Sofia Coppola is a long-term ''fan'' of Nicole Kidman.

The 46-year-old director - who is the daughter of filmmaking icon Frances Ford Coppola - cast the actress in her new movie 'The Beguiled', and has said she wrote the role of the headmistress with Nicole in mind as she didn't want to work with anyone else.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Sofia said: ''I've been a fan for many years. I had her in my head when I was writing the headmistress. Her gravitas and her humour, I knew would fit perfectly.''

And it isn't just 50-year-old Nicole that Sofia is a fan of, as she recently praised the ''real'' appearance of Kirsten Dunst, who also stars in 'The Beguiled'.

Asked why she implored Kirsten to keep her appearance the same, Sofia explained: ''There is a pressure for women to be perfect and you see so many actresses who have perfect teeth and everything is symmetrical.

''I love faces that look natural and imperfect, I think that's more interesting. It feels like there is a red carpet Hollywood look that is so perfect when in the past there were different kinds of faces - like the actresses from the 70s.

''Now actresses have to be like models but I'm always drawn to women who feel real.''

Sofia also rubbished suggestions she told Kirsten to lose weight for the movie, which centres on an injured soldier who finds himself on the run during the American Civil War.

Clarifying her original remarks, Sofia told Stylist magazine: ''I don't remember how it was said but I remember we talked about the role and I maybe said, 'Oh, it's the Civil War so they all have to look like they don't have a lot,' or something. But I didn't tell her to lose weight.''