We recently had the very cool opportunity to sit down with the charming Alden Ehrenreich who plays none other than Ethan Wate, the protagonist in the upcoming Beautiful Creatures movie (Alice Englert, unfortunately, was unable to join). We posed your questions and more to him; here's a transcript of our delightful conversation. Enjoy!
WIKIA: The Caster Chronicles Wiki is very excited to hear about how you first came to be involved with this project. One of your last films was the Francis Ford Coppola directed Tetro -- a very cool and different film from this one. How did your involvement in this begin?
ALDEN EHRENREICH: Sure. I originally said I wasn't interested in doing this because I hadn't read the script and it was sort of pitched to me and there wasn't the cast assembled. But it came back to me closer to when they were ready for shooting and I said, "OK, I'll read it." And within two pages of reading the script I knew I wanted to do the movie. My character does the opening narration and I could just tell from the way Richard (LaGravanese), the writer/director, had written it that I just clicked with it. I auditioned for Richard at eight in the morning and got a call a week later from Richard saying that I had the part. At four o'clock in the afternoon I was on a plane to Georgia, and a week later we started shooting.
WIKIA: Wow! That's quick. So did you ever get to audition at all with Alice?
WIKIA: As a viewer of the film you'd never think that. You guys have such great chemistry together, I really thought they must have cast you both off your auditions together.
EHRENREICH: I think that's a testament to Richard's overall vision for the project. He drew in the kind of people who would all connect with each other because we had the same intent -- to do a movie of a certain genre but with a lot of wit and humor and intelligence to it, that said something a little bit more.
WIKIA: So you probably didn't even have time to read the book before principal photography.
EHRENREICH: Yeah, I didn't originally. But once we started shooting, I'd go home and memorize the scene for the next day and hop on the exercise bike and read the book.
WIKIA: Was there anything in the book that sort of rubbed off on your characterization or was it more for background research?
EHRENREICH: It was a little of both. I had so little time to prepare the character that I certainly was looking for nuggets. I remember listening to what the costume designers and wardrobe specialists were saying about the character because I was still formulating my thoughts and they knew the character from the book really well and so it was very informative. And the dialect coach, what he said about the character was very informative. And when I read the book it really helped me acquire the characters POV on things because it's much more detailed. And it was also great at night to just live in the themes of the book.
WIKIA: Can you talk a little bit more about what drew you to the character when you read the script?
EHRENREICH: Sure. I identified -- especially from when I was in high school -- with this restlessness and desire to get more out of life; this sort of dissatisfaction with the circumstances given to you in life.
WIKIA: Feeling trapped.
EHRENREICH: Exactly. Feeling trapped. In the opening of the movie there's this map of all the places that Ethan wants to go to and a little picture of the book that takes place there. So it's all about him reading these books and seeing all these magical worlds and wanting to go see them, which is actually similar to my character in Tetro. So something about that spoke to me.
WIKIA: Was there any scene or maybe dialogue that you found especially challenging to pull off in this film?
EHRENREICH: Yeah. My first day with Viola Davis, I got food poisoning the night before.
WIKIA: Oh, no!
EHRENREICH: Yeah, so it made it rather physically challenging for me without getting to detailed about it! But coming back to Viola Davis who's such a strong presence and just trying not to hurl in the middle of the scene was a challenge. That was definitely the most challenging... but I got through it!
WIKIA: And how was it in general working with the other cast members, some of whom are very accomplished screen veterans?
EHRENREICH: Working with the caliber of people I got to work with in this film was such an incredible experience. When you're working with people like Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons, and Viola Davis, their talent brings you to another level. There's so much to learn just watching their work. When you see the movie you see a scene, but you don't see how that actor arrived at that. Or what the take before or after looked like. Or what they did to stay focused between takes. Or their approach to the first day of work or their attitude to the crew; there's a lot of zen type stuff on the day you're filming that you're balancing to keep yourself as connected and in the scene as possible. Alice and I would go watch the scenes between Jeremy and Emma for instance. They are so good, it was like a free acting class!
WIKIA: In the young adult genre, the protagonist is usually female. Did it weigh on you at all to be a male lead in this genre?
EHRENREICH: I felt like the best thing we could do for the fans was just to focus on the story we were working on. Something the authors said that I liked was that the male characters in this genre are often portrayed as very aloof, indifferent guys. They wanted to show the young girls reading their books that guys could be sweet and courteous and that they read books and are all-around good guys. Aloof guys in real life aren't that sexy.
WIKIA: The character is certainly popular, maybe that's partly why the book has struck such a chord.
EHRENREICH: Yes. And hopefully it will give some more offbeat guys a shot (laughter)!