In the upcoming film Vampire Academy (based upon the series of bestselling books by Richelle Mead), British heartthrob Dominic Sherwood plays Christian Ozera, a schoolboy who’s caught in an unusual love triangle…
not to mention a vampiric battle of the ages. Dread Central sat down with Dom last week, and he told us all about it.
Dread Central: Pretty much this whole film takes place on campus. So, we’ve gotta ask: What was your high school experience like?
Dominic Sherwood: We call it secondary school. It actually wasn’t too bad, the only thing I really struggled with was, we didn’t have an acting department, we didn’t have a drama department so I couldn’t study that from 11-16, it wasn’t an option to us and it wasn’t available. In fact, obviously because of that when I told people I wanted to be an actor, they were like, ‘You should probably do something in, like, Maths or Biology or English; you should get a normal person’s job’; and I was like, ‘No, that’s just not who I am; I’m really not that guy.’ So, that was probably one of the only things I really struggled with.
DC: Were you jock like or nerdy or sporty or any of that?
DS: I was musical. I used to play a lot of music, I still play a lot of music now cause I think it’s a very kind of cathartic thing, for me personally, it’s something that I can really just be like, ‘Oh I’m feeling this way’ or ‘I’m feeling sad’ or ‘I’m feeling happy’, I can sit down and play a song and then I feel better.
DC: Guitar, or what instruments?
DS: I play guitar, a little piano and I sing a little.
DC: Do you compose your own stuff?
DC: When’s the album coming out?
DS: That’s something that I very much like to keep to myself because of how it makes me feel and cause I can use it to be sort of, cathartic in those times. It’s something that I’d sit in my flat with maybe my housemate or even just on my own and I would just sing or play some music or whatever it was, or even listen to music.
DC: You have a fun little romance scene with Lucy in the film and she was saying that you guys met and it was literally the second day.
DS: It was, yeah, it was day two. And I was cast so late in the process as well, I hadn’t had a chance to meet everyone. So, literally the first time I had properly spoken to Lucy was day one and then day two Mark just went, ‘Cool, we’re gonna do some kissing’ and we both just went, ‘Um, oh my god!’ But it was really fine, it wasn’t a problem at all. The first kiss was a bit all over the place… actually that’s not true. *laughs* Yeah, the first one was a bit of a disaster. But I was actually really fortunate to get it out of the way very early because then we didn’t have any pressure, it wasn’t built up, it was just like, ‘Okay cool, we gotta do a kiss again.’ It’s not an issue cause the first one was done. So yeah, it was really good, it worked out really well.
DC: Now that you’ve gotten to play a vampire, is there anything else supernatural you’d like to play, zombie or something like that?
DS: I’m very into Greek mythology and always have been. So, anything to do with the Gods or the Demi-Gods or Hercules or Perseus, all of that sort of stuff, Achilles! I’ve always been really really interested in that sort of stuff. So, yeah if I could do anything, it would be something based on that.
DC: Which God would you want to play?
DS: Umm… Ares, maybe. God of War cause I think he would probably be one of the most interesting or even Hades. I think Hades would be quite interesting cause there’s so much about that story that you know. Hades, Zeus and Poseidon are all brothers and he was banished down so there’s so much about that story a lot of people don’t really realize that it was Zeus that was the bad one and tormented his brother Hades and turned Hades into who he was. I have a Hermes tattoo, like a winged messenger.
DC: So, what do you like about your character?
DS: I really like everything about my character. What’s interesting about Christian is it goes all the way back to when he was really, really young when his parents turned Strigoi and then attacked him. So, I got to develop my character from a four-year-old and what turned him into this kind of sarcastic, lonely, uses humor as a defense mechanism but also very loyal and very proud and very brave, what turned him into this person and I got to start from when he was four. I had fourteen years of backstory to envelop and really develop the character with Dan and Mark’s help.
DC: Did the book help you?
DS: I actually didn’t read the books until after we’d filmed and this was because we were doing Mark and Dan’s version of Vampire Academy. So, I didn’t want to confuse myself by having Richelle’s version in there as well similar as I’d found out that they are, if there were differences, I didn’t want there to be any kind of ‘this is the version we’re doing’. You know, Richelle does a great job and I’m a huge fan and I’ve read them since but I just didn’t want to muddy the water between the two different versions cause this was Mark and Dan’s vision of Vampire Academy and that world.
DC: Have you started to collect a lot of Vampire Academy fans and is it crazy to see the attention surrounding the film?
