Vampire Academy Fans Rest Easy: Rose And Lissa Actors Both Read The Books - Exclusive

One of the biggest questions on every fan's mind with book to TV adaptations is whether the stars have read the source material. It's understandable to want to put a fresh spin on a beloved character, but it's also essential to embody the most important traits established in the books. 

Richelle Mead's "Vampire Academy" books are filled to the brim with strong and layered characters. The author's expansive universe is teeming with classism and an unfair Royal system — all told through the eyes of Dhampir Rose Hathaway. Of course, Rose's best friend is Lissa Dragomir: a Royal Moroi and the last of the Dragomir line, making things that much more complicated. Dhampirs are considered second-class to their Moroi counterparts, and they're expected to serve as Guardians to protect the Moroi from the bloodthirsty, evil Strigoi vampires. That's a lot of baggage for two teenagers.

Did Sisi Stringer (Rose) and Daniela Nieves (Lissa) read the books before filming? During an exclusive interview with The List, Stringer and Nieves confirmed that they did their homework.

Channeling their book characters

Sisi Stringer confirmed that she's a longtime fan of the "Vampire Academy" novels. "[I] loved the books — was obsessed with them as a teenager, and I watched the movie as well," she said. "I went back to that stuff during the audition process to refresh the subject matter. But I'm a fan."

Daniela Nieves admitted that she didn't have a background in the "Vampire Academy" world like Stringer, but she quickly got up to speed. "I didn't know about the books when I got the audition, but I knew that I had to read the books because there was such a strong fan base for this, and I almost felt like I owed it to them to read the books," she said. "It almost felt like a respectful thing to do." While reading the books might be a bit overwhelming after getting a part, watching another live-screen adaptation can be even tougher, according to Nieves.

"I was more scared to watch the movie, because a book [is] really about the story and the characters, and you're not putting faces to it," Nieves recalled, explaining that she was worried that watching another actor's interpretation of a character might influence her own acting choices. "I did want it to be true to me — because I felt like if we were cast, it was for a reason, and there must be something that we can bring to it."

Aesthetics match the plot

Sisi Stringer noted that the 2014 film also played a part in her preparation, and it gave her a taste of the way the class divide in the story could be explored visually in the series. "We all [watched the movie], as a guilty pleasure thing. Also, the class divide and the sociopolitical aspect of it is really cool because it's in the script and it's in the story, but it's created visually as well. You see it in the costumes, in the sets, in the things that they're going through."

The divide between the Dhampirs and Moroi isn't just in status but also in aesthetic, as Stringer explained. "The people who play Moroi, the good vampires, and particularly the royals, they're dressed head to toe in designer. They look amazing. Their dorms and their houses are so luxurious; they're castles and things like that," she said. "Then the Dhampir is where we're always in training, learning how to fight, and our sleeping quarters is military stuff. Everyone has a million bunk beds in one tiny, cold room. It's cool that you get to see it represented aesthetically." The Moroi certainly have a more glamorous wardrobe, but fans will no doubt want to get their hands on the Dhampirs' St. Vlad's training jackets.

The first four episodes of "Vampire Academy" are now streaming on Peacock, with subsequent episodes releasing Thursdays.