No high school saga is complete without a mean girl making trouble or a loyal best friend to adventure alongside our hero. Enter Zoey Deutch and Thomas Mann, who terrorize and support (respectively) Beautiful Creatures teen Ethan as he romances the weird new girl in their small Southern town (she's weird because she's actually a witch, but their classmates don't know that).
The ultra-pleasant Deutsch — not very mean girl-like at all, frankly — tells Hollywood.com that playing the two-faced Southern belle cheerleader was an interesting departure from her reality. "It was both exciting and revenge-filled to get to play a charater [whom] I felt I could base off of people that were mean to me," she says. "But at the same time ...it also felt almost therapeutic because I could understand them and sympathize with the people. Generally bullies generally were bullied previously as well, and they're hurting inside."
Meanwhile, Mann says he fully understands why Ethan and his character, Link, are such close friends. "I think the great thing about Link and Ethan's relationship is that they bond over this same need to get out of the place that they're in," he says. "Ethan is of course more well read and intellectual than Link is, but at the same time they both realize that they don't fit in with these people in this town. It's cool. Their relationship feels very familiar."
Check out the full interview with Deutsch and Mann below:
Authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl wrote Beautiful Creatures on a dare from Stohl's daughter, who was one of Garcia's students at the time. It was after the Twilight mania began, and the two are grateful that Stephenie Meyer's monster of a series paved the way for their books. Their large, passionate fan base should not be disappointed with the movie, even though significant parts of the story are cut out or condensed.
"Our book is 601 pages, and that is a very long 601-minute movie that you would not enjoy," Garcia says. "So we found an Academy-nominated screenwriter who specializes in adapting book to film, who loves fantasy, who loves romance, who loves magic, to bring this world to life and condense it in a way that it does not lose the casters, the town, Ethan and Lena — the things you love. We believe he did that."
Check out Garcia and Stohl's interview below:
Beautiful Creatures is in theaters now.
Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean
[PHOTO CREDIT: Warner Bros. Pictures]
Not all Young Adult Fiction adaptations are created equal.
Riding the Twilight wave has its advantages and disadvantages, the keystone of the Young Adult fiction genre working as a hook for enthusiastic readers, and a warning sign for those who caught the early exploits of Bella and Edward. Beautiful Creatures owes its cinematic existence to the uber-successful series, but the connective tissue ends there. Based on the novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, the movie is ripe with energy, drawing from its preserved, Southern gothic setting of South Carolina, two vivacious young romantics, and an ensemble of seasoned vets who chew up their scenes with twang. Beautiful Creatures doesn't wallow in relationships, it sparks them with frank sexuality and a dash of biting commentary. So long, Twilight.
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Alden Ehrenreich (Tetro) stars as Ethan, an ambitious resident of Gatlin, SC who dreams big and has a particular penchant for plowing through the town's banned book list (yes, even in modern times, there are people who don't see To Kill a Mockingbird as reading fit for teenagers). Waking him up from the doldrums of suburban life is new student Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert of Ginger & Rosa), niece of the towns' notorious Ravenwood family, who becomes the target of public shaming. Beautiful Creatures does not skirt around the strong Christian influence of Southern culture and, as someone the kids believe is a Devil worshipper, Lena is an instant outcast under violent, verbal attack. Quite literally, kids pray in the class room to protect themselves from Lena's bad vibes. If Ethan didn't find the girl attractive in her own right, her position at the bottom of the social ladder fuels his infatuation.
Because today's young romances demand a supernatural element, Lena eventually reveals to her courter that she's a "caster," the nice word for witch in the world of Beautiful Creatures. When Lena turns 16, she'll be subject to "The Claiming," a decision (made by the moon?) that will force her to either the light, nice and peachy side, or the dark, wicked and bloodthirsty side of casting. It's a countdown for Ethan, who realizes he has little time to connect with and possibly save his newfound love. Believing she has the ability to choose her fate, patriarch Macon Ravenwood guides Lena in the ways of the light — while disapproving of her relationship with Ethan.
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The magic logic is as ridiculous and overly complex as it sounds, but Beautiful Creatures writer/director Richard LaGravenese (The Fisher King, P.S I Love You) never loses track of his characters and their interesting quirks. Jeremy Irons is a master spinster of exposition — if his Macon is laying down a mythology-building speech or rattling off the "rules of the Ravenwood family curse," it all sounds like Shakespeare. Emma Thompson does double duty in this department, playing the disturbingly conservative Mrs. Lincoln with recognizable, motherly terror, and her alter ego, a version of Lincoln possessed by a banished witch looking for revenge on Lena. Thompson spars with Macon and cackles in all her thick Southern accent glory, jumping between personas without a misstep. It's glorious.
