by Lynn Barker
Websites have been scrambling for the deets on adorable, curly-haired, blue-eyed hottie Alden Ehrenreich, 23, who stars as Ethan Wate in the film adaptation of the first of the popular “Caster” novels, “Beautiful Creatures”. We got to spend quality time with him in L.A. and found him to be polite, charming, funny and uber-intelligent….oh yeah, and cute!
By now, you might have read that 14-year-old Alden was discovered by Spielberg because he made a very funny film for the Bat Mitzvah (Jewish coming-of-age party) of a friend and the famous director saw it. Before long Alden, a native of Los Angeles, was starring in a movie for another famous director Francis Ford Coppola.
We’re learning that, should we be stalking this cutie, we might find him watching old movies in L.A. and that, if we want to date him we’d better not start gossiping or he’ll kick us to the curb. At first Alden turned down the role of Ethan, the mortal teen in love with a powerful young spellcaster.
AGW: What changed your mind about being in this movie when you at first didn’t want to?
Alden: Reading the script. The reason I didn’t want to be a part of it is the way it had been pitched to me, it didn’t sound like its own movie. It was like they were trying to capitalize on the genre (Young Adult supernatural romance) and it wouldn’t be personal. When I read the script, within two pages, I knew that wasn’t the case and the movie had its own DNA and, out of all the scripts I was reading for big or small films, this had the best relationships and the most to do as an actor. I was so grateful that I was still able to be a part of it.
Also Alcon (the production company) only had three people on set and they let Richard (La Gravenese, writer/director) have full control of the creative process. There weren’t ten people in a room making phone calls about what color your underwear was (laughter).
AGW: Are you kidding me?
Alden: No! I had that experience (on another film). The studio called because they saw my boxers and wanted to talk about what color they were. (With that kind of control) they just strip the film from a personal signature.
AGW: Especially for people who haven’t read the novels, you have a lot of backstory exposition to set up the world. Were you concerned about how all that talking and explaining would come out?
Alden: It was the main struggle for all of us. It’s a fine balance. You literally have the scene where Alice (Englert who plays Lena) goes “I’m a Caster” and I go “What is that?” and she goes “Here is what being a Caster is” then I ask “What’s wrong?” She responds with like “I’m going through this claiming and here are the rules”. We just explain it.
AGW: But your character Ethan sees all this wild stuff going on with her so he would naturally ask those questions.
AGW: What is the most annoying thing someone could do on a date that would make you run the other way?
Alden: (laughs) Gossip! I just find that to be the most un-useful and boring thing. It’s also what people use instead of having a more interesting conversation. With the discomfort of when you meet someone for the first time, that’s the easy thing to do, put down someone and it gives this false impression that you two are in a club or have some understanding that you don’t really have and it forges false friendships. I think it’s ugly. The fact that anyone could have any self-respect and say they are a “Gossip Person” is (strange). It should be thought of as bad. I think it should be thought of as an ugly quality.
AGW: It is. Are you at all worried that this film will label you as a certain kind of heartthrob actor as the “Twilight” saga has Rob Pattinson?
Alden: I think the opposite. I feel that those people in that position of celebrity have the ability and the access to do the most creative work that they could possibly do because they get to work with the best people. They get to find scripts that they love and want to play parts in to life.
I look at Jennifer Lawrence for instance, who is in “Hunger Games” and “X-Men”. She got nominated for the Oscar first (for the indie Winter’s Bone) but then she (did the big films). For me, whatever has the most real characters and the most compelling, character-driven story.
AGW: You and your co-star Alice are hot on screen. Tell me something about Alice that kind of surprised you.
Alden: She has a strength of character that’s uncommon for people her age (18). Her ideas and convictions are really strong. The (first impression) when she meets people is her intelligence and what she thinks about things. She’s not interested in people just thinking she’s a pretty, appealing and likable person. She’s more interested in having a deeper conversation and meeting people at a deeper level.
I remember my grandmother saying that some people talk about ideas and some talk about other people. She talks about ideas and I had a lot of respect for her. It was cool working with someone who was unlike a lot of girls I’d known before. We were able to really relax around each other.
AGW: Very cool. Which of the accomplished actors on set was the most helpful to you and what advice did he or she give?
Alden: Emma Thompson (who plays Mrs. Lincoln) had some great advice about doing press actually. She said when she used to do live comedy shows, they would go into town and ring a bell and say “Come to my show!” You have to understand that that is what you are doing (by giving interviews etc.). Sometimes you get caught up in your own ideas of how you want to come across and stuff like that but really, we’re here for this movie. You learn by watching Emma and Jeremy Irons work. It’s like a free acting class.
AGW: Tell me something funny that happened on set that had people cracking up.
Alden: Did I tell you about having food poisoning?
AGW: Dude, that’s not funny!
Alden: (laughs) It was funny. It was during two scenes I did with Viola Davis (plays Amma) on my first day working with her. It was the second week of shooting and I ate this bad fish. I wasn’t loving it, I was offering it to other people. Fish is usually good there (Louisiana) but not at this restaurant called The Black Cat. I got horrible food poisoning and spent the whole day trying not to vomit on Viola Davis and trying to get through the scene. It was tragically funny.
AGW: Poor baby. I read that you are all about the writing, the story. Do you have a book you would love to adapt, direct and star in the film of someday?
Alden: Every book I pick up, I think about that. I even optioned a book once but I haven’t found anything that I’ve read thus far…. There are some Tennessee Williams plays that haven’t been made into a movie or haven’t been made into the kind of movie that I think they could be. I think that would be cool to do. I don’t know if people would relate to it as much anymore but those plays are so progressive. You don’t always have a happy ending.
AGW: And we hear you are somewhat of an artist?
Alden: Well, I draw and paint and write. I do drawings of people that are very ugly. My mom is upset about hers. Alice likes them.
AGW: What in your personal life keeps you grounded?
Alden: Just family and friends. I feel really grateful that I grew up in Los Angeles because the town I work in is also the town where everybody I’ve always known is. I have some friends in New York too. But, from a young age I wanted to be a part of this because I loved movies. All that really matters to me is getting to do great performances in great movies so that’s it.
AGW: What are your musical tastes? Fave band or artist?
Alden: There’s a lot. I’ve been listening to Waylon Jennings recently and I like Bob Dylan and there’s a bad called Doctor Dog that I like and a band called Girls that I like but I’m pretty out of touch when it comes to new stuff.
AGW: If we are out on the town, where are we most likely to see you?
Alden: Well, you might see me at a bowling alley but I don’t even know the names of all these L.A. clubs. My favorite thing to do is go see old movies. I think L.A. has a better art house collection of theaters than any other city. You’ll find me at the Egyptian or the Arrow theaters.
AGW: Do you have any pets?
Alden: I just got a puppy! Actually, we found it yesterday (We? Hummm). It’s a Blue Healer mixed with a beagle maybe. Her name is Addie for the Tatum O’Neal character in the movie Paper Moon.
AGW: Awww.. And what actress would you dance your happy dance if you could co-star with her?
Alden: Deborah Winger. She’s probably my favorite actress. Then (1980’s) and now. In Rachel Getting Married I thought she was just phenomenal although yeah, I’m more in love with her when she was younger (like in An Officer and a Gentleman), yeah. I’ll admit that.
AGW: Typical day for you when you aren’t working?
Alden: Watching movies and L.A. has so much nature here so I like walking around in the canyons a lot.
Now you have a puppy to take with you. (He grins happily)
Uncredited photos copyright and courtesy Warner Brothers Pictures, 2013
This film is rated PG-13
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