The Weinstein Company
Although we’ve seriously moved on from all things vampire, we think Vampire Academy might be able to make them cool again. In recent years, zombies, witches, and werewolves have surpassed vampires in the high school hierarchy, but that could all change when Vampire Academy hits theaters on Feb. 14.
Vampire Academy is based on the widely popular book series by Richelle Mead that first came out in 2007. The film adaptation combines two heavy-hitters in teen Hollywood movies. It’s directed by Mark Waters, who also brought us Mean Girls, while the script was co-written by Daniel Waters, who wrote the cult-classic Heathers (which some have described as the ‘80s version of Mean Girls.) With such great people on board, how could Vampire Academy not be a hit?
After watching the trailer, fans of the series will notice that many of the best scenes from the book have made it into the film — it seems very little has been changed in the adapting process. An exclusive clip released by MTV gave us a longer look at one of those scenes. The fast paced dialogue is on par with many of the best teen dramas and the characterization of the main players seems to be spot on.
From what we can tell, Vampire Academy doesn’t just look like a really cool vampire movie — although it does, even though we hate ourselves for saying it — it looks like it’s going to be a really cool teen movie. (We’re not saying it’s as good as Mean Girls and Heathers just yet, but it could be.)
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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Even before Twilight — or Harry Potter — Hollywood had made a habit of turning beloved books into movie hits. You can thank the vampire craze for the booming genre of young adult fiction in publishing, though, and its success (along with Potter's and The Hunger Games') has paved the way for a booming, previously untapped market.
The latest book-to-movie adaptation, Beautiful Creatures about a 15-year-old witch, her mortal boyfriend, and their ill-fated romance, hits theaters on Thursday, Feb. 14. It's just the first in a string of post-Twilight, post-Hunger Games movies based on popular YA book series to hit the theaters (or the small screen) in 2013. Instead of catching up on dozens of novels, why not peruse Hollywood.com's YA primer for a taste of each before you decide which books are worthy of your time?
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Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
What Happens:Lena comes from a long line of casters (witches), who, upon their 16th birthday, are claimed for the light or the dark. She moves in with her shut-in uncle in a small Southern town and becomes increasingly worried that she'll go dark as her fateful claiming day approaches. Complicating matters further is that she falls in love with mortal Ethan, her new classmate.
Love Triangle? Not here. These two fall in love almost immediately, but Lena's claiming is what comes between them.
Development: This movie comes out on Valentine's Day. You should probably pay better attention to the billboards and commercials (and the second paragraph of this story).
Who's Attached: Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert play the mortal and caster who fall in love, while a pedigreed cast of veterans, including Viola Davis, Jeremy Irons, and Emma Thompson, add their support.
Should You Read? Like many series, the first book's engaging, while the subsequent volumes run off the rails. Stick with Beautiful Creatures and you won't be disappointed.
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Divergent, Veronica Roth
What Happens:In a dystopian future, civilization has split up into personality-based factions. Once children reach high-school age, they're tested to find out the tribe for which they're most suited. Abegnation (Selfless) teen Beatrice learns that she has qualities of her native faction, along with Erudite (Intelligent) and Dauntless (Brave) — she's divergent, a very dangerous quality. Beatrice decides to join the Dauntless, renames herself Tris, and learns how brave she actually is.
Love Triangle? Nope. But Tris does fall for her sexy, older instructor, Four, also a former Abignation.
Development: Production should start any day now, and the project is actively casting. Neil Burger will direct the film, which is being produced by Summit Entertainment (the company behind Twilight).
Who's Attached: Oscar nominee Shailene Woodley will star, but her love interest is proving harder to cast. Kate Winslet is circling the project, though it's unknown what character she'd potentially play.
Should You Read? Heck yes. Plus, the sequel, Insurgent, is just as good — a rarity in the YA book world.
NEXT: Forbidden Love, Demon-Fighters, and Hunger Games Bachelor-Style
Delirium, Lauren Oliver
What Happens:In a dystopian near-future, love has been banned. All teenagers undergo a surgery that eliminates the emotion from their brains after their 18th birthday, when they are matched with their spouse. Lena is all set to live her assigned life, but things get complicated when she meets a boy from the Wilds — the forest outside her walled-in society — and, naturally, falls in love before her operation.
