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Beautiful Creatures’ stars discuss behind-the-scenes film secrets

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Books that are adapted for the big screen can lose approval of their fans during translation, but the stars of “Beautiful Creatures” said that’s not going to be the case for their new film.
“I believe it’s important to understand that the book and the movie are separate entities,” said Zoey Deutch, who plays Emily Asher in the movie, in a conference call with college media. “But I think that the fans are going to be happy, because it truly stays on to the original series and the characters. And I think there’s something to be said about the fact that (authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl) are very, very happy with the movie.”
Actors Deutch, Alice Englert, Alden Ehrenreich, Thomas Mann and Emmy Rossum discussed the background story of the movie, as well as their roles in the film in the conference call.
Based on the 2009 novel of the same name, the movie “Beautiful Creatures” follows protagonist Lena Duchannes (Englert) as she wrestles with supernatural abilities and a budding love interest in Ethan Wate (Ehrenreich). Englert said this script really stood out to her because, even though it focuses on magic, it still feels like it could be real.
“I thought that what made the supernatural quality of it really stand out to me was that it was still based in a human world that felt real to me,” Englert said. “The magic seemed to not just be there for spectacle but seemed to be an extension on these people and their lives and who they were. It made sense to me.”
Ehrenreich said the comedic angle of the film helps bring this feeling of reality that would otherwise be lost if the film took itself too seriously.
“You need a device that brings it down to a human level, with a human understanding,” Ehrenreich said. “And to me the humor keeps the film grounded in a more relatable reality.”
Though the film features an experienced cast with Academy Award winners Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons, and Academy Award nominee Viola Davis, this is one of the first major films for most members of the main cast, Mann said.
“It’s really like a big, scary new thing for us to kind of do something like this, and in a way it’s sort of our introduction into the film world,” Mann said, who plays Link in the film. “We couldn’t have asked for a better project, like getting to work with Emma Thompson and Viola Davis and Jeremy Irons. It’s like a master class in acting that we were paid to attend.”
Deutch said she was also thankful for the opportunity to work with her award-winning cast members.
“In terms of us being relatively new, I feel personally very fortunate to have had this experience and have had it been fun and exciting,” Deutch said. “Now the reaction thus far is really wonderful.”
The actors also touched on behind-the-scenes secrets.
Director Richard LaGravenese wanted the actors to be able to interact with something real during filming, so he built many sets that would allow special effects to be done in real time instead of during editing, Rossum said.
“I think (LaGravenese) just really wanted everything to be real … he wanted to make it real for the actors,” said Rossum, who plays Ridley Duchannes in the film. “So for scenes like the Thanksgiving dinner, which is in the trailer in some of the clips where the room is spinning … that set was built in different pieces, to function and to spin and to shake with wind so we could actually react to all of that stuff on the day.”
Ehrenreich said having a set the actors could interact with made the film much more believable.
“The environment really serves you, and it takes care of some of the acting you have to do,” Ehrenreich said. “So it makes it a lot easier for you to trick yourself into believing that it’s real.”
Stacey Everhart, a first-year in biology, said knowing about the interactive set will change the way she looks at the actors in the film.
“Knowing that fact, I’ll become more impressed with the actors,” Everhart said. “They have to deal with things flying at them, and that’s so interesting.”
The film “Beautiful Creatures” is slated to be released nationwide Feb. 14.

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