While the cast of The Vampire Diaries are appearing at Comic-Con this weekend, I actually got to chat with the three stars — Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder — at a press conference held last month at the 50th annual Monte-Carlo Television Festival. Much of that Q&A was run as a feature on AOL’s TV Squad, and the rest of it appears here on A.D.D.
While there was plenty of discussion about the twisted, long-running love triangle between Stefan, Elena/Katherine and Damon, the trio also discussed working on the set, their international appeal and their favorite vampires.
Who do you think will act as the magistrate between Stefan and Elena’s relationship in Season Two? Damon or Katherine?
Nina Dobrev: Probably both.
Paul Wesley: Yeah, that’s a good question. Most people would think Damon — and we don’t know what’s going to happen in Season Two, so we’re surely speculating — but I was in love with Katherine.
Nina Dobrev: There might be temptation for Stefan. We don’t know exactly, but it could be a little bit of both.
Ian Somerhalder: I think it’s just going to depend upon how much I pay Kevin Williamson to write some good stuff.
Paul Wesley: Give him like five grand.
Ian Somerhalder: I’ll up that. We’ll figure it out.
What have been your best and worst memories on the set so far?
Nina Dobrev: One memory that wasn’t the most pleasant physically was when we were shooting and it was below freezing. We had to pretend like it was fall, and it was raining the whole episode. At the beginning of one take my hair would be dry and normal, and two minutes later when they called cut, there was ice in my hair because it was so cold. I stayed outside in wet clothes for 12 or 14 hours, and then I got really sick.
Paul Wesley: An outdoor rain episode in January is not a good idea. I think I had to lay in the mud for that episode. It was 16°F for 14 hours.
Ian Somerhalder: That was the worst.
Nina Dobrev: We do have a lot of fun. There are good times on the set.
Ian Somerhalder: There are amazing times on set, and we are unbelievably lucky to have that daily. I think you two have a much harder job than I do. Your characters go through so much more emotionally. Damon kind of shows up and screws with everybody. I sort of breeze in, breeze out. I actually have a profound amount of respect for you two.
Nina Dobrev: Thank you.
Ian Somerhalder: You don’t brood as much as you could.
Paul Wesley: Really?
Ian Somerhalder: I mean, you brood a lot.
Paul Wesley: Yeah. I’m brooding right now.
Ian Somerhalder: You are.
Paul Wesley: No, I try not to. For me, just having this experience for the first time makes every moment. I’ve never been on a show that’s been picked up for a back nine or had any success on this level, so I’m pretty damn thankful to be on it.
Ian Somerhalder: That’s a good word.
“Vampires are technically dead, and to be able to feel what that is like is a pretty powerful notion.”
The series is obviously very successful on an international level. What do you think makes it so universally appealing?
Nina Dobrev: It has a lot of different elements that people love. It has drama and love and sex. It’s dark at times, it’s light at times, it’s very scary at times. I read every episode knowing what’s going to happen, then I watch it, and it freaks me out.
Paul Wesley: I also think that if you take away the vampires there is a really amazing story.
Ian Somerhalder: In a way, it’s a story about this town. We don’t want to take the vampires out.
There are a lot of movies about vampires. Which has been your favorite vampire?
Paul Wesley: Ian Somerhalder.
Nina Dobrev: Are we joking, or are we serious?
Ian Somerhalder: I know that I am his favorite vampire.
Nina Dobrev: I really like the girl who turned Bill Compton in True Blood.
Paul Wesley: Are we talking for all time or on TV now?
Of all time.
Paul Wesley: Oh, then not Ian Somerhalder.
Nina Dobrev: I liked Kirsten Dunst in Interview With The Vampire. It was so odd because she was such a little person, but she was so evil and conniving and had this demon inside of her. I thought that was great.
Ian Somerhalder: My favorite vampire was Willem Dafoe in Shadow Of The Vampire. I think that was a really compelling and almost grotesque anomaly of what this vampire genre has given us as opposed to being an aesthetically appealing version. Vampires are technically dead, and to be able to feel what that is like is a pretty powerful notion. I think he did that very, very well.
Paul Wesley: There are a lot of Christopher Lee and older films that I gravitate towards. [True Blood‘s] Bill Compton is an aesthetically pleasing creature. But when the vampire character was first originated —
Ian Somerhalder: He didn’t look like Paul Wesley.
Paul Wesley: Exactly.
“An outdoor rain episode in January is not a good idea. I think I had to lay in the mud for that episode. It was 16°F for 14 hours.”
Ian, you’re from Louisiana. What do you think of the BP situation, and are you going to go back home?
Ian Somerhalder: You don’t want to know what I’m thinking. If you’d like to see steam coming out of my ears, it’ll happen momentarily. I was down there immediately after it started happening, and I went down to help and shoot public service announcements to bring awareness to it. I’m itching to be home. I’m so happy to be in Monaco right now and be at this festival with all of you, but I do feel as if I’m abandoning them and need to get home. We have a massive amount of cleanup to do, and we’re going to hope and pray that our ecosystem isn’t completely destroyed. We just learned a great deal about this, especially the United States federal government. We need more stringent laws and regulatory commissions and to never let this happen again anywhere in the world. Anywhere in the world. Maybe we can create the notion that if we do indeed drill for oil, it might be better to do it on land. Just a thought.
For each of you: Why is your character the coolest?
Ian Somerhalder: Every single one of these characters is going through so much. Damon is very lucky because he is simply doing nothing but having fun, for the most part. As I said earlier, these guys have a much harder job than me. I don’t know if Damon is the coolest, but he’s pretty damn cool.
Paul Wesley: I wear some shades on the show to look cool.
Ian Somerhalder: I think actually Elena/Katherine is cool because she’s this double-sided coin. She’s pretty gangster.
Nina Dobrev: She’s a pimp. I think that I have the coolest character because I have both of these boys dangling at my fingertips.
Paul Wesley: I’m not that cool. I’m just whipped. I’m a romantic, but I ain’t cool.