New Vampire Academy featurette where Richelle Mead talks about how VA characters have depth and are relatable.
New Vampire Academy featurette where Richelle Mead talks about how VA characters have depth and are relatable.
PenguinTeenAus, publishers of Richelle Mead’s books in Australia went live with their first TV episode and they brought us an interview of Richelle Mead, talking about Silvers Shadows (Bloodlines, 5) and Age of X. What is it about the new project?
Richelle Mead has been interviewed for SciFiNow and talks about the cast:
“Dimitri’s also strong, loyal, and intensely fierce when it comes to protecting those in his charge. He’ll walk up against formidable odds without blinking an eye, if someone he cares about or has sworn to protect is in danger. And despite his stoic exterior, we get to see that he has a passionate heart within and is capable of huge emotion when in love.
“Add all of that up, and it’s no wonder he has so many fans! That being said, I wasn’t trying to create any perfect storm of attributes when I wrote him, and it’s been amazing seeing the loyalty of his fan base develop. My biggest goal was creating a romantic interest who could balance Rose. Where she’s risky and impulsive, he’s steady and calm. Together, they make an unstoppable team.”
“It’s really amazing not just how much they look like the characters, but that they actually have their personalities down as well. Zoey has such energy and sass and totally understands Rose’s sense of humour. When she’s in the room, people know it!
“At the same time, Zoey’s got this really strong core of inner fierceness and protectiveness. She was so concerned about me overheating under set lights during my visit and made sure I had lots of water. Back then, I was hiding my pregnancy, so she had no idea how much I appreciated her extra care!
“Danila likewise has that strength and stoicism that Dimitri has, which cleverly hides a wealth of humour and emotion within. The other cast members looked up to him exactly the same way the characters do to Dimitri in the books, with a mix of awe and reverence. And yet, despite their larger-than-life presences, he and Zoey are both so totally down to earth and approachable. You instantly feel comfortable around them.”
Richelle Mead told Buzzfeed 16 things to know about Vampire Academy!
1) How did you get the idea for this story, and what was the inspiration?
There’s no one real source for it, it was kind of a coming together of a lot of different elements. I had taken Eastern European mythology classes in college and there were a lot of great Russian/Romanian vampire stories. That was kind of where I found the Moroi and Strigoi story and then I turned that into my own world. That was one element of it. Another is that I had just really wanted to write a young heroine like Rose who was so funky and in your face and fearless. Sometimes too fearless, but who had the potential to transform throughout the series. So I’ve always wanted to tell a story like that, and when I decided to pick up on the Romanian vampire myth, it just seemed like a natural idea to merge the two and make that the backdrop of the story.
2) Where did the character Rose come from? Was she based on anyone?
Nope, she was just someone I wanted to write. You know, people say, “Oh, are you like Rose?” and if anything, I’m the opposite of Rose; I’m a much more cautious thinking person. Whereas Rose, you know, she’ll act first, ask questions later, and I just really wanted to write someone like that who was so spunky and bold and brave and follow her transformation. Despite her being so outgoing and fearless, it can sometimes get her into trouble and so throughout the series she needs to learn how to temper that and mature, and that’s a fun journey to do.
How about Lissa? Is she based on anyone?
Nope. I don’t base my characters off of anyone, I’m pretty sure you’ll lose friends that way because they’re never going to be happy with what you do to their characters. Lissa is from my head as well, she’s kind of a counterbalance to Rose, a calming influence, and I was really fascinated by the whole bodyguard thing combined with the bond and how it can enhance their friendship, and that helps me create their characters.
3) What was your favorite scene to write about in the first book?
Probably the whole ending sequence, which is a series of scenes, is my favorite. The endings are always my favorite when I’m writing a book. That’s what everything is building towards, all the clues, all the momentum, and so when I get to write that it’s really gratifying and it usually goes really fast, especially in comparison to the rest of the book.
