POPSUGAR Australia caught up with the beautiful and witty Zoey when she was in town — we interviewed her just before she went to see a manatee at Sydney Aquarium — to talk about how this vampire movie is different to ones we’ve seen before, why she “understands” Lucy a lot better after visiting Australia, and why having famous parents isn’t the key to a successful acting career.
PS: What is it that sets Vampire Academy apart from what we’ve seen before, or what’s new about the vampire world?
ZD: I think what sets us apart is that it’s more of a high school movie that a vampire film, in my opinion. It has such an individual sense of humour about itself, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It pokes fun at itself without being a parody. That’s my favourite part about the film: its tone.
PS: Do you relate to Rose?
ZD: Yeah, I do. I definitely think I have a lot in common with her, probably more so in the script than in the book. I’ve always been known to use humour as almost a means of survival, as Rose does. I’m very stubborn and strong-willed, passionate, curious. But one of the main things that I admire in Rose that is so far from me is her absolute, incredible loyalty as a friend. I have that with my family and my boyfriend, but not necessarily with all my friends. And I just think that’s so beautiful and admirable, to be that true of a friend.
PS: The relationship Rose has with Lissa is pretty much the whole film. What did you and Lucy do to bond after you were cast as these two best friends?
ZD: It was very immediate, actually. I’m not particularly someone, as an actress, who likes to form relationships outside of work that reflect those in work, but it just happened. At the audition, I ended up driving her home because she didn’t have a ride, and then when we got the parts, the next day we were baking cookies and I burnt them, as Rose would do. And when we got to London [to shoot], it was pretty natural that our relationship was very similar. I have this innate feeling of needing to protect her, and make sure she’s OK. I tell her she’s confused and angry because she’s actually hungry. And vice-versa — she’s calming for me, and kind, and compassionate, and so not defensive, which is a huge problem of mine. You say one thing to me and I hear a completely different, opposite thing. So we have a very great dynamic. To have done this film and not gotten into one fight is kind of remarkable. We really get on well.
PS: What were the biggest challenges of the shoot? You had a lot of night scenes.
ZD: The biggest challenge was that! It was exhausting. I don’t look forward to a time where I have to do that again. You feel crazy because your body’s not meant to go to bed when everyone’s waking up, and it’s light outside.
PS: I heard you weren’t familiar with the books before you got the role, and then you read some. Have you read all of them?
ZD: No. I read a few.
PS: What did you think of them?
ZD: They’re good! They do what they’re meant to do — they’re entertaining, fun teen books.
PS: And what do you know about their fanbase?
ZD: Well the fanbase is what makes it what it is. The movie would not be in existence if it weren’t for them. I appreciate their passion, as well as their fervent opinions, as a fellow impassioned person myself [laughs]. Though I’m sure it can get a bit critical, I don’t necessarily mind. It’s their right to say how they feel.
– Read more of the interview below the break –
PS: Have you had any strong reactions to any other films that have been based on books you really loved? Like if you loved Harry Potter. . .
ZD: I did, but they did that perfectly. So I have no criticism whatsoever. Maybe Alice in Wonderland I was a little critical of, because it’s my favourite book. It was so beautiful and I really enjoyed it, but I remember feeling very. . . focused on all the little details that perhaps I didn’t expect, but then liked.
PS: This movie has a strong, young cast. What did you and the rest of them get up to away from filming?
ZD: I didn’t have any time. I would get like one day off a week, and it was basically not a day because everyone was asleep when I was awake. But I managed to find time to be with them because I thought it was important for my own sanity. We would go out and get in trouble, and it was fun. It was awesome to be 18 and living in London with a bunch of new friends. It was exciting.
PS: You got to learn a lot of new skills. What was the training and preparation like, and what was your favourite new skill that you learned?
ZD: My favourite aspect of training was the kickboxing, just because I found it to be very therapeutic, as opposed to gym training, which was the most boring, tedious, obnoxious way of exercising, in my opinion, coming from a dancer-yogi-hiker. One move that I think is really helpful is all the chokeholds, because as a woman your punch isn’t going to do much to a 250-pound man. But choking them is going to knock them out, and buy you time to get out of there.
PS: Sarah Hyland is quite different to her Modern Family character. What was she like to work with?
ZD: She’s great. She’s hilarious. We got on immediately. We are both innately loud humans, so together that’s loud to the second power, and very obnoxious to be around, I would imagine.
PS: Do you get to catch up with her while you’re here? [Sarah was also in Australia shooting Modern Family.]
ZD: Yeah, and I see her quite a bit in LA as well. We stay in touch for sure, and we live extremely close to one another, so that’s helpful.
PS: And how about you and Lucy?
ZD: I see more of a future for Lucy and I deciding randomly to take a trip to Bali, out of nowhere, than actually getting lunch in LA, because if you know LA well, we literally live on the other side, and it takes so long, and it’s very difficult to plan. Unfortunately I haven’t seen her as much as I would like to, but travelling and doing press with her, we spend large quantities of time [together]. But we’ll manage; I won’t let her get away [laughs].
PS: Did she teach you much about Australian culture?
ZD: I understand her a lot better after coming here, for sure. She has a very free spirit. And a lot of the food she eats, which is delicious here. She’s so funny. We’re very in tune with each other’s energy and vibe, and the second we landed, she just lit up, more so than she already is. She was so happy to be home. She loves it here.
PS: People may know that you come from a Hollywood family. When did you realise this was something you wanted to do? Is it something you lean towards because you’re exposed to it more?
ZD: I guess someone could make that assumption, but then I think they should reflect on their own lives and think, ‘Because my father thinks this way of a politician, do I have to think that way of a politician?’ Or, ‘If my mother likes this type of food, I have to like this type of food?’ I don’t necessarily believe that to be a constant in everybody’s life. Although there is nature versus nurture; I definitely think being exposed to it gave me wisdom as to how to approach certain situations. And of course it helped me get into rooms, but it doesn’t help me stay in it. No one’s making any favours when there’s money involved.
[To get the role of Rose] I had to get an agent, I had to get a manager. I’ve been auditioning for five years. I had to go to the casting director to have four different auditions, and then meet the director, and then screen test, and then sign the deal. . . It’s exactly how everybody else has it. The greatest benefit of having grown up with my parents is that I understand that rejection is just a constant. I understand that all the fame and publicity is all bullsh*t. I’m an artist, and I’m meant to do the best work that I can. People are gonna say what they’re gonna say, and that’s fine.
PS: Are you bothered by what people say on social media?
ZD: People are mostly just mean to me about my boyfriend! [Zoey dates actor Avan Jogia.] His fans are completely. . . I’m sorry, I mean I get more bullied on social media for being with my boyfriend because [his fans] are very passionate about him. But at the end of the day it’s none of my business what other people think of me, which is ironic when you have Twitter and you’re constantly looking at it. But if I’m putting myself in a position to see it, then I really can’t be offended by it. And they have every right to say what they want.
PS: I noticed you got to go to quite a few fashion week shows in New York. What was like that? Are you into fashion?
ZD: Of course the photos look a lot more glamorous than it actually is, but what I love about it is actually seeing the art, and the actual pieces. I really, really appreciate fashion for that way, as another way to express yourself. It was really exciting for me because I want to eventually start to try building a career in that, however long it takes, 30 years or so. But it was exciting for me, and fun.
Source: Popsugar Australia