By Kevin Finnerty
Witches and warlocks are invading movie theaters once again but instead of focusing on a boy wizard and a Dark Lord, this film series is focusing on star-crossed lovers in the South and the darkness within themselves. Beautiful Creatures the film adaptation of the first book of popular teen series opened in theaters on Valentine’s Day and the two new actors playing the leads Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) and Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert) met with me to promote the film.
Tell us about the characters you play in the film.
Alden – “Well, I play Ethan Wate who lives in this small Southern town and he is desperate to get out. He hates living there and dreams of traveling to places like New York, London and Paris. And then Ethan meets…”
Alice – “Me, Lena Duchannes, who is a supernatural girl who has been moving most of her life through all these different towns and cities. She is desperate to find a place where she can feel normal and find some security and then the two of them meet and…”
Alden – “We fall in love – Ethan and Lena do – and then it turns out that Lena is a Caster, meaning she’s a witch and her family start trying to keep us apart.”
Sounds like Ethan and Lena are a little like Romeo and Juliet except this time Juliet is a Witch.
Alden – “Exactly! That’s it.”
Alice, I have to say your character Lena really does give Ethan a hard time in the first few scenes. Ethan really has to work hard to try to get to know her and just be near her. For someone who wants to set down roots and make a real connection, Lena doesn’t seem to know how to do that.
Alice – “Well, that’s the thing. She wants something she doesn’t know how to do. I think that’s pretty normal. I always want the things that are far away from my reality. I think what they both learn from each other is that they don’t get what they want; Ethan doesn’t go to New York and Lena doesn’t become normal, but they teach each other to get in contact with something that’s already in them. They become aware of the things inside of themselves.”
Talk a little about working with your co-stars Emmy Rossum and Emma Thompson.
Alice – “Emmy plays my sexy, bad girl, siren cousin. Emmy and Emma Thompson play such great characters. Emmy is a character who is limited by being a dark character. She’s wily and smart and sexy, yet it still limits her choices of what she can do in this life. Emma’s character can’t believe in love or friendship because neither of them had a choice of who they became, so they need to believe that Lena doesn’t have a choice either.”
You’re referring to the infamous turning 16 where all female casters are chosen for either the light (aka good) or the dark (aka bad). So far all Lena’s female relatives have been chosen for the dark.
Alice – “Correct, right, so I loved that idea of family and that kind of tension and friction between the characters.”
You have another family member in the film, Lena’s Uncle Macon Ravenwood played by the great Jeremy Irons. I thought the introduction of his character in the film was very well done.
Alice – “Oh hilarious! It was so great.”
Alden – “Yeah!”
Talk about working with him and what it was like.
Alden – “When we first met him, he has this really other-worldly quality to him and it really does feel like someone from another century. And that voice…just being in a scene with that voice you can almost just surf on that voice during the scene. He was so supportive and he is such a phenomenal actor.”
Alice – “You know. I think the writers wrote the part with him in mind.”
Alden – “Yeah!”
Alice – “When I first met him I thought he was in costume. He is more Jeremy Irons then Jeremy Irons. I’ve loved him since I was a little girl. I mean I love everything about Jeremy Irons and he turns up with a saddle bag as a bag with his aviators and his Asian-style boots and I thought, ‘Oh, there’s Macon,’ but that is Jeremy. He’s fantastic.”
Can you take us behind the scenes on the day of the dinner scene when the table and chairs are whirling around with all the special effects?
Alice – “Well, we needed to be tied to polls in order to pull it off. We spent three days in a room with the table going one way and the floor going another way. It took three days and that was um…something, yeah.”
Have you both signed on to continue playing Ethan and Alice in the sequels?
Alice – “Yes”
Alden – “Yeah, we have.”
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