'Beautiful Creatures' Director on Why He Had to Convince His Stars

Richard Lagravenese Beautiful Creatures Premiere - P 2013
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Richard Lagravenese Beautiful Creatures Premiere - P 2013

"They had no interest in the genre. They had no interest in celebrity or making a blockbuster," said director Richard LaGravenese.

Beautiful Creatures, Warner Bros.' upcoming film based on the popular young adult book, features some changes from the storyline of the novel, but director Richard LaGravenese assures fans that the movie “maintains the spirit” of the original.

Beautiful Creatures follows the romance of Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich), a high schooler seeking to distance himself from his small southern town, and Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert), a mysterious newcomer who has supernatural powers that are beyond her control.

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At the Hollywood premiere for the film on Wednesday night, LaGravenese, who also wrote the screenplay for the supernatural love story, told The Hollywood Reporter that his first few drafts contained almost everything that is presented in the 600-page popular young adult novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. He went on to lament that he was unsatisfied with these original drafts because he thought that the audience would lack an emotional connection to the characters, adding, “Unless you are feeling character, what is the point in taking the ride?”

Once LaGravenese wrote a script that he felt accurately portrayed the romance and inherent wit found in the novel, he had a hard time casting the film’s two leads. Eventually, he found Hollywood newcomers Ehrenreich and Englert,  whom he wanted to play Ethan and Alice, the film’s lovelorn leads. But there was a problem: Neither of them wanted to do the movie.

“They had no interest in the genre. They had no interest in celebrity or making a blockbuster,” said the director.

Ehrenreich was originally skeptical of the film’s paranormal plot-line, but later read the script and said he “was blown away by what a personal and character-driven movie Richard had created.”

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Englert noted that there is a misconception that “films about young people need to be ‘cool.'" She wanted to be a part of the project when she realized that Beautiful Creatures was different from the typical teen romance. She said to THR, “I felt like this was more honest than that.”

Beautiful Creatures, which also stars Viola Davis, Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons, opens on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14.