Bertrand Bonello’s newest film La Bête (2023), set for release next year, will be an adaptation of Henry James’ novel The Beast In The Jungle. The film will be the first horror film made by the French filmmaker.
French filmmaker Bertrand Bonello has recently joined the festival circuit with Coma (2022), a pandemic-themed drama about one girl’s a hard time in a lockdown. Bonello’s track includes a bunch of independent darlings. Still, only the recent titles – including Zombi Child (2019) about Haitian voodoo – reveal his knack for horror. The new feature film the director is working on might be his scariest.
Bonello began writing La Bête (2023) back in 2017. The film will be loosely inspired by a novel by Henry James – The Beast In The Jungle.
The story’s protagonist, John Marcher, sets sail on a rather preposterous journey of self-imposed asceticism; however, there’s an almost masochistic twist to it too. The plot finds Marcher reunited with a woman close to him, and it depicts his fears concerning the inevitable fate he’s been once told about a monster that awaits him.
According to Bertrand Bonello, La Bête (2023) will blend melodrama with elements of sci-fi and horror genres. The plot will be set in the dystopian future, where emotions are considered a threat. This concept could be perceived as a nod to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. The main character will be played by Léa Seydoux, who stars opposite George MacKay. MacKay filled in the role of Louise, a man that Seydoux meets over the course of three timelines, which was originally given to Gaspard Ulliel. The tragic death of Ulliel earlier this year has forced this change.
Bonello claims the film will be “a bit of fantasy, melodrama, and horror.” At the same time, the filmmaker admits he’s not interested in turning La Bête (2023) into a full-fledged scarefest. “I don’t think I want to make a pure horror film that falls into the ‘genre film’ category. It’s a particular market with particular codes, and I like to get out of the codes. On the other hand, classic stories are often inspired by the genre.“
The film is yet to start production, but the anticipated release date will be in 2023. This will mark Bonello’s eighth feature film, following his latest Coma (2022).