It was hot and muggy when I visited the set of Beautiful Creatures in Baton Rouge, Louisiana this May, the kind of day that makes you feel bad for actors dressed up for an outdoor shoot. Still, elements aside, I'm glad I had the chance to check out this fantastic set for myself, because this star-studded adaptation of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's novel looks like it will put a fresh spin on the supernatural drama. Basically, it's a non-Twilight version with a superb cast, and a superb director at the helm, Richard LaGravenese.
The story takes place in Gatlin, South Carolina and centers on Ethan Waite (Alden Ehrenreich), a high school sophomore who desperately wants to get out of this small Southern town. His outlook changes when Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert) arrives, and he is automatically drawn to her, despite the odd stigma surrounding her. She lives with her uncle, Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons), a bizarre recluse who never leaves his sprawling estate. While there are many rumors about Ravenwood Manor, no one really knows the true nature of this family, until Lena tells Ethan that she is a "caster" (a.k.a. witch) along with the rest of her family members.
The day we visited the set was during a pivotal point in the story, Lena's "claiming party." Each caster, on his or her 16th birthday, must decide if they will take the "dark" or the "light." The problem is, she doesn't fully know what side she will pick, due to a bizarre curse placed on the women in her family. While I haven't read the book, I knew immediately that this house was perfect for this kind of movie, a massive, Southern spread that was built in the 1830s. In the books, the townsfolk in Gatlin tend to stay away from this creepy abode, and they certainly conveyed that look with this huge house.
While I can't share the interviews with you now, we spoke with Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert, along with two other important members of the Duchannes family. We had the chance to sit down with Emmy Rossum, who plays Lena's dark cousin Ridley. Her magical specialty is that she is a siren, who can get men to do anything she wants for them. Ridley is at the claiming party to try and get Lena to join the dark side. We also spoke with Margo Martindale, who represents the light side, playing Lena's aunt, Delphine. She is a "palimpsest," someone who can read time, seeing the past, present, and future all at once.
Stay tuned for my full report from the set of Beautiful Creatures, arriving in theaters February 13, 2013.