Friday, October 11, 2013

Case Study No. 1046: Amarie "Amma" Treadeau

Beautiful Creatures - Viola Davis Interview
For more coverage visit http://www.HIT and follow us at http://www.twit . Viola Davis discusses her character Amma and the differences between the books and the film. The actress is also happy to be casted for a non-stereotypical role.
Tags: beautiful creatures interviews partner original richard lagravenese viola davis trailer teaser coming soon movie film official clips story video promo media show cinema theatre studio box office review preview listings HD HQ 2013 new latest hitfix hitfixcom hitfix dotcom hitflix Interview
Added: 8 months ago
From: hitfixcom
Views: 674

[scene opens with a clip from the "Beautfiul Creatures" film, as Amarie Treadeau is speaking with the two main protagonists (Lena Duchannes and Ethan Wate) inside the Caster Library]
AMMA: Close your eyes. See with your mind what you're lookin' for, as if you've already found it.
[she holds Lena's hands, when a door behind them opens by itself]
AMMA: [whispers] I knew it ...
[cut to the actress playing Amma being interviewed]
DANIEL FIENBERG: So the character you're playing ... in the book, she's kind of two different characters. But the character you're playing isn't really a combination of those two, she's kind of her own thing.
DANIEL FIENBERG: What was your role in shaping who she is now?
VIOLA DAVIS: Well, Richard LaGravenese wrote it like that, and I'm thankful that he did. I'm thankful that it was a re-imagining of a character, because um ... I read half the book, even though Richard LaGravenese forbade us to read the book, but I didn't wanna be a seventy-, y'know, an eighty-year old housekeeper and maid that'd been in the family for years.
[cut to raw footage of Viola in the film]
VIOLA DAVIS: [in voice over] I feel like I've seen it before, and I didn't wanna be in a movie placed in 2013, where I ... in the South, where I was a character in servitude. I think that that needs to be redefined. I don't think that every black woman in the South in 2013 is a maid ...
[cut back to Viola being interviewed]
VIOLA DAVIS: And um, and as far as Marian is concerned, y'know, she was kind of the Keeper and the librarian, and she was kind of an ambiguous character. I wanted Amma to be a combination of the realistic, of understanding how she fit into this community and this family, and the mystical. That makes sense, because everyone else is like that, so why can't I?
DANIEL FIENBERG: Well, I had read the book before you were cast, and I was tremendously relieved to see that they were changing the character for you, because I was sort of worried when I saw that you were cast in that role--
VIOLA DAVIS: Yeah, mm-hmm.
DANIEL FIENBERG: I'm like, "Huh. That's--"
VIOLA DAVIS: I didn't wanna spraypaint my hair grey and like, y'know ...
DANIEL FIENBERG: Well, there was sort of a "been there, done there." Y'know, she did ... she did that role already, and so I was glad to see they were shaping it. Now, was it, did Richard already tell you right up front, "I wanna go a different direction with this"? Or did he reassure you--
VIOLA DAVIS: No, he didn't explain himself. I liked that. I liked that he didn't explain himself, didn't apologize about it, he said this is who she is. Y'know, um ... And y'know what? Here's the thing. I like when people use their imagination when it comes to me. I appreciate that, I-I'm thankful for that. So, mm-hmm.
[cut to more footage of Viola in the film]
DANIEL FIENBERG: [in voice over] Now, you were the first person on this movie. What pressure did that sort of put on you, knowing that things were sort of being built around you--
VIOLA DAVIS: [in voice over] I didn't know that I was the first person!
[he laughs]
DANIEL FIENBERG: [in voice over] You, you were apparently the first actor cast, so--
[cut back to Viola being interviewed]
VIOLA DAVIS: Oh, okay! I had no idea, so I'm glad I didn't know, so I didn't feel the pressure. But, um ... I don't like pressure!
[she laughs]
VIOLA DAVIS: But, um ... You know what? That's not true, because I probably wouldn't have felt the pressure. I'm not so kinda self-focused where I feel like, "Everything is built around me! It's about me me me me me!" Y'know, I feel like the script, um, dictated everything and Richard LaGravenese dictated everything. So--
DANIEL FIENBERG: Now Amma has this sort of supernatural side to it, and in the book it's sort of fairly straightforward voodoo type thing.
[cut to more footage of Viola in the film]
DANIEL FIENBERG: [in voice over] But in the movie, it looks like you've gone back further than that. You've gone deeper than just ... "It's a voodoo thing."
[cut back to Viola being interviewed]
VIOLA DAVIS: Yeah. I mean, I had to do a lot of research into my ancestry ... um, Amma's ancestry. African American ancestry. Um, in the Civil War, where we were slaves and we took a lot of our rituals from Africa. The Yoruba tribe, the Orishas, and the Mandinka tribe. And so, I felt like, y'know ...
[she motions towards her back]
VIOLA DAVIS: And the tribal scars on our backs, so I felt like I had to do a lot of research on that, and I felt like that was absolutely ... everything that she was, so yeah.
DANIEL FIENBERG: And you were shooting this literally simultaneously with "Ender's Game," weren't you?
VIOLA DAVIS: Yes I was, at the same time.
DANIEL FIENBERG: How ... How hard was that? How complicated was the back-and-forth in New Orleans on those two sets?
VIOLA DAVIS: It wasn't so bad because they weren't huge roles, they're not ginormous roles, y'know? I mean, Amma's more developed in the other stories, and um ... You know what made it easier? Look at the cast, look at the narratives. And then in "Ender's Game," I was working with Gavin Hood, I was working with Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld, and y'know.
[she pauses]
VIOLA DAVIS: When you're working with greatness, it's a lot easier! When you're working with a great narrative, it's a lot easier ... than working with something that's incomplete, then you're really churning and spinning your wheels.



When Viola Davis was initially cast as sassy, ultra-faithful South Carolina housekeeper Amma in "Beautiful Creatures," I initially had some concerns. Fortunately, so did Davis.

"I didn't want to be in a movie placed in 2013, in the South, where I was a character in servitude. I think that that needs to be redefined," Davis told me when we sat down last weekend.

Fortunately, the Amma in Richard LaGravenese's adaptation of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's novel only has vestigial links to the original Amma and ultimately has much more in common with the book's Marian Ashcroft, though she's not exactly Marian either.

"I'm thankful it was a reimagining of a character," the two-time Oscar nominee told me.

When I was on the "Beautiful Creatures" set last summer, Davis wasn't able to talk to the small group of press, a product of a frenzied schedule that had her simultaneously going back and forth between production on "Beautiful Creatures" and "Ender's Game."

In our conversation, Davis remembers that frenzied production pace, discusses the pressures that either do or don't come from being the first actor cast on a movie and talks about going back to her own roots to play this new version of Amma.



Amarie Treadeau, nicknamed and better known as Amma, is one of the main characters of The Caster Chronicles series written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. She is a Seer, meaning she can read the future and can contact the deceased spirits of her family and can read Tarot.

Amma is Ethan Wate's nanny since his early childhood, and is said to have also been his father's nanny back when he was growing up; having seen two generations of the Wate family. She watches over Ethan like that of her own son (often even referring to him as "her boy") and is known to be very protective over him in a motherly fashion, willing to even put her own life on the line for him.

Amarie is Ethan's nanny since he was a boy. She reads tarot cards for the townsfolk for a living and is a "Seer." She is known to make charms and hides them around the house to keep evil spirits away being heavily superstitious. It is told that she took care of his father in addition to Ethan himself after his mother tragically died. She is shown to love Ethan very much like her own son and has a strong mother-son relationship and bond with him. She is also implied to be a motherly figure to Ethan as well.

Amma has also been shown to be able to predict the future through her tarot cards and was able to predict Ethan's death through them before the events of Beautiful Chaos and desperately sought out ways to save him, but was unable to by the end of the novel despite her best efforts. She wept as Ethan threw himself over the edge of the water tower, killing himself, with Macon physically holding her back by her arms as she hysterically wept and sobbed Ethan's death. In Beautiful Redemption, desperate for him to come back, Amma ultimately trades her life for Ethan's; allowing her to take his place in the Otherworld and him hers in the Mortal world.

Film Portrayal
The role of Amma will be played by Viola Davis in the upcoming film adaption of the first book of The Caster Chronicles series, as announced in late February. This role was the first one to be publicly announced.

The film portrayal of Amma will be markedly different from the character as she appears in the books. In the 2012 Comic-Con, it is revealed that the director of the film decided to combine the characters of Marian Ashcroft and Amma to create one "elegant" character of a Seer and Keeper. Therefore, the character Marian (who in the books has her day job as the librarian of the Gatlin County Library and her night job as the Keeper of the Caster Library) will be cut completely from the film.

No comments:

Post a Comment