It could make her as famous as Kristen Stewart after 'Twilight', but actress Alice Englert, 18, actually rejected the lead role in 'Beautiful Creatures' three times before agreeing to meet the director, Richard LaGravenese.
She told 'The Independent' newspaper: “I said 'no' three times just because I hadn't read the script and I got a three-sentence brief that described it as being a 'Twilight' re-make. I'd done nothing and I didn't want to audition for something I wasn't going to get anyway because it was a big studio thing... But then I got an email from the producer asking me to please come in, so I went in, and I was precocious and out of my place and told Richard how I thought he should make his film, and so after I finally got around to reading the script and loved it, I said to myself: 'Oh my god. I'm such an idiot. I'm not going to get it now.' And then I did one audition and I did.”
Produced by the same studio as 'Twilight', the film - a boy-meets-witch fantasy set in fictional Gatlin, South Carolina - is based on the American young adult novel by authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
The film adaptation stars Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons and Viola Davis. "I've loved Jeremy and had an inappropriate crush on him since I was a little girl when I saw him in 'The Mission' when I was 10," Englert admits.
She is the daughter of New Zealand director, Jane Campion, who won the Best Screenplay Oscar in 1994 for 'The Piano', the same year Englert was born. Her parents divorced when she was young, and Englert spent time with her father Colin Englert, also a director, as well as travelling the globe with her mother. “Apparently I had lunch with Johnny Depp when I was three months old,” she says.
In 'Beautiful Creatures', Englert plays the bookish outsider at her new school, a role which is not too dissimilar to her own experience: “For a lot of my own school time, I felt so disconnected and what really sustained me throughout was writing music and poetry and reading books."
Shooting the film's school scenes in New Orleans brought back painful memories: “I hate shooting high-school scenes. I swear, you put everyone in a classroom and it's just the same again. There's something about a classroom, everyone's just suddenly bad. " Her mother visited the set on the very same day Englert filmed a crucial scene in which her character destroys her mother (played by Thompson).
Englert, who plans to set up home in London, likes the fact that the lead male in Beautiful Creatures (played by American actor Alden Ehrenreich) is sensitive and loyal. “There are so many of these young-adult movies with these cold guys who act like jerks to girls but are hiding soft sentiments. But in the real world most guys who act like jerks are jerks. "
Having worked on her mother's short films 'The Water Diary' (2006) and '8' (2008), she filmed Roland Joffe's epic period drama 'Singularity', scheduled for release this year. She also stars with Elle Fanning and Annette Bening in Sally Potter's 1960s drama set in London, 'Ginger & Rosa', and in the low-budget horror film, 'In Fear'.
'Beautiful Creatures' is released in the UK on 13 February