I sat down recently with Thomas Mann (Link) and Zoey Deutch (Emily) who both have roles in the soon to be released movie (Valentines Day 2/14/13), “Beautiful Creatures”. I previewed the movie before the interview and it really helped me to place the actors with their respective characters as well as have questions to ask them! A supernatural love story set in the South, “Beautiful Creatures” tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers: Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich), a young man longing to escape his small town, and Lena (Alice Englert), a mysterious new girl. Together, they uncover dark secrets about their respective families, their history and their town.
Oscar® nominee Richard LaGravenese (“The Fisher King,”“P.S. I Love You”) directs from his adaptation of the first novel in the best-selling series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich (“Tetro”), Alice Englert (“Ginger & Rosa”), Academy Award® winner Jeremy Irons (“Reversal of Fortune”) Oscar® nominee Viola Davis (“The Help,” “Doubt”), Emmy Rossum (TV’s “Shameless”), Thomas Mann (“Project X”) and Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson (“Howard’s End,” “Sense and Sensibility”). Rounding out the cast are Eileen Atkins, Margo Martindale, Zoey Deutch, Tiffany Boone, Rachel Brosnahan, Kyle Gallner, Pruitt Taylor Vince and Sam Gilroy. (Information from press release provide by Allied Media).
Thomas Mann plays the character Link. Thomas is from Texas and was most recently seen as Ben, the young protégé of Jeremy Renner’s character, Hansel, in Tommy Wirkola’s action thriller “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters,” also starring Gemma Arterton, released in January. Last fall, Mann starred opposite Victoria Justice and Jane Levy in Josh Schwartz’s directorial debut, “Fun Size.” Earlier that year he starred in “Project X,” the hit comedy produced by Todd Phillips about a group of friends throwing an epic house party.
Zoey Deutch plays Emily Asher in the movie. Zoey comes from a showbiz family of musicians and actors going back two generations. Growing up in Los Angeles, her parents (actress Lea Thompson and director Howard Deutch) knew acting was in the genes when Zoey would play out scenes with her dolls, and weep for the Barbie that was down on her luck. This kind of dedication showed up a few years later, when she began landing comedic and dramatic roles in both film and television at the ripe age of 15.
Deutch was a serious dancer as a child excelling in ballet, competitive jazz, and tap. She was a double major in both theatre and visual arts at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, while simultaneously studying at the Young Actors Space with Patrick Day.
Her first leading role was in the indie flick, “Mayor Cupcake,” playing real life mom Lea Thompson’s daughter, a small town girl with big time political aspirations. Shortly thereafter, Deutch was cast in the Disney Channel’s “Suite Life on Deck” series, playing Zach’s love interest Maya and charming dedicated fans of the show all over the world. She guest starred on two hit shows, “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” and “NCIS,” which led to her landing the role of Willow Turner in the coveted Marc Cherry pilot “Hallelujah.” She was then cast as troubled stepdaughter Juliet Martin, in the CW’s “Ringer,” starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. The show became one of the network’s biggest hits.
I think you will find these two young actors very endearing. Here are some of the questions posed to Zoey and Thomas during the interview:
Q: The conservative views in the movie, especially Zoey’s, seem almost foreign, do you think it was exaggerated in the movie?
Zoey: No, my character is religiously extreme. I went to many evangelical churches to research the role of Emily. I don’t think it seemed forced or exaggerated from the people I met. The characters in the movie are so closed minded, that’s all they know. It’s almost not their fault.
Thomas: The fictional town of Gatlin itself seems stuck in the past so in some aspects it might be exaggerated. The movie has alot of social commentary about fitting in and good vs evil. This all helps to build a strong, intense atmosphere.
Q: Which scenes in the movie are you most excited about?
Q: It is a very southern film. Did you have trouble adjusting to the accents?
Thomas: We had a great dialogue coach, Rick Lipton. He was excellent at why they speak that way and how the culture influences them. We really wanted the kids to be authentic, small town kids and not seem like actors from Los Angeles. I really wanted Link to be the simple guy that he is, which makes him so easy to corrupt.
