Nothing says romance like Southern gothic and sorcery -- at least, that's what the team behind the new teen romance flick "Beautiful Creatures" hopes. Hitting theaters today, the film stars 18-year-old Alice Englert as Lena Duchannes, a high school student moonlighting as a witch (or, in the film's parlance, a "caster") and coming to grips with her powers in the sleepy town of Gatlin, South Carolina. Aldren Ehrenreich, 23, is the other half of the doomed romantic duo. He plays Ethan Wate, the mortal boy (un)lucky enough to meet Lena and get pulled into her chaotic life in the months leading up to her 16th birthday, when the true nature of her powers will be revealed.
NextMovie caught up with the two young stars in New York City earlier this week. Read on to learn their opinions on being judged by teenagers, the hardest words to say with a Southern accent, and the quote they don't want making headlines.
Congratulations on the movie! Have you seen it yet?
Alden: Three times.
Alice: Yeah, three times.
Alice: You've seen it in Russian.
Alden: Yes, I've seen the first 30 minutes with Russian dubbing.
Is it hard for you to watch yourselves? Do you like watching yourself onscreen?
Alice: That's such a funny question. Imagine if you're like, "yeah! I love it!"
Alden: I actually have. There's certain times where I enjoy it, but in general, no. It's not excruciating, it's just usually boring for me.
Alice: It's not horrible, but the first time is always just actually confusing for your mind, because it's hard to process just seeing yourself up there, very large and in the situation that you, in a medium you've seen many times before. I've seen so many films with [co-star] Jeremy [Irons] in them and then to see Jeremy like oh, a film with Jeremy and me. It's very weird. I do enjoy watching them because I like the movie.
Alden: Tell the story about the little boy.
Alice: What little — oh yeah. I was really enjoying one of the screenings of "Beautiful Creatures" and there was this little 14-year-old boy sitting next to me in the screening and I was laughing at all the jokes and I just felt really judged. I had to keep it down a bit. It's a bit embarrassing. You can't enjoy your own film too much, especially when these young teenagers —
Alden: Yes, these young whippersnappers. You're a teenager.
Alice: I am a teenager.
You both have to put on Southern accents for this movie, and Alden's is pretty thick. What was the hardest word to say with a Southern accent?
Alice: Anybody. AnyBODY.
Alden: There's two points in the film where I use the Southern accent, you can tell in the take because Rick Lipton, who's our really amazing dialect coach, would say, "ok, so this word you've gotta get right," and then on the next take, I'd say "eeeeeeenybawwwwwdy" and just really ham it up with the word, and it's in the movie. Twice! In the snow scene, I say "godawful." I couldn't get it and so it came out like "gawwwwd awful." It's like, "Here's your word, Rick."
Alice, your character in the movie is a powerful witch. As far as I can tell, neither of you are actually magical. If you did have powers, what would you most like to do?
Alden: I wouldn't want to do anything too big or dramatic, because I feel like — not turn anyone into a tree or flying or immortality or anything, because I feel like —
Alice: I don't understand why you're so against flying. There's not really anything bad about flying.
Alden: Oh yes there is.
Alice: Like what?
Alden: You're never present, because you know you can always just fly away. You don't have to deal with possibly difficult situations that might lead to great outcomes, you'd miss the great outcome because you'd fly away. Planes. Jetlag, when you're just — anyway. Anyway, these are the reasons I don't want to fly. So I guess it would be something like I'd like to be able to take pictures of anything, like, without a camera.
You'd like to have a photographic memory, or to take a physical picture?
Alden: Like, physical. Because I see these things and I never have a camera and I wish I had a photo of them. But a good photo. So my eye would actually be like a really good photographer, because I see things that I know would be a really good photograph, but I'm not technically good enough to take it. And I don't have a camera! So I wish my eye was a phenomenal photographer, so I would have these great photos.
Alice: I just don't agree, I think flying doesn't have such implications. I would fly.
See, I'd apparate, like in "Harry Potter." It takes no time.
Alice: That's so complicated!
Alden: See, that's too — that's not more complicated than flying.
Alice: That is far more complicated. Like, how are you going to be present in your life if you know you can just leave?
Alden: It's the same thing with flying! You could jump out the window!
Alice: No, I'd fly slowly! I'd just be like... [makes gliding gesture with arms]
Alden: Just groovin'.
I'd go visit friends on the West Coast, I'd do all these things...
Alden: But then, trust me, it'll turn into a nightmare. Just watch "Mrs. Doubtfire"! Being able to do things you think are great at first often turn into complex situations at restaurants.
Alice: That's my favorite thing you've ever said.
To think in the terms of another young adult franchise adapted for the screen, who in your cast would win the Hunger Games and how would you yourself fare?
Alice: I would die immediately.
Alden: I guess I would die. It's such a violent thing for these kids.
You're not great with weapons?
Alden: Oh, God, just the whole concept of these children killing each other freaks me out.
Alice: Yeah, we're being asked whether or not we're going to die right now. "If someone was trying to kill you for sport, do you think you would survive?"
Alden: "If you were trying to murder each other, who would murder each other the most efficiently?" That's basically the question!
This could happen! Life or death situation!
Alden: [Director] Richard [LaGravenese] would be dead.
Alice: No, I don't think he would, I think he'd be like [sword swishing motion.] Because he's quite like, big shoulders. Have you been hugged by him recently?
Alden: Yes, he's got a lot of physical power. You know what, maybe he would. On second thought, you really don't know.
Alice: This could so easily end up like, "Richard could kill the cast."
Alden: "Cast members fear director."
Alice: I don't want to say too much, because I don't want to have that quote.
"Beautiful Creatures" comes out on Valentine's Day, and you can bet it'll be a big date night movie for a lot of kids. What's your ideal Valentine's Day date movie?
Alden: Ooh, good question. There's a movie with Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin called "The Big Easy" that is, it's sort of like not a movie that, not a great, great movie, but it's weirdly, like, sensuous. I don't usually watch movies and get hot and bothered, but it's a very steamy movie.
Alice: Really? With Dennis Quaid?
Alden: They just have a lot of sexual chemistry. It's in New Orleans. I did a scene from it in acting class. Yeah, I'd say that one.
Alice: Probably just like, "Some Like It Hot" or something from Billy Wilder. A fun movie.
What did you buy with your first Hollywood paycheck?
Alden: Oh my God. My SAG membership, I think. Yeah, probably that.
Alice: Probably, like, two-minute noodles.
Alden: I was 15, so does that count as Hollywood? If I was on "Supernatural"? Was that Hollywood?
Did you get to ride around in the Impala?
Alden: No, I think it was before that. It's the second episode of all time.
Alice: Can we say first paycheck ever, instead of Hollywood? I bought a camera with my first ever paycheck.
What was it a paycheck for?
Alice: For a short film that my mom put me in and gave me money for. I was really excited because I thought I would get, like, $50, because I didn't have an idea about what money was. And I got more! So that was really fun.
What's the movie that first made you want to act?
Alden: There wasn't one, really. It was just I knew I wanted to do it. I've seen a lot of movies that are really inspiring and made me want to tact that night, but not one that made me decide that was something I felt. I always felt like I wanted to.
Alice: Yeah, me too.
What would your porn name be?
Alden: Priscilla Sunset.
Alice: Bunny Wentworth.