      I was ignorant of the Beguiled subject matter, but was floored when I realized its basically not even as as inclusive of Black Women as effing Gone With the Wind from 80 years ago was, FFS!

      Your inference is that basically because Sofia Coppola cannot relate to this black woman slave character or wanted to somehow address such a character in some other film in some hypothetical future of hers, that she was right to omit the character altogether and hey black people if you want to write, produce and direct a film about Hallie in the Beguiled you can – smacks of taunting insensitive bigotry.

      Unlike the wealthy daughter of a film legend who’s been making films since she was a teen because nepotism, minorities don’t necessarily have that kind of sway.

      Also, since when have you done a survey of Black People where they’ve said en masse to Caucasian filmmakers, playwrights, play or television producers please don’t ever cast us, write about us, or include us in your films ever again?!

      Stop the racist concern trolling please. It’s not cute.

    • slowsnow says:

      In my view, these are two different questions. We are in need of diverse casting because latinos, asian and black people are part of today’s modern society and they should be included in its narratives.
      And then there is another trend in narratives out there which is that white people are telling black people’s stories. Take this Lionel Shriver article whereby she defends the right for a white male british writer to create a character who is a 14 year old black nigerian girl, and who has been criticized for it within the litterary world.
      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/13/lionel-shrivers-full-speech-i-hope-the-concept-of-cultural-appropriation-is-a-passing-fad
      So Char’s comment is actually a real question that has been raised several times very seriously.
      For instance, sometimes it bothers me when Louis C. K. talks about female sexuality, since it is my point of view and he is incredibly patronising. But I would not want him to not do his bit: it’s informative for me as well to see a man’s effort to understand me. IDK, tough call.

  4. tegteg says:

    I am SO tired of this. They all have their excuses – it wasn’t in their creative vision, they didn’t want to brush over a story, tickets don’t sell as well (which was proven false), blah blah blah.

    Hollywood Execs: I’m a WHITE WOMAN and the film I’m most excited about seeing is BLACK PANTHER. The cast is amazing, the storyline looks brilliant, and I’m tired of mediocre white actors being given parts they didn’t earn and don’t deserve. Seriously, if this was truly about business, then race wouldn’t be an issue because Denzel Washington has been killing the box office for years. Enough is enough already.

    • Izzy says:

      “I’m a WHITE WOMAN and the film I’m most excited about seeing is BLACK PANTHER.”

      THIS, a thousand times. I couldn’t wait for Wonder Woman because we finally get a female superhero we deserve – one that’s not marketed exclusively to men. And I am so excited for Black Panther because the storyline looks great and the cast is AMAZING.

      • tegteg says:

        Yes, and yes! Wonder Woman was brilliant and I honestly got teary eyed when I watched the trailer. It was so empowering watching WW kicking a$$ and taking names.

        As for Black Panther, the costumes look AMAZING. African culture is so beautiful and it will be nice to see how it’s portrayed in the “comic book world”. Those female Wakanda warriors look so awesome and FIERCE. Alsooooo, doesn’t BP end up with Storm in the long run? That would be the union to end all unions!!!

        Sorry, I’m totally fan girling here. The Avengers has just become derivative at this point – a bunch of milktoast white men in spandex.

    • Mia4s says:

      It’s funny that in the midst of all this bullsh*t even though I’m not remotely excited for Black Panther (sorry but to me it looks like generic Marvel movie plot #whatever with more interesting art direction and costumes), however I want it to be a smash just to further disrupt the system. If it is? Who knows what these execs will be forced to do! Hey they might cast a leading Latino superhero next! Maybe even a *gasp* Asian lead or….a Black woman to lead her own movie! *faints*.

  5. grabbyhands says:

    “Young girls watch my films and this was not the depiction of an African-American character I would want to show them.”

    But that is what HAPPENED. Editing it out because you say you feel bad about the representation is as bad as editing it because you want to pretend that it didn’t happen.

    “I feel like you can’t show everyone’s perspective in a story.”

    What an absolutely lazy excuse. The fact that you altered the original script to focus on these women alone proves that you could have included Hallie’s story. This is the same weak ass excuse Lena Dunham used for not including WOC in girls. It’s a different race, not a f**king alien species. If you’re unsure as a director how to represent another race or their history, talk to them. Talk to a historian. Put a little effort into it. There is zero reason why you can’t show everyone’s perspective if that person is part of the story.

