But you don't care about geometry. You want to know if I met Danila Kozlovsky and if he's as handsome in person as in his pictures. The answers are yes and even more yes. But I'll get there.
Joining me in London are my literary agent Jim McCarthy and Penguin US marketing director Erin Dempsey. We arrived at the VA set in early evening yesterday, where they were filming at a local university. Producers Don Murphy and Susan Montford met us and led us straight into...a classroom at St. Vladimir's Academy. Yup, there we were sitting off to the side of a giant lecture hall filled with Moroi and dhampirs. I can't tell you what they were filming, but I will say it was a scene from the book, one that's a big favorite. It's such a favorite of mine that after watching ten takes of it, I could've watched about ten more.
They do a lot of takes, not because of mistakes, but because they need all sorts of camera and microphone angles. It takes hours for what probably results in about a minute of film time. The dedication the cast and crew put into this is amazing! They have to sit there under those hot lights, doing a lot of waiting, and be ready on a moment's notice when action is called. There were guardians stationed around the class, looking stoic and protective, and they have the sweetest, most stylish jackets ever. They're also very heavy jackets, and between takes, those poor actors would take them off because of how hot it was and then quickly get back in when filming resumed.
And...actors. Who did I meet? Zoey Deutch (Rose), Lucy Fry (Lissa), Cameron Monaghan (Mason), Dominic Sherwood (Christian), Sami Gayle (Mia), Sarah Hyland (Natalie), Ashley Charles (Jesse), Chris Mason (Ray aka Ralf), Bronte Terrell (Camilla aka Camille), and Harry Bradshaw (Bruno aka one of Mia's friends). There was a third young man who came up to me with Jesse and Ray, introducing themselves as the "bad guys," whose name I didn't catch because we all got shushed as some action started. I lost track of him after that, so I apologize to him and hope to get his name for you later!
The actors were all so nice! Zoey is just as energetic as Rose and talked to me about how passionate and wonderful the VA fans are. Lucy, who you'll be pleased to know had beautiful green eyes (presumably contacts), was so sweet and talked to me about writing. Cameron, for obvious reasons, tried to sell me on rewriting Mason's part in the series. :) There was so much going on that I couldn't talk to any one person for a long time, which was probably the most disappointing part. I really wish I could've talked to each person at length and gotten to know them better. The one thing I took away from everyone, though, is that they're all having a great time. Obviously, I've never followed another movie's making so closely, so I don't know if it's always this way, but everyone just seemed so positive and to be genuinely having fun. I love that.
Everyone's been asking: how does it feel seeing my book brought to life? In a word: amazing. I'm just blown away at how much thoughtfulness and detail goes into this process. You guys seriously can't imagine how much work and manpower a movie requires. The actors work so hard, and then there's a huge unseen crew who's working just as hard every step of the way on tasks you would never even guess. I may have originally conceived these scenes, but they're the ones who have to visualize every single detail--from those amazing guardian jackets to the class assignments on the student's desks. Nothing is left to chance. Director Mark Waters was so in his zone making sure everything was perfect that I felt bad when he came and said hi to me--but of course he did because he's a super nice guy, and I'm so thrilled at the work he's doing. I've been telling people for years: I make books, not movies. Movies are these guys' specialty and it shows. They've visualized the scenes for the screen in ways I never could have, and if you're picturing incredible things for this movie...well, they're going to be even more incredible than what you're imagining.
So, yes, you've probably noticed I didn't mention any adult cast members. None of them (except Mr. Meisner) were on set for the classroom scene. Some have even wrapped and won't be back for the rest of filming. But, as Jim, Erin, and I were leaving for dinner, we passed Danila Kozlovsky (Dimitri) as he was coming in to work! We were all a little starstruck, but he's so nice and approachable that it's easy to instantly feel comfortable around him. He thanked me for writing the books and I asked him about his experience so far. He said he's having a great time and learning a lot. This is his first English film, but I tell you, I think his English is better than mine. He and Jim talked a little Wimbledon. I don't follow it, but they were both pleased with last night's results, so that was good. Danila kissed my hand goodbye and then headed off to join the others for another long night of working on this wonderful, beautiful project.
And that was day one. We (especially me, who hadn't slept in almost two days) were jet-lagged and chose to go back to our hotel after dinner. We'll be back on set tonight and might even get to see some action scenes! I know many of you are anxious for pictures, and all I can say is: they're coming. Because there's been no official press shots yet, all images are tightly regulated. There's a long and complex explanation, but the short version is: be patient, they're coming! Once the first shots are released, there'll be a floodgate of images of actors and scenes, both professional and my candids. So stay tuned because things are about to get awesome(r).