Stepping out of the van, the heat hits all of us at the same time, and before we’ve even made it halfway up the dirt pathway—to where a sprawling, vine-covered Gothic mansion is quietly redefining the word “imposing”—every one of us is starting to sweat. The person guiding us to our destination points, and we all look around a corner to see what appears to be a checkered ballroom set into the center of a topiary garden. Dozens of elaborately-costumed actors and actresses are milling about: some have foot-tall, brightly-colored hairdos, others have their faces covered in intricate makeup jobs, and all of them must be dying in this swampy heat. Just as we’re starting to make sense of what it is we’re looking at, Jeremy Irons walks by holding a Styrofoam cup of coffee and nods a “Hello” at us.
Earlier this year, I was invited out to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where Warner Bros. and director Richard LaGravenese were bringing the YA novel Beautiful Creatures to life. To say the visit was surreal doesn’t quite do it justice, but I’ll give it a shot. Meet me after the jump to find out what I learned on the Beautiful Creatures set…and why Warner Bros. might have the next, big Twilight-sized YA hit on their hands.