How much say does an author have in a movie?
On paper? Not much. This is standard across the board, no matter what stories have gotten around about Stephenie Meyer approving a script or JK Rowling screening actors. We have to think of it this way. I'm not paying millions for people to turn my books into a movie. They're paying millions of their own money, so it's understandable they'd want to be very involved in the decisions. They know about making movies. I know about writing books. We each have our thing, and I'm very happy to let Preger Entertainment and their team do theirs, which is why I signed with them in the first place. I totally believe in them and support everything they've been doing.
That being said, Preger Entertainment and their team have been AWESOME about keeping me in the loop and asking my opinions. Do I get ultimate say? No, but they've shown me script and actor choices and asked for my opinions, which is so cool because believe me when I say, a lot of authors don't get that consideration. I'm super lucky.
Is the title changing?
Sort of. It's more accurate to say the title's getting an addition. If you've read past interviews with me, you might know that Vampire Academy wasn't my first choice for the book. I actually sold it as Kissed By Shadows. People at my publishing house weren't sure that title would work for a few different reasons, and eventually, we decided on VA since it's so memorable. When the movie came around, the production team had some concerns about that title, though. For one thing, there's a lot of other "vampire" stuff out there, and we want VA to stand out. Don't believe me? I get constant emails from people saying they love the Vampire Diaries because they get mixed up. The other thing is that VA isn't exactly an accurate title. It makes it sound like it's more about school. If you're a fan of the series, you know that in the last half of the series, they're hardly at school at all. The big focus of the series is Rose and Lissa's bond and ESPECIALLY Rose and Dimitri's relationship. That's what makes this stand out from other vampire books, so it was decided that VA would stay the movie series name but that the first movie would get a more distinctive title.
The team asked me for ideas, and I gave a few name suggestions that they considered. Blood Sisters is a title that other countries use who don't want the first book and the series to have the same name. It's a name I liked, and the team liked it too. It emphasizes the bond and will hopefully appeal to new fans. Because here's the thing: the more successful this movie is, the more likely it is that more can be made. An awesome movie will go nowhere if no one comes to see it. So, VA is the name of the franchise, and each movie gets its own name. This is Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters. If it's a hit, and we move on to the next one, that'll be Vampire Academy: Frostbite. Does that make sense? No one's tryig to diss me or the series in this process, and I assure you, we'll still hear "Vampire Academy" tossed around plenty--just like when Fellowship of the Ring came out, I went and said, "Give me a ticket for Lord of the Rings."
Is the script totally different from the book?
No. I was actually blown away when I saw how true it was to the story. Seriously, it's awesome. I have no idea where this Rose, Lissa, and Dimitri triangle rumor came from, but it's NOT true, unless they completely rewrote the script in the last month. Rose and Dimitri have eyes for each other, and Lissa and Christian are kissing in the church. The only differences are very minor things--like in The Hunger Games, where Prim gives Katniss the mockingjay pin. Is that what happened in the book? No, but it streamlines some things, saves them from hiring an extra actress, and doesn't affect the main plot. Rest easy, there are no crazy changes, like werewolves attending the school or Rose and Christian discovering they're long lost siblings. Although, that last one might be hilarious.
Seriously--the script is great. They've given Dimitri lines that are going to make you swoon, especially in the lust charm scene.
What about the cast?
If you haven't heard already, the cast is Zoey Deutch as Rose, Danila Kozlovsky as Dimitri, and Lucy Fry as Lissa. Reactions are all across the board. Some people love them, some are worried. Some love only one actor, some love another. Here's the thing: there is no cast everyone will love. It's impossible. I could download the characters from my mind, and I'd get hate mail saying they were all wrong. :) The casting agency worked very hard in choosing these actors, and I think they did a great job. I have it on good authority from friends who've worked with the lovely Zoey Deutch that she's an amazing actress. And I think it's awesome that they chose a Russian for Dimitri! I mean, I wouldn't know the difference, but I'd hate it if real Russians saw the movie and were like, "That guy is obviously fake." As for Lucy Fry, she certainly looks the part, and it's fun that she's Australian, since that's one of VA's biggest fan bases. The international cast reflects VA's international following.
One more thing to consider about the cast. None of us witnessed the casting process. Only the movie team did, and they didn't just pick pictures off IMDB. These actors were screened, auditioned, read the script, did action scenes, and had to do a lot of other stuff to prove themselves. We didn't see that. The movie folks have and made decisions because they saw something awesome in this talented trio. Remember when Jennifer Lawrence was cast as Katniss, and people were ready to riot? Then the movie team dyed her hair and gave her a bow, and she was awesome. That's how this is going to pan out too, except no bow. I'm sure they'll grow out Danila's hair, though.
Will this movie ruin the books?
Um, no. The books are the books. Even if this was the worst movie in the history of movies (and it won't be, not with the talent involved in writing, directing, and acting in it), no power will go in and rewrite the books. They're the canon, the original, the truth, and I'm still continuing their story. If you love them, you'll keep loving them. The movies won't change that. Movies are an awesome opportunity for us to see these scenes and people come to life, and I'm extremely supportive and excited to see what the team is going to pull off for us!
This process is still very, very young. Keep calm, and have faith. There's good stuff ahead! And whatever your thoughts are on the movie news, I want you to know that I understand people have such strong opinions because they love the books so much. And you can't imagine how much it means to me that the books I work so hard on can have such a huge emotional impact on you and are so important to you. Thank you for loving them as much as I do.
I really, really hope this helps clear up some confusion! I wish I could write more, but I'm exhausted from some late nights with my son. Those of you who have written with excitement about the actors--thanks so much! And those who are worried--just hang with us and see. :)
For the latest news and articles (because there are certainly tons of them now), check out the Official Vampire Academy Movie Facebook Page.