Love Triangle? It's a little hard to have a triangle when love is outlawed, but Lena has her share of illicit affairs. In both the first and the second books of the trilogy she manages to develop real, passionate feelings.
Development: Fox is currently producing a pilot for the 2013-2014 broadcast season.
Who's Attached: Emma Roberts will star as our rebellious heroine Lena, but her potential boyfriend/s has/have not yet been cast.
Should You Read? Definitely. Delirium is fascinating, and the sequel, Pandemonium, is unique in that the setting and most of the characters are completely different from the first book — usually there's not such a drastic change.
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The Mortal Instruments, Cassandra Clare
What Happens:Ordinary teenager Clary finds out that she's a member of a secret race of Shadowhunters, or demon-fighters, and is taken in by bad boy Jace and shadowhunter siblings Alec and Isabelle when her mother is kidnapped by the Voldemort-like evil villain Valentine. Clary and her new friends must find the Mortal Cup to save her mother — and prevent Valentine from rising to power again.
Love Triangle? Clary's mortal BFF Simon is hopelessly in love with her, but she's too busy crushing on buff, badass demon hunter Jace to notice.
Development: This one's already been made — The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was filmed in Toronto in 2012 and is scheduled to hit theaters on August 23, 2013.
Who's Attached: Lily Collins stars as Clary, while former Twilight vampire Jamie Campbell Bower plays Jace, Kevin Zegers is Alec, and Jemima West is Isabelle. Robert Sheehan, of the British teen superhero series Misfits, plays Simon.
Should You Read? The first book's an engrossing introduction to the shadowhunter world, but you don't need to read more than that. Plus, there's a weird incesty storyline that we just can't get behind even though it's easy to predict the eventual, non-gross outcome.
The Selection, Kiera Cass
What Happens: In a dystopian future (sense a theme?), low-caste teenager America Singer is chosen, Hunger Games-style, to compete in a Bachelor-esque contest to win the prince's hand in marriage. Unfortunately, the rebel forces who oppose the prince's father's rule decide to disrupt the competition as a way to win back the kingdom.
Love Triangle? Although America's dedicated to her secret fiance, a lower-class soldier assigned to protect the castle where she's now living, she strikes up a very real friendship with the prince that has the potential to blossom into something more.
Development: The CW developed (and rejected) a pilot for the 2012 season, but has completely revamped the script and story — deviating from the book's framework in very key ways — for a second go-around.
Who's Attached: Aimee Teegarden and Ethan Peck played America and Prince Maxon in the first version, but both actors have moved on since then and the project is actively casting round two.
Should You Read? In a word, no. If the show makes it to series, a quick plot summary is more than enough to catch you up on the book series' goings-on. Besides, most TV shows adapted from books deviate from the original plot within episodes.
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The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
What Happens:Just because a book is YA doesn't mean it needs supernatural romance or a dystopian bent. This very modern, very real novel follows teenage cancer patient Hazel as she meets and falls in love with fellow cancer victim Augustus. Other stuff happens too, but you'll be too busy crying — tears of sorrow, tears of happiness, tears of joy, tears of grief – to articulate the plot too.
Love Triangle? Only disease gets in the way of Hazel and Augustus' love.
Development: The movie, written by (500) Days of Summer scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, is set to film over the summer.
Who's Attached: TFIOS hasn't been cast yet, but add Hollywood.com to the list of many who believe Mae Whitman would be the perfect Hazel.
Should You Read? You mean you haven't yet? TFIOS was No. 1 on Time's best books of 2012 list — not best YA books, best of all books. Get to a bookstore/library/ebook purveyor immediately, and don't forget the tissues. You'll need them.
Vampire Academy, Richelle Mead
What Happens: Rose Hathaway is headstrong, independent Dhampir (half-human/half-vampire) bodyguard in training to protect her best friend, Moroi (vampire) princess Lissa Dragomir, the last in her royal bloodline following a tragic car accident. The Strigoi – the fiercest and most dangerous undead vampires who kill humans, Moroi, and Dhampirs —have made it their mission to end Royal bloodlines, so Lissa is their prime target. Rose and Lissa have been on the run from St. Vladimir's Academy because of the dangers the Strigoi present, but they're dragged back to the school where they become enmeshed in government politics, the school's social scene and Rose's forbidden romance with her much older instructor, Dimitri Belikov, who is known as a god among the Guardians.
