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Exclusive: Sarah Hyland Bites into Vampire Academy

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Exclusive: Sarah Hyland Bites into Vampire AcademyIn the upcoming film Vampire Academy (based upon the series of bestselling books by Richelle Mead), Sarah Hyland plays nerdy Natalie, one of the students at the school for fanged folks. Dread Central sat down with Sarah last week, and she told us all about the new movie.

Dread Central: We were just talking about how different you look in this movie. Was that fun for you to transform into this nerdier side?

SH: It was so much fun! I loved it! I thought that because it’s so different from anything that I’ve ever done. You know when you play someone like Hayley, her standards are a lot higher than Natalie’s so I’m always worried like do I have dark circles? Is my hair okay? Do I look pale? Do I have enough blue and contour and all that stupid stuff. But with Natalie I was really able to relax and really focus on the character herself. Whereas with Hayley, that is something she would worry about all the time. So with Natalie it was a lot of fun just being able to go to set just like “whatever! As long as continuity is right!” that’s all that matters.

DC: Were you familiar with the book series? When did you read the book and what was your reaction when your received the script?

SH: I was actually in Baton Rouge for Bonnie & Clyde when I booked it, like less than a week when I flew to London. They were trying to figure out if my schedule would work by the time that we wrapped Bonnie & Clyde. So I literally wrapped Bonnie & Clyde on a Wednesday, I flew to LA on a Thursday, did laundry, we packed and flew to London on Friday. So it was a really fast turnaround for me. I wasn’t able to read the book before we started filming so I was reading it during filming. It was hard to read the book while filming cause you have this image of Natalie with Daniel Waters and I had my own image of Natalie in my own head that I wanted to bring certain things to the table. Then it was hard to incorporate a lot of Richelle’s stuff, even though it’s very close to Daniel’s, but I was kind of too late by the time that I got to some pivotal moments and we were like, “Well, we already shot this so… oh well!”

DC: Did you have to do martial arts training for that one [scene] fighting in a tight dress?

SH: I did training while we were filming. I did training 3 times a week and I also did stunt choreography and fighting and stuff like that. I did not have the privilege to do it 3 months in advance like Zoey did. I wish I did *laughs* but it was a lot of fun! I use to dance when I was younger, like 10 dance classes a week. So I was very active at one point in my life, but then that slowly fleeted away. It was really great to get back into it! It was a lot of fun because stunt fighting is kind of like a dance in its own way so it was really interesting to do that. It was my first time ever doing something like that!

DC: What do you like about her? What did you believe you learned from her?

SH: I love that Natalie does have this unique energy. She brings something very different to the movie than any of the other characters. I think that’s wonderful on Richelle and Daniel’s part because the movie is very comedy-driven with action and romance and it has like everything in it for everybody. But with the comedy, Rose Hathaway is very dry and witty and sarcastic and she has this dark, twisted sense of humor that’s very much like Daniel Waters. Waters is humor and it’s very ‘Heathers’. Natalie is so…all over the place to where it’s this different type of energy. It’s more…I don’t want to say it’s slapstick, but she’s definitely the person that slips on the banana and then get laughs.

DC: What was your high school experience like? Were you a nerd or sporty or anything?

SH: I went to a performing arts school. I’m from New York. We didn’t have a football team or cheerleaders or like the mathletes or anything like that. It was pretty much just a bunch of people who loved theater or dance and just the arts in general. It was a very welcoming high school, granted you’re gonna run into your drama no matter what high school you go to, no matter what. Even if it’s Harvard or Yale, you’re gonna have drama with the smarty pants and stuff. If it’s a musical theater, you’re gonna have drama over who gets the lead or not and that was the most of the drama in our school it’s like who’s trying out for what? Who gets what solo? But we all had similar interests so we were all really good friends and it was a very small school. I had a lot of friends and I was very much a social butterfly but I was also working at the same time so it was hard to keep the social life while doing theater.

DC: There’s a scene in the film where you have to lick a bloody wall. Any fun stories for filming that and what was it, like ketchup or something?

SH: It was um… I probably would’ve liked it better if it was ketchup. I should’ve brought that up… but it was like a corn-starchy concoction. But it was edible and that’s all I really cared about. It wasn’t the worst tasting thing in the world but it’s not like I was like “oh can we do one more take cause I really wanna lick this wall again, it was delicious!”

DC: Was it really gross when you were doing it? Did you put yourself in that mindset where you thought it was blood?