    • Megan says:

      Sophia can only tell her story – rich white lady. Which is fine, but she needs own it because no one is buying these bogus excuses.

    • Goldie says:

      I was reminded of Lena Dunham too. I remember when she was criticized for not having more diversity on Girls. However, at least Lena was honest enough to admit that she didn’t think she was a good enough writer at the time to write a character that wasn’t based on someone she personally knew.
      Sofia keeps talking in circles and making excuses about why she left out the black girl. She might as well just own the fact that she doesn’t find black women relatable and doesn’t want to include them in her stories.

    • lucy2 says:

      Excellent post, grabby.
      I have a feeling her excuse is related to the justified criticism that too often the roles for people of color are stereotypes, and that all too often the only black stories being told are slave, maid, etc. My guess is she was afraid of being accused of doing that too, but omitting the character is even worse. She chose to make a historical drama, and is erasing part of that history with a lame excuse.

      If she really wants more diversity in her films, she needs to DO IT. Not just talk about it.

    • Magnoliarose says:

      It is complete nonsense. It is easy to put people of color in many roles. Open casting and who reads the best and fits then go with it. To cut out a slave during a Civil War movie is insane.

    • Lookit says:

      Or she could just cast a black actress and have her play the character. Why is there a need to cast an actor who is Black, Asian, Indian, etc. and feel the need to address the character’s ethnicity. It’s stupid. Just cast some good actors and let’s go.

    • jwoolman says:

      Did she actually ask people who are black if that’s how they felt about it?

      I’m not actually familiar with the book ormovie, but it seems hard to tell the story of even a bunch of white women in that particular time period in the South without any hint of someone who is black. As someone suggested, she should have had at least one or two African Americans (especially women) on the writing team who could help her if she felt it was too far beyond her own experience and was concerned about the woman being a slave and how to handle that.

  6. QueenB says:

    her actresses arent just white, basically all of them are blonde blue eyed pale women.

  7. RBC says:

    So the story is about a group of women during the Civil War “who were really isolated and not prepared” Couldn’t that include the only black slave woman who is unsure about what will happen to her and whether she is free or not?
    I think that would have brought more tension into the film and also enhanced the roles of the other women who would have to interact with Hallie. Sofia dropped the ball in this case

  8. OhDear says:

    Like everyone else, I think her explanation is BS. That being said, she seems to be admitting that she doesn’t have the depth or range to handle any story besides that of rich white women (who don’t fit in and wistfully look to the distance to a hipster soundtrack playing in the background).

    • third ginger says:

      OhDear. this is the closest to my opinion. I don’t find her that interesting a film maker. And why all the remakes?

    • LAK says:

      I find her ability to tell any given story is gossamer light. Always superficial, no depth and not memorable.

      Each story is strangely interchangeable from one movie to the next or perhaps it’s because she treats them all as the same story/characters in different settings without acknowledging the changed settings or giving story depth or growth.

  9. JulP says:

    Yeah that’s a bullshit excuse. It’s an ensemble cast so it makes no sense to single out one character that you don’t think you can do justice to. Moreover, Hallie’s role in the original film was pretty significant in that she was the only one who was not manipulated by Clint’s character and basically served as the moral compass of the film, so leaving her out is a pretty big omission.

    I was pretty psyched to watch this film (I’m a huge fan of Kidman and Farrell) but now that I know this, I think I’ll pass.

  10. teacakes says:

    Is it Disappointing Female Filmmakers Week or something?

    That was not a good response but Sofia at least managed to clear the low, low bar of not attacking a black woman as she answered that criticism – unlike Ana Lily Amirpour, who belittled a black filmgoer who dared to ask her about antiblack tropes and imagery in The Bad Batch after a post-screening Q&A. And then turned out to have tweeted a pic of herself in blackface four years ago.

    • Aiobhan Targaryen says:

      Ana Lily is a real disappointment because I kind of liked her last film and wanted to see this film for Jason and Keanu, but I won’t. Her OTT response to Bianca’s question was ridiculous but not surprising. No one attacked her; she was asked a tough question but no one verbally or physically attacked her narrow minded self. Instead of thinking about it and saying something like ” I did not see it that way” or ” that is not what I intended” she had a tantrum. What is worse is the crowds reaction to Ana Lily’s gross response.

