Returning for its third season on September 15th, The Vampire Diaries is the story of two vampire brothers, Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder), who are both obsessed with Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev). As Stefan sinks deeper into the dark side, Damon and Elena struggle with the guilt of their growing bond, even as they work together to bring Stefan back from the edge that Original vampire Klaus (Joseph Morgan) has brought him to.
During a recent interview, actor Ian Somerhalder talked about how his character Damon Salvatore will change this season, the push-pull between what Damon truly is and who everyone else wants him to be, the effects of the Season 2 finale kiss between Damon and Elena, Damon’s relationships with Bonnie (Katerina Graham) and Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen), and making sure that his character maintains his edge, even if he does end up an anti-hero. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
Question: With Stefan having departed, what role will Damon have in Season 3? How will he change?
IAN SOMERHALDER: Honestly, it’s a television show and these characters evolve. I would rather just remain the bad-ass dude that gets all the great lines and rips everybody’s heads off. That’s what I would prefer. I know it sounds a little sadistic, but it makes for a better character. But, I don’t think that’s the way life is. Kevin Williamson basically sat me down and said, “Just shut up and listen. Life is not one-dimensional. We change.” It’s that push-pull. He’s fighting against what he truly is, and that’s what makes the story dynamic. He is an anti-hero. He doesn’t know how to do all this stuff, so I think he’s going to have some trials and tribulations.
Ultimately, he’s not happy with the way things have turned out. He tried, for two seasons, to get his brother to do what he wanted him to do, which is to be what he is. He wants them to just eat and destroy everything in their paths. Now, Stefan is running around with a guy that Damon hates and tried to kill him. He’s effectively left Damon in this town with this girl who’s 150 years younger than he is, that he’s in love with, but can’t have because she doesn’t want him and it’s his brother’s girl. He’s just sitting there, thinking to himself, “This sucks!” But, I think he’s going to rise to the occasion. He’ll have the same grin on his face, if he’s ripping your head off or saving a kitten. He feels the same way about both things.
How did you interpret the kiss between Damon and Elena?
SOMERHALDER: I keep hearing about this “passionate kiss.” I don’t know if anyone saw, but he was also pale white, sweating profusely and bleeding. There wasn’t anything very passionate about it, so I don’t know how much I would read into that, although I do know that he remembers it. He makes a mention of it, jabbing at Elena, but illustrating that he definitely remembers it. It didn’t go unnoticed. She gets things from Damon that she doesn’t get from Stefan. They jab at each other and have this fun banter. He makes her smile, even though he killed her brother and basically destroyed her life, in many ways. That’s where he is. He is not happy about this situation, but he loves and has to protect this girl. He knows his brother did all this shit to save him. Stefan is now an indentured servant, for who knows how long – whether it’s a decade or a millennia.
Because of the books, there are a lot of fans that would like to see Damon and Bonnie together. What do you think about that? Would you like to see that?
SOMERHALDER: Bonnie is hot! Sleeping with a witch would probably be pretty interesting. I hear that, and I understand that. Damon and Bonnie really are, in ways, cut from very similar cloth. Damon and Bonnie have a really cool dynamic. They’re pretty funny together. I remember shooting that scene where they’re dancing together, and I remember saying, “Wow, that really works!” I know that happens in the books. It’s that thing where you hate someone and then you fall for them. But, Damon is so wrapped up in Elena. Could you imagine Jeremy coming after Damon being like, “Stay away from my girlfriend!,” and banging on his chest, and Damon sitting there going, “Really? We hooked up once kid. It was fun. Leave me alone.” But, who knows?
Damon always pushes Jeremy to man-up in situations. Will you have more scenes together this season?
SOMERHALDER: Probably, now that Damon is stuck in Mystic Falls. With Alaric (Matthew Davis), he is beholden to look after them. Damon has to take care of Jeremy’s little ass, and that is the last thing he wants to do. I think Jeremy could learn a lot from Damon that he really does not need to know. Honestly, I have no idea what’s going to happen, though.
Are you concerned with Damon maintaining his edge?
SOMERHALDER: That’s the thing, and Kevin [Williamson] and I talked about that. It’s like that alcoholic in the bar. It’s difficult. People need him to be this hero, but he ultimately is not going to know hot to do that. He’s going to slip up all the time and kill people, either accidentally or not accidentally. And, he’s going to wallow in a little bit of, “Why is this happening?” The way you keep it fresh is to weave the thread of life into this text. Ultimately, you are pulling from your past, present and future experiences. From when I wrapped in mid-April until now, I am a completely different person and so are you. We have to strive to make every day cool or great, or just get through it, however it goes.
There is the edge, in keeping it fresh and keeping things in my life that I can actually put into the text. The only way I’m going to be able to really, truly live a moment is if it actually means something to me. You can’t just show up and say the words. Don’t for a second think it’s always cotton candy. Sometimes it really hurts. A lot of stuff that Damon goes through is super-cathartic for me, as an individual, and it’s not always pretty. You’re muddying the water, all the time. You’re pulling from all these things in your life that are not necessarily good. It’s basically like getting paid for therapy. Instead of laying on someone’s couch and telling them about how you feel, you’re internally pulling all this stuff.
I work with this woman who is so profound in her work. Her name is Ivana Chubbuck. She is globally probably the most famous acting coach, walking the face of the planet, who is still working. The way she teaches, and her ability to take from your life and weave it into the tread of the text, it forms a cloak and that’s what you see. Underneath, you don’t see all the stitching and everything. What you see outside is what’s presented to you and what’s real, but it is not easy. This woman knows more about more people in Hollywood than anyone, and it’s really deep, profound, fucked up stuff. For me, that’s acting. It’s what I do, every day. It’s pretty weird.