LaGravenese makes two inspired discoveries with Ehrenreich and Englert, who set the bar for performances in the genre. Ehrenreich is charming and warm, acting like an actual human being in the midst of a fantasy. He makes adorably awful small talk to woo Lena, he worries about her when she destroys the windows of a classroom with her mind, he becomes vicious when the Ravenwoods attempts to interfere with their relationship — all natural. Englert is like a young Kathleen Turner, her husky voice and sharp wit turning Alice into an unusually strong female lead. The young caster is vulnerable as her relationship blossoms, but fully capable of turning a family dinner into a merry-go-round from hell. The two are electric on screen, even at their campiest moments. Yes, they're destined lovers, descendants of a couple murdered during the Civil War, but even without the back story, Alice and Alden have a sweet, scary, and fiery romance.
At nearly two hours, Beautiful Creatures could stand to lose a few plot threads — Emmy Rossum arrives halfway through as Lena's Siren cousin, a painful attempt by the actress to steal the spotlight with exaggeration — but stands as proof that tween source material can be done right. As it does with the cast, the film is enhanced by its moody visuals and engaging soundtrack by alternative rock band Thenewno2, all setting the tone for Alden and Alice's fateful entanglement. The movie shows no fear depicting teens in love or the ramifications of America's belief system — touchy subjects that feel daring in a Hollywood production. That's the movie's real magic.
[Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
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Even before Twilight — or Harry Potter — Hollywood had made a habit of turning beloved books into movie hits. You can thank the vampire craze for the booming genre of young adult fiction in publishing, though, and its success (along with Potter's and The Hunger Games') has paved the way for a booming, previously untapped market.
The latest book-to-movie adaptation, Beautiful Creatures about a 15-year-old witch, her mortal boyfriend, and their ill-fated romance, hits theaters on Thursday, Feb. 14. It's just the first in a string of post-Twilight, post-Hunger Games movies based on popular YA book series to hit the theaters (or the small screen) in 2013. Instead of catching up on dozens of novels, why not peruse Hollywood.com's YA primer for a taste of each before you decide which books are worthy of your time?
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Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
What Happens:Lena comes from a long line of casters (witches), who, upon their 16th birthday, are claimed for the light or the dark. She moves in with her shut-in uncle in a small Southern town and becomes increasingly worried that she'll go dark as her fateful claiming day approaches. Complicating matters further is that she falls in love with mortal Ethan, her new classmate.
Love Triangle? Not here. These two fall in love almost immediately, but Lena's claiming is what comes between them.
Development: This movie comes out on Valentine's Day. You should probably pay better attention to the billboards and commercials (and the second paragraph of this story).
Who's Attached: Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert play the mortal and caster who fall in love, while a pedigreed cast of veterans, including Viola Davis, Jeremy Irons, and Emma Thompson, add their support.
Should You Read? Like many series, the first book's engaging, while the subsequent volumes run off the rails. Stick with Beautiful Creatures and you won't be disappointed.
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Divergent, Veronica Roth
What Happens:In a dystopian future, civilization has split up into personality-based factions. Once children reach high-school age, they're tested to find out the tribe for which they're most suited. Abegnation (Selfless) teen Beatrice learns that she has qualities of her native faction, along with Erudite (Intelligent) and Dauntless (Brave) — she's divergent, a very dangerous quality. Beatrice decides to join the Dauntless, renames herself Tris, and learns how brave she actually is.
Love Triangle? Nope. But Tris does fall for her sexy, older instructor, Four, also a former Abignation.
Development: Production should start any day now, and the project is actively casting. Neil Burger will direct the film, which is being produced by Summit Entertainment (the company behind Twilight).
Who's Attached: Oscar nominee Shailene Woodley will star, but her love interest is proving harder to cast. Kate Winslet is circling the project, though it's unknown what character she'd potentially play.
Should You Read? Heck yes. Plus, the sequel, Insurgent, is just as good — a rarity in the YA book world.
NEXT: Forbidden Love, Demon-Fighters, and Hunger Games Bachelor-Style
Delirium, Lauren Oliver
What Happens:In a dystopian near-future, love has been banned. All teenagers undergo a surgery that eliminates the emotion from their brains after their 18th birthday, when they are matched with their spouse. Lena is all set to live her assigned life, but things get complicated when she meets a boy from the Wilds — the forest outside her walled-in society — and, naturally, falls in love before her operation.
Love Triangle? It's a little hard to have a triangle when love is outlawed, but Lena has her share of illicit affairs. In both the first and the second books of the trilogy she manages to develop real, passionate feelings.
Development: Fox is currently producing a pilot for the 2013-2014 broadcast season.