      I guess my mother was right in saying that POC solidarity does not really exist.

    • Ramona says:

      Listen to me. Nothing about White Feminism should surprise you. Those women literally trooped to vote in Trump even as they fumed about his history of objectifying. I suppose Ana Lily Amirpour should surprise me given that she is Iranian but I really wasn’t. White Feminism often isnt about race but rather privilege. WOC will identify with it because their social status allows them to. Theres another WOC comedian/showrunner who I shall not name as she appears a fav here who clearly ascribes to White Feminism too. Contrast these with the white women who educate themselves on not just intersection but how to be inclusive.

  11. Kate says:

    She’s full of sh*t. She’s only interested in telling the stories of pale, blue-eyed willowy blondes. Hell, she probably considers casting a brunette diversity.

  12. Anon says:

    She made the movie she wanted to make about the characters she was most interested in telling a story about. I think it’s ridiculous that anyone would criticize her for that.

  13. So the male director of the original was more diverse several decades ago than Coppola, a female, is in 2017? Sit down, idiot.

  14. slowsnow says:

    Like many posters said, she is sort of acknowledging that that’s not her range. Fair enough. She is the Hitchcock of white rich female directors and she knows it. Like Wes Anderson she is a hipstery white director who is really good in her own range: a world that no longer exists of a complex white female agenda.
    I used to love her films but I could not force myself to watch the last ones, because, well, they don’t interest me anymore, as white as I am. I’m interested in other stories. So, I guess, she’ll have the public she deserves. I will probably watch her last films at some point but will no drag my a** to watch them in the theatre.

    • Surely Wolfbeak says:

      I agree about it being beyond her range. Her films are very beautiful mixed cocktails, but lack complexity and substance. To insert a slave character into whatever isolated, dream-like world she wanted to create would complicate her film (and probably make it much more interesting).

      She also whitewashed The Bling Ring by removing a Hispanic member of the group from a lower socioeconomic background. The Bling Ring was based on a true story, so this isn’t just her removing a character in adapting a work of fiction.

    • jwoolman says:

      It’s ok to admit that characters beyond your own ethnicity are very difficult for you to write because your own experiences are so different. But movies are a team effort. You don’t have to know how to dress your characters because you hire someone who does. She just needed to hire a couple of good writers who were African-American women to help her deal with that character and interactions involving her and give her needed
      perspective. They also could have assured her that the character’s inclusion would not be offensive or a problem for the young girls seeing her movie. Girls who are not blue-eyed blondes do buy movie tickets, dvds, and videos on demand….

      The deleted character wasn’t just a dispensable extra. It really makes it seem unbelievable not to have a black character in that time period, anyway. What South was she thinking of?!? That’s part of our history.

      And she read the book and saw the original movie. What made her think she didn’t need that particular character when the author of the book and the makers of the original thought she was so important? It just seems rather strange.

  15. Aiobhan Targaryen says:

    Whatever with that nonsense dribbling out of her mouth. She left the black woman out so that she would not have to confront that reality white women have been and still are both the oppressed and the opressor in the US. It would have been an interesting and challenging way to look at how womanhood is defined in this country and show some of the complexity that it entails. Instead, she took the coward’s way out and left it between a white man and white women so that the white women can be seen as the one’s who are 100% right. You can be right and wrong at the same time. This is just typical white feminism. She is rewriting history to make white women the perfect suffering victims, when the truth was that, yes, they were being oppressed by their white husbands and father’s etc, BUT many white women were benefiting from slavery as well- most especially the white girls who were going to the school that the film is set in. They had slaves who made their clothes, cooked their food, did their hair, raised their children, possibly also sexually assaulted by the white woman’s husband. father, brother, uncle, whatever else I missed. White women participated in that system just like their white male relatives and not talking about it does not change the fact that it happened. And don’t come at me with all white women weren’t rich because even the poor benefited from slavery as well.

    By the way, just in case people did not know: Black women are women too. Our blackness does not negate our sex and our sex does not negate our blackness. We are both.

