Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead Interview on the Movie, the Cast, and Vampires
What was your initial reaction to the first script you were given to read?
Richelle Mead: “I was thrilled, actually. I went into the book-to-movie process with open eyes, fully aware you could get something back that in no way resembles your book. I accepted that; it’s a risk you take. Authors don’t keep the rights that way and so here I was, ‘Okay, what am I going to get? Is it going to be like a werewolf army movie that they totally just morphed it into?’ And I was just so pleasantly surprised how true it was, how it kept all the main points from the book that I felt needed to be there to tell the story in that first volume.
And also, [screenwriter] Daniel Waters kept the things that I tried to do in my books. I don’t try to do all action, all comedy, all romance. It is just kind of layers of that stuff, and he kept that same feel. There’s a little of all of that in there. I don’t think that’s been apparent to people yet because there’s been so little media out there, you know? There’s just been the teaser trailer which was cut to kind of play up the snarky angle, which is one piece of it. All of the other stuff is still totally there: the cutting edge action and drama. He’s got it all there. It’s all mixed together just like I did in the book, which I love.”
When you think of these characters that you created for the Vampire Academy series, do you now picture them as the actors who play them or do you still picture them in your mind as how you wrote them?
Richelle Mead: “Usually how I wrote them still, and sometimes kind of a morphing of the two. [Laughing] They’ve kind of like merged in my head. Since none of the main characters are significantly different enough, it doesn’t clash too much that if I do think of them one way or the other, it’s fine. The one that’s probably going to be hardest for me to think of in my head is Victor Dashkov as Gabriel Byrne. I love that casting choice, but he’s so gorgeous I have a hard time. The Victor in my head is such a villain and I love Gabriel Byrne, and I’m like, ‘No, no, that’s not really him. Gabriel is nice!’ But that’s more of my own personal hang-up and less anything about the casting choice there. But, yeah, I was super thrilled with that when I found out they had him. I’m overall really happy.”
That would be difficult to show in just a two-minute teaser. Was there anything you told Daniel absolutely had to be included in his screenplay? Any particular scene or character that you requested he not change or alter?
Richelle Mead: “No. I had no contact with him prior to that first draft. I was just kind of amazed that I had so little feedback when I finished the script, like there was nothing that really jumped out at me that was like, ‘Oh my gosh! If you do that the entire Vampire Academy universe is going to crumble!’
I think probably the biggest thing I warned him on was there were a couple … I can’t even remember now, but there were some plans initially to tweak some of the characters’ appearances. I did send feedback on that. I said, ‘Fans will forgive certain things but if you significantly alter the appearance of some of the main characters, I think that’s going to be unforgivable.’ And that wasn’t just his call. There were other people who are in on part of that, too, and they definitely heeded that. Some of the periphery characters vary a little from the description, but the key cast stayed pretty true, which I think is great.”
– Read the rest of the interview HERE –