FIRST STILLS From Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters

Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 5:29 PM
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Danila Kozlovsky, right, stars as Dimitri Belikov, the mentor to Zoey Deutch's (left) Rose Hathaway in 'Vampire Academy'
Zoey Deutch as Rose Hathaway in 'Vampire Academy'
Zoey Deutch, left, Lucy Fry and Sarah Hyland, attend 'Vampire Academy,' a highly unusual high school
+ (Read the article from USAToday featuring the new stills underneath!)

'Vampire Academy' brings up a 'brassy' heroine

Vampire Academy director Mark Waters sums up his half-human, half-vamp heroine Rose with one word: moxie.

"She's got a lot of personality, and that fun, brassy energy is what makes Rose interesting," the filmmaker (Mean Girls) says of the character played by Zoey Deutch in the movie, adapted from the first book of Richelle Mead's young-adult series by Waters' brother Daniel (Heathers).

"I love this story and Rose and every aspect of it just as much as any die-hard fan," Deutch says. "I'm stoked for people to see how we've remained loyal to the book but also injected some of our own colors into it."

In theaters Feb. 14, Vampire Academy centers on St. Vladimir's Academy, a school for kids with amazing powers, where Rose is being trained to be a supernatural bodyguard for her best friend Lissa (Lucy Fry), a Moroi princess with whom Rose shares a deep bond. The film begins with them being returned to St. Vladimir's after they've escaped, though dark forces are working within the academy to scare Lissa and leaving threatening messages like "Leave or die."

Mark Waters says Vampire Academy distinguishes itself from Twilight and similar YA fare a few ways.

The vampiric Moroi may live off blood and have magical powers but they're not bad — they're a refined royal culture who don't kill anybody. However, those who choose to go to the dark side and murder become undead immortal creatures known as Strigoi.

Also, while Harry Potter and other YA protagonists are wet behind the ears and have to have their new otherworldly situation explained to them, Rose is not an innocent — she's deeply embedded in this culture, and her aggressive personality is pretty much the polar opposite of Twilight's Bella Swan.

Deutch, 18, says her sense of humor is as brutal as her fighting skills. "Someone who I, Zoey Deutch, would not want to mess with."

Rose may be a very pretty girl but she's got a lot of testosterone, Waters adds. "She has a wicked sense of humor and is openly sexual — when she likes a guy, she goes after him. It's not at all like the shy, demure creatures you'll meet in the YA novels."

And while both Rose and Lissa have love interests, Vampire Academy has more of a "sisters before misters" vibe than its ilk. "The person they're running after at the end of the movie is each other, not the guy," Waters says.

Still, Rose is a teenager with hormones and she's definitely got the hots for her mentor Dimitri, played by Russian actor Danila Kozlovsky.

"For Zoey, she was quite smitten with him in reality, and treating him in the god-like manner they refer to him in the book wasn't much of a stretch for her," Waters says.

The supporting cast also features Joely Richardson as the Moroi Queen Tatiana; Gabriel Byrne as Victor Dashkov, a man close to Rose and Lissa; Modern Family star Sarah Hyland as his geeky daughter Natalie, a friend to both girls; and Olga Kurylenko as Ellen Kirova, the headmistress who clashes with Rose and rules St. Vladimir's with an iron fist.

While Waters was loathe to return to a movie "where I heard locker doors slamming," he and his brother found ways to pump Vampire Academy with subversive comedy a la Mean Girls and Heathers.

"We have this great juicy drama dynamic, where the stakes are particularly high, but that didn't keep us from wanting to inject some of the humor that comes from teenagers trying to get along," Water says.

"You root for these characters like crazy till the bitter end," Deutch adds, "but there are still laughs throughout the whole journey."

Sofia T.
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