    Slight OT: I hate when people write “women and minorities” because it implies that white women are the only ones who get to keep their sex and if you aren’t white, then you are just a race/ethnicity.

    • Kate says:

      + 1,000. But her movies are textbook white, feminine victimhood and fragility. That’s the only thing she can do.

      • Aiobhan Targaryen says:

        I have praised Sofia on this site before because I thought even with her problematic self that that all of us women should support each other, go see films by women from different races and countries, read books for and about ALL women, buy clothese, etc but I think I am going to have to re-evealuate my stance. Maybe being more selective in who I choose to support. I am ost definitely not going to see another one of her films.

        This past weekend was a mess.

    • Liv says:

      “By the way, just in case people did not know: Black women are women too.”

      I’m disgusted that you even have to say this. F*ck this bitch and her apologists! You shouldnt have to feel that you need to say this.

    • Maria F. says:

      i also do not understand why it would be hard for white american women to accept that. It is their history after all. Just like us Spaniards are still being criticized for what we did to the Incas and Mayas and the Germans have to live with the Nazi past or the British have their past with the Colonies.

    • African Sun says:

      This comment has a lot of truth in it.

      I must say I am disappointed in Sofia’s response. Seems lazy and hats off to Buzzfeed for calling her out.

      I was interested in seeing this movie because I like period films and I enjoy Nicole’s films for the most part. It’s sad that Sofia couldn’t find a way to include the character.

      I do think female directors owe it to themselves to not just tell the story but to provide balanced and nuanced views of race, sexuality and gender. It’s not fair to complain about female representation and diversity but then as a woman take away the one character of colour.

      Sofia is weird. I even watched the Beguiled press conference at Cannes on YouTube and she came across like bored.

    • CdnMagician says:

      It could have been such a complex look at the varying levels of oppression and the role of class and race in that, too. Such a disappointment that she chose to leave it out. It’s like she wilfully made her movie less meaningful and interesting. If she didn’t feel she had the background to tackle such a subject, then hire a consultant/writer who does.

    • I Choose Me says:

      +100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

    • Froma says:

      Aiobhan: Beautifully stated.

  16. Kate says:

    That’s one of the reason I cannot stand Blake Antebellum Lively. She’s just part of this trend that consists in sanitizing the South, reducing that period to well-dressed, white southern belles sighing into the wind.

  17. adastraperaspera says:

    Really sick of propagandistic movies about the civil war. Mythologized/romanticized antebellum representations of whites in countless books and movies over the last 150 years have contributed to the persistence of racism in the U.S. That movies like “Gone with the wind” remain on the top of movie lists is just ridiculous. We will never eradicate unconscious bias and outright racism if we continue to uncritically consume products like this latest from Coppola.

    • slowsnow says:

      I am not defending her – I share your view about the perils of romanticizing the antebellum south. That’s why I haven’t shown Gone with the Wind to my kids. I almost always do and then I don’t.
      However, I don’t think Copolla is interested in history per se. As I said above I have stopped watching her films so I didn’t watch Marie-Antoinette because I knew it would be about ennui. Nothing to do with history and poverty and the abuse of the rich rulers regarding their populations. All her films are about boredom amidst wealth, fame, interested characters who make something of you that you are not especially women.
      That’s why I don’t begrudge her completely but I am not interested right now in the boredom and adjacent sexual tension of the priviledged classes.

    • DiamondGirl says:

      Gone with the Wind doesn’t romanticize slavery – it’s all about the end of slavery and the fall of the rich southerners who had to remake their way of life to survive. Some had the strength and will to do it; some didn’t.

      It’s not a Blake Lively fantasy of the Old South. She’s an idiot.

