On paper, Beautiful Creatures may look like just another film adaptation of a bestselling YA series about a supernatural romance. Alden Ehrenreich stars as Ethan, a restless high schooler in podunk Gatlin, South Carolina, who yearns to break free from the oppressive small-mindedness and cultural atrophy of his hometown. Ethan is charming enough to seem like a standard-issue popular guy, but in private his tastes lean toward the cerebral (he is a voracious reader of banned books) and he dreams of the day he’ll leave Gatlin for good. Ethan’s thirst for something different is what attracts him to new girl Lena (Alice Englert), the quiet and witchy-looking descendent of one of Gatlin’s most notorious families. Lena is immediately targeted as a dangerous freak by the town’s many gossipy Bible-thumpers, and while Ethan rushes to defend her from their attacks, it turns out that Lena does present a very real threat: she comes from a family of Casters (read: Southern witches), and on her rapidly-approaching 16th birthday, she will be “claimed” for either good or evil – with potentially catastrophic consequences.
Still sound like just another YA supernatural romance? Yes, of course it does. But the film is differentiated from others in its genre by the strength of its pedigree. Adapted for the screen and directed by Academy Award nominee Richard LaGravenese (The Fisher King), Beautiful Creatures boasts a remarkably prestigious award-winning cast: Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson, and Viola Davis all have principal roles, with Emmy Rossum (the poor man’s Anne Hathaway), Margo Martindale, Eileen Atkins, Kyle Gallner, Zoey Deutch, and Pruitt Taylor Vince filling out the supporting cast.
In the leading roles of Ethan and Lena, two promising young actors make what they hope will be lasting impressions with post-Twilight audiences hungry for their next fix. Ehrenreich, 23, was discovered by Steven Spielberg at the age of 14 when he appeared in a video at a bat mitzvah Spielberg was attending; he has since appeared in two Francis Ford Coppola films, Tetro and Twixt, plays a pivotal role in the upcoming Nicole Kidman thriller Stoker, and also appears in Woody Allen’s San Francisco-filmed Blue Jasmine. Englert, 18, is the daughter of Oscar-winning filmmaker Jane Campion; to put her lifespan in perspective, she was born the year after The Piano was released. In addition to Beautiful Creatures, Englert also stars in Sally Potter’s acclaimed film festival hit Ginger & Rosa opposite Elle Fanning.
Ehrenreich and Englert recently sat down for Spinning Platters’ first ever video interview to discuss dramatic birthdays, Southern accents, and running in gowns. Watch below!