Love Triangle? Not really. Rose and Dimitri’s romance is filled with enough obstacles without another person complicating things, but another Dhampir student, Mason, tries to throw his hat in the ring with deadly consequences. Later in the series, a royal Moroi complicates the romance a bit, though.
Development: Optioned by Preger Entertainment way back in the summer of 2010, the movie adaptation is finally moving forward with a cast and everything. Heathers’ Dan Waters wrote the script, and Don Murphy will produce. The name of the first movie has changed from Vampire Academy to Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters, the name of the first book in the German version of the series.
Who’s Attached: Zoey Deutch, who has a supporting part in Beautiful Creatures, will star as Rose, Aussie actress Lucy Fry will play Lissa, and Russian superstar (but unknown in the U.S.) Danila Kozlovsky will play Dimitri.
Should You Read? Sure — the series is pretty engrossing; there's a reason author Richelle Mead wrote a spinoff series, Bloodlines, with characters from the VA world. If you’re into the supernatural but want a more mature series to get into, this is for you.
Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean
[PHOTO CREDIT: Warner Bros. Pictures; Penguin Group; Margaret K. McElderry; Harper Teen; Katherine Tegen Books; Harper Collins Publishing; Dutton Books: Little, Brown and Co.; Dutton Books]
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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When you hear the words, “teen vampire movie,” obviously the first thing anyone will think about is Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga. But soon, that will all change.
New York Times bestselling series Vampire Academy – optioned by Preger Entertainment way back in the summer of 2010 – is finally moving forward with the first book’s big-screen adaptation. According to the official Facebook page for the film, “We have a writer & a script: Dan Waters of Heathers fame! Woot Woot!!”
“Dan has written a brilliant screenplay for Vampire Academy. Smart and funny, clever and really a great read – it is going to make a terrific film,” producer Don Murphy wrote. Waters has also written Batman Returns, Hudson Hawk, and Demolition Man.
But fans and critics who are looking to compare Vampire Academy with The Twilight Saga should be warned: there is absolutely nothing that links these two series besides the fact that they are both in the vampire genre. The protagonist in Richelle Mead’s six-part series is Rose Hathaway, a headstrong, independent, Dhampir (half-human/half-vampire) bodyguard in training to protect her best friend, Moroi (vampire) princess Lissa Dragomir, the last in her royal bloodline following a tragic car accident. Unlike Bella Swan’s constant damsel-in-distress (a useless, personality-lacking human girl), Rose is an actual role model. She doesn’t take anything lying down, she fights for herself and her friends (quite literally… since Rose is going to be a royal bodyguard, most of her school classes are combat training), and she doesn’t allow anyone to wage her battles for her. She is confrontational, confident, and doesn’t allow a silly thing like heartbreak get in the way of living her life and protecting her friend.
Vampire Academy begins when Rose and Lissa have already been on the run for two years from St. Vladimir's Academy, which isn't just any boarding school – it's a hidden place where the good, living vampires are educated in the ways of magic, and half-human teens train to protect them as Guardians. But after being caught, Rose and Lissa are dragged back to St. Vladimir's – the very place where they're most in danger. Rose and Lissa have a rare and unbreakable psychic bond, which complicates their lives when they become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy's ruthless social scene, the royal palace’s government politics, and unspeakable nighttime rituals.
But in addition to the dangers plaguing Lissa and Rose inside the Academy, outside await the Strigoi – the fiercest and most dangerous undead vampires who kill humans, Moroi, and Dhampirs. The evil Strigoi have made it their mission to end Royal bloodlines, making Lissa their prime target. As if Rose didn’t already have enough on her plate, what with her inappropriate feelings for her much older instructor, Dimitri Belikov, who is known as a god among the Guardians.
There is enough action, romance, and mystery in Vampire Academy to completely change the vampire movie genre going forward (and to erase any and all comparisons to The Twilight Saga for good). It is mature, emotional, and exciting. And now that a script has been written, it’s time to start the casting process. Who will make a good Rose, Lissa, and Dimitri?
Follow Sydney on Twitter @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: Razorbill]
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