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Sofia Coppola Explains Why 'The Beguiled' Doesn't Feature a Slave Character

Sofia Coppola Explains Why 'The Beguiled' Doesn't Feature a Slave Character

Sofia Coppola has faced backlash for her new movie The Beguiled as the film features only white actors and left out a slave character featured in the book and original movie.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker is opening up about why she decided to leave this character out of her remake.

“There have been some questions regarding my approach to my new film, The Beguiled. More specifically, there have been objections to my decision not to include the slave character, Mattie, in Thomas Cullinan’s book on which my film is based. I would like to clarify this,” Sofia said in a statement given to Indie Wire. “My film is set in a Southern school for girls at the point in the Civil War when the men had been away fighting for some time and the Union had gained momentum. According to historians and several women’s journals from the time, many slaves had departed, and a great number of white women of the South were left in isolation, holding on to a world whose time had rightly come to an end—a world built on slave labor.”

“I wanted to tell the story of the isolation of these women, cut off from the world and in denial of a changing world. I also focused on how they deal with repression and desire when a man comes in to their abandoned world, and how this situation affects each of them, being at different stages of their life and development. I thought there were universal themes, about desire and male and female power dynamics that could relate to all women,” she continued. “The circumstances in which the women in my story find themselves are historically accurate—and not a distortion of history, as some have claimed.”

Sofia concluded the lengthy statement by saying, “it has been disheartening to hear my artistic choices, grounded in historical facts, being characterized as insensitive when my intention was the opposite.

Read the full statement on IndieWire.com.

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Photos: WENN
Posted to: Sofia Coppola

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  • greppinwolf

    That’s the poorest excuse for “historical fact” since she is directing someone else’s book. And it isn’t “historical fact” when only _some_ situations were historically without slavery but not ALL and particularly NOT the situation described in the book. It’s called cherry-picking.

  • Carolekstowe


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  • hoodoo

    “many slaves had departed”

    and Sophia kicked out the rest? Sounds like we’re in for another So-white Oscars in 2018

  • Caught Choosen

    Wealthy White woman who claims to be a feminist makes a racist or as she claims it artistic choice to not cast, cut out and historically manipulate a civil rights era story so it reflects the white washed upbringing she herself can relate to best…

    Artistic choice would be making the entire cast black with only one white girl, artistic choice would be setting it in a modern era instead of the civil rights era it occurred in. The racist move is cut out the only black character in a civil rights story based in Louisiana on a plantation and thinking that’s okay-

    Im not making an American immigration story without Italians. I’m not making an Cherokee nation story without Natives and I’m not making an American rail road story without the Chinese… cause that’s not artistic that’s stupid so I don’t do a civil rights story from a plantation without black people-