Is it true that “Beautiful Creatures” star Alice Englert is the daughter of director Jane Campion?
—Anna McQuillan, Jersey City, N.J.
That is a yes. Englert, 18, is the daughter of Campion, who won an Oscar for the screenplay for “The Piano,” and filmmaker Colin Englert.
Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, her parents divorced when she was 7, so she hung out on the sets of her mother’s films when she was growing up, landing her first leading role at age 8 in her mother’s short film, “The Water Diary.”
“When I was growing up, I was so unaware that there was anything unusual about my life,” Englert says. “For example, I had no idea how influential my mother was because, for a very long time, I didn’t realize that it was weird for women to make films.”
Still, with both parents in the business, it would seem natural for Englert to follow her parents into the family trade, but she says it is strange. “I don’t find there to be much natural about this job, but I do feel as if I was compelled to be here in this industry in some capacity no matter what,” she says. “I just didn’t actually know anything else. I can’t understand how to do anything else, so what would I do with myself if it wasn’t attempting to do the best job I can in stories?”
And while the list of films on Englert’s resumé is short, with her major credits being “In Fear” and “Ginger & Rosa,” she initially turned down “Beautiful Creatures,” feeling it was too similar to other movies. Eventually, though, she broke down and read the script and recognized there was more to it.
“I was in England working on ‘Ginger & Rosa,’ and I auditioned for this,” she recalls. Director Richard LaGravenese “had come over to audition a couple of other boys for Ethan, and I went in and met him and just adored him. I did one audition and then I got it. There had been a lead up beforehand where we had been circling each other for a while. I had been playing hard to get with not many tools, as I was a total nobody.”