The cast of “Vampire Academy” spent more than seven months bonding and galavanting around Spain as they filmed the new Peacock series.
“It was an incredible experience,” Daniela Nieves, who plays Lissa Dragomir, tells Page Six, crediting co-creator Julie Plec for being adamant that she wanted real castles in the show versus a green screen in Los Angeles.
“I was like, ‘Pfft, yes, let’s go to Spain! I want to go there,’” Nieves, 25, continues.
“There were moments where I would just kind of look around and be like, ‘Oh my God, this is my life. … I’m in Spain filming a show based on books that millions of people read. … It just feels honorable.”
Nieves says they filmed in places including Madrid and Barcelona, but the bulk of the series, according to the cast, was shot in Pamplona.
“Pamplona was a special place,” Kieron Moore, who plays Dimitri Belikov, tells us, adding that he was packing his swim trunks when he learned he the town wasn’t near the ocean.
Canadian actor André Dae Kim (Christian Ozera) and LA-born Andrew Liner (Mason Ashford) echo that they were lucky to get the opportunity to live abroad.
“Being a kid from LA and then going to Spain … that was just a really special experience for me, so sometimes I don’t even think it’s real,” Liner, 21, says.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city’s famed annual running of the bulls had been canceled for two years, but none of the cast were upset to miss the event as people are often injured. According to ABC, 16 people have died in the bull runs since their inception in 1910.
“There’s a lot to do in Pamplona but other times not a lot to do,” Jonetta Kaiser, who plays Sonya Karp, tells us. “So, as a cast, we really did bond because we would go to dinners together and we would go to each other’s houses and play card games and things like that. We were really close. We all miss each other, too, like, so much.”
Meanwhile, J. August Richards (Victor Dashkov) says the trip took him back to his family roots.
“I learned a lot about myself because my family is from Panama and I grew up in a Spanish-speaking household, and so this was an opportunity for me to dust off my Spanish, and it was a real journey for me,” he explains. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure.”
“Vampire Academy” — which follows royal vampire Lissa and her guardian best friend Rose as they navigate training for their upcoming roles in society — premieres Sept. 15 on Peacock.