Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert are star-crossed lovers, as teased in the Beautiful Creatures trailer, and sat down with Movie Fanatic to talk about bringing the vision of authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl to life as the film hits theaters February 14.
The duo play Lena, who is a Caster (a type of witch), and Ethan, an aspiring writer who falls for the mysterious new girl in town. They live in a small South Carolina town with a long history. All Ethan wants to do is get out of town, but now with his new love interest, he’s not so sure.
Ehrenreich and Englert explore how one tackles a book series with a blockbuster following without letting that pressure make you mad.
Movie Fanatic: You guys have done other things before. Is this project any different because you knew there was a built-in audience, due to the books?
Alice Englert: It is different, but you have to forget about it.
Alden Ehrenreich: It’s different now, because the conversation is about a lot more than this movie. It’s about the context in which this happens. The expectation or the illusion of the expectation -- which I don’t think is necessarily real -- there’s hype and stuff like that. But, while we were making the film, even the fan base, we were completely unaware of it. We felt that the best way to serve the people who love this book is to do our best. And doing our best means doing it in a first person mentality about what you’re doing and not thinking about pressure.
Alice Englert: Also, I think the fans have a right to have their opinions and hate us or love us, or whatever they want to do. It’s their right to have their forum, and for us to get involved in it -- there’s something wrong with that. It’s etiquette. It’s manners, they should do this, they’re not expecting we take to heart every single comment… that would be a huge pressure. I actually almost think of it as allowing them to be able to do this without the pressure of thinking we’re going to go, “Ah!”
Alden Ehrenreich: I also think the knee-jerk reaction to a movie, any movie, is not what its legacy is. It’s not what it ends up being. If you read reviews of movies from the past that are thought of as great movies, that doesn’t happen until it soaks into the lives of the people who saw it and it gestates for a while.
Movie Fanatic: Alden, your director mentioned that you weren't really interested in being a part of this type of project. What changed your mind? Because you are perfect with Alice, as shown off in this Beautiful Creatures featurette.
Alden Ehrenreich: The reason I didn't want to be a part of it was the way that it had been pitched to me made it sound like... It didn't sound like its own movie. It sounded like they were just trying to capitalize on this genre, and because of that it wouldn't be something that was personal. When I read the script -- and luckily for me it came around to me again, which I'm really thankful for -- within two pages I knew that that wasn't the case and that the movie had its own DNA.
Movie Fanatic: Did meeting with your director help make up your mind?
Alden Ehrenreich: Yes, he kind of explained to me that everyone he had assembled at that point with the cast and the crew, everyone was intent on making a movie like this but in a way that you hadn't seen before and with more intelligence and humor than you usually see. So that really appealed to me, and then I was just so grateful that I was still able to get in the film.
Movie Fanatic: What did you learn from working with a veteran like Jeremy Irons?
Alice Englert: It’s hard to say what you’ve learned because they show you by example the way they carry themselves and the way they do their work. That’s the greatest thing you can ever get from an actor like that is being able to see them doing their thing.
Alden Ehrenreich: I’d go watch Jeremy on the monitors when he was doing a scene with Viola (Davis) -- because it’s like free acting class. He has such the voice and the power, and I remember his first day, he was doing this scene, we were settling in, and we came back to it again because he felt something could be better in the whole scene. He came in with this resolve and determination. He decided that there was enough pussy-footing around on the first day with jitters and just came in with this bravery, strength and will that was really admirable.