      • slowsnow says:

        @DiamondGirl – you’re right it doesn’t romanticize slavery but it does romanticize the whole southern system albeit in a PC kind of way to make the wite folks feel good – it has a very white centered perspective. I still remember the black maid being there as a narrative prop to show how rebellious Scarlett was. The fact that the rebellious character was a white spoiled brat could be seen as the South being a white spoiled system that would end up alone but… Nahhh.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        It didn’t quite romanticize slavery but it didn’t condemn or challenge it either. It didn’t present the brutality of slavery and it romanticized, through the character of that weakling Ashley, a wealthy and aristocratic way of life made both pleasant and possible by the slavery system. Scarlett’s young house slave, Prissy, is made out to be an idiot and Scarlett even smacks her in the face. Scarlett’s first husband joins the Confederate Army (tho given a humiliating death from disease), second husband rides with the KKK (to defend his wife’s “honour” against black-men-who-attacked-her), third husband smuggled weapons to the rebel army. Melanie, the strangely de-sexed “good girl” of the story, is a rabid Confederate. One of Scarlett’s few ‘virtues’ is that she doesn’t give a damn about the Old South … when she troubles herself to think about it. The movie is somewhat better than the book; the filmmakers recognized some of the obvious problems even in the late 1930s. However, they couldn’t disentangle the story of Scarlett and Rhett from the slavery, war and Reconstruction. It seems like a really interesting artifact today that spotlights the extent to which the mythology of the old South has persisted. It’s a lot easier to see the brutality and despotism of the same exact slave system when it exists or existed in other countries or colonies but for many ugly reasons it gets a pass here.

        I saw the trailer and it seemed like a goth take on Southern Womanhood. Pass.

  18. She says she can’t do justice to a black woman’s narrative. Was she a destitute, Southern white female as a teen? Did I miss that?

  19. SM says:

    I don’t know. There always was something about Sophia that was bothering me. Like she may be a feminist but she also seemed like someone oportunistic, who woild use women’s issue for her carriere and self promotion. The last red flag was her desire for Kirsten Dunst to loose weight for the role. Now this development fully explains it. First of all the desire to show the dynamics of women relationships in a closed world at the historical period depicted in the movie SHOULD have included black women characters. The all white women were served and attended by black women and their households were looked after by black women. And yes, since they also were affected by the war their role and their place in that closed circle of women left to themselves is even more important. And not buying the argument of not honnoring the blqck character. It seems more like she may have had a problem with how the fact that black women were in their closed world and how purely this relationship with black women will reflect on white women. It is a fact that eliminating men from women’s world at the period depicted in the movie the discrimination and abuse of black women at the hands of white women did not go away. Like abuse, discrimination came only from men, which is not true. I say it was her desire to depict white women in the most favourable light possible that forced Coppola to make the choice that she made. And I have a big problem with that. Because it makes a fight for women’s rights very narrow and self serving. And does she even think what message young women of all rases get when they see her standing to all the white women she cast in the film and speaks about feminism? The more I think about it the more mad I get. If that was a white male director with all white male cast, I am sure more women would be outrager, the problem is that some white women are exactly like Sofia here

    • detritus says:

      She’s always given me an ‘off’ vice.
      I don’t trust anyone who only works with people of one skin tone and hair colour, or really one type of person in exclusion. She has the excuse of ‘aethetics’ or whatever the eff, but its nonsense. She’s been exposed to other shades of beauty, she chooses to work within that framework.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        If she’s after aesthetics, she can shoot advertisements, but even then she’ll run into the same issue of non-representation.

      • detritus says:

        Its laziness and ignorance, coupled with pure ego.

        Just like the the interior decorators who only use one style, or actors with one character, a director who can’t break out of a specific aesthetic isn’t a very good director.

      • SM says:

        Aesthetics as an argument here is purely racist: oh, I am for ewual rights and empowernment amd diversity, but people of colour do not correspond to my aestheric. I will never get tired of repeating that anyone who describe themselfes as a fighter for eqaulity at the expense of other groups of society is contributing to the problem, not the solution. And she was born into hollywood so for her to take on more risky storytelling is less risky for anyone who has to build a carriere for themselves in hollywood. Basically she is on my shit list of hypocritical filmakers I am not interesed in

      • detritus says:

        The part that kills me, is that her family vacations in Belize A LOT.
        Like many summer homes, they own upscale resort chains, etc.

        She’s been exposed to a variety of shades of beauty, and Belize is a beautiful melting pot of cultures and backgrounds, and she keeps coming back to this WASP BS.

        I am very glad people are coming around to calling her out.

    • Lookit says:

      She is the Ivanka Trump of Hollywood.

    • KLO says:

      I think Sofias schtick has always been portraying young blonde sheltered and narrow minded women in a dreamlike, detached environment. Her movies feel like childrens books by Astrid Lindgren often, Pippi Longstocking or something like that. It is real but not really.

