Julie Plec and Marguerite MacIntyre on the Importance of the Show's Relationships on 'Vampire Academy'

Julie Plec and Marguerite MacIntyre on the Importance of the Show's Relationships on 'Vampire Academ ...

The Peacock original series Vampire Academy, based on Richelle Mead's bestseller book series, is set in a world with powerful Royals, half-vampire Guardians, and a deadly Strigoi, who threatens to destroy everything. At the center of it all, two young women Lissa Dragomir (Daniela Nieves), a Royal vampire who longs for a better existence than her privilege will allow, and Rose Hathaway (Sisi

Plec and MacIntyre discussed how they ended up creating another vampire series after finishing the book on The Vampire Diaries universe, why they fell in love with Vampire Academy, the freedom of not having to follow the same streaming guidelines, the importance of the shows' relationships, and the fact that there's still a lot more to tell.

Collider: I must admit, after the conclusion of the The Vampire Diaries universe, that you decided to dive into another vampire story. Did you ever try to deceive yourself into doing this? What motivated you to make this a story?

MARGUERITE MACINTYRE: That's a great question.

JULIE PLEC: It was a breeze for me because it was something I've always wanted to do. So when my new colleagues at universal said, Whats the one thing you've always wanted to do, that you've never been able to purchase? And they said, Fantastic!, and they bought it for me. So then, I was like, Oh, now I've got to do this thing. It's a story about female friendship, and we just don't tell enough of it right

MacINTYRE: When we discussed our role in this world, I went back and read the books. I had remembered enjoying them, but I didn't realize how much I loved the class narrative in it. That's what made me smile. This is a complete parallel. This is a system that is being stretched. There's a lot of injustice, and the women at the center are being pulled apart. So, what are they gonna do, as friends? What are we standing for in this world?

PLEC: We kept getting the message, These girls should have a much stronger point of view about the society that they live in. We kept arguing and saying, No, thats the point. You dont understand. And now, as they enter adulthood for the first time, they are seeing everything from the start. That's also something you don't get to see much of.

MacINTYRE: Theyre realizing that they had forgotten about the world they had inherited. Once they think about it, it's all in their face, and it's theirs to deal with.

Since you first started working together, the relationship that you have had has certainly evolved. What have you most enjoyed about the way that this has all been developed for you and how your collaboration has evolved? What do you think you have learned from each other that has truly strengthened your own work?

Marguerite is a beautiful writer with a wonderful brain. She knows everything about everything, and she has an interesting perspective on everything I like to do in life, probably much deeper than my own. She also has this gift for comprehending the larger picture, and for seeing it from the perspective of an actor for so many years, she was able to observe everything I did wrong, and she is able to make it a really fluid relationship.

MacINTYRE: It's fantastic, but what's amazing is having been allowed to produce. It's unfortunate because, to be able to go to set as a staff writer and begin to make decisions and recognize how those decisions play out, is such a training ground. She has all of these hats that she wears with ease.

When it comes to various projects in various stages of development, you seem to be juggling many plates in the air, at all times. How do you manage all of the stories you want to tell without overworking yourself to the point of breaking? Do you feel that you have a good sense of when youre overburdened?

PLEC: I agree that wealth is the first obstacle to my ability to make money. It doesnt last longer than a year if you do a pilot. I just do it by myself. I choose partners, and I choose the one I want to partner with for the right project.

MacINTYRE: Until I went back and read it again.

PLEC: I knew that she could. I knew that she was willing to co-create and showrun her own program. Over the last eight years or nine years, I watched her rise, from a first-time writer in television to a senior-level producer. It's putting your trust in people like Caroline Dries, Michael Narducci, Brett Matthews, and Marguerite MacIntyre.

MacINTYRE: I see her striving to find a greater balance. When more and more women join the industry, we hope that this will continue in more roles, both in the crew as well as as producers and writers, and everything in the upper levels, and that there will be a little bit more of a push to emphasize that work/life balance is important, and that health and safety are important.

PLEC: Were gonna change the world, that's what we've been implying.

MacINTYRE: Were we gonna just transform the world?

Since you've worked on broadcast networks on programs about young people, you're familiar with the difficulties and limitations that come with certain content and language limitations. What does it have to do with this program and what you can say when it's being streamed? Is it helpful to have the freedom to use a well-placed swear word when you need to and want to, rather than having to write something that meets standards?

PLEC: That was the greatest thrill, but it's true. Because of all of those freedoms of running time and broadcast standards, you can have brand names and you can shoot at any time. What broadcast television builds in a storyteller is the challenge of not having all of the time or money in the world, and not having enough time to finish an episode. In a strange way, that makes you a stronger producer and a better writer.

MacINTYRE: I agree. The idea of coming up in that sort of structure with six acts becomes so ingrained in you that you can feel when a story is right and you can feel when it isn't. It's a great learning ground.

PLEC: Well, I'm glad to be putting a break from streaming right now. We can get a little naked, and we can say a few swear words, but most importantly, we can let the show breathe. That air is something that affects the show when it's all said and done.

A well-placed curse word can be very helpful.

PLEC: Agreed.

You talked about the importance of this female friendship, but there is also the romance at the heart of it. What can you say to tease what well these relationships are between Lissa and Christian and Rose and Dimitri, for what fans of these characters can expect?

PLEC: Were both big lovers of romance. Ive built an entire career around love triangles and longing and passion, and that's why this program is so popular. They both came across very engaging and relatable in their interactions.

What is it like to put these casts together? Youve had incredible luck with the casts that you've assembled in the past, and this one is equally amazing. Do you just know when you have it, or do you always get anxious that it wont be available?

PLEC: Casting this was difficult by any means, because we had to do it on Zoom, but it was thrilling because nobody was implying that we had to hire actors. We got to meet people in many different countries, some of whom didn't even have work permits, and we got to meet some of the same people that we hadn't met before.

MacINTYRE: We were fortunate to find people we didnt cast that were exceptional. We saw a lot of people who were eventually cast in a role that they didnt initially audition for. Even Rhian [Blundell] came in like 18 times because we just loved her. It's gonna happen. We just don't know where it'll end. Same with Mia [McKenna-Bruce].

Is it fair to assume that youll be living in this world for at least a few minutes when you have six books and a spinoff series?

PLEC: Yes, for sure. Our flag has been firmly planted in the sand of St. Vladimirs Province and St. Vladimirs Academy. There are a lot of stories to be told. It doesnt have to be a short-lived, one-and-done series. Fans of the books who see what weve done with the first season will see the foundation for all of the good, cool things to come.

I like what you guys did with this. Ive also seen the film, which I felt wasn't really given a fair shake. So, its just really nice to see that this is being allowed to breathe again as a story, because it is such a great story.

PLEC: Thank you. It's funny, because I loved the books, and the first trailer I saw for the film made it seem like a broad comedy. I just assumed, Im not even gonna risk seeing what they did with it because, if that's the approach, I'm not going to see it.

Peacock offers a streaming service for Vampire Academy.