Who's Attached: Emma Roberts will star as our rebellious heroine Lena, but her potential boyfriend/s has/have not yet been cast.
Should You Read? Definitely. Delirium is fascinating, and the sequel, Pandemonium, is unique in that the setting and most of the characters are completely different from the first book — usually there's not such a drastic change.
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The Mortal Instruments, Cassandra Clare
What Happens:Ordinary teenager Clary finds out that she's a member of a secret race of Shadowhunters, or demon-fighters, and is taken in by bad boy Jace and shadowhunter siblings Alec and Isabelle when her mother is kidnapped by the Voldemort-like evil villain Valentine. Clary and her new friends must find the Mortal Cup to save her mother — and prevent Valentine from rising to power again.
Love Triangle? Clary's mortal BFF Simon is hopelessly in love with her, but she's too busy crushing on buff, badass demon hunter Jace to notice.
Development: This one's already been made — The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was filmed in Toronto in 2012 and is scheduled to hit theaters on August 23, 2013.
Who's Attached: Lily Collins stars as Clary, while former Twilight vampire Jamie Campbell Bower plays Jace, Kevin Zegers is Alec, and Jemima West is Isabelle. Robert Sheehan, of the British teen superhero series Misfits, plays Simon.
Should You Read? The first book's an engrossing introduction to the shadowhunter world, but you don't need to read more than that. Plus, there's a weird incesty storyline that we just can't get behind even though it's easy to predict the eventual, non-gross outcome.
The Selection, Kiera Cass
What Happens: In a dystopian future (sense a theme?), low-caste teenager America Singer is chosen, Hunger Games-style, to compete in a Bachelor-esque contest to win the prince's hand in marriage. Unfortunately, the rebel forces who oppose the prince's father's rule decide to disrupt the competition as a way to win back the kingdom.
Love Triangle? Although America's dedicated to her secret fiance, a lower-class soldier assigned to protect the castle where she's now living, she strikes up a very real friendship with the prince that has the potential to blossom into something more.
Development: The CW developed (and rejected) a pilot for the 2012 season, but has completely revamped the script and story — deviating from the book's framework in very key ways — for a second go-around.
Who's Attached: Aimee Teegarden and Ethan Peck played America and Prince Maxon in the first version, but both actors have moved on since then and the project is actively casting round two.
Should You Read? In a word, no. If the show makes it to series, a quick plot summary is more than enough to catch you up on the book series' goings-on. Besides, most TV shows adapted from books deviate from the original plot within episodes.
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The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
What Happens:Just because a book is YA doesn't mean it needs supernatural romance or a dystopian bent. This very modern, very real novel follows teenage cancer patient Hazel as she meets and falls in love with fellow cancer victim Augustus. Other stuff happens too, but you'll be too busy crying — tears of sorrow, tears of happiness, tears of joy, tears of grief – to articulate the plot too.
Love Triangle? Only disease gets in the way of Hazel and Augustus' love.
Development: The movie, written by (500) Days of Summer scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, is set to film over the summer.
Who's Attached: TFIOS hasn't been cast yet, but add Hollywood.com to the list of many who believe Mae Whitman would be the perfect Hazel.
Should You Read? You mean you haven't yet? TFIOS was No. 1 on Time's best books of 2012 list — not best YA books, best of all books. Get to a bookstore/library/ebook purveyor immediately, and don't forget the tissues. You'll need them.
Vampire Academy, Richelle Mead
What Happens: Rose Hathaway is headstrong, independent Dhampir (half-human/half-vampire) bodyguard in training to protect her best friend, Moroi (vampire) princess Lissa Dragomir, the last in her royal bloodline following a tragic car accident. The Strigoi – the fiercest and most dangerous undead vampires who kill humans, Moroi, and Dhampirs —have made it their mission to end Royal bloodlines, so Lissa is their prime target. Rose and Lissa have been on the run from St. Vladimir's Academy because of the dangers the Strigoi present, but they're dragged back to the school where they become enmeshed in government politics, the school's social scene and Rose's forbidden romance with her much older instructor, Dimitri Belikov, who is known as a god among the Guardians.
Love Triangle? Not really. Rose and Dimitri’s romance is filled with enough obstacles without another person complicating things, but another Dhampir student, Mason, tries to throw his hat in the ring with deadly consequences. Later in the series, a royal Moroi complicates the romance a bit, though.
Development: Optioned by Preger Entertainment way back in the summer of 2010, the movie adaptation is finally moving forward with a cast and everything. Heathers’ Dan Waters wrote the script, and Don Murphy will produce. The name of the first movie has changed from Vampire Academy to Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters, the name of the first book in the German version of the series.
