SheKnows: Interview with Richelle Mead

SK: We’re very excited to hear that Vampire Academy is going to be a movie coming out in February of 2014. What is that like as an author, having your book made into a movie? We know Daniel Waters (of Heathers) did the screenplay, but did you have any kind of input? 
RM: I was floored when I found out he was doing it, I had no idea that was in the works until they told me, “look who we got the script by!” I’m a huge, huge fan of his; he’s brilliant and he really gets what I’m trying to do. I don’t believe in one-dimensional stories, and so the books aren’t all action, they aren’t all romance, they aren’t all comedy, it’s just layers within layers. And he really gets that. And so I didn’t have input in the first draft of the script, he wrote all that, and I was just really, really pleased with it. I was so surprised, because you never know what you’re going to get in Hollywood when books become movies. I was like, “wow, this is amazing!” He got the characters, he got the pieces of the story.

There are changes, of course, it would be impossible when you’re dealing with two art forms not to have that happen, but nothing that made me scratch my head and say, “whoa, whoa, what’s this?” He was very respectful and true to the source material. I had a few comments; tiny, tiny things that I can’t even remember what they were that I mentioned back to him and I think they got incorporated in. They were very open to my input, but I don’t know that they needed it! They’d done such a solid job and I was I was really thrilled and surprised by that.

– Read more under the break –

SK: Were you able see any of the filming, or were you able to screen any of the movie?
RM: I was able to do a very brief, 2-day set visit in July. They’re filming in London, so that was a little difficult, since I live on the West Coast. It was a big trip. And I’m pregnant with another young child at home, but I was able to hop over. It was incredible, for me who knows so little about Hollywood, how many people go into making that. And they’re all working so hard and they’re all so excited about the project. It’s their job, but they were really into the characters, the crew was really passionate about what they were doing.

They took the things that I had envisioned and sketched out in my books and brought them into vivid details. They can’t leave anything to chance, like I can. I can say in the book, “oh, we’re in a classroom” and leave it like that, but they have to have the desks, the books, the lesson plans. There are so many tiny things and the team working on it was just phenomenal; they didn’t gloss over anything. That was, I think, the biggest shock for me — these people were so serious about this, this isn’t something they were just half-doing, they were putting their heart and soul into it.

SK: Speaking of the casting, how did the actors cast track with your vision of what your characters look like?
RM: They were very close to it. I mean, no one’s going to be able to take the image directly straight out of my mind — and if they did, I have a feeling I would have hundreds of fans telling me I was wrong anyway. It’s so personal, it’s so personal with books, and that’s what’s great about it. But I think they did a great job. Especially all the leads are so close to what I described, and not just in looks. I think that’s something a lot of people miss. Everyone wants to be their own casting director for these movies when they see these. They look at head shots and match up the characters descriptions, but this cast was also selected on their personalities and abilities to act. Very hand-picked. They had unknowns where they needed, they had much more famous people where needed. It was all kind of on a case-by-case basis, who can bring that character to life.

And the leads! I was amazed meeting them, that they really seemed to capture the spirit of what I had written into the books. I’m really glad they didn’t just go, “oh, she’s blonde, she can play so and so.” I appreciate that they went to that extra effort to get people who embodied their personalities.

Read the rest of the interview where they talk about books, mythology and more VA HERE

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