Aside from dealing with a different vampire mythology, director Mark Waters said the tone of the film is drastically different from that other vampire franchise.
“It actually had this kind of element of subversive humor to it,” he said during the film’s Los Angeles premiere on Tuesday. “The ‘Twilight’ movies are great in their own right, but they certainly don’t have any sense of humor to them. And this did. And my brother added even more of it when he wrote his screenplay.”
This is Mark and his brother Daniel Waters’ second vampire pic. Their first collaboration, “Bloodsucking Freaks,” never got off the ground. Mark said they avoided “subjugating studio development hell” this time around.
“I usually welcome coming in at the end of a genre cycle,” Daniel said. “Like with ‘Heathers,’ I came in after a lot of John Hughes movies and people said, ‘Oh nobody wants to see another teen film.’ And to me, that’s an opportunity to get really crazy with the genre and mix it up and lead people into thinking they know what they’re going to see and then surprise them.”
As evidenced by the massive crowd assembled at L.A. Live’s Regal Cinemas, the movie already has a rabid fanbase. As with most film adaptations of YA series, readers scrutinized every casting decision last year for fear that the actors didn’t look the part.
“It was primarily that I didn’t have big enough boobs for the part, which is awesome because they don’t know that jelly things exist — P.S. go to Victoria’s Secret,” said star Zoey Deutch, who was accompanied by her famous mom Lea Thompson and boyfriend Avan Jogia on the red carpet. “I really could care less. That doesn’t bug me. In fact, if anything, it makes me excited that they’re so passionate, that they love this story and this character so much, that they have these fervent opinions.”
Deutch’s character Rose Hathaway, an irreverent, sharp-witted human/vampire hybrid who protects her vampire best friend from predators, was one of the project’s selling points for the sibling filmmaking duo.
“She’s not just a strong female character like Jessica Chastain in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ … she’s a messed-up character,” Daniel said. “She’s like a Jack Nicholson character, almost — somebody who’s got strength, but also weakness and obnoxiousness. I love that a female character can be that kind of complexity.”
But what makes vampires such pop culture phenomena? According to star Dominic Sherwood, these supernatural creatures reflect societal temperaments.
“Look back through ‘Nosferatu’ — people were scared of rats and infection, and that’s what their lead vampire looks like,” Sherwood said. “And it gets molded that way. And I guess Bram Stoker’s (‘Dracula’), when the movie came out with Gary Oldman, people were more afraid of spirituality and ghosts. And it moves with society. We’re now at a point where it’s very romanticized.”
Joely Richardson said she was eager to step into this mythic universe.
“I’ve always wanted to be part of the whole vampire world in terms of film or television so this was perfect to play the queen (of the vampires),” Richardson said. “It felt a little bit camp when we were shooting it, but I don’t know how Mark will have interpreted it.”
The stars, including Olga Kurylenko, Sarah Hyland and Lucy Fry, partied at Lucky Strike bowling alley following the premiere. Weinstein Co. opens “Vampire Academy” Feb. 7.