FX is getting ambitious with their programming this fall, starting with a series reboot of an iconic film. The network, in conjunction with the BBC, released the first trailer for their new limited series “Black Narcissus.” The series is an adaptation of Rumer Godden’s best-selling novel, originally published in 1939, later adapted into a feature film directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger in 1947.
The trailer lays out the basic tenets of both Godden’s novel and the original feature. Set in 1934, Gemma Arterton plays a young nun named Sister Clodagh sent to a remote clifftop convent in the Himalayas. Once known as the “House of Women,” the palace turned convent holds many dark secrets that, coupled with the arrival of a man named Mr. Dean (Alessandro Nivola), threatens to turn the nuns against each other.
This first look at the series seems to be setting up a lot more horror than there was in the original feature. “Black Narcissus” isn’t necessarily about ghosts, but more so the fears and horrors of repressed sexuality and the past. Don’t let the plucked strings of the score fool you, this isn’t a haunted house film.
That being said, there is room to go in a different direction with this take on “Black Narcissus.” For starters, this could aim towards being an adaptation of the original novel and not necessarily the original film, which many deem a classic. Based on the trailer there looks to be more overt depictions of sexuality and language the original film couldn’t attempt in 1947. It’ll also be worth revising some of the more unfortunate depictions of the inhabitants of the Himalayas seen in the original feature.
The series is also listed as being written and directed by women, another great new direction for the series. Directing credit for at least three episodes goes to Charlotte Bruus Christensen while Amanda Coe is listed as writer alongside original author Rumor Godden.
Arterton is joined by Jim Broadbent, Aisling Franciosi, Rosie Cavliero, Karen Bryson, and the late Diana Rigg in one of her final on-screen roles.
You can watch the full “Black Narcissus” trailer below.
“Black Narcissus” airs on FX and FX on Hulu November 23.