Is that what you’re looking forward to most in the movie? Also, have you seen the movie?
Yes, I’ve seen a nearly finished version of it, not the final, but pretty close. The ending was what I was definitely looking forward to, and I love what they did with that. They helped resolve all the main action points, they tweaked a few things, which made it better on the screen and more fun to watch. So overall, I’m really excited about that.
4) Were you on set for the movie at all?
I was on set for about two days. They filmed it in London and I live in Seattle with small children, so I couldn’t spend a lot of time over there, but I did go for a couple of days and see some scenes with the cast and it was definitely a lot of fun.
What scenes did you see?
I saw Christian using fire magic in class, although of course there was no fire because they add that with CGI after, but it was a lot of fun to see the person he set on fire pretending to be on fire when there was no actual flames. The other scene I saw was an early scene where Rose and Dimitri have their first confrontation, so that was a big action sub-sequence I actually got to witness, which was pretty cool. They were in full stunt mode with harnesses and gear and all kinds of things there.
That must be so fun to watch everything come to life.
Yeah, definitely. They do so many takes and there’s so much detail into it when they’re filming, and it’s amazing to see what took three hours of filming pushed down into one minute of a scene, but that’s what it takes — you have to put a lot of time into it.
5) Who’s chemistry did you love the most on set? Did you see enough of it [to judge]?
I think most of what I saw was just the cast in general as a group, but they had really great chemistry and they all got along and they would go out together afterwards and they still keep in touch now after filming. You could just get that vibe from them when you were around them on set and you can tell they really like each other and they joke with each other, and I think that translated really well onto the screen, that camaraderie they had. I just loved that they had fun doing the filming! I would hate to have an amazing movie that everyone hated to make, but they loved what they were doing and it really shows.
Yeah, and I can totally see Zoey portraying Rose’s personality of like, this sassy and bold character.
She does! She’s got that same fiery attitude. I always say people know when she’s in the room because she has that kind of magnet to her.
6) Did anyone reach out to you to get more info and fact-check for the movie?
Yeah, Mark Waters, the director, would fact check with me. If he needed more clarification about somebody in the world he would ask me. Also occasionally there would be a question like, if they did “x, y, or z,” would that affect some future book I wrote, and that was a nice courtesy for them to do that and check in with things. For the most part, though, they did their movie; I didn’t screen write or produce or anything like that, which is totally fine by me. It’s a daunting business, so I would just let them do it.
7) Are there any big changes, or is it pretty true to the book?
I think it’s pretty true to the book. There are changes, of course, which happens with book/film transition because they’re different mediums. And also, when you’re trying to make a story that will read well on screen to new viewers, you have to change some things. So yeah, they changed some things, but there was nothing major. They didn’t alter a critical plotline or something that people are expecting to happen from the books that isn’t going to happen; all the big points are there, and every change they did make was smart and they had a reason. It wasn’t just like, “Let’s mess with this story.” There was always a reason for why they changed something, and I really appreciated that.
8) Vampire Academy seems to have a pretty dedicated fan base, but looking through internet comments about the trailer, it seems like people are pretty split on the comedy angle and worried that it’s just a Mean Girls with vampires. Do you feel it’s like that? Do you think it’s still serious?
Yeah, it’s just like the books as far as being mostly serious with a good, healthy sense of humor. I’ve tried to reassure people that it’s not a comedy, it’s not a parody, but I know people are still worried. It was a marketing decision to play up the humor because there’s a lot of very serious paranormal YA books that have not done well, and if those weren’t pulling in a new audience there wouldn’t be a reason to think we would as well, and so this was their approach to get people outside of the readership. I mean, the books themselves have more humor than some of our other series that are out there in this genre, and so they really played that up in the previews. Also, they certainly cited the Waters brothers’ credits a lot to try and draw in their fan base. It actually worked, and it scares the fans because they know it’s a serious story, and they’re worried — but they shouldn’t, and it’s pulled in new viewers and I think that’s great. So I think when fans get to the theaters to see it, they’ll understand that it was just a marketing angle; they [the trailers] were highly edited commercials and previews and there’s still plenty serious and plenty dark and they don’t need to worry.
