A New YA Vampire Series Heads To The Silver Screen

Fans of the YA series Vampire Academy will be pleased to learn that the series is coming to the big screen. RT's Whitney Sullivan caught up with author Richelle Mead to get all the details about the project and what you can expect to see in a theater near you!

Whitney Sullivan: We heard that Preger Entertainment picked up the film rights to your Vampire Academy series. Can you tell us how the deal came about? What was your first reaction when you heard the news?

Richelle Mead: Deals like this are a long process of negotiations with me, my agent, and the company involved. It actually happened back in February, when I was touring the UK, so the experience was kind of strange. Preger approached us, and a whole week went by with my agent passing me emails and contract questions. I was so busy in the UK that I hardly had any time on the Internet to catch up on his mail, and combined with the time change, the communication between us all seemed to take forever! So, it didn’t really seem real at the time until I was home and back to work. Realizing it was settled was very exciting, but this is a business where things can take a while, so I was ready to be patient.

WS: When you were writing the Vampire Academy series, did you picture anyone specific in your mind for your character Rose Hathaway? Who do you imagine would be good in that role?

RM: I have images in my head of what the characters look like, but they don’t match any actors out there. I think I’d prefer a cast of unknowns!

WS: I know that most authors think of their works as very personal extensions of themselves. What are your feelings having your book adapted by someone else?

RM: You have to recognize to a certain extent that when you sell rights to any adaptation — another language, graphic novel, or film — you’re allowing someone else creative to put their stamp on your book. Authors who think their books can be translated to film page by page, word for word, are deluding themselves. There will be streamlining and tweaking. Now, of course I want any film to be good and stay as true to my vision as possible, and I have faith in Preger and whatever studio they work with to do a good adaptation. There’s an art to making films, and that’s not what I do. My expertise is books. Preger’s is film, and I’m content to let each of us do what we do best.

WS: The Vampire Academy series has much more active female leads than many of the vampire dramas on television and in the movies today. How do you think this is going to translate onto the screen?

RM: I don’t think that’ll change. If there’s a movie made, we’re going to see those strong female leads still there. It’s what distinguishes this series, and if it’s left out, you might as well be adapting some other novel. Having a first person female narrator in the books especially emphasizes the strong females, but the males are strong too. A film, which is more third person, will actually be able to display all these powerful characters side by side and show how well matched the men and women are.

WS: When books are made into movies, oftentimes things have to be cut because of space requirements —  what do you think might be able to be left out and still allow the film adaptation to be as compelling as the novel? What elements do you think are essential that need to be kept in on order to convey your story properly?

RM: I think keeping the integrity, strength, and personality of the characters is key. Compelling and relatable characters are what draw in fans and make them follow those characters anywhere. The other essential pieces are the main plot and the “big” rules of this universe. These are what the books are built around and what (I think) a good movie should be built around as well. As I’ve said, I would of course love to see every subplot and small detail accurately put in, but if them some of those have to be trimmed or modified, the story will stand strong as long as it has its core intact.

WS: It looks like you are working on a spin-off series slated to be released in 2011. Can you give us any details that fans can look for in the new series?

RM: Most of this is being kept tightly under wraps by my publisher! What I can say is what I’ve already revealed at some signings. The series will start up a new story arc and follow characters we already know. One of those characters is Sydney, a human we met in Blood Promise, but the rest are top secret. Otherwise, readers will know who lives, dies, and gets together in the first series!

For more information about Richelle Mead's the Vampire Academy series and the upcoming film, be sure to check out the author’s website.