&Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon& premiered on Sunday at the Venice Film Festival and was well received. Written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon& is a quirky take on classic monster movies as well as heist films. It is a wild romp through New Orleans’ fabled French Quarter filled with weird twists and turns. Today, we have a first look at Kate Hudson and her young co-star Jeon Jong-seo.
The story focuses on Mona Lisa Lee (played by North Korea’s Jong-seo Jeon), a girl with mind control abilities who can make anyone do what she wants, an ability she puts on display early on when she makes a cop shoot himself in the leg with his own gun. Mona Lisa begins the movie locked up in a straight jacket at a mental institution, but she soon escapes into New Orleans’ French Quarter. Although she is dangerous, having been locked up since she was 10, Mona Lisa has an almost child like innocence to her.
This allows her to be taken advantage of easily, being befriended first by a hipster drug dealer named Fuzz (Ed Skrein) and then by Kate Hudson’s Bonnie, a pole dancer on Bourbon Street who has a 9-year-old daughter. Bonnie convinces Mona Lisa to use her abilities to get people at ATMs to give her $500 presents, which Bonnie uses to help her and her family to improve their lot in life.
Kate Hudson says she was drawn to the character of Bonnie, calling her a “fighter and a survivor.” She goes onto reveal, “I felt I showed up for Bonnie at 3:30 in the morning when I was lying on concrete in New Orleans in 104 degree heat. We really do crazy things for the movies! There’s a part of my soul that has a lot of Bonnie in it. She’s a fighter and survivor and very much a warrior. What a liberating character to play.”
At an afternoon press conference about the film, the director talked about why she wrote the movie, “For me cinema is fantasy,” Ana Lily Amirpour said. “I love to create a ‘ride’ and maybe the film itself feels in a way like a fairy tale. This movie is the love I had as a child for a certain kind of adventure movie: The Neverending Story, Back to the Future or Terminator 2.
“Honestly,” she added, “I wrote this before this (pandemic) world we’re all experiencing now. It’s about how she’s locked up and gets free – and we all want to get the (expletive) out of the box. Mona Lisa is my hero. She gets to just continually change form and reinvent yourself. She’s (initially) like a feral beast, then a child and then a monster. That’s freedom. That’s exciting. I hope people see her as weird – my kind of weirdo.”
&Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon& does not currently have a release date in the US. This first look originated at Variety.