"Once upon a time, there was a hero, although she didn't know it yet. Her name was Bell. And she was destined to confront a Beast..."
There's a new film in the making which promises a very different take on Beauty and the Beast, journeying back to the fairy tale's roots and delving into the Mythic, in a way we haven't yet seen. It's titled, simply, Beast, but the movie promises to be anything but simple.
The Icelandic setting and all-Icelandic cast, along with "The Mountain", (aka Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) from HBO's Game Of Thrones, ratchet the epic factor up more than a few notches, as does the edginess of the Viking-esque time period of 'the year 800'.
This is Bell is on a feminine hero's journey, one which would give Theseus a run for his money, so it's no coincidence that the mythic story of one of Theseus' great challenges, defeating the Minotaur at the center of the labyrinth, was a foundation for this movie.
Director Max Gold says:
"When Beast is released, fans can expect to see a darker, Icelandic take on the fairy tale that they’ve come to know and love--told from a feminine perspective.
"A masculine hero’s journey usually involves the hero leaving home then conquering and/or killing his way through a series of obstacles. But a feminine hero’s journey happens in a different style. For example, Scheherazade tells stories to save her own life. Persephone empathizes with her captor in the underworld to earn some time above ground. The Theseus/Minotaur myth (lots of similarities to Beast) is actually also a more feminine version of the hero’s journey even though Theseus is male. For example, Theseus leverages his enemy’s size and strength to his own advantage. Or when facing Medusa, Theseus literally “reflects” in his shield to find her whereabouts. These are feminine means, which makes sense because Theseus’s father is Poseidon, god of the sea.
"There’s this new buzz phrase, “strong female protagonist.” Most of the time “strong” just means “put a weapon in the female protagonist’s hand.” That does not make a strong female protagonist, it just makes a female protagonist who carries a weapon. In Beast, the story is told from Bell’s perspective and she uses her own courage and cunning to find her way. She is a deeply flawed character but is also willful. You will find out whether her strong will is enough when she comes face to face with her darker side. And yes, at some point she does also wield a badass sword!"Apart from showcasing a selection of beautiful visuals here, the best way I could think to introduce you to the film is via a couple of their development films. First "Princess" Bell then Bell the Hero. If you don't have time to watch any of the videos, I still strongly suggest you take a look at the last 30 seconds or so of Bell the Hero (at the 1min35sec mark). It's amazing.Take a look:
"Violence is a necessary part of a fairy tale; it always points to the death of potential consciousness that befalls those who don't pay attention. Our Beast is a hoard of energy that saps the land and causes the famine. Without this as an antagonist, the stakes of Bell's journey would be inauthentic.
“Bell’s psychological journey inward is as much a focus as her harrowing quest through the Icelandic wilderness. Bell is fleeing a brutal past; she is contending with a lot of inner demons. She is a deeply flawed character and we don’t shy away from putting those flaws up on screen, but she is also extremely willful. Her will and courage ultimately carry her through.”From references of The Poetic Edda and Icelandic Sagas, along with nods to Jung and David L. Hart's "The Water of Life: Spiritual Renewal in the Fairy Tale" and labyrinthian metaphors, both with regard to the inner psyche and the forbidding Icelandic wildlands, this Beauty and the Beast retelling has some serious foundation to build it's story on. The attention to storytelling detail is also clear in every frame with both beautiful photography and specific framing that tells a story of its own (a quick look at the embedded videos will have you amazed that such an icy wasteland can be so very stunning!).
When you see this it's easy to recognize how important the awareness of the Land is in the movie as well. A sense of story grows out of it, just like it does for the Icelandic people, so it made sense when I learned that Max Gold had more than a passing appreciation for it as well.
This video below is slightly longer at over 3 minutes but you get to see a lot of that 'mythic foundation building' I keep referencing.
I'm not the only one who believes this film promises and excellent standard though. Beast was recently named a Kickstarter "Staff Pick" and they're more than half way to their goal. I'm sort of astonished that the monetary goal is so low, considering how high they have the bar set for production but they've already proven they can do a lot with a little. I'd dearly love to see this film complete and we've got just one week to help them make this possible.
This project will only be funded if at least is pledged by . (As of this posting just over $13,000 has been pledged - only $7,000 to go!)
The approach to this film is the sort of storytelling we want to see - exploring tales we love in a new ways with intelligence, reverence and excellence. Please consider joining me in supporting Beast. Even a small amount can make a huge difference.
BEAST: A DARKER RE-IMAGINING OF “BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.”
SET ENTIRELY IN ICELAND.
Blind Hummingbird Productions
Beast stars Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, aka THE MOUNTAIN from HBO’s Game of
Thrones alongside a completely Icelandic cast.
Bell is played by newcomer Berta Andrea and Beast is played by Icelandic model Ingi
Hrafn. The film is shot by Cannes-showcased cinematographer, Ed Wu. Production
Designer: Haisu Wang (Steven Spielberg’s THE PACIFIC) Costume Designer: Ella
Reynis (GAME OF THRONES.)
Beast is written and directed by Max Gold, whose previous credits include the Golden
Globe-nominated Arbitrage (2012). Gold’s commercials, short films and video art
installations have received numerous accolades and international festival attention.
Trailer (official site): www.beast-iceland.com
Blind Hummingbird Productions: www.blindhummingbird.com
Twitter: @Beast_movie , @blindhummingbrd
Facebook: facebook.com/BEASTIceland , facebook.com/blindhummingbird
Additional sources: HERE, HERE, & the official website HERE