!!!!!SPOILER ON THE SERIES IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT ALL, BEWARE!!!!!!!
9) Is there a character you wish you had or hadn’t killed?
No, I stand by all my decisions. I think there’s a lot of readers who want me to have a lot of remorse for some of the characters, or they want me to cry. They ask me a lot, “Did you cry over that?” and I’m just like, “No, I really didn’t,” and they’re like, “Ah, you’re so heartless.” But you know, I don’t kill people arbitrarily; there’s a reason. It moves the series along or affects someone’s character development, so, for that reason I don’t feel so bad if it’s serving a greater good and wasn’t put there to traumatize fans. I feel bad more for the fans actually than I do the characters. I get a lot of fan emails from people, especially when they read Frostbite and Shadow Kiss. So to them, I am sorry, but hopefully they felt better by the end of the series.
Yeah, I was really torn about Mason, but I eventually understood and came to terms with it.
Yeah, it’s tough. It was really hard meeting Cameron Monaghan knowing what happens to Mason. Cameron is such a nice guy, and so the whole time I was on set ,I kept thinking, Oh, poor Cameron.
Does he know?
Yeah, he knows.
Is there anything you would change about any of the books?
No, I’m happy with the characters and plot. I think as a writer there’s always a part of me that’s like, I could have revised that or hammered out the writing a little, and things like that, but there’s no choice or storyline I wish I had altered; I like how it all turned out.
10) So in the first book, there’s a scene where Rose and Dimitri are in the car and he explains that if he were turned Strigoi, he would want to be killed. Did you always have his fate in mind for Shadow Kiss?
Yeah, I had the series planned out when I wrote the first book. I knew that was going to happen and how things were going to resolve, so that was definitely seeded early on.
Was it the same for Sonya Karp? Did you always know she would be turned back [to a Moroi]?
Yep, I knew we would revisit Sonya a lot.
11) Was it fun to write Dimitri’s evil demeanor in Blood Promise?
It was hard, actually! It was one of the most difficult writing paths, I’d say, having to write evil Dimitri. And he has quite a following — like, there are people who wish he stayed evil, which surprises me. But yeah, that was especially difficult because I needed him to still be compelling and eventually be likable when he was restored. It was a really tricky balancing act to do that to someone, and to show that side of them.
Besides writing about Dimitri’s Strigoi phase, was there any scene or book that was particularly hard to write?
The first book in any series is difficult to write because you have to get to know a new character, so I think as far as the next most difficult thing that I had to write, [it] was Bloodlines, the first book in the spin-off series of Vampire Academy, just because it was a transition for me to be writing about the same world but to be writing from a different character’s point of view — because I was so used to doing Rose’s voice when talking about Moroi and Strigoi, and so that required a whole new mind-set for me, and you really have to get to know that new character in that book. By the second book it was easy again since we were in our groove, but that was probably my next most challenging thing.
12) Does Dimitri end up reconnecting with his family later on?
That is a question I’m asked so much. And I’m surprised because I never thought that much about it, I guess, when I finished the series, but people are so excited to know if he did. There is actually just a short story out in an anthology called Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction and it’s got a bunch of stories by a bunch of different authors and I have one in there called Homecoming and it actually is about Dimitri and Rose going back to Russia after Last Sacrifice and seeing his family.
13) So toward the end of Last Sacrifice, Rose and Lissa discover they are no longer bonded. Was that a hard thing for you to write [emotionally]?
It was actually kind of a relief because I think it would be easier on them in the long run, to be free of each other in that way. They needed to go on and try to live their own lives, and their friendship would still endure even without that, so I was OK doing it.
And Lissa’s darkness will remain and possibly worsen?
