Richelle Mead was interviewed by Detroit Free Press on the movie and her inspiration.
“While I was at U-M, I took a class on Eastern European folklore. … When I sat down to write something for teens, I was thinking about something I didn’t write before. The vampire craze had taken over as well. I remembered my class at U-M. I found this Romanian story about different races of vampires, and that’s what I used to build the basis of the ‘Vampire Academy’ world, so the different types appearing in the book — strigoi (traditional immortal vampires who kill), moroi (mortal vampires who can be in sunlight and feed without killing), dhampir (a vampire-human hybrid) — come from Romanian mythology”
“I just really wanted to write a young, strong heroine who was bold, fearless and in-your-face with room to grow. She starts out almost too bold and fearless, so I really wanted someone to look up to and needed to grow throughout the series. So I just merged her into this vampire world I conceived”
How does your “Vampire Academy” series stand out from other vampire franchises — “Twilight,” “The Vampire Diaries” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”?
My impression is that my vampires have a very strong world-building universe element. Certainly, it’s about vampires living out in the world — which I know you have with all these other series — but there’s also a very detailed, well-developed civilization and background as well, which I think is different. Also, the source is different, coming from Romanian myths; it’s taken a different stance.
Why have vampires been such a mainstay in popular culture?
Oh my goodness … that’s the million-dollar question right there. I think about that a lot and my answer changes. My current theory — which may be different tomorrow — is that we’re fascinated by the paranormal, by the fantastic. Right there, they’ve got that going for them. Because they look human, because they have human motivation, vampires are very relatable paranormal creatures. You get something too fantastic and too out there, it’s very interesting to read about but we as the reader can’t identify with them and understand their angst, their hopes and their desires. Whereas with a vampire, you can walk that line; you’ve got the mysterious and the supernatural. But at the same time, it’s something we can connect with and get on board with.
Talk about seeing your work turned into a feature film.
It’s a surreal experience. It comes and goes. There’s times when I get used to everything going on; it seems like a normal part of life. Then there’s other times I’ll see a commercial on TV and it takes on a whole new surreal level. It’s definitely a strange experience. It took me a while to understand how the publishing industry works. Understanding Hollywood is a whole new beast unto itself. Definitely nothing I’ve been prepared for, but it’s been fun. We’ve got a really great team working on the movie … so I’m pretty pleased with the way it’s all coming together.
Could you talk about Zoey Deutch, the daughter of “Back to the Future” actress Lea Thompson, who plays Rose?
She’s fantastic. Her real personality is almost like Rose’s: outgoing, fearless. When she’s in a room, you know it — she draws that kind of attention, has that kind of magnetism. She’s very strong and capable too, which isn’t a surprise because Lea Thompson is a very strong, independent woman. … It really comes through in the role. She’s been great throughout this whole process.
Are you happy with the rest of the cast?
Yeah, I really am. I love that they picked such a young, new cast. Most of them are actors who aren’t associated with some other major character, which is nice. Maybe this’ll be their defining role. (The filmmakers) did a really nice job of hand-picking everybody. … They really went in and analyzed each character’s personality and also took into consideration how the characters interacted with each other, so they had some of them audition in groups because they wanted to gauge group chemistry. … I think it shows in the final product. Every cast member really gets who they’re playing and that comes out in the film.
Source: Free Detroit Press