After 12 years as a competitive boxer, Kieron Moore decided to pivot his life path and, at age 21, went on to pursue acting. With a number of short films and TV appearances under his belt, including a stint on Netflix’s Sex Education, Moore takes on his biggest role yet in Vampire Academy, the beloved young adult paranormal-romance book series turned TV show. Moore channels a boxer’s intensity as Dimitri, a Dhampir guardian and lethal, disciplined bodyguard to the ruling Moroi. Ahead of the show’s Sept. 15 premiere on Peacock, Moore spoke with LA Confidential about his yin-and-yang relationship with on-screen love interest Sisi Stringer, the allure of vampires and his emotional moment on the set of Vampire Academy.
How have you grown as an actor through your experience on Vampire Academy?
I was very much a novice going into this. I had a couple of opportunities to give me some experience on set, but they're all very small roles, just experience kind of roles. Dimitri in Vampire Academy was my first of such caliber. It's very much an ensemble show, and it's very much led by Rose and Lyssa, but Dimitri, of course, is the lead’s love interest and one of the leading men of the story in the books and our show. It was my first pinnacle role, really. I have an air of importance to the story. So I think there's just new pressures that come with that. You feel like you're proving yourself quite a lot.
There's just so many things I've come away with, like taking my time and seeing it from a different perspective and collaboration with other artists and advice from people that have been there and done it at a level I hope to go on to do, and hope to do for a long time really. And with that you grow as a person.
Dimitri and Rose have a complicated relationship. What was fun about portraying that?
It's fun, first of all, because it's such a cherished relationship and so many people adore that relationship. But also, it's quite exciting. It's a love formed— especially from our story, our interpretation— it's a love formed through mentorship.
It's like a yin and yang relationship, and it's quite often I think that we're drawn to opposites. And Rose represents a freedom that Dimitri has never quite obtained. And he embodies a discipline that Rose hasn't quite managed to attain as of yet in her life. So they both grow through their story and as their love grows, we see them take from each other, which I think is quite beautiful. It was just so much fun to tell their story through how they bond. They bond on something that’s pretty wild. They train to protect vampires from ferocious vampires, so they're bred to kill. And we found our relationship quite a lot through the training, which is quite exciting. I come from a boxing background. Sisi came from a dance background and we complemented each other and helped each other through that.
Vampires have captivated people for centuries whether through books or movies or tv or folklore. Why do you think audiences are so intrigued by vampire stories time and time again?
Bottom line is they're usually quite sexy.We get a lot of hero stories; it's almost like the antihero and there’s an allure to the nighttime shadows of the vampires and the immortality.
We can find similarities with vampires and their human side, but they also have qualities that we wish we could have, be it the strength… the speed and the passion. There's a supernatural element of vampire stories for me that just always seemed a little bit more exciting than natural life.
What you can tell us about Masters of the Air, the forthcoming World War II miniseries from Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg?
That was my first onset experience where I went back for more than one day, so that was amazing. I was fortunate enough to work and to meet some of the best actors of our generation so far. I got to train alongside Austin Butler, who's now gone on to play Elvis, Barry Keough, who's one of my favorite actors of all time in this generation.
The director and the producing team, they've all been huge projects. It's just a different world in the respect and you've done a truthful story about real life, and there's an element of you're paying homage to people that had to save lives and to protect during one of the biggest events of human history. It was humbling, but also very much exciting.
How have your skills as a boxer translated to your acting career?
My dad was my coach, and so it was bred into me from a very early age. And I always made a comparison between boxing and acting and just sports in general. There’s a competitive nature as much as acting is a given and shared space. I always find that people with competitive hunger usually go far because it’s an exchange.
There’s a discipline and mental strength that a lot of people forget about that comes in boxing. You spend a lot of time on your own and you've got to do a lot of training on your own, and that's acting in itself. A lot of the process you spend on your own learning lines, practicing, reading, watching things. It's all you in your world trying to get better and trying to be better than yourself. And for me, there's a metaphor in boxing that I’ve come to realize with acting, and it's you spend so long pretending you are already better than what you are. You're aiming to be a champion. If you're aiming to win, you train like you're better. And that's what you do as an actor. You go in there pretending to be something you’re not, trying to step out of yourself in order to be better. I think that's 100% helped me when it comes to acting. I mean it's a lot easier because I don’t get punched in the face. I think there's so many lessons I'm constantly gonna be reminded of from boxing. I owe my life to boxing. Hopefully I'll play a boxer one day in the right story.
I got to do a scene in Vampire Academy in a boxing ring and it was very emotional. It was a nice feeling. It was like yeah, “This is full circle. It’s the right direction.”
Did you get to work on developing that scene with production because of your expertise?
I think they wrote that because of my background, and if they didn't, I'm gonna tell everyone they did. I definitely think it was highly influenced. I remember when I did my recall for Dimitri and I mentioned a topic of my past and I mentioned my boxing.
I know my dad is going to crucify me for some things. That was the hardest thing. In boxing, you're taught to keep everything tucked tight and to protect yourself at all times. Yet on TV, you've got to sell it a bit more. So you open up and you've got to choreograph it a bit more, and that was quite hard for me to slip into sometimes. But I think you'll definitely see a controlled aggression in Dimitri that someone of a boxing background would understand where that stems from.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Photography by: Photos by Nicholas Chalmers