On Monday evening, The Cinema Society and Dior Beauty hosted a screening of “Beautiful Creatures,” which is now playing. From the film: Viola Davis and Emmy Rossum walked the red carpet. Other attendees included Ivanka Trump, Debra Winger and Arliss Howard, Paul Haggis, Kelly Rutherford, Russell Simmons, Victoria Justice, Zoe Lister-Jones (Whitney), Alex Karpovsky (Girls), Billy Magnussen, Jess Weixler, Mare Winningham, Christopher McDonald, Isiah Whitlock (The Wire), Eve Plumb, Christian Campbell and America Olivo, Keith Poulson, Will Cotton, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Sandra Lee, Rachel Roy, Alex Von Furstenberg, (Sports Illustrated model) Hannah Davis, Caroline Winberg, Mackenzie Hamilton, Adaora Cobb, Harley Viera Newton, Sante D’Orazio, Cory Bond, Elle Winter, Jason Dundas (VH1), singer/songwriter Negin Djafari, Jennifer Creel, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Daniel Benedict, Johannes Huebl, Gretta Monahan, Dior Beauty’s Dianne Vavra, and Cinema Society founder Andrew Saffir.
“Beautiful Creatures” is an American young adult novel written by authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and the first book in the Caster Chronicles series. The film directed by Richard LaGravenese stars Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert (who also gave a stellar performance in “Ginger & Rosa”). Film Synopsis: When newcomer Lena Duchannes (Englert) arrives in the small town of Gatlin, she quickly captures the attention of Ethan Wate (Ehrenreich), who only wants to escape what he views as a boring and dead-end town. He quickly gets more than he bargained for, as Lena possesses strange powers that have long kept her at a distance from others in her life. Lena and Ethan are drawn together, but their budding romance is threatened by the dangers posed by Lena’s being a Caster and her family’s Dark powers, for upon her sixteenth birthday Lena must undergo the Claiming, a process that will decide her fate forever: Light or Dark.
Check out our interviews from the red carpet:
Q: You play a Dark Witch, did dark come naturally to you?
Emmy Rossum: Depends! My mom would probably say so. But no, it was a lot of fun. I usually don’t get cast as the villain, this was my first time playing a villain, so it was really exciting and fun to kind of channel a different part of myself.
Q: Your character is constantly eating, did that present any challenges?
Emmy Rossum: You just have to figure out how to talk while eating and time your bites so you’re not saying your lines while you have a mouthful of macaroons.
Q: Is it true you did your own nails on set?
Emmy Rossum: I did the painting and everything. Yeah, they were acrylics but I didn’t do the acrylic-ing. I did the color change and stuff like that. It was honestly because we were on plantations in the middle of nowhere. I’ve always been kind of a closet manicurist.
Q: Have you seen “Twilight”? Are there any similarities to “Beautiful Creatures”?
Emmy Rossum: I’ve seen the first one, yeah. It’s pretty different. Our movie is very southern gothic and it has a lot of comedy, so they’re both based on novels that were for young adults and it’s a love story. But this movie is really empowering to young women. It shows the women as the ones with all the power and strength. And it’s really about claiming yourself. Having the ability to not focus on the past, but to decide for yourself, who you’re going to be and what you’re going to do with your life. I got to work with Emma Thompson and that was remarkable.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your character.
Emmy Rossum: I play Ridley, she’s a Dark Caster who is claimed to the dark on her 16th birthday. So Emma Thompson and I are the villains in the film and I’m coming back to make sure that my younger cousin comes to the dark side as well.
Q: What did you learn from Emma Thompson?
Emmy Rossum: I learned how to stay cool in a hundred degree weather and still pretend like I know how to act when my brain is frying like a scrambled egg.
Q: What was it like working with writer/director Richard LaGravenese?
Emmy Rossum: It was awesome, he’s such an amazing writer and a great collaborator. He focused on everything from as big as you know, the story and the adaptation down to manicure and how my make-up was. So he had a lot of attention to detail and he had a killer soundtrack. So I think he’s amazing.
Q: How did you get involved in the project?
Emmy Rossum: I read the script before my audition. And then I read the first book, when I got my part I read all the books in one weekend and I just loved them.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your character?
Viola Davis: Amma is a seer, a channeler of spirits and a keeper of the library underneath the town of Gatlin, which is a gateway to these different worlds, and she’s also a friend of Ethan’s.
Q: What was it like collaborating with Richard, the director?
Viola Davis: He’s wonderful because he’s an actor’s director. He understands the process of actors and he respects it, most of all. So I enjoyed working with him.
Q: What did you love about the whole book series?
Viola Davis: I read half of the first book until Richard LaGravenese said, “Do not read the book!” And I thought, “Well, I’m already reading the book.” He said, “Do not read the book. It’s not going to help you at all.” But I love them. I love all the young adult fantasy books. I think that they’re fantastic. I think it’s great that these movies are based on books that kids can read and that brings them into a world that stimulates their imagination.
Q: Did you have to spend a lot of time near alligators while filming ?
Viola Davis: A few days. And in the swamp, which if you’ve been to a swamp… you know…
Q: Did you learn anything about alligators?
Viola Davis: Yes, I learned a lot of interesting things and I believed none of it. They said alligators aren’t as hostile as crocodiles and they are only attracted to colors. That if they don’t see bright white colors, I guess that’s why they throw marshmallows at them in the swamps. They don’t see those bright colors and they don’t attack much. I don’t believe it!
Q: What was it like working out in the swamps?
Viola Davis: Well, it required three days of no sleep to psych myself out. And then they taught me how to use a speedboat. And of course, my whole thing, I always want to be the super hero ‘cause I’m always attracted to female superheroes. So in my life I always want to conquer my fears, and so I went into that swamp to conquer my fear.
Q: Did you have fun in New Orleans?
Viola Davis: Oh I had a blast filming. I had a blast being in New Orleans with my baby and my husband. It was a great magical time for us. We were there for four months because I was shooting “Ender’s Game” at the same time. It’s wonderful.
Q: And can you tell us a little about “Ender’s Game”?
Viola Davis: It’s going to be awesome. I mean, Harrison Ford, come on. Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin – this is the best of the best, but most importantly, Gavin Hood, the director. I just think it’s going to be great because the narrative is so wonderful because it explores young kids who have been trained to kill, and the implications of that. It’s going to be fabulous.