With the massive success of "The Hunger Games," fans, studios and pundits alike are already wondering what will be the next big franchise to follow in its footsteps.
One young adult novel adaptation that's popped up everywhere from The Hollywood Reporter to the Los Angeles Times and gazillions of blogs in between is one we've been covering since our site launched more than a year ago: "Beautiful Creatures," by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
The book follows Southern teen Ethan Wate as he falls in love with the gorgeous and mysterious Lena, who turns out to be a witch-like Caster. The movie – due in theaters next February – has been on a casting tear, tapping the likes of Emma Thompson, Viola Davis and Jeremy Irons to play some of the grown-up leads alongside newcomers Alice Englert and Jack O'Connell, who are taking on the roles of Lena and Ethan, respectively.
With all that hype and all that action, we had to hear from the authors what it was like to watch their project be named alongside a movie that's breaking records left, right and center.
How does it feel to have all these people calling "Beautiful Creatures" the next "Hunger Games?"
Stohl: My writer friend went to see "Hunger Games" and the woman next to her in the theater was reading "Beautiful Creatures." It's wonderful that the world can rally around a book, let alone a YA book, let alone our book. It’s humbling.
Garcia: It's very flattering and I hope our fans are just as excited to see "Beautiful Creatures." I know I am! I think I'll go to one of those late night shows and wait in line so I can be in the middle of it all.
How did the actual casting of the movie measure up to the visions in your head?
Stohl: There has never been a "teen" movie with a cast like this … It’s definitely a crossover cast – both my own teens and my adult friends are equally excited. When Viola Davis said she was coming aboard, I was in shock. And Emma Thompson, I didn't even believe it.
Garcia: The casting exceeded my expectations in every way. I mean, two Academy Award winners, an Academy Award nominee and an Emmy winner right out the gate? … The most surreal part for me was when they told us that Jeremy Irons was cast as Macon Ravenwood. When I was writing, I actually pictured him as Macon, which many of my close friends and readers know.
(Editor's note: Indeed, more than a year ago, Garcia told NextMovie that Irons was her fantasy Macon).
What elements of the book are you most excited to see on screen?
Stohl: The South, with all its swampy, steamy, supernatural glory. The charisma between Lena and Ethan and the karma between Ethan and Link. Watching Jeremy Irons and Viola Davis square off against Emma Thompson. I hope I'm on set that day!
Garcia: I'm dying to see Ravenwood Manor. We've heard a little about it and it sounds amazing. I'm also really excited to see our Ethan and Lena together on screen, Jack O'Connell and Alice Englert. I watched the U.K. series "Skins" and Jack was awesome, and Alice makes the perfect Lena.
What is your involvement in the screenplay or production?
Stohl: Our production team respects what we do, and we respect them. They never tried to direct the way the series unfolded, and we don't try to direct the movie. That said, Richard [LaGravenese, director] and Erwin [Stoff, producer] just really get what our books are about. Powerful and powerless teens in love, caught in both ordinary and extraordinary circumstances.
Garcia: Before Richard started writing, he and Erwin Stoff flew down to Charleston, SC, to meet us while we were on our first tour. Richard asked us tons of questions about the characters and the universe, and we sent him about 400 reference photos. We've also read the script, and Alcon [the production company] shared sketches and photos of the locations, costumes and set design with us. They've also shared lots of secrets we can't talk about yet ...
Have you talked to any other authors (i.e. Suzanne Collins, Stephenie Meyer) who've been through this process? Did they give you any advice?
Stohl: Two writer friends, Melissa Marr and Cassandra Clare, are both in the middle of this process themselves. It's been comforting to go through this with them. It can all feel so unreal!
Garcia: I've never met Suzanne Collins or Stephenie Meyer, but my friend Holly Black's novels, "The Spiderwick Chronicles," were adapted into a film. She gives me the basic "what to expect when you're expecting."