How The Norse Gods Helped Emmy Rossum Understand Her Part In Beautiful Creatures

The world of mythology and the supernatural is an endless one. Ever since we learned how to communicate with one another humans have told stories about beings and universes beyond what we know. Every civilization has their own form of it, becoming representational of various beliefs, ideals and fears. But in preparing for her role as a witch, known as a caster in the world of Beautiful Creatures, Enmy Rossum actually went beyond what we classically know about dark magicians and instead found something special in Norse mythology.

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down one-on-one with the young star to not only talk about researching her role in the new young adult adaptation, but also her motivations for going after the project, and her view on her character’s true nature.

Is it at all strange to go from a television show like Shameless where you’re dealing with some very adult material to more youth-targeted material like Beautiful Creatures?

I wasn’t thinking of it that way, I guess it kind of happened that way. But I hear at least for the demographic of our network, more young people watch our show than other shows on Showtime, so…but I think more males watch Shameless and this is more female driven.

How did you first become with the film? Was it something you went after?

This is something that I went after, that I targeted, because I was a big fan of Richard [LaGravenese] and his writing and I really wanted to play this character when I read the script, and then I read the first book and had the opportunity to audition, because it’s such a different brand of villain. First off, I’ve never done anything like that, and this is such a campy, self-indulgent fun character that I embraced the chance to not play within the world of dark poverty and reality that we play on our show.

What was it about the character that made you need the role?

Well, I guess in the film with the addition of the flashback that isn’t present in the book, it kind of explains more about her transformation from young to embracing her dark side. And I read the book and I liked all of the backstory that I found in there, and then aside from reading all of the books and initially dabbling in some research about wicca and spellcasting – which I thought might inspire me somehow – I started stumbling upon powerful goddesses and the one that I hooked into was Freyja, a Norse goddess who is beautiful and very sensual and definitely seen as a dark power because of how she encourages people to do bad things. And also because in some of the stories she’s shown as the person who leads people into the underworld when they’re dead. So for me, that kind of combination of darkness with allure was something that I wanted to bring to Ridley.

You mentioned that you read the first book, but did you read the other books as well, or did you not want the future of the character to influence your performance?

I tried not to because I didn’t know if we would have that opportunity, because I didn’t know if it would go in the same direction. In future books you find out more about her past as well, so I kind of used it for that.

I actually didn’t know that the origin story wasn’t in the books. Were you able to contribute your own ideas in the development of that scene?

My only contribution to that is kind of imagining the physicality of what a claiming would look like, because that’s not something that’s described in any way as a kind of seizure – but that was kind of my approach to it.

It’s an interesting part of the mythology in this movie that casters come of age and either side with the light or the dark. But because of events in the Duchannes family history it seems as though there was never really a chance that Ridley would go with the light side. And this is kind of touched on in the movie, but do you think that Ridley would have necessarily turned evil if not for the curse?

I think Ridley’s just bad. She’s a bad girl. She maybe isn’t all bad, but I think that the grey area is more black than white.

Given your commitment to Shameless, and a TV show is a pretty big commitment in Hollywood, was there ever any hesitation on your part in terms of taking on a potential franchise – again, another commitment?

Yeah, if this works then these two things take over my life. But that’s a high class problem to have.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.