For this film, Sofia Coppola won the prize of Best Director at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. It marked the first time in 50 years a woman won the award, and only the second time overall.
The production ran into a minor crisis when several costumes were completely ruined in the washing machine. According to costume designer Stacey Battat, her creations were doomed as someone put bleach in the washing machine and forgot, and then put clothes in the same machine. The costumes had to be recreated immediately for the production not to run off schedule.
For the costumes, designer Stacey Battat saw Kirsten Dunst's character as being romantic and designed her wardrobe with decorated billowy sleeves, diaphanous skirts and more jewelry than the other girls. She gave Nicole Kidman's character a high neckline, a vest and an overall economical tone in order to portray authority and added ruffles to the costumes of Elle Fanning's character, which according to Battat, "really accentuates her horniness."
The sponge scene with Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell required several takes, as the afternoon light inflicted the cinematography. By the time the scene wrapped, Kidman had sponged Farrell for almost two hours.
Sofia Coppola chose the 1.66 : 1 aspect ratio because she wanted to make the film feel claustrophobic.
Sofia Coppola suggested that Kirsten Dunst lose weight for her part. Dunst refused, citing her disdain for workouts and having already been through an intense diet for her previous film Woodshock (2017).
Sofia Coppola had Nicole Kidman in mind when writing the screenplay and added that to see the actress bring the role to life was even more than she could have imagined; "I think she's unique. It was like watching a virtuoso or an incredible athlete. We'd do a scene, and she'd have five different emotions going on at the same time."
During rehearsals, a civil war reenactor instructed Nicole Kidman in medical procedures of the time.
In his appreciation of the film, Quentin Tarantino hosted a double feature of this film and the previous adaptation at the New Beverly Cinema with Sofia Coppola in attendance.
Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell began filming this film only few weeks after they finished working together on The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017). Both films would go on to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and would win awards in the official competition ("The Beguiled" won the Directing award for Sofia Coppola while "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" shared the Screenplay award with Lynne Ramsay's You Were Never Really Here (2017)).
The character Hallie was cut from the film. She's a slave and the only person of color in the novel and in the 1971 film, and an essential character in both. Sofia Coppola explained in interview with Film School Rejects in May 2017, that she felt slavery was such an important topic and she didn't want to treat it lightly, she felt she should focus on these women who are so cut off from the world.
The cast went through several lessons during filming. They had a sewing teacher, a dancing teacher, took etiquette classes, corset training lessons and had to cook and eat meals together. A Civil War reenactor demonstrated how to dress wounds, and a priest explained prayers from the Book of Matthew and Sofia Coppola distributed an antebellum etiquette book, titled "How to Be a Good Southern Lady".
Colin Farrell's favorite shoot in his career, praising his co-stars and his director; "To be surrounded by talented, decent, smart, insightful creative and serious women - I was spoiled by Sofia Coppola who set a particular mood of comfort, ease and trust. It allows you as an actor to play and explore."
Sofia Coppola originally wanted Nicole Kidman to play a wicked sea witch in her abandoned adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale "The Little Mermaid", which was set up at Universal Pictures. After the project fell apart, Coppola searched for another project for them collaborate on.
Sofia Coppola stated that this is NOT a remake of the 1971 film of the same title, but an adaption of the same Thomas Cullinan novel that film is based on.
According to reports, the producers aimed to find a "Chris Pratt-type of lead" for the male character. Colin Farrell was eventually cast.
Released in US theaters the same week Nicole Kidman turned 50. Coincidentally, including cameos and narrated documentaries, this film marked her 50th US theatrical release.
This will be Elle Fanning's second film with Sofia Coppola and Kirsten Dunst's fourth collaboration with the director.
Both movies were filmed in Louisiana. The opening titles of this movie, set the story in Virginia. In the 1971 version, the story is set in Mississippi.
Contrary to popular belief, McBurney's heritage was not changed to suit Colin Farrell's natural accent. The character is Irish in the book. Farrell was not initially going to use his Dublin accent but pushed to have the movie accurate to the original story.
Colin Farrell and Clint Eastwood, who played John McBurney in the first adaptation, share a birthday. Both were born on May 31st.
Sofia Coppola teams with production designer Anne Ross for the fifth time and with costume designer Stacey Battat for the fourth time. Anne Ross was the one who suggested Sofia Coppola to check out the novel for a potential adaptation.
The estate used in the film as the main location is the Madewood Plantation House near Napoleonville, Louisiana. The same location was also used for portions of Beyoncé's visual album Beyoncé: Lemonade (2016).
-The 1966 novel had a black female slave as a supporting character, whom director Sofia Coppola removed from the film, and for a biracial character from the novel, she cast white actress Kirsten Dunst. The Guardian said Coppola was criticized for engaging in whitewashing, to which the director said she made the changes so as "not (to) brush over such an important topic in a light way," and that "(y)oung girls watch my films and this was not the depiction of an African American character I would want to show them."
Oona Laurence and Emma Howard previously worked together in Matilda the musical on broadway in 2013.
Elle Fanning's second collaboration with Nicole Kidman following How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2017). Both films went on to be screened at the 70th Cannes Film Festival, although only The Beguiled in competition.
This will be Nicole Kidman's second Civil War-era film. She previously starred in Cold Mountain (2003).
According to Elle Fanning, Colin Farrell was self conscious about his weight during the shoot. This is because he gained weight for The Killing of a Sacred Deer (also co-starring Nicole Kidman,) which ended filming six weeks before this shoot.
Colin Farrell is exactly 46 years younger than Clint Eastwood. The original movie was released 46 years ago.
Elle Fanning's third film with three multigenerational women at the center. The first two were "About Ray" (2015) and "20th Century Women" (2016).
Both Kirsten Dunst and Angourie Rice were in Spiderman movies. Dunst played Mary Jane Watson in Sam Raimi's Spiderman movies while Rice played Betty Brant in Spiderman: Homecoming.
Both Collin Farrell and Kristen Dunst have starred in Marvel productions, Farrell as Bullseye in "Daredevil" and Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson in Raimi's "Spider Man" trilogy.