Zoey: I felt it was important for Emily to have two accents. Rick (the dialogue coach) was great to work with. One accent was really the way she spoke and the other was the way she spoke to others. I have played a few very different southern parts. This character is very status obsessed.
Q: There are other supernatural books/movies in the market, what sets Beautiful Creatures apart?
Thomas: We hope the movie stands on it’s own as something special. It is sophisticated in a weird way.
Zoey: There is a real maturity to the movie that you don’t find in some of the other teen movies. One difference being the incredible cast in this movie. Also, this is written from the perspective of a teenage boy and it is the girl who has the powers. It is the guy going after the girl which I also think makes it different and allows for guys to like the movie and books as well. It is not wrong for a guy to be charming and go after the girl.
Q: Are you both ready for “Twilight “stardom? There are already die hard fans who have read the books.
Thomas: No. I really hope people like the movie but I think it is too early to think about that kind of stardom. There is some enthusiasm already built in which is really nice since alot of people have read the books.
Q: What was the best part and worst part of filming?
Thomas: The humidity and heat in New Orleans was the worst! We filmed in the middle of the summer in small towns outside New Orleans. I think the small towns seemed hotter than the city. We wore wool coats over three layers of clothing in the civil war scenes, so we got very hot.
Zoey: “You think you had it bad?”, she laughed, “The women wore corsets. There were major restroom issues as well because we had so many tight layers on. There were these leaning boards as well!”
Thomas: The best part of the movie was just being a part of the cast and getting to work with all these amazing people and make great friends. It truly was an amazing experience.. Working with Emmy (Emmy Rossum whom he shares alot of scenes with) was great. Everyone was so much fun!
Zoey: It was nice being around the talent and professionalism of the crew and cast. Everyone was great.
Q: Thomas, what was it like working with Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson, Viola Davis and Emmy Rossum?
Thomas: Just the idea of it was intimidating. It was the best acting class you could ask for and a life experience.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
Thomas: There are a few movies in particular: “This is England”, which is about these skinheads living in England in the ’80s. It was a really fun movie, dramatic and had a great life story. Raw character movies are what I really like. I love, “Half Nelson” with Ryan Gosling. It’s one of my favorites. If I have an audition, I watch that movie and think, ” Ok, I can do it.” Also, when Little Miss Sunshine came out I had just started acting. A very inspiring scene for me was when Paul Dano finds out he is color blind. He doesn’t say much for the majority of the movie, but when he finds out he is color blind he loses it and its so powerful. It was amazing acting and one of the most memorable parts.
Zoey: I think it is inspiring to think that everyone I meet has something they can teach me that I don’t know. You can learn something new from each person you meet. I was inspired by Dakota Fanning in “I am Sam”, when she is separated from her father. Dakota is crying and its so sad. After I watch that I am like, “Alright let’s go!”
I really enjoyed the movie and the chance to sit down with these incredible actors. Their love of the characters they played, the cast and the movie itself was very evident. You can tell by the way they talked that the comaraderie amongst the crew and cast was fun, entertaining and that they learned from one another. I look forward to everyone’s reactions to the movie and actors once Beautiful Creatures is released!
Zoey and Thomas photo taken on day of interview (January 24, 2013) by me.
Zoey Deutch photo:
ZOEY DEUTCH as Emily Asher in Alcon Entertainment’s supernatural love story “BEAUTIFUL CREATURES,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by John Bramley
Thomas Mann photo:
THOMAS MANN as Link in Alcon Entertainment’s supernatural love story “BEAUTIFUL CREATURES,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by John Bramley
BC-FP-008rA: (L-r) ZOEY DEUTCH as Emily Asher, THOMAS MANN as Link and TIFFANY BOONE as Savannah Snow in Alcon Entertainment’s supernatural love story “BEAUTIFUL CREATURES,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures