Before Beastly was a Hollywood movie starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer, it was a novel by Alex Flinn (now a #1 New York Times bestseller), whose last three books have been fascinating retellings of classic fairy tales. We talked to Alex about the book, the movie, and that gorgeous cast: I Heart Daily: What inspired you to write Beastly? Alex Flinn: I always loved the fairy tale, but if you look at the stories closely enough, it has plot holes. With Beauty and the Beast, what interested me was the idea of the characters' parents. In the story, the Beast has none, so I wondered if his family abandoned him because he was a beast. Likewise, it bothered me that Beauty's father allowed her to go and live with the Beast. It seemed like he must not be a very responsible person. And I decided to write about that.
IHD: Is the movie a faithful adaptation of the book? AF: I was able to read the script, and it's pretty faithful. The changes were largely superficial, such as the Beast's appearance, and they changed a few names. The story is much the same.
IHD: How does the casting align with the characters in your mind? AF: The lead actor, Alex Pettyfer, looks exactly as I pictured Kyle. The casting of Neil Patrick Harris as Will also made me very happy. I think Mary-Kate Olsen will be a great Kendra.
Some of the characters were different than described. However, most of the differences weren't hugely important to me. I described Lindy as red-haired, and they cast a very brunette Vanessa Hudgens. However, the most important thing to me was that they didn't cast a typical blonde model. As long as the actress was somewhat unusual-looking, I was happy.
IHD: Any on-set stories to share from when you visited? AF: My older daughter was a bit disappointed that we didn't get to meet Neil Patrick Harris, as we're huge How I Met Your Mother fans, and we'd recently seen him host the Tonys. However, he was wearing these special contact lenses that made him actually blind, so they just led him past us by the hand. When I looked over at my daughter, she looked so freaked out that I was sort of glad she hadn't been called upon to speak to him (We did meet Vanessa and Alex, and she was able to maintain control for those).