Based on the best-selling book series from author Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy tells the story of half-vampire/half-human guardian Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) and her royal Moroi vampire best friend Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry). As two 17-year-old girls trying to survive the perils of Moroi society and high school, Rose will sacrifice everything to protect Lissa from those who are putting her life in jeopardy. From director Mark Waters (Mean Girls) and writer Dan Waters (Heathers), the film also stars Danila Kozlovsky, Dominic Sherwood, Sarah Hyland, Cameron Monaghan and Sami Gayle.
At the film’s press day, actress Lucy Fry spoke to Collider for this exclusive interview about how she got involved with the film, deciding to only read the first book before shooting, how tempted she is to read ahead, how she realized just how popular these books are, why she likes the relationship between Lissa and Christian (Sherwood), what it was like to work with the fangs, and the type of work she’d like to do next. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
LUCY FRY: I first read the script when I was backpacking in England with one of my best friends. I instantly connected with it because it was about friendship, and I was with my friend in England, at the time. It meant a lot to me to tell a story about friendship and the importance of friendship. So, I came to L.A. and did the audition. I went in and read the scenes with (casting director) Marci Liroff’s assistant, and I got great feedback in the room and she really liked me. But then, I didn’t hear anything, so I decided to make a self tape in my lounge room with another really good tape. I sent it in to the producers and the next day I got a call saying, “You have a test deal tomorrow,” but I didn’t know what a test deal was.
So, I found out that I would be going in to meet the director of Mean Girls and that I would get to work on a scene with Mark [Waters] that they would show to all of the producers that afternoon. I was like, “All right, bring it on!” When you’ve got the pressure on, you just do it. So, I got really excited and I worked really hard on it. I went in and met Zoey [Deutch], which was wonderful. It was really exciting to meet her. And then, the next day, we went to lunch. I thought the lunch was going to be a personality test like, “Can you stay sane during the course of filming?” But I got there and the producers were like, “Congratulations! You’ve got the part.” I was in shock because I didn’t realize that could happen so fast. I worked really hard preparing for the role, after that, and off we went and did it.
Had you been familiar with these books, or did you decide to read the book before shooting?
FRY: I hadn’t read them before I found out about the audition, but as soon as I got the part, I read the first book about five times. I love the book so much. It’s been a big part of my life, and it was a huge part of the process of learning about the character of Lissa and doing my research.
Were you tempted to read ahead and find out what happens?
FRY: I was really tempted, but I chose not to because I didn’t want to know things before my character knew them. I’ve read the second one now because I can, and I hope that we get to make the second film. But at the moment, I’m having an internal batter, as to whether to get ahead of my character and read the rest of the series, or to stay with her and go through the journey.
Especially after the popularity of Twilight, did it make you hesitant to read a vampire script, or was it more interesting to you because the vampire aspect was only one part of the story?
FRY: What attracted me to it was definitely the friendship and the humor. The great thing about it is the mixture of things. It’s got the action, it’s got humor, it’s got romance, it’s got mystery, and it’s got great friendship. When I found out that Mark was directing and Dan was the writer, and thinking of Mean Girls and Heathers, I realized that, if anyone could combine all of those genres and all of those tones together and make it work, it would be them.
People seem to fall into one of two categories and either want the pretty, brooding, lovestruck vampires, or they want the scary, dangerous vampires, but this movie has both.
FRY: It has both! Also, the pretty vampires are very human and very relatable. They’re not detached from emotions and from everyday life. They’re going through high school and dealing with pimples and boys, and all of the insecurities that everyone goes through in high school.
When and how did you realize just how popular these books are?
FRY: The first time that I saw it was actually before I sent in my self tape. I was staying with three actress friends and we all went on the page and looked at it. I was like, “Wow, people are really excited for this film!” But, I’m really bad at social media. I get really excited when I get to go out on these press tours and meet fans, do signings and interact, and they can ask questions. Social media is a great way to do that, and I wish I was better at it, but I’m just not. It’s a frustration, in some ways, because I can’t connect as easily, but in some ways, it’s great that I don’t see so much of the criticism. There’s good and bad to it. It’s a curse. Some people just aren’t good with computers.
The relationship between Lissa and Christian (Dominic Sherwood) is interesting because she’s the royal princess who doesn’t act like you would expect and he’s the unexpected bad boy. Was that part of the appeal for you?
FRY: Definitely! I think that the dynamic between Lissa and Christian is actually really lovely. It seems like he’s the dark bad boy and she’s the beautiful princess, and that they’re going to be star-crossed lovers because the princess can’t ruin her reputation by falling in love with the boy whose parents turned Strigoi. But, what I love about it is that it’s actually quite an honest relationship. Their relationship isn’t at all torn by games and tension, or anything like that. They just have both been through really hard things with their families, and their parents in particular. They’re both trying to find a way to deal with that, and to be okay with themselves, and to find a place of being comfortable with all of the things that have happened in their past. They hold hands through the journey of learning to make peace with their past. There isn’t that superficial tension of her being the good girl and him being the bad boy. It’s just a very honest and loving relationship, which I think is beautiful.
What was it like to work with the fangs?
FRY: We made molds of our mouths, and then we got clip-on teeth made. It was really, really fun. I loved using the fangs and biting. Who doesn’t want to do that?!
Did you have a scene that you were most excited to see the final product of?
FRY: A lot of the magic and power scenes, I was really excited to see the final product of. I didn’t know how it was going to look without the special effects, so that was really exciting.
Do you know what you’re going to do next, or the type of work you’d like to do?
FRY: Well, I have an independent Australian film coming out after this, which I’m really excited about. That’s called Now Add Honey. I’ll see what happens next. Hopefully, the film is a big success and we’ll get to do a second one. I’d also love to do independent American films and tell stories that are moving. I want to be a part of the stories that need to be told. I like it when a script shows you something new and you can learn something through the journey of a film, rather than being told things you already know.
Vampire Academy opens in theaters on February 7th.