The premise for Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy book series reads like the ultimate young adult fiction Mad Libs. In the book, a vampire named Rose Hathaway is forced to return to her magical boarding school. There, her friendships are put to the test thanks to a blossoming romance and the rise of a great evil. YAF 101.
As routine as Vampire Academy may seem, Mead's novels have an ardent following. The casting of up-and-comer Zoey Deutch (Beautiful Creatures) in the upcoming film adaptation by Mark Waters (Mean Girls) left the passionate fanbase in a tizzy, and the next big name to join the project will surely stir up controversy as only these types of movies can do. Oblivion star Olga Kurylenko will star alongside Deutch as Headmistress Ellen Kirova, the Dumbledore to Vampire Academy's Harry Potter. In the books, Rose describes her as being "a vulture." Kurylenko can certainly go there, personality wise.
Is Vampire Academy headed on track to actually become the next Twilight or Harry Potter, or is the series destined to the fate of romance-infused franchise hopefuls like Beautiful Creatures? Kurylenko has blockbuster credits to her name, but she's not a dramatic standout in the vein of the Potter ensemble. This could be a role that continues her climb to stardom… if the role fits.
Come, members of Fanpire Academy. Weigh in on Kurylenko and tell us why Vampire Academy is the series that's going to break the mold as Hollywood continues to translate popular books to the big screen.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
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We have our Rose, Lissa, and Dimitri!
Fans of the Vampire Academy series and the upcoming film adaptation of the first novel were anxiously awaiting a mystery announcement teased after the official Facebook page for the movie hit over 250,000 fans. And as promised, the casting announcement for the three leads was released Friday afternoon, as well as a name change. The first movie will now be called Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters, which is the title of the German version of the series.
Zoey Deutch will portray main character Rose Hathaway, Lucy Fry will play Lissa Dragomir, and Danila Kozlovsky will take on Dimitri Belikov. All three are relative newcomers: Deutch had a role on the CW show Ringer as Sarah Michelle Gellar's stepdaughter Juliette, Fry was on H20: Just Add Water, and Kozlovsky is a Russian superstar but unknown in the US.
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As a big fan of Richelle Mead's series myself, I was torn between these choices for the leads. While I appreciate the relative unknown status of the three (this is going to be a large franchise with six books, and it's better to start with a clean slate than go the route of casting Cedric Diggory as Edward Cullen...), I'm still unsure on the casting of Deutch as Rose for a couple reasons. First, she's isn't that unknown. Before her role on Ringer, she was also a big part of Disney Channel's Suite Life On Deck's final season, as well as in the upcoming movie Beautiful Creatures. But the major issue I have with Deutch is that she is too delicately pretty. Rose Hathaway is an infamous dhampir (half human, half vampire bodyguard-in-training), fierce, tough, and deadly with a fiery personality to boot. She is described as a curvy, exotic Turkish/Irish mixture. This gives her long, dark hair and tan olive skin. Rose can take down any opponent in a physical fight, whether it's another dhampir, a human male twice her size, or a Strigoi (an undead evil vampire with inhuman strength). Deutch does not exude that same strength that makes Rose who she is. You can't fake that kind of inherent toughness. Rose can intimidate anyone with just a threat of violence because her reputation is so well-known. I'm not confident that Deutch portray that.
As for Princess Lissa, Rose's best friend and the last remaining Dragomir alive, I don't have any problems with Fry. She has the exact look for Lissa, pale skin for a Moroi (the good, living vampires), light blonde hair, and a kind, gentle demeanor. Lissa is elegant and polite, the sweet to balance Rose's spicy. Let's just hope she can hide her Australian accent well, as Lissa is of Romanian descent.
The last of the main three is Dimitri, Rose's mentor. In the books, he is described as a god, the best of all the dhampirs. Deadly, yet with a gentle side that hardly ever comes out, Dimitri is supposed to be an enormous 6 foot 7, made of muscles, with shoulder-length hair and never without a long, black, leather jacket/duster. And the most important aspect is his Russian descent, as he speaks with a slight accent. And this is why I'm torn on the casting of Kozlovsky. As a native Russian, he will bring authenticity to the role, but physically he just doesn't strike an imposing figure. He doesn't have the kind of presence that you immediately notice and fear.
Back when I was dreamcasting VA, I thought perhaps Supernatural's Jared Padalecki could fit the bill. He's enormously tall and muscular, he's already got the hairstyle down pat, and we know he can play both the badass good guy and the evil, deadly villain (I won't explain why the latter is necessary to play Dimitri, no spoilers here!). All he needed was a little coaching on the accent.
But despite all the fans' complaints, celebrations, groans, and squeals, Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters has been cast, and for better or worse we have our main characters. Daniel Waters, who wrote the iconic Sundance comedy Heathers, has written the script and his brother, Mean Girls helmer Mark Waters, will direct the film. Casting is in full swing for a summer shoot.
What do you think of the casting? Are you happy with our Rose, Lissa, and Dimitri? What do you think of the name change? Hit the comments below and let us know how you feel!
[Photo Credit: Penguin Publishing; WENN; Getty Images; IMDB]
Follow Sydney on Twitter @SydneyBucksbaum
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