DS: It is, yeah, I’m a little boy from Kent, it’s who I’ve been. So, I never really kind of anticipated having people asking me for my photo or asking for my autograph. It’s never something that I’ve really seen myself do, I guess. It’s something I’ve not really got my head around until we came on the press tour and I started meeting these people, it’s never something that I’d been like, ‘oh yeah, this is probably gonna happen’, I’d never thought of it that way and then when I actually started to meet them, it was like, ‘Oh wow, these people actually care who I am and they care about the movie and they’re so excited for it’.
DC: Have you gotten a chance to check out your fansites?
DS: I look at them! I look at them very briefly, they come up on my Twitter feed and stuff. But I’m so bad at all social media, I know that I’m gonna get drunk one day and say something really stupid or tweet a photo that’s completely ridiculous so I just try and steer so clear of it. I try and just stay away from it if I can, save myself from myself.
DC: Rose lies to Christian about how Lissa feels about him and I’m just wondering if you’ve ever had somebody you thought was a friend mess up your relationship by telling you something?
DS: Umm, no. I’ve seen it from a third person point of view, it’s never happened to me. I’m pretty good at ruining my own relationships. *laughs* I don’t need another person, I’m pretty good at doing it. I’ve seen it happen to friends, it was a very similar sort of situation, minus the vampires, it was a very similar situation. I saw it from my friend, who was a bloke’s point of view, and actually that was what I thought about when we were filming that evening. It’s terrible but from Rose’s point of view, she’s doing it for what she thinks is the right reasons. Whereas, with my friend, the other guy was very misinformed and had the wrong ideas. But yeah, Rose is obviously doing it for the right reasons.
DC: If the roles were reversed and it was you and Lucy playing Rose and Dimitri, how do you think that would turn out or what would you guys do differently?
DS: Oh, how interesting! That’s a really good question! I would love to play Dimitri, I think that would be awesome! I don’t have that kind of rugged man, I wouldn’t consider myself to be a man yet, I’m still like a boy, mentally. But what would we do differently… I think it’d be a very different relationship and I think that’s what’s great about what we do for a living is, if some of the greatest parts in history that we look at, if they were played by different actors, I think they would be very different stories. That’s really interesting, I don’t know if there’s anything that I would necessarily do differently because it’s never something I’ve thought about, you know Danila’s always been playing Dimitri and Zoey always Rose, so I’ve never put myself in their shoes. It’s really interesting though because I got sent a script recently and read it for one role and then they called up and offered me a different role in the movie, which I hadn’t read so I had to literally sit and re-read it for the different character because when you read a script, you take everything in but you read it from your point of view so, I read it from Christian’s point of view. If they had said, ‘Yeah we actually want you to play Dimitri’, I would’ve had to re-read the script and re-prepare and go through from his point of view.
DC: What are the best things about playing a vampire?
DS: Especially for us, I think it’s the powers. The elemental powers of the Moroi and you know, I’m fire, I did pretty well in this one, yeah I’m pretty good! For me, that was kind of the pinnacle, the powers and stuff. We had days where I thought the stunt guys were actually gonna set me on fire and they were kind of talking to me about it – not in a crazy way! *laughs* There’s a special gel that you can use that they put all over your hands and your arms and they can digitally set fire to it with a trigger that they’ve got behind camera then obviously your arms set on fire and stuff. I guess they just spent too much time with me and went, ‘You’re too clumsy for this, you’ll be on fire and you’ll like run your hand through your hair or something and ruin the rest of the movie.’ The only time we had fire was for the last scene with the dogs and they drew it across my body, which was amazing. They’re on the back of kind of golf buggies, on these big long tubes and then they kind of shot out like flame throwers and they came across my body and kind of scattered off like the dogs were, and they just went, ‘We know what you’re like Dom, just don’t put your hands in the fire’ and I was like, ‘Thanks guys, I’ll try not to put my hands in the fire’ but yeah, that’s my favorite thing about us.
DC: You’re a musician, so who do you listen to?
DS: It really varies and changes, at the moment, I’ve gone backwards a little bit. So, like, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones, obviously, and Lenny Kravitz and all of that sort of stuff, I’m really going through that phase. But I go through phases where it’s like, *laughs* I go through my Taylor Swift phase every now and then. I’m also listening to a lot of country music at the moment, like Luke Bryant and Carrie Underwood, I go through these really weird phases which is like, the best thing about my iPhone that I can just find a genre and be like, right, I’m going listen to that for like a week. But I think it very much depends on my mood and what I’m doing at the time, you know everyone’s got their workout music and that sort of stuff but at the moment, yeah that’s what the sort of stuff I’m listening to.
DC: Have you heard the soundtrack?
