Alden Ehrenreich has two movies coming out in the next few weeks — “Beautiful Creatures” on Valentine’s Day” and “Stoker” March 1 — but he’s done little else that would make you think he’s one of the major players in Hollywood. That’s why it was a surprise to hear that despite his limited acting credentials, Ehrenreich initially turned down the leading role in “Beautiful Creatures.” And, he turned it down without reading the script.
To be fair, the 23-year-old actor wasn’t shown the script by his agents because they didn’t think it was the kind of movie he wanted to make. The kind of movies he’s trying to avoid are the ones where a mortal teen feels the angst of falling for some type of vampire, zombie, mummy or Frankenstein type monster.
When producers pitched him the idea again, he read the script and signed on to play the lovestruck Ethan Wate. The object of his attention is Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert), a young woman who on her 16th birthday will either become a very good or very bad witch.
I know. It sounds like all of the other teen angst movies. But, Ehrenreich saw a real humor and intelligence in the script that made him confident this wouldn’t be just another mortal-meets-supernatural-creature story.
If he had read the script earlier, Ehrenreich would have had a chance to do some research so that he wouldn’t have been caught off guard by the high heat and humidity of working in New Orleans during the summer.
“It was very, very hot. We had a lot of people spritzing us,” Ehrenreich says.
An earlier read also would have given him a chance to read the books in the “Beautiful Creatures” series before filming started. During his down time — when he wasn’t battling the heat — Ehrenreich read the books. They ended up being an instruction manual as to how to play the character.
The one thing about his character he didn’t need to research was how the teen longed to leave the sleepy little town where he’s lived his entire life.
“I know exactly what it’s like to want to leave somewhere,” Ehrenreich says. “I hated summer camp but my mother sent me to 10 different ones when I was growing up. I would write long letters to family members to tell them how much I hated being at camp.”