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Beautiful Creatures – Emmy Rossum on being a bad girl

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Beautiful Creatures - Alden Ehrenreich and Emmy Rossum
Beautiful Creatures - Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) and Ridley Duchannes (Emmy Rossum) © 2013 Alcon Entertainment
Beautiful Creatures - Alden Ehrenreich and Emmy Rossum
Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) and Ridley Duchannes (Emmy Rossum) © 2013 Alcon Entertainment

In the new movie Beautiful Creatures, based on the popular novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Emmy Rossum portrays Ridley, an evil witch who appears at her cousin Lena’s (Alice Englert) 16th birthday party to claim her for the dark side.

Emmy’s career skyrocketed when she was chosen to star in the movie version of the musical Phantom of the Opera, earning her a Golden Globe nomination. She went on to appear in The Day After Tomorrow, Poseidon and Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River. She is currently starring with William H Macy in the Showtime series, Shameless.

What was it about this project that interested you?

Beautiful Creatures - Emmy Rossum
Ridley Duchannes (Emmy Rossum) © 2013 Alcon Entertainment

I got the script, loved it and loved the role, read the first book and kind of familiarize myself with the character and the back story. Then I went in and auditioned and got it.

It was very much something that I was targeting as a part that I really wanted. It wasn’t something that fell into my lap at all.

I really wanted to play this role because it was fun, campy, larger-than-life and glamorous. Underneath it all it had this childish, teenage, bitchy quality which I thought was so interesting as a villain.

You’re good at playing a bad girl.

Beautiful Creatures - Emmy Rossum
Ridley Duchannes (Emmy Rossum) © 2013 Alcon Entertainment

I’m good at making people believe that I’m good at things I’m not. I like to stretch and do different things.

It’s the most boring thing that every actor says but it’s true, I like finding the humanity and emotional groundwork underneath a bad character. I like finding the reason that they are how they are.

This for me was really fun, especially coming off (of playing Fiona in) Shameless, who is such a selfless character, so unglamorous. To go play this selfish, glamorous witch was such an outside- of-the-box choice.

Why do you think Phantom of the Opera didn’t translate into a movie?

Well it’s an opera, so there’s that.

But so is Les Miserables.

Beautiful Creatures - Emmy Rossum and Alden Ehrenreich
Ridley Duchannes (Emmy Rossum) and Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) © 2013 Alcon Entertainment

Is it?  I love Les Mis, I’ve seen it on Broadway a bunch of times. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I don’t think the music is as operatic as Phantom.

Our film was much more about the big scope of the Opera House and the big lies behind the opera. I think Les Mis, from my understanding of reading about it, is much more in close-up and very personal. So I think maybe that’s why.

What’s your take away from Beautiful Creatures?

Beautiful Creatures - Emmy Rossum
Ridley Duchannes (Emmy Rossum) © 2013 Alcon Entertainment

A fun experience and an opportunity to play more a sense of comedy than I had before. It’s a terrifically empowered role and, as a whole, the movie is about female power and female empowerment.

You don’t have a situation with a supernatural male who has all the power and a female who doesn’t feel worthy of touching him or being around him.

For me having it told from the males point-of-view, male narrated (by Ethan Wate, played by Alden Ehrenreich) , idolizing this woman (Lena) who’s the woman of his dreams, who’s also struggling.

It’s just an interesting dynamic change from a lot of the young adult things we’ve seen.

Beautiful Creatures - Alden Ehrenreich and Emmy Rossum
Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) and Ridley Duchannes (Emmy Rossum) © 2013 Alcon Entertainment