Beautiful Creatures authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl have crafted a young adult phenomenon that has taken the literary world by storm. Now, their novel is hitting the big screen, as teased in this Beautiful Creatures trailer. The film stars Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis and Emmy Rossum, plus Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert as star-crossed teen lovers flirting with destiny.
Movie Fanatic caught up with the bestselling pair for an exclusive interview to take us through the process of turning their four-part book series into a cinematic experience. Authors have described the process of having their novels turned into films with varying levels of joy. Garcia and Stohl have nothing but bliss when recalling how their vision came to life on the silver screen.
"We were very lucky and it was very stress free, compared to stories we’ve heard. For us, the stress is what are we going to wear to the premiere and will our makeup be done right," Garcia said and laughed.
Stohl believes that the fantastic experience begins and ends with the film's director, Richard LaGravenese.
"Richard was a kindred spirit early on," Stohl said. "The thing we cared about the most is not one detail of the universe, it’s about profound respect we have for teenagers... which he shares. He also was an awkward teen. He has a teen. We’ve all been through this together. He’s a writer. He loves words."
Garcia felt LaGravenese saw a kindred spirit in the film's lead character, Ethan. "He was a little bit awkward -- but, also loved books. He had some things in common with Ethan," Garcia said. "He found between the casting and costume designer and art director, he put together this A-list, incredible group of people that weren’t necessarily household names, but they are incredibly respected in their field. It’s like he put together the perfect dinner party."
Stohl reported that she and Garcia always write their teen characters as true as possible, thus possibly explaining their extraordinary success with Beautiful Creatures.
"The other thing that shined is that teenagers have very serious problems, at least in their life at their moment. When you’re watching the movie, I felt the weight of the pressure of the things they were afraid of and worry about," Garcia added. "When you’re a teenager, it feels like literally the world could end if it ends," Garcia said.
"The heart of the story is the teens. So, we cared about them being smart, clever, classic and real. Working out what mattered to them," Stohl added. Proof of that is evident all over this Beautiful Creatures clip.
The authors were a tad worried about the film's director (who also wrote the script) combining two beloved characters. But, like everything else in their page-to-screen journey, they could not be more pleased.
"He was going to combine Alma and Marian, two important characters… we think he did a marvelous job. It’s seamless and beautiful and Viola Davis is masterful in that," Stohl said. She also marveled at the power of Thompson and her ability to capture Sarafine's magical ways from the book... all without computer graphics.
"It was interesting, we thought Sarafine was going to have to be a CG thing, but Emma Thompson used a schizophrenia model which was so good. He was able to take things that were just a couple of lines in our book and bring Ridley’s claiming to life."
Both authors have a message for film fanatics out there... prepare to fall for their Ethan. "The biggest surprise to me is Alden Ehrenreich," Stohl said. "Girls are just going to fall in love with him. He is so charismatic on screen. Ethan is the heart of the story. If you don’t have Ethan right, it doesn’t matter what else is right."
The duo wrote the first book, never knowing if it would be a hit or not... much less become a Hollywood movie. But, they always imagined it as a series. "We knew it was too big to fit in one story, and we knew how it was going to end," Garcia said.
Stohl said that they didn’t know if they’d be able to continue, but it was always envisioned as a saga. "Because Kami came out of loving comic books, which as you know are serialized, and I made video games for 16 years, which are always never made with just one, we thought this was a saga," she admitted. "And the Southern gothic is always conducive to a series."
When the film premieres on Valentine's Day, Garcia and Stohl will have given their world of Casters (kind of like witches!). They hope all four books will make it to the big screen. Regardless of what happens, they are beyond blissful about one fact.
"All four books are at the top of the charts, and that means that people are keeping reading," Stohl said.
"They’re not just reading the one about the movie -- they’re reading the whole series," Garcia interjected. "Any time a movie can inspire people to read… it’s astounding."