Dominic Sherwood: Vampire Academy’s Hot Christian Ozera
By: Lynn Barker
Vampire Academy is based on a series of YA novels that present quite a different “take” on high school. The students are vampires but they don’t sparkle in the sun and there are three distinct types, all vying for blood, grades and booty as they go to night classes in an isolated boarding school.
Cute, blue-eyed Brit hottie Dominic Sherwood who plays sensitive and loyal Christian Ozera, hails from Kent, England and looks a bit like Rob Pattinson in person but he’s his own man; funny, feisty and friendly. For our interview, he entered drinking tea and wearing a plain white tee and black pants. We later got a “showing” of a tattoo of Greek God Hermes winged foot on his left ankle. He explains his Greek myth addiction and spills on his musical abilities, first kiss with leading lady Lucy Fry who plays Lissa Dragomir in the movie, almost catching on fire and how his vampire teeth kept drawing “real blood”.
Kidzworld: What was your high school (secondary school) experience like in the U.K.?
- Dominic: It wasn’t too bad. The only thing that I really struggled with was that we didn’t have a drama department so I couldn’t study that from age 11 to 16. It wasn’t an option. Because of that, when I told people I wanted to be an actor, it was “Why don’t you do something in Maths or Biology? You should get a normal person’s job”. I was like “I know. It’s just not who I am”. That was probably one of the only things I really struggled with.
Kidzworld: At school, were you sporty or nerdy or….?
- Dominic: I was musical. I still play a lot of music now because it’s a very cathartic thing for me, personally. “Oh, I’m feeling sad” or “I’m feeling happy” and I’ll sit down and play a song and I’ll feel better. I play guitar, a little piano and I sing a little…my own stuff.
Kidzworld. Cool. Will you make an album?
- Dominic: It’s something I’d very much like to keep to myself because of how it makes me feel. I’d sit in my flat with my housemate or on my own and just sing or play some music or even listen to music.
Kidzworld: Who do you like to listen to?
- Dominic: It really varies and changes. At the moment, I’ve gone back a bit so it’s like the Beatles and Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, obviously and Lenny Kravitz. But I go through my Taylor Swift phase every now and then. I’m also listening to a lot of Country right now, Luke Bryan and Carrie Underwood. I can go on my iPhone and find a genre and listen to that for a week. It depends on my mood and what I’m doing at the moment. Everybody has their work-out music too.
Kidzworld: Have you listened to the Vampire Academy soundtrack yet (out Feb. 4th)?
- Dominic: They’ve not sent me one yet. I’ve heard parts of it like Iggy’s track (“Bounce” - Iggy Azalea) and Natalia’s track (“Boys Don't Cry” - Natalia Kills). I think we get to meet Iggy in a couple of days which I’m excited about.
Kidzworld: You have a romantic scene with Lucy (Fry). She said it was the second day after you met.
- Dominic: Yeah. It was day two and I was cast so late in the process, I hadn’t had a chance to meet everyone. So the first time I’d spoken to Lucy was day one and then day two, Marc (the director) went “Cool. We’re gonna do some kissing” and we both just went “ahhhhh, Oh my God!” but it was really fine. It wasn’t a problem. The first kiss was kind of all over the place, actually, a bit of a disaster. But if was fortunate to get it out of the way very early because then we didn’t have any built up pressure when we had to do a kiss again. So it worked out really well.
Kidzworld: Now that you’ve played a type of vampire, do you want to play a zombie or anything like that?
- Dominic: Something in the supernatural genre? I’m actually very into Greek mythology and always have been. Anything to do with the Gods or Demigods or Hercules or Perseus or Achilles. I’ve always been really, really interested in that sort of stuff. I have Hermes tattoo, the winged messenger. (He shows us his ankle. Yep, wings!).
Kidzworld: Which God would you want to play?
- Dominic: Aries, the God of War maybe because he’d be one of the most interesting or Hades. He’d be quite interesting. Hades, Zeus and Poseidon were brothers and Hades was banished down to the underworld. A lot of people don’t know that Zeus was the bad one, tormented Hades and turned him into what he was.
Kidzworld: What did you like about your character Christian in Vampire Academy?
- Dominic: I really like everything about my character. What’s interesting about Christian is his backstory dates back to when he was four or five. He was very young when his parents turned Strigoi (bad, immortal vampires) and attacked him. So I got to develop my character from a four-year-old and what turned him into this sarcastic, lonely guy who uses humor as a defense mechanism but also very loyal, proud and brave. So I had fourteen years of backstory to develop the character with Dan (writer) and Marc’s help.
Kidzworld: Then had you read the books?
- Dominic: I didn’t read the books until after we had filmed. We were doing Marc and Dan’s version of Vampire Academy so I didn’t want to confuse myself by having Rochelle’s (novelist) version in there as well. As similar as they are, if there were differences, I didn’t want there to be any kind of (mix-up) as to the version we were doing. Rochelle does a great job and I’m a huge fan and I’ve read them since.
