Thomas Mann And Zoey Deutch Talk Southern Stereotypes In ‘Beautiful Creatures’
FanBolt had the pleasure of talking with Beautiful Creatures stars Thomas Mann and Zoey Deutch here in Atlanta! The film is out in theaters now, and we got the low down on the how closely the film follows the book, the southern stereotypes, and what their favorite scene is that they can’t wait for fans to see!
Did you read any of the books before you began filming?
Thomas Mann: No, she did. I did not. When I first met with Richard, he told me about the books, and he told me how the script varied a lot. When you adapt a 600 page book you have to consolidate a lot of things, so he didn’t want me to get things confused. He said, “Read it if you want but I’m not asking you to read it for the movie, because it’s a different-sort of take on it.” So I didn’t want to get anything muddled in my brain, so I just stuck to Richard’s vision and then I read the books after.
The conservative views seen in the film seem almost foreign. Do you think that was exaggerated in the movie to the same extend as the supernatural parts?
Zoey Deutch: No. First off, I had to do a lot of research, because I personally am Jewish, I was bat mitzvahed, so I had no idea. She’s evangelical and religiously extreme, so I went to a lot of evangelical churches and talked to a lot of people. I tried to understand that perspective. In no way did I judge it, because I couldn’t judge it, obviously, because if you judge the character and the character’s viewpoints and feelings and community, that’s what religion is – a community – then it’s not going to feel real to your or the audience. And with the people I met, no, it didn’t seem forced or exaggerated.
Thomas Mann: I think the fictional town of Gatlin specifically just seems like it’s sort of stuck in time, stuck in the past. I don’t know if it’s exaggerated for maybe how things were 100 years ago.
Zoey Deutch: Still it’s shocking.
Thomas Mann: I know, but I’m saying especially in the movie. I’m not disagreeing with you (to Zoey). It is a heightened version of that, and that’s a big part of it. It has a lot of social commentary about the fitting in and right or wrong, good versus evil. I would say it definitely helps build a strong, tense atmosphere.
Zoey Deutch: I think the idea is that it’s so closed minded that it has just been built up to this crazy… it’s not even their fault. I mean, it really isn’t. They have no other perspective.
Thomas Mann: That’s all they know. They can’t even see it.
Zoey Deutch: It’s not even their fault.
Having read the books, what part of the book are you most excited for fans to see in the film?
Zoey Deutch: Sarafine and Miss Lincoln when she turns into Sarafine.
Thomas Mann: Emma Thompson plays two characters in the movie.
Zoey Deutch: There’s a scene between Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons that’s just ridiculous. You watch the scene and it’s like “Acting awesome, acting awesome, fire, magic, awesomeness!” You watch and you’re like oh my god, it’s so much good acting.
Thomas Mann: Emma Thompson, I mean Jeremy Irons too, but Emma Thompson in that scene just kills it for me. It’s insane.
In the last few years, there have been a lot of movies and books that have to do with the supernatural and love getting intertwined along the way. What do you think sets Beautiful Creatures apart from those other stories?
Thomas Mann: I hope it stands on its own. I mean I haven’t seen the Twilight series. I hope that this movie stands on its own to some degree especially. I think the aesthetic of the movie is very strong, and there’s a lot of humor in the movie too, which I think people aren’t expecting. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s almost a voice in the movie that knows all this stuff is sort of ridiculous.
Zoey Deutch: It’s sophisticated in this weird kinda way. I think there’s something to say that there are these incredible actors of such extreme talent.
Thomas Mann: There’s a real maturity to the movie you don’t find in a lot of these other teen romance movies.
Zoey Deutch: It’s also from the perspective of a male, of a boy, a teenage boy. And the girl has the powers, and it’s the guy going after the girl. Finally [laughs]. I appreciate that. I think that’s really different, and I think that’s going to allow for guys to really like it as well. They’ll understand that it’s not wrong to fall in love with someone and be all charming and go after the girl.
Thomas Mann: Alden Ehrenreich who plays Ethan in the movie… He’s not a brooding, moody typical… I mean he is the every man that’s what I’m trying to say. He’s so funny in the movie. He’s not the leading man that you would expect, and that’s really nice.
Beautiful Creatures is in theaters now!