NEW ORLEANS — This is a story of boy meets girl. Or, more accurately, boy meets caster.
What is a caster, you may be asking? In the southern gothic world imagined by "Beautiful Creatures" authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, casters have magical powers much like witches. Some can seduce men with one lick of a lollipop. Others can mutate their arm into a slithering snake. And still others can channel Mother Nature, bending weather to their will.
This is the supernatural realm MTV News stepped into recently during our exclusive visit to the New Orleans set of "Beautiful Creatures." While there we got the scoop on the adaptation straight from the film's four young stars.
"Lena is a young girl who also happens to be a caster, and she's moved around — she's moved to a lot of small towns and problems follow her," Alice Englert told us of her character. "She's just come to Gatlin, which is so insignificant it doesn't have a Starbucks, etc., and [the theater] gets the titles of movie names wrong, and everyone thinks I'm a Satanist."
Just the usual adolescent angst, right? Englert conceded that underneath her supernatural surface, Lena struggles with issues any typical teen would: "I think Lena is like most girls when you feel massively insecure."
Few things can make one feel more insecure than being bullied by classmates, which just so happened to be the theme of the scene being shot during our visit.
"We're shooting a scene where there sort of begins this class persecution of Lena, and it's very blatant," Englert explained.
"The girls in class are sort of this awful clique of girls, who are always being mean to her, and they start tormenting her," chimed in co-star Alden Ehrenreich, who plays Lena's love interest, Ethan.
"It's getting out of control, and she gets of control," Englert concluded.
This particular scene was just one of many effects-laden moments scheduled during production — one in which the windows of the classroom shatter in magnificent fashion. "I forgot that we were shooting, and I just stood there, like, [drops jaw], my eyes crossed. It's going to look so ridiculous," enthused Zoey Deutch, who plays mean girl Emily. "It's really fun. It was insane. It was so loud. I really thought there was an earthquake."
Special effects aside, Deutch was also impressed with the film's source material, counting herself among the many fans of "Beautiful Creatures."
"I loved the books, I thought they were incredible," she said. "I thought they were smart and like nothing I'd ever read before. I'm an avid 'Harry Potter' fan, and ['Beautiful Creatures'] was kind of my favorite series I've read since then."
But for those wanting to draw parallels between protagonist Ethan Wate and the Boy Who Lived (or even a certain sparkly vampire), Thomas Mann, who plays Link, said not so fast. "I think it's definitely going to be unique from those stories," he assured.
"Beautiful Creatures" hits theaters February 13, 2013.
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