      For that I think the black females should be glad that they were not included in her narrative – you deserve to be portrayed realistically and honestly and Sofia isnt even portraying her blonde characters in that way.

      She has never been a realistic filmmaker. It is just how she rolls. I personally enjoy her movies but I NEVER take them as anything more than modern fairytales of seclusion and shelteredness.

  20. T.Fanty says:

    Dang, that sucks. I knew very little about this movie, but was excited for it, but now knowing this backstory, her offensive platitudes have absolutely killed my buzz. I can’t, in good conscience, pay to watch this now.

  21. Goldie says:

    I’ve read some reviews of this film. One thing I noticed is that even the positive reviews seem to indicate that the film is lacking in depth. It’s a shame Coppola felt the need to exclude the black, female character. I bet it would’ve added more depth and complexity to the film.
    I do think the film looks interesting, and I love the cast, but I’m not sure if it’s worth seeing now.

  22. Starryfish says:

    And this is part of why people were pissed about Elizabeth Banks last week. Black women have a convenient way of being left out of white women’s conception of womanhood and feminism. Removing this character also allows the film to ignore the role that white women played in upholding and sanctioning the violence against black women that was part of slavery. That probably doesn’t fit with the story that Coppola wants to tell though.

  23. daisy says:

    You cant erase history because its too difficult or horrible to tell.
    Its like that BBC TV show about the first fleet settling in Australian, but of course they completely forgot to included the first peoples in any story line. They where erased!!

  24. Lucy says:

    “The filmmaker said she “wasn’t really looking at the political aspects” of the Confederacy as she was writing and directing The Beguiled.” This makes ZERO sense. There’s not a single aspect of it that isn’t political.

  25. Valois says:

    Her first film came out almost two decades ago. I wasn’t even in primary school back then.So basically, this woman had 18 years to prove that she’s “interested” in telling diverse stories. And what did she do?
    She’s full of shit.

  26. Bliss 51 says:

    Here’s a link about Mae Mercer who was in the Clint Eastwood production of The Beguiled.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-mercer13-2008nov13-story.html

  27. Aren says:

    From the Buzzfeed article:
    ” She’s devoted most of her alternately praised and maligned filmmaking career to exploring the existences of the advantaged (if not always happy) white women who tend to reside within them”

    I couldn’t get into Sofia Coppola’s work, I gave up about 20 minutes on The Virgin Suicides, now I know why, and I’m glad I stopped watching back then.

  28. JustJen says:

    Completely unrelated to the movie..what on earth happened to Nicole Kidman’s hair???

  29. Carla says:

    I’m all for an artist having complete artistic license regarding what they make BUT… it’s pretty ironic you claim to make a movie about power dynamics and leave out a slave character in the South because you are then willfully ignoring the ultimate power dynamic of the place and time your story takes place. So yeah it’s a major fail and her rationale is dubious.

    • Nem says:

      Don’t forget she was always a spoilt hollywood princess. Best friend with Marc dreadlocks jacobs. Beloved in the fashion world which is not a very progressive environnement.
      The only unforgivable professional fault on her c. V is the godfather 3.
      She can do no wrong. It’s funny her brother didn’t succeed, as she is first rate cinema festivals favorite.
      My crapastic theory is she condemns herself to film tween winona ryder ersatz forever (as winona real hair color is blonde) first as mea culpa and redemption for daring taking her role now as a gimmick for success.
      I had loved virgin suicide for his description of mute teen despair and solitude and awful suburban life.
      Now i wonder if the good in this film only comes from the book it was adapted from.
      I ve liked lost in translation but understood and grew uneasy about the critism for the japanese people used as a background.
      But marie Antoinette was the last nail on the coffin as it has already been well said she can’t confront her heroine faults and hardships if she can’t sugarcoat it. I was flabbergastered when the film finished when the part who was really interesting about the character was beginning.
      A funny fact is she married to the leader of a french band who is from Versailles.
      This town is nowadays known for its royalist ultra conservative right wing mad catholic bourgeois, who have demonstrated against french gay marriage for months five years ago.

  30. Cee says:

    Wait, what? So the story of these 3 or 4 white women were more important than the black slave’s story. that’s what she’s saying, even though in the original story she’ws clearly very much a part of everything that happens. This is racist. This is BS.

