During its Geeked Week event, Netflix shared a first look at the fantasy adventure film Damsel, directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) and starring Millie Bobby Brown (upcoming Stranger Things Season 5).
Coming to the streaming service in 2024, the movie features Brown as dutiful damsel Elodie who agrees to marry a handsome prince, only to find the royal family has recruited her as a sacrifice to repay an ancient debt. Thrown into a cave with a fire-breathing dragon, she must rely on her wits and will to survive.
The producers include Joe Roth, Jeff Kirschenbaum and Chris Castaldi. The co-producer is Emily Wolfe and the executive producers are Sue Baden-Powel, Zack Roth, Millie Bobby Brown, Robert Brown, Dan Mazeau and Mark Bomback.
“What I really loved in the script from Dan Mazeau was embracing the idea of a fantasy adventure and a princess and dragon story, but taking it into a place [where] it’s completely upside down,” Fresnadillo told Netflix’s Tudum.
“It was a very intense journey that I was so excited to design and to develop. At the core, this is such a beautiful story about a young woman becoming a strong, independent, and empowered adult. Elodie doesn’t have any kind of support. It’s a real survival experience.”
Tudum says that as Elodie fights to survive alone in the bowels of the monster’s lair, she is the audience’s eyes and ears. “You feel that you are experiencing the journey of surviving and facing this creature with Elodie,” Fresnadillo says. “The emotional arc is so intense.”
“It’s a thrilling adventure with a really dark twist to put you on the edge of your seat,” Fresnadillo continues. “As a filmmaker, one of the things I always want to do is surprise the audience with a new take on a story. Especially this kind of [traditional story] – we have to modernize those tales with new takes, more modern and real ways, to connect with the audience.”
Even if you don’t casually come across dragons in your day-to-day life, you’ll still recognize many of the hurdles Elodie faces throughout the story. “We tried to make this as real as we can,” the director adds. “It’s a fantasy, but grounded in reality.”
Fresnadillo teases that Damsel ups the stakes and delivers a side of Brown you’ve never seen before. “We were so lucky to have Millie. She’s a very charismatic, sparkling personality. She has that quality that only stars have, which is you cannot take your eyes off her.
“She has the ability in this movie, in such a magical way, to bring the audience into her journey and take them into that kind of dark, intense, and thrilling adventure that she’s having. She’s the heart of the movie.”
Bassett and Wright play Elodie’s stepmother and new mother-in-law, respectively. Fresnadillo recalls crafting a scene to play up the charged dynamic between them. “When we knew that Robin and Angela would be [cast], we specifically took the time to create a very powerful face-off between the two.”
Fresnadillo hopes that you will keep an open mind as you approach the film. “This is a journey that’s going to take you into a universe that you thought you knew. But we are discovering a new take on fairy tales and fantasy adventures.”
Click here or on the image below to watch the teaser trailer!
Mirko Parlevliet has been reporting on the entertainment industry since 1998 and founded Vital Thrills in 2018 to cover the latest streaming, movie, TV, and video game news. Mirko previously created the websites ComingSoon, Spider-Man Hype!, SuperHeroHype and ShockTillYouDrop.