'Beautiful Creatures' Set Visit: Watching Witchcraft Come to Life

We visit the set of 'Beautiful Creatures,' to chat with stars Jeremy Irons, Emmy Rossum, Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert and others, about adapting the young adult supernatural book series into a blockbuster film.

Beautiful Creatures Gate

With the Twilight series ending this year, many have wondered which new young adult book series will launch the next big film franchise. The answer might be the upcoming film, Beautiful Creatures. Boasting a new trailer that promises an engaging story, teen romance, and good special effects, this adaptation of the first in a series of books by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stoll is generating some solid buzz months ahead of its release date. With a strong cast that includes Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons and Viola Davis acting alongside a group of promising young actors, the new film could be a surprise hit when it arrives in theaters on February 13, 2013.

In May of this year, Screen Rant was invited to visit one of the Gothic sets of this supernatural drama. I flew down to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, back in May for the visit. Early the next morning, a group of reporters and I packed into a large van and drove down to visit one of the central locations in the story.

Check out the Beautiful Creatures trailer:


After approximately forty-five minutes, our van pulled up in front of an old and seemingly-abandoned brown home that towered over us. According to one of the publicists on set, the house had been built in the 1830’s but had been aged - with vines and moss added to its exterior - by the production crew and especially the art department, who had worked meticulously to make the house match the description from the book.

In the novel, the authors had described the home as looking "just like the stereotypical Southern plantation that people from up North would expect to see after all those years of watching movies like 'Gone with the Wind.'” The desolate house I stood in front of matched that description and conjured up creepy images of abandoned and haunted places.

Although the front yard was devoid of a film crew, there was equipment on the side of the house where crew members were preparing the set for some exterior shots. The house, it should be noted, was only used for exterior shots.  The interior scenes were filmed elsewhere.

The house - referred to in the book as Ravenwood Manor - is the home of town hermit, Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons). Ravenwood is a mysterious old man whose niece, Lena Duchaness (Alice Englert), moves in with him early on in the story. Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich), a local teen who had been dreaming about a mysterious woman for weeks, meets Lena when she arrives in town and realizes that she's the woman he's been seeing in his dreams. He is immediately attracted to his strange new classmate, but the local townspeople are immediately wary of the new town resident, whose supernatural abilities and family history cause concern.

Alice Englert with Alden Ehrenreich in Beautiful Creatures

Along the right side of the creepy old house we saw, there was a brightly-lit dance floor packed with extras and actors conversing with one another, each wearing showy and elaborate costumes. The open area was surrounded by members of the crew who watched intensely as each scene unfolded. During breaks between shooting, members of the crew even walked onto the dance floor to adjust the make-up and the outfits of the actors, who were clearly perspiring thanks to the Southern heat and the bright film lights that surrounded them.

After seeing the set, the other reporters and I walked over to the other side of the dance floor and stood underneath tents as we watched some of the scenes that were being shot on small monitors. Those tents were set up around the yard where members of the crew and some of the actors from the film could watch the taping live, or relax between shots. Cast members - including Jeremy Irons - often filmed brief scenes around the dance floor and then returned to one of the tents to watch them play back.

The scene that was being filmed that day was a pivotal sequence where Lena’s "Claiming party" was being held and her fate would be decided. At the party, Lena—who had supernatural powers like most members of her family—believed that she would discover if she would be "Claimed" for the light (chosen for the good side) or Claimed for the dark (evil).

Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich in Beautiful Creatures Photo
Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich in 'Beautiful Creatures'

In between shots, we had the chance to talk to some of the main cast members in the film. We spoke to Englert, Margo Martindale (who plays Lena’s Aunt Del) and Shameless star Emmy Rossum as Lena’s mischievous cousin, who is trying to push Lena to the dark side. We also chatted with Ehrenreich, who - despite not appearing in the scene - visited the set to talk to us.

For approximately three hours, we spoke to those stars and watched the filming of several key scenes from the drama.  Although it was hot on the set, and many of the costumes looked painfully tight, the crew members seemed to be enjoying their experience as they filmed what could be the first chapter in a new and exciting franchise.

Stay tuned to Screen Rant for our in-depth interviews with the cast of the film.

Beautiful Creatures arrives in theaters on February 13th, 2013.

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