Sofia Coppola knows her audience.
Set during the Civil War, her new film, The Beguiled, stars Colin Farrell as a wounded Yankee soldier who stirs the competitive desires of the teachers and students (Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning) at an all-girls boarding school in rural Mississippi.
In a new interview with Vulture, Coppola, who recently won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival, explains why she wanted an actor who appealed to both women and gay men.
“My people!” she says. “I really made this movie for my gay men friends. And for my women friends! I have a friend, Fabrizio [Viti], who’s a shoe designer, and he really pushed me to embrace the idea of objectifying a man’s body. He was my tutor in that.”
According to Coppola, Farrell had no problem being objectified. “He knew the story, and I respect that he’s man enough to take on that role,” she continues. “He’s confident enough to let women be in charge and be here for that, so I thought it was cool that he totally got it and had a good sense of humor.”
“At one point we were shooting stills for a calendar where he was gardening, and he was giving it to us. He was covered in water, doing all this hunk stuff. Oh, he milked it.” Okay, what is this beefcake calendar and when can we get it hung?
Speaking of queer appeal, interiors for the film were shot in Jennifer Coolidge’s New Orleans home, and the estate used in exteriors was a setting in Beyoncé’s Lemonade visual album.
The Beguiled is in theaters June 23.