Kidzworld: Have you already started to collect a lot of Vampire Academy fans and is it crazy to see how excited they are?
- Dominic: It is. I’m a little boy from Kent so I’ve never really anticipated myself having people asking me for my photo or autograph. That’s never something I’ve seen myself do, I guess. It’s something I’d not gotten my head around until we came on the press tour and I started meeting these people. I was like “Wow, these people actually care who I am and they care about the movie and they’re so excited for it”.
Kidzworld: Have you checked out your fan sites?
- Dominic: I’ve looked at them very briefly and they come up on twitter feed. I’m so bad at all social media I know that I’m going to get drunk one day and say something really stupid or tweet a photo that’s really ridiculous so I just try and stay so clear of it unless I’m told by the Weinsteins (producers) or my agent, “You need to tweet this”. I try to stay away from it, save me from myself.
Kidzworld: Rose lies to Christian about how Lissa feels about him and it messes up their relationship. Ever had a friend lie and mess up your relationship in real life?
- Dominic: I’ve seen it from a third person point of view. I’m pretty good at ruining my own relationships so I don’t need another person to do it (laughs). I’ve seen it happen to friends. It was a very similar situation minus the vampires. I saw it from my (male) friend’s point of view and that is what I thought of when we were filming that. But, from Rose’s point of view, she is doing it for what she thinks are the right reasons whereas, with my friend, the other guy was very misinformed and kind of a jerk.
Kidzworld: If you were playing the Dimitri role opposite Rose, how would you approach that?
- Dominic: Interesting. I’d love to play Dimitri. That would be awesome but I don’t have that kind of rugged, manly man (thing). I don’t consider myself to be a man yet. I’m still a boy, both mentally and otherwise but I think it would be a very different relationship. I think that’s what’s great about what we do for a living. Some of the greatest parts in history, if they were played by different actors, it would be a very different story. I never thought about it. Zoey (Deutch) has been playing Rose and Danila (Kozlovsky) Dimitri so I never put myself in their shoes.
- I got sent a script recently and read it for one role and they called up and offered me a different role in the movie so I had to sit and re-read it for the different character. When you read a script, you take everything in but you read it from your point of view. I read this one from Christian’s point of view so if they had said, “We actually want you to play Dimitri” I would have had to re-read the script and re-prepare.
Kidzworld: What is the best thing about playing a vampire in this film?
- Dominic: For us I think it’s the elemental powers of the Moroi (mortal, peaceful vampires) and I’m fire! I did pretty well. For me that was the pinnacle, the powers. We had days when I thought the stunt guys were actually going to set me on fire. There is this special gel they use on your hands and arms and they can digitally set fire to it with a trigger.
Kidzworld: Yikes! Did they do that to you?
- Dominic: I guess they spent too much time with me and went “No. You’re too clumsy for this. You’ll be on fire and run your hand through your hair and ruin the rest of the movie”. The only time we had fire was the scene with the dogs. They drew the fire across my body. They were on the back of these golf carts with these big tubes that shot out like flame throwers then scattered off when the dogs did. They’re like “We know what you’re like Dom. Just don’t put your hands in the fire”. “Thanks guys, I’ll try not to”. But that was my favorite thing.
Kidzworld: What are the aspects of the Christian character that you hope people learn from?
- Dominic: 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 that I wanted to learn. If people are watching Christian I’d want them to see that he’s loyal and he loves Lissa and it doesn’t really matter what people think about you. Good things come to those who deserve it and who’ve earned it. Christian really did. He’d earned himself a friend and a soulmate and he found it in Lissa.
Kidzworld: How was learning how to wear vampire fangs and specialty contacts?
- Dominic: I learned how to talk with the fangs. They are really, really sharp. They are two separate things that attach to your incisors then go across the back of your teeth. It’s a thin band but if you shut your mouth too quickly, you’re going to bite yourself. They are supposed to sit in a certain place but, as you’re talking, your jaw is moving. I bit my tongue a couple of times. They are sharp enough to draw blood! Also, the colored contact lenses are really uncomfortable. You can’t see through the colored bits and the hole is smaller than your pupil so you end up with this opaque, red tint over everything you see. No peripheral vision. I couldn’t focus my eyes so everything was a colorful blur. I was walking into stuff.
Kidzworld: All the girls in the cast went shopping off set for fun. What did you do?
- Dominic: They went shopping!? Why didn’t they take me? That’s so mean. We spent a lot of time together. A lot of the cast are British so we went to a lot of the clubs in central London and connected that way. Me and Dominique (Tipper who plays a Guardian) were the tour guides. She knows the ins and outs of everywhere in London. “Oh yeah, I know someone there. Let me call them”. It was wonderful.
See Vampire Academy in theaters starting February 7th!