‘Mean Girls’ With Blood? Enroll Us in ‘Vampire Academy’
Zoey Deutch (Getty Images), Inset: 'Vampire Academy,' by Richelle Mead (Razorbill)
You can stop with the SMH and the frustrated grunts of, "Vampires again?!" "Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters" is not – we repeat, not – "Twilight 2.0."
Okay, so it does have vampires. And a good-looking cast of up-and-comers. And, yeah, a loud and well-assembled fan army.
But it's directed by Mark Waters, the same guy who brought you "Mean Girls," and within that fan army are a slew of people who'd be the first to tell you Bella and Edward are for the birds and the book's author, Richelle Mead, can write circles around Stephenie Meyer.
"As far as protagonists go, bumbling Bella Swan is no match for fearless fighter Rose Hathaway — a vampire guardian-in-training who's as fierce about best friend Lissa’s safety as she is about a simmering romance with hot teacher Dimitri Belikov," Amy Wilkinson, editor of MTV's Hollywood Crush, explains to Yahoo! Movies. "If it’s a self-assured, kick-butt heroine you seek, you’ll find her in 'Vampire Academy.'"
Just to get you up to speed, as this movie is sure to be blowing up the Internet between now and its February 14, 2014, release date, the story itself follows Rose (Zoey Deutch, "Beautiful Creatures," "Ringer"), a half-human, half-vampire who must protect a Moroi vampire, which are basically like vampire royalty. She and the peaceful bloodsucker she's sworn to protect, Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry), have been caught and forced to return to St. Vladimir's Academy, where they face demons both literal and figurative, as well as that hot mentor Dimitri (Russian actor Danila Kozlovsky).
Don't read that wrong – action abounds (in more ways than one), as does humor.
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"This is not a cutesy movie," Mead tells Yahoo! Movies. "You're going to laugh at things you probably think you shouldn't laugh at and you're going to be gripping your seat for the action. It's a big world and the moviemakers made it even bigger."
Those moviemakers certainly seem right for the job, as there's a clear through-line between "Mean Girls" and the battling vamps at St. Vladimir's Academy.
"It's got that same spirit for sure," Mead says. "There's this dark humor that runs through it all, but it's not totally irreverent … I like trying to balance these seemingly opposing killings and forces and Mark gets that, Daniel [Waters, the screenwriter] gets that. It's been in their previous works so they had it captured perfectly in this one."
Unlike Meyer's, Mead's vampire world is based on serious research – she even took a class at the University of Michigan – and grounded in Eastern European and Slavic folklore and mythology.
"When I set out to write 'Vampire Academy,' I did more research and I found the Romanian variants, which had two races of vampires," she explains. "Your friendlier and nicer Moroi and the undead bloodsucking creatures of nightmare, that’s Strigoi. I thought what a neat thing that would be if I use that as the basis for a world … I certainly made up plenty too. Their society, their culture, their royal politics, that was all me … It’s like being able to just take a kernel of something and running with it."
While Mead didn't have any role in the casting process, she's ecstatic about the energy and dedication Deutch brings to the performance.