The New Black Narcissus Trailer Brings Suspense to a Classic

The upcoming limited series from FX promises to bring back the dark psychological thrills of Rumer Godden’s Black Narcissus.

still from black narcissus
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  • Photo Credit: FX

On September 21, FX released its trailer for Black Narcissus. The foreboding trailer shows Sister Clodagh leading a group of nuns to start a new convent in Mopu, where nothing is as it seems. Conflicting forces pull at one another. As the Lord’s prayer is recited in the background, the nuns are torn between paradise and perversion; sanctuary and sin. Ending with a nun staring over the edge, the trailer shows how the legends of Mopu’s past have come to haunt its newcomers. 

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The soon-to-be-released FX adaptation of Black Narcissus is based on the 1939 bestselling novel by Rumer Godden. Godden’s original novel Black Narcissus follows a group of young British nuns as they begin their missionary work in India. Though warned of earlier tragedies in the isolated palace they take up, the nuns of St. Faith settle into their new home in the shadows of the Himalayas. But the palace’s dark mysteries and eerie isolation threaten to drive the nuns past their limits.  

Influenced by her own life experiences, Godden’s Black Narcissus draws on her time in India and her experiences with the Catholic church. Though born in England, Godden spent much of her life in Asia. She grew up in what is now Bangladesh and lived in colonial India following her schooling. Godden drew inspiration for settings such as Mopu and tales like Black Narcissus from her surroundings. Many of her works also centered upon themes of Christianity. Converting to Catholicism, Godden often included priests and nuns in her stories, as she did in Black Narcissus.

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The new FX limited series is not the first adaptation of Godden’s carefully crafted Black Narcissus. In 1947, the story was turned into a film with the same name, starring Deborah Kerr. This time, the novel has been adapted into a three part limited series, starring Gemma Arterton (Sister Clodagh), Alessandro Nivola (Mr. Dean), Aisling Franciosi (Sister Ruth), and Diana Rigg (Mother Dorothea). And by the looks of the trailer, FX’s series is sure to be suspenseful.

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Watch the just-released trailer below, or on YouTube

Watch the full series of Black Narcissus when it comes out November 23 on FX, or the next day on FX on Hulu.   

Featured still of 'Black Narcissus' via FX