Vampires have gotten a bad rap in recent years — thanks, in part, to the incessant blandness (read: unpleasantness) of Twilight protagonist Bella Swan — which is what makes Vampire Academy so enjoyable. It’s in on the joke. Seen through the eyes of teenage dhampir Rose Hathaway (played by charismatic young Zoey Deutch), Vampire Academy takes a lighter spin on the supernatural tale, and it boasts a true heroine to boot.
Zoey Deutch is a star in the making, even if she doesn’t see it yet. The 19-year-old carries the film with her disarmingly well-timed humor, and she lights up the screen as Rose. Wetpaint Entertainment chatted with Zoey about the film, taking on such a beloved YA character (and her cup size), and kicking ass.
Wetpaint Entertainment: Rose is such a smartass is the series, and it seems like you really heightened her sense of humor in the film. Did that come naturally to you?
Zoey Deutch: I think Dan Waters [screenwriter] heightened Rose’s sense of humor in the movie, but the character always had an embedding sense of using her humor as a means of survival. I think that’s why Mark Waters [director] cast me because I got the jokes and I understood the timing. He certainly didn’t cast me because I could fight! [Laughs] The humor definitely came more natural than the fighting. I really had to train and work hard at that before I became comfortable with doing those action sequences.
The great thing about the movie is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, like so many other YA film adaptations.
Right! It disengages any sort of desire to poke fun at what it is because one of the first lines is, “We’re vampires and we don’t sparkle.” I’m glad you got that.
Especially when you take into consideration that the vampire genre is no longer at the forefront of the pop culture zeitgeist.
Yeah, exactly. I certainly feel like it’s difficult to categorize what kind of genre Vampire Academy is because it’s not a thriller, it’s not like any of the YA movies, it’s not a comedy, it’s not a drama… it has it’s own specific tone, which is what I was initially most worried about when I read the script. But, gladly, I think it’s quite consistent. There are some broad jokes and really big ideas, and there are problems, like in most movies, but it stays with it. It doesn’t stray from what it was at the beginning, which I think is important. You don’t get lose in figuring out what kind of movie you’re watching.
And in a weird way, it didn’t feel like a vampire movie.
Yeah, I totally agree! For me, it’s a survival story between these two best friends. Was there something that you didn’t like about it?
I wasn’t super into the teacher-student romance. I know there are a lot of fans of Rose and Dimitri, but it felt very tropey. I loved how that ended, though. In a way, Rose came out on top, and that was a good message.
Yeah, she has the upper hand for sure. What about the Lissa and Christian romance?
My only thought was how attractive they both were.
Were you watching the screen when they were kissing and all you saw were two giant, gorgeous lips? Because I was. That’s all I could see. We joked on set that they really, truly do look like siblings. It was so frightening. You would look at them and be like, “They both look like supermodel vampires. What’s happening?”
Isn’t that how the Moroi are supposed to look?
Then the casting director did a wonderful job with those two.
And with your character, I was told by my sources [Ed note: teenage girls] that Rose is supposed to be very busty. In fact, she mentions her chest quite a few times. I have to say, your boobs looked amazing on-screen.
That was all me! It’s funny because Mark tried to reel me back on that. I was so adamant on tits out. It may seem degrading, but it was me making that conscious decision. A lot of the times, when I would go to watch the playback of the scene, I had to say, “Do you understand how many jelly pads I have in my bra right now? You need to get my boobs in the shot!” They would specifically cut the shot above my chest. I was so frustrated. I would tell the camera operator to tilt it down constantly because it was wildly important to the fans. For very obvious reasons, it was very important to them.
And you’ve been through this before. When these YA film adaptations get cast, the actors get so scrutinized by the fans of that series.
Which was fine by me because I grew up in L.A. — I went to middle school there — so I was born and bred to deal with people not liking the way I look. I was fine with that. I really was. I had no problem with it, which might make me crazy. It’s so funny because these people are so crazy about the details. For instance, Lucy Fry, who plays Lissa, had to wear green contacts. She has beautiful blue eyes, but she had to wear these green contacts for the entire shoot, which is miserable. And she did it just because one day Richelle Mead said they were green eyes. Lucy suffered through it. But, it was detail people really cared about. It’s like my hair color. It doesn’t matter to me, but if it matters to them, you have to do things to make people happy. At the end of the day, I guess, you’re not going to make everyone happy. It makes you miserable if you try to make everyone else happy.
Romance kind of take a backseat to the friendship between Rose and Lissa, which is also quite refreshing for a YA movie.
That’s one of things I really loved about it as well. The truth is, they’re the most loyal, loving, for-one-another friends, and I really admire that. I wish I was half as good of a friend that Rose is.
Was there any trepidation on your end when it came to signing on to what could be a franchise? Because the movie leaves things very open ended.
I kind of didn’t even think about the result of the film, or if it’s going to do well or not, because it’s such an awesome and never-before-done part that I got to play. She’s very unique and I doubt I’ll ever have an opportunity to play someone like her again. It doesn’t exist. She’s an ass-kicking vampire who’s funny! It’s never been done before. I think if you have any expectations you’re just going to be disappointed… But that’s why I don’t really go after any TV stuff because that’s more frightening to me. You have a six-year contract. The chances of doing six movies for one series is one in a billion. That’s not a reality. It’s like gambling.
Rose and Lissa have a telepathic connection where Rose can get inside Lissa’s head. Who would you want to have that connection with in real life?
My mother. She’s so smart, and I want to know what’s going on in there.
You recently starred in a music video with your boyfriend Avan Jogia. What was that experience like?
We shot that over a year ago! It’s actually really well done. I was pleasantly surprised. It was fun, but music videos, and I don’t think people realize this most of the time except if you’re Lady Gaga, are so hectic and discombobulated because you need to get so much done with no money and in a short period of time. It was stressful, and I burnt my hand on a fireplace and I superglued my hands together! They took off the label of the super glue, and no one told me that’s what it was, so I was a happy camper over there in Monmouth after that. [Laughs] But, as a result of the music video, I came home with a bunny. The really fat bunny in the video? I own it.
Bunnies are difficult pets, right?
Oh my gosh! They are the most high-maintenance, anxiety-ridden, difficult creatures on the planet. I am an animal freak. I have taken care of horses, dogs, fish, a tortoise, and so many other weird animals, but this bunny is the most difficult animal I’ve ever had in my life. And, they don’t even love you back! You try really hard for their affection and you get absolutely nothing in return.
What did you name the bunny?
Samson. But no one likes that name because it’s a girl, so they just call her Bunny. So that’s not fun for me.
Catch Vampire Academy in theaters now!