Yeah, she has to fight it on her own now; all spirit users do, they have to carry that burden. She’s still got it.
Can anyone take it from her by using the spirit power? Like the couple in Russia in Blood Promise?
It can certainly help to lighten it, but as long as she’s a spirit user, it’s always going to start creeping back. But yeah, there are definitely ways to try and mitigate it without the spirit power and also with her choices and how she uses it.
14) Is there anything else you can tell us that happens to the characters beyond the books? Like things you imagined?
No, I can’t tell you because maybe I’ll write some more books about them! I have to keep that under wraps, but I’ve definitely thought about what would happen to the characters after the fact. And then in Bloodlines we touch base with them, we find out what’s going on with Rose and Lissa and all that, so we don’t quite leave them as it is, but I’ve definitely thought about other things in the world.
15) So for the other books, should they continue being adapted to film, whose character are you most excited to see on screen?
Adrian, since he’s the next big one that’s introduced. I’m looking forward to that but I’m sure it will be controversial no matter who’s picked because that’s how it goes. People will always have their favorites and they may or may not get chosen, but I’m excited to see what happens with that.
Do you have a dream casting for him?
Nope, I’ve never had a cast in mind and I think it makes it easier on me, and I’m pretty flexible on who ends up there.
Check out the interview here: Buzzfeed
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
Richelle Mead talked to USA Today about the movie, the cast, the characters…and plays a quick questions game.
How amazing was it watching your characters come alive on the big screen?
Richelle: It’s been incredible. They did such an amazing casting job, not only picking people who look the part but also those who really understand the characters. Lucy Fry, for example, read the book repeatedly and researched grief and loss to better channel Lissa’s personality. Zoey Deutch, meanwhile, practically has Rose’s spunky and fearless personality already! You see it when you meet her. All of the actors, big or small, managed to deliver their roles and really capture the power and emotion of the characters that I originally intended in the book.
That’s amazing, and I can’t wait to see it! What will hard-core book fans love about the movie?
Richelle: Longtime fans are going to love seeing some of their favorite scenes brought to life: Rose and Dimitri training, Lissa and Christian meeting in the attic, and so many more. There are also some favorite lines of dialogue from the book that got put in word-for-word, so readers can be on the lookout for those.
Will vampire fans who have never read the VA series understand and love the movie?
Richelle: They will. In fact, most of the changes (which are small), were made to help clarify some of the world rules and races for new fans. That’s always the tricky thing with a book-to-movie adaptation. Often, they cater too much to established readers or too much to new ones. This movie has the right balance, keeping all the detail and complexity longtime fans will love but still being totally accessible to newcomers.
Any funny stories from the shooting or about the cast?
Richelle: I was only on set for two days, and most of that time, I was just star-struck at seeing everything come to life. Everyone, cast and crew alike, worked so hard, and it was incredible how much time and energy went into making every detail perfect. I know the cast became good friends and hung out a lot, so I bet if you ask them, they’ve got a lot of funny stories to tell about each other!
I bet! Will there be adaptations of the other VA books?
Richelle: Nobody knows yet. It will depend on if this first movie is successful, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Which movie character is exactly like you pictured in the book?
Richelle: It’s hard to pick one. So many of them are just so close. Zoey Deutch (Rose), Cameron Monaghan (Mason), and Dominic Sherwood (Christian) are pretty spot-on, but really, almost everyone else is right up there with them. The casting was fantastic.
Now for some rapid-fire questions …
Salty or Sweet?
Favorite writing snack?
Current book you’re reading?
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.
Book you’re most looking forward to in 2014?
Idols by Margaret Stohl.
Favorite childhood book?
Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery.
Alan Rickman’s Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
Last movie you saw in theaters?
The Desolation of Smaug.
Give readers an epic one-liner to leave with?
For something truly epic, go check out the Vampire Academy movie in theaters!
Source: USA Today