  31. Littlestar says:

    Hmm I guess us colored gals are too “other” to have our narratives as women. Won’t be watching this.

  32. Magnoliarose says:

    So I suppose she is admitting she is limited and superficial. There is no possible way to tell a compelling story about women in the Civil War without addressing slavery. Their lives were built on slavery and ignoring it or taking part in the viciousness. It would have been interesting to show the difference in their vulnerability and how they were both reliant on the Master to dictate their futures.
    She is ridiculous.

    • jmacky says:

      Exactly. She has no idea to how tell a story with depth, complexity and reality. I find her films impossible to watch—they feel like long advertisements for whatever designer the cast is wearing in the Vogue issues that will be released in tandem with her film premiere. She’s shilling not storytelling. I think this story is too complex for her—she doesn’t have storyteller empathy or pathos. Her privilege kills her soul.

  33. Radley says:

    She was not surrounded by Trump signs in New Orleans. It’s a very blue city. And if she didn’t get that while filming down there, well she must be an idiot.

    The truth is she’s a privileged princess trading in stereotypes. She doesn’t want to be bothered with women of color. We’re invisible in her world. She wants to tell a damsel in distress white woman as perpetual victim story, most likely. No thanks.

    Well on the bright side, it’s probably best that she not attempt Hallie’s story. She’d probably botch it.

    • TheOtherSam says:

      They shot part time in the city and the other part at an old plantation outside Baton Rouge, firm Repub territory. This is where they probably saw a lot of Trump support.

      I think she was correct in admitting that she wasn’t the right person to tell the story from the slave’s pov. She’s been touting this remake as dealing with the sexual and power dynamics between the isolated women and the soldier, with an emphasis on the womens pov in contrast to the original film which highlighted Eastwood’s soldier. The Civil War setting seems to be a backdrop, not sure if I’d qualify this as a “Civil war” drama as such, they could have probably used WWI as setting for the same story and shot in France. I don’t think this is a ‘historical’ drama but more a psychodrama with an historical event as backdrop.

      Its fair to note though her films skew towards an Aryan/white/blonde demo, she oddly doesn’t veer from this. Buzzfeed’s piece was on point but I’ll likely still see this since I’m a Kidman/Farrell fan and normally enjoy Coppola’s visual style (which is really what she’s known for – not her lightweight storytelling).

  34. Millie says:

    I can’t say this enough (as I love all types of history) but us black people did not live outside history, our history happened alongside and simultaneously with the majority. How is Hallie’s story a different one? It does not exist in a separate alternative universe. The argument Coppola offers is tired and it also makes no sense.

    C.Wright Mills and the Sociological Imagination blows that shit to smithereens. No one is outside of history and history is always happening to us. Perhaps she hasn’t expanded her mind as much she could have. I mean I love Marie Antoinette and I love Kirsten Dunst so I may watch when it comes online but I won’t give my money to someone so damn clueless.

  35. Tanya says:

    Here’s the move in a nutshell (no spoilers just cliche):

    “Lordy, Lordy, what is we gon’ do?”
    “Who’s gon’ cook our dinnuh? Who’s gon’ ten the fieldsuh?”
    “I was a pageant laduh, not a someone running in the muck.”
    “There’s a union man outsiduh.”
    “I hate you, union man.”
    “I loves you, union man. Take care of me.”

    The End.

  36. Ally8 says:

    Please. She struggles to even make a movie about a brunette.

  37. Vanessa says:

    How is it possible to make a film set against the backdrop of the Civil War and exclude p the only African American character? Does omitting slavery and Hallie really make this story telling more respectful and positive for young women, or is it just censorship?

  38. Giulia says:

    I like a couple of her movies, but she’s always been very twee, a lightweight. She contributed, as a kid, to a movie called NY Stories – and her segment included a fairytale happy homeless person (as I recall). No contact with reality whatsoever.

  39. Luci Lu says:

    She should have stayed true to the original movie. I will cast a spell and the movie will bomb.

  40. HoustonGrl says:

    She is so overrated. I know she’s hailed as the second coming of hipster minimalism, but I’ve never seen a movie of hers that isn’t utterly self-absorbed and dull.