SH: Well…they like blood! They eat it to survive. So that’s like a cheeseburger to them! But I don’t know, the mindset of it was more like “who’s blood is this?” and kind of creepy and stuff. So we actually played it a lot of different ways. Mark was very helpful in playing around with Natalie and how he thought of Natalie so we played it a lot of ways like “this is kind of weird Rose, what are we doing? I’m really kind of creeped out” and then we played it in ways of like “I’m so excited to help! This is awesome!” I’m helping Rose Hathaway, she’s so cool” kind of stuff. It was really interesting to be able to do something like that. I think the hardest for me was the fangs. Acting with fangs was very different.

DC: How many times did you have to lick the wall?

SH: I honestly don’t remember…

DC: Did you go shopping with Zoey and Lucy after all? Cause they said they escaped to shopping a couple times.

SH: Yes, definitely did a lot of shopping in London! That’s the place to shop, like “Be back later, Mark; we’re gonna go to Harrods!” *laughs* We always got the chance to go out to dinner or to have drinks and stuff. We were a very tight-knit cast. We just had a blast whether it was onset or off. And so uhh… I did some damage in the clothing department.

DC: Have you had a chance to see the film?

SH: Not yet. But I’m excited! I see it Tuesday!

DC: I know there’s that one part [in "Modern Family"] where they sent you to college for a while and you had some time off?

SH: Well, that was last season and that was the season before I shot Vampire Academy. Vampire Academy fell perfectly in my hiatus. It was kind of a little bit close to filming the beginning of season 5, but we made it all work and it was a lot of fun. It was my first hiatus where I was really able to do like big films that weren’t just set for a amount of time and I did 3 movies over the summer. I didn’t have any day off. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m a work-a-holic, I need like rehab or something.

DC: Are you into supernatural movies or books? Or maybe fantasy?

SH: I am! I love vampires, I love zombies like so much…

DC: “Walking Dead”?

SH: “Walking Dead”! Yup! Zombieland. Even like cheesy sci-fi zombie apocalypse movies. I love zombies a lot. I really, really do, no matter what. Dawn of the Dead and everything! So yeah I love that but I also like things in the fantasy world like “Game of Thrones” and Harry Potter. I’m a really big nerd when it comes to stuff like that. I love stuff like that. I kind of turn into a boy when it comes to like gooey monsters and everything!

DC: Is there any moment that you couldn’t stop laughing that is kind of the funniest moment that we will see in the gag reel in the DVD?

SH: Oh my gosh. Umm… I don’t know. I’m trying to think… it was always fun, it’s just usually when I film something I completely forget everything after I’m done.

DC: Did you take anything from set?

SH: No!

DC: Did you wear the fangs off set at all?

SH: No, I umm… we had a really fun set. Like I looked particularly scary one day and I went knocking on Dominic’s door. I like hid behind the door so when he opened it up I jumped out and scared him really bad.

DC: He talked about that!

SH: I know! He told me outside and he was like, “People were asking me if there were any pranks pulled on set and I tried to tell them it was about you but it made me look like I was just… a pussy! Because it was just Sarah jumping out saying ‘boo!'” But it was really scary because I looked a certain way.

DC: What was your relationship like with Danila, even though you probably didn’t have as many scenes with him, but did you play around off-set?

SH: Danila is one of those men who is… at first you would think very serious, and very Russian, and just super composed. Then you hang out with him more and he’s the sweetest, funniest person and he’s so wonderful. We’ve had some really great moments like even if we weren’t filming we’d all hang out and everything as much as Danila could because everything was demanding so much on Lucy, Zoey, and Danila. But we had a lot of fun! He’s very playful. I think that’s a good word for him.

DC: What kind of music are you into?

SH: I am into a very wide range of music. I like everything from hip-hop to country and everything in-between.

DC: Have you heard the soundtrack for this yet?

SH: I still haven’t! But I love ‘Spiritual’ by Katy and Iggy Azaleas is an amazing artist. Those are the only two I know.

DC: Do you have a favorite scene or line?

SH: My favorite scene is at the end that I can’t talk about. But I love when Natalie just kind of goes off talking about how no one has ever really seen her naked. Then I don’t know if it made it in the movie or not, but when I’m trying on dresses for prom and I’m coming out in that hideous yellow dress, Zoey goes, or Rose goes, “You look like a device created to torture autistic children” or something like that. And that is just Daniel Waters for you, just like the most twisted sense of humor but it’s just hysterical and you can’t help but laugh at it.

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.

For more info visit the official Vampire Academy website, “like” Vampire Academy on Facebook, and follow Vampire Academy on Twitter.

Synopsis
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.

Vampire Academy

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Staci Layne Wilson