DS: I actually haven’t, no, they’ve not sent me one yet! I listened to bits of it, I listened to Iggy’s track and I listened Natalia’s track and I think we actually get to meet Iggy in a couple days which I’m very excited about.
DC: What are the aspects of your character you want people to learn from?
DS: I think what’s great about our movie is the things that I want people to connect to and to learn from aren’t related to him being a vampire, they are related to the normal things that normal people go through in a normal high school. Those are the things I want them to learn. If people were watching Christian, I would want them to see that he’s loyal and he loves Lissa and it doesn’t really matter what people think about you because you know, good things come to those who wait and really deserve it – actually I don’t believe good things come to those who wait – good things come to those who deserve it and who’ve earned it! And Christian really did, he’d earned himself a friend and a soulmate and he found it in Lissa. It’s really interesting and yeah, the things I want people to learn aren’t to do with him being a vampire, they’re to do with him having human emotions.
DC: Aside from learning how not to get caught on fire, did you walk away from this with any other skills? Are you an expert fang wearer?
DS: I had a lot of fight training. Oh, fangs as well, yeah, I learned how to talk with your fangs and they’re really sharp, like really, really sharp. And they’re two individual things that attach to your incisors and then go all the way back across the back of your teeth. But that’s really thin, you can’t feel it on the back of your teeth. If you shut your mouth too quickly, you’re gonna bite yourself. They’re supposed to sit in a certain place but as your talking, obviously your jaw is moving and I bit my tongue a couple times and they’re sharp enough to draw blood. That’s fact! You can take that from me, they are sharp enough to draw blood.
DC: All the girls went shopping off set, what did you do? Did you hang around after them or go do your own thing?
DS: All the girls went shopping?! Why didn’t they take me?! That’s so mean! I think we all actually spent a lot of time together and obviously a lot of the cast are British, so we like to have a drink, went to a lot of the bars and clubs in central London and we all kind of connected that way… oh yeah, the girls did go shopping, didn’t they? Yeah, they did tell me about that! They did tell me.
DC: I heard you became the tour guide for them because you’re from London.
DS: Me and Dominique [Tipper], Dominique was the other one. I don’t know how she does it but she knows the ins and outs of every part of London. We’d be like, ‘Should we go to this place?’ and she’d be like, ‘Yeah I know someone there’, of course you do. But that was like everywhere we went to in London: ‘Should we go to this place?’ ‘Yeah, I know someone; just let me call ahead.’ I was like, ‘Wow, okay, crazy!’
DC: You did things for the first time in your life for this film: the fire, the fangs, what else were first time things?
DS: Contact lenses. The colored contact lenses for the first time for that scene in the middle and they’re really uncomfortable, really uncomfortable. Obviously, the bits that are coloured you can’t see through. The hole is smaller than your pupil and then you can’t see through it, so you end up with this opaque red tint around everything you see. This was personal to me cause it doesn’t happen to everyone but I couldn’t focus my eyes cause they were stopping my pupils from contracting and dilating properly so, everything was just a colourful blur to me throughout the entire scene.
DC: So, you ran into some walls?
DS: But I would do that without contact lenses! That’s the embarrassing thing, I am that clumsy. But I was walking into stuff and I missed a couple steps…..and yeah.
DC: Sounds like the directors were trying to kill you, they’re lighting you on fire, stabbing yourself with your fangs…
DS: Right?! They don’t want me to be in Vampire Academy 2! I see it, I see it now.
Based on the bestselling book series by Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy will open in theaters on February 7, 2014. It’s directed by Mark Waters, written by Daniel Waters, and stars Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky, Gabriel Byrne, Sarah Hyland, Joely Richardson, Cameron Monaghan, Sami Gayle, Claire Foy, and Ashley Charles.
VAMPIRE ACADEMY tells the legend of Rose Hathaway (Deutch) and Lissa Dragomir (Fry), two 17-year-old girls who attend a hidden boarding school for Moroi (mortal, peaceful Vampires) and Dhampirs (half-vampire/half-human guardians). Rose, a rebellious Guardian-in-training and her best friend, Lissa – a royal vampire Princess – have been on the run when they are captured and returned to St. Vladamir’s Academy, the very place where they believe their lives may be in most jeopardy.
Thrust back into the perils of Moroi Society and high school, Lissa struggles to reclaim her status while Rose trains with her mentor and love interest, Dimitri (Kozlovsky), to guarantee her place as Lissa’s guardian. Rose will sacrifice everything to protect Lissa from those who intend to exploit her from within the Academy walls and the Strigoi (immortal, evil vampires) who hunt her kind from outside its sanctuary.
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