ABOVE PHOTO: Viola Davis as Amma in Alcon Entertainment’s supernatural love story “Beautiful Creatures,” in theaters Feb. 14, 2013.
By Cherie Saunders
In The Help, Viola Davis famously played a maid who discovers her own power.
Her new film Beautiful Creatures is based on a book in which her character Amma is also a maid – but with telepathic power.
All dark magic aside, the maid part of the deal, for Davis, caused initial hesitation in moving forward with the role.
“As soon as I saw that Amma was a housekeeper, my radar went up because of ‘The Help,’ Davis told us during interviews for the film last weekend in Los Angeles. “I said, ‘I can’t be another housekeeper.’”
Thankfully for Davis, the maid part of Amma didn’t survive the big screen adaptation. The main story, however, is still in tact. Young Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich), who yearns to escape his small town existence, falls for the mysterious Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert), a new girl in town who possesses strange powers that threaten their budding romance. On her 16th birthday, Lena must undergo the Claiming, a process that will decide whether her claimed powers will forever be light or dark.
In the book, Davis’ Amma is an elderly maid as well as a seer who communicates with her powerful ancestors called “The Greats.” Davis said director Richard LaGravenese “absolutely forbade” them to read the book, because his film would be a total re-imagining. “But I read half of it anyway,” Davis admitted. And that’s when she realized her character is a maid…and that she would have to schedule a little sit-down with her director. “I told him I don’t wanna be seen with a mop, or an apron, or a sponge.”
In LaGravenese’s version, opening nationwide on Valentine’s Day, Amma remains a seer who communicates with her ancestors, but she’s now a librarian friend of Ethan’s mother – not a housekeeper. Her character is a combination of the book’s Amma and Marian, the latter a librarian who has a PhD.