Beautiful Creatures star Alice Englert talks about what it feels like to see your face plastered all over the Underground, and how being Jane Campion’s daughter sets you up for Hollywood. Read the magazine feature here.
As 2012 came to a close it was pretty hard to miss Alice Englert. Thanks to the poster campaigns for Sally Potter’s Ginger & Rosa (in which she starred opposite Elle Fanning), and upcoming blockbuster Beautiful Creatures (an awesome-looking fantasy romp, based on the bestselling novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and featuring Englert in her first lead role), it almost seemed like you couldn’t hop on the Tube without seeing her face peering down from the walls.
Which goes to show that at just 18 years old, Englert is already shaping up to be one of the stars of her generation. As if her undeniable acting prowess weren’t enough (her performance in Ginger & Rosa earned her a British Independent Film Award nomination – she’s also an excellent musician. For proof, check YouTube, or the Beautiful Creatures soundtrack, which features one of Englert’s own songs.
What’s more, her mother is the infinitely cool director Jane Campion (responsible for The Piano, In The Cut and Bright Star, among other films). What’s not to love? When Wonderland meets her, she’s not only funny, sharp and terrifyingly intelligent, she’s also wonderfully self-deprecating. Thank goodness, then, that 2013 promises to bring us much more of her.
The whole of the London Underground seems to be plastered with your face at the moment. How does that feel?
I think it’s hilarious. I look a lot scruffier in reality than I do on the Beautiful Creatures poster. Just the other day I was walking along with my friend and we were photographing this weird, pervy looking statue that we’d seen – it was somewhere in Islington – and we didn’t notice that the billboard above it was a Beautiful Creatures ad, a massive billboard. That was the first time I had experienced that. And I looked like a total loser – it looked like I was taking photographs of myself. And then I did actually take a photo with it. So, er, yeah.
Do you think your background helps you cope with all attention?
Oh no not at all, because it was a background that was never really very ‘Hollywood’. I never really had any notion of what Hollywood was like except for Sunset Blvd. It is interesting dipping your toes in Hollywood and testing the waters there. I’m not sure how I feel about the temperature there yet, to get metaphorical…
But presumably you’re going to have to spend a lot more time there. It seems like Beautiful Creatures is being set up to be the new Twilight.
I don’t like being set up in general. I would never date in that manner if I could help it, and that’s not how I like to make films either, so any comparison is irrelevant to me.
So what was it like then, shooting a big Hollywood blockbuster?
Well I’m bred from a woman who had Kate Winslet pissing naked in a desert, and that was always going to be where I was from, and it was very strange for me. It was a different world for me, and I enjoyed it and we had a lot of fun. New Orleans, where we shot, was really fantastic and beautiful.
Were you shooting that at a similar time to In Fear then? I imagine the projects back to back seemed pretty much at odds with each other.
We shot In Fear in Cornwall in December, pretending it was autumn or spring, and I had probably two layers on and it was raining and it was muddy and it was cold. I do have to say I love and hate you [director] Jeremy Lovering, for what you did to me, but I love you a bit more so that’s ok. But yeah, so that was mad. It was literally us, a car, a cameraman, a director, a make up artist, a costume and that was it.
You have more than three films coming up in 2013 –are you finding yourself strapped for time at the moment?
Well, on a set, you’ve always got time, you’re always waiting around. There are pockets of extreme lack of sleep, and adrenaline-filled experiences, and then recently I’ve been able to have some time off to become a normal human being again, which is, I think is very important for an actor, as at the end of the day, [normality] is what we’re trying to portray. Whether you are a supernatural witch, or a 16 year old in 1960s London sleeping with your friend’s father. I approach both in the same way. I mean, that’s where the abnormal hides, in the benign.
Beautiful Creatures is out February 13.
Photographer Kim Jakobsen To
Words Adam Welch
Hair Teiji Utsumi at Terrie Tanaka using FUDGE
Make-up Emma Miles using SHU UEMURA
Alice Englert wears top by J BRAND, skirt by MAGGY FRANCES, jacket by DIANE VON FURSTENBERG and bracelet by BEX BOX