“As soon I got announced for the film, my Twitter followers just jumped all of a sudden,” said Sherwood, who plays brooding love interest Christian Ozera. “I had 50 friends following me on Twitter. All of a sudden, it just absolutely exploded.” He now counts almost 17,000 followers.
But so much hype also comes with snap criticism from an intensely devoted fan base. Some already are picking apart the slightest deviations from the books, despite seeing only a few minutes of the film in trailers. Her eyes are wrong! His hair isn’t right! Those outfits aren’t right!
“This film isn’t going to be the way that anyone imagined it to be. There’s no way that any person’s imagination is similar to the person next to them,” said Fry, who plays Lissa and is best known for Australian teen dramas “Lightning Point” and “Mako: Island of Secrets.”
“I hope that people enjoy the life of what it is as something new. It’s exciting that a series that’s so successful and wonderful can keep growing into a different form.”
Mark Waters, who helmed “Mean Girls,” directed the film; his brother, Daniel Waters, who scripted cult classic “Heathers,” adapted the screenplay. That’s a solid teen-comedy pedigree, and some of that humor works its way into “Vampire Academy,” another point of contention for fans envisioning a more serious, straightforward adaptation of Mead’s books.
“As much as I think it’s vital to honor the fans and acknowledge how amazing they are, I think trying to please everybody would just make us all miserable,” said Deutch, who plays Rose. Deutch, the daughter of actress Lea Thompson and director Howard Deutch, appeared on the TV shows “Ringer” and “The Suite Life on Deck.”
“If we have any sort of expectation of how it’s going to be received, we’re going to be disappointed either way. I think that’s applicable to life in general. Luckily – or unfortunately, depends who you talk to – I went to middle school in L.A. It was awful. People made fun of every little thing I did. I think that helped me prepare for the inevitable criticism that awaited with this career and this film.
“If they say something mean about me, I’m not necessarily offended because they’re passionate. They have every right to their own opinion. It’s the Internet What do you expect?”
The relationship between Rose and Lissa drives the film’s plot, much of which happens at a hidden boarding school for Moroi (mortal, peaceful vampires) and Dhampirs (half-vampire/half-human guardians), who work together to fend off Strigoi, the most dangerous of vampires.
None of the actors had previously read the books, but they quickly found elements in their characters to connect with on screen. (“Vampire Academy” also stars Gabriel Byrne, Sarah Hyland, Cameron Monaghan and Joely Richardson.)
“I instantly connected to Lissa in that I felt her sensitivity and her kind of dreaminess,” Fry said with a laugh. “She kind of has this ethereal energy that’s a little bit disconnected from reality. Sometimes I can be a bit like that.”
Deutch, who has a scrappy, wry energy in person, said her sense of humor won her the part of Rose. It was then just a matter of putting in the work to align the rest of the pieces.
“I really had to work on the physical aspect of the character. She has an innate ability to fight. She has heightened senses. I had never been to a gym,” she said. The transformation included three months of gym training, kickboxing and martial arts.
“In a lot of ways, I’m a lot like Rose. But I don’t necessarily let my flaws define me. I think that’s one of Rose’s flaws. She thinks if people can’t deal with her at her worst then they can’t have her at her best. It’s that kind of mentality, which is lethal and toxic, especially for a teenager.”