Who’s Attached: Zoey Deutch, who has a supporting part in Beautiful Creatures, will star as Rose, Aussie actress Lucy Fry will play Lissa, and Russian superstar (but unknown in the U.S.) Danila Kozlovsky will play Dimitri.
Should You Read? Sure — the series is pretty engrossing; there's a reason author Richelle Mead wrote a spinoff series, Bloodlines, with characters from the VA world. If you’re into the supernatural but want a more mature series to get into, this is for you.
Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean
[PHOTO CREDIT: Warner Bros. Pictures; Penguin Group; Margaret K. McElderry; Harper Teen; Katherine Tegen Books; Harper Collins Publishing; Dutton Books: Little, Brown and Co.; Dutton Books]
Any trip to your local drug store will provide a heart-y (get it?!) reminder that Valentine's Day is the Next Big Holiday. Never mind that the universally dreaded holiday is still over a month away — you'll be inundated with candies, teddy bears, and flowers right up until February 14. But don't let the panic of where to take your sweetheart set in just yet. In fact, Hollywood might be taking care of that for you.
It's been announced that the hotly anticipated adaptation of the supernatural YA novel Beautiful Creatures has been bumped back a day from its original release date of Feb. 13 to the fateful Feb. 14.
The film, which stars Emmy Rossum, Emma Thompson, Viola Davis, and relative newcomers Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenriech (who play the star-crossed pair at the center of the love story), will draw in the fans of the saga, no matter what their relationship status come Valentine's Day 2013.
While guys will, undoubtedly, earn some points if they choose this movie of their own volition (the supernatural elements and action sequences should make it an easier pill to swallow than, say, other V-Day releases like Safe Haven) this is more likely to be a group event moviegoing experience like Twilight.
So what should you see, and who should you take, to the movies on Feb. 14 now that Beautiful Creatures has entered the mix? Grab your box of Smartie hearts and find out:
Beautiful Creatures: First dates, newer relationships, groups of platonic friends. This movie has a little something for everyone: action, romance, mystery, special effects, Jeremy Irons.
Whether you're going in as a fan of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl‘s book or just desperate to hold hands with someone in a movie theater on Valentine's Day, the PG-13 flick should work to everyone's benefit.
Safe Haven: Established couples. Nicholas Sparks sets the bar way too high about acceptable relationship behavior (remember what Ryan Gosling did to men everywhere post-Notebook?), so this latest saccharine romance will create unreasonable expectations for new love.
Plus, your time-tested romantic partner can ogle the likes of Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough with less guilt than someone who still only has eyes for you.
A Good Day to Die Hard: Especially awesome, established couples, or good-natured singletons who really just want to watch s**t blow up on Valentine's Day.
Escape From Planet Earth: Your kids, because you couldn't get a babysitter to see Safe Haven or A Good Day To Die Hard.
Which movie will you take your love (or your equally lovely self) to on Valentine's Day?
[Photo credit: Warner Bros.]
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As if high school wasn’t hard enough, try sitting through homeroom, hearing others gossip about you while trying to contain emerging witch powers that are pulling you towards the dark side… Yeah, on second thought, high school wasn’t so bad for you, huh? Unfortunately for young witch— or "caster" — Lena (Alice Englert), it is.
A new, longer trailer for the movie adaptation of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl‘s YA novel Beautiful Creatures just hit the web, and the battle between good and evil casters looks dark and extremely fun (it helps to put the haunting vocals of Florence + the Machine behind the supernatural footage). Focusing on Lena’s upcoming 16th birthday when her powers will be claimed either for the light or dark, the movie brings a whole new definition to family feud. Lena’s cousin Ridley (Emmy Rossum) chose the darkness on her 16th birthday, and the entire family is caught up in whether Lena will choose light or dark, because apparently she is going to be super strong and could tip the scales in some big war against humans. And Rossum kills it as a vampy siren caster, all sassy and filled with attitude. If I was in Lena’s position, I’d choose the darkness just to hang out with this cool older cousin. Priorities, guys. Plus, her eyes. Her dress. So cool!
And there’s a love story at the core of the movie too: Lena meets Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich), a small-town guy who dreams of something bigger, and they instantly fall for each other. This is somehow a bad thing for the good casters, because it will lead Lena further into temptation of choosing the darkness? Maybe? You’d think young love would be a good thing.
And can I just say how excited I am for a supernatural tale set in the south? I can’t get enough of those southern accents. It puts a campy feel on what already looks like a fun, enjoyable film.
Also starring Viola Davis and Emma Thompson, Beautiful Creatures casts its spell on theaters on Feb. 13, 2013. Check out the trailer below:
Follow Sydney on Twitter @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: Warner Brothers]
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