‘The Originals’: Yusuf Gatewood on Season 3 and the Evolution of Vincent

     May 13, 2016


In the next episode of The Originals, called “Give ‘Em Hell Kid,” Vincent (Yusuf Gatewood) and Kol (Nathaniel Buzolic) must travel to the ancestral world to put a stop to the witches and take back their city, once and for all. Meanwhile, Freya (Riley Voelkel) has uncovered that her family is on a collision course with a dangerous new enemy, and Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and Elijah (Daniel Gillies) see that a heartbreaking plan gone wrong has sent Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) spiraling

During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actor Yusuf Gatewood talked about Vincent evolving from recurring guest spot into the character he is now, knowing just how dangerous a move he’s made by giving Marcel the lethal serum, the motive behind Vincent’s friendship with Marcel, why Vincent was so tight with Cami (Leah Pipes), what a Vincent-Kol partnership looks like, and how he feels about this season. Be aware that there are some spoilers.

Collider: Vincent has gone on such a journey, since we first met him on this show. From what they told you when you first started out on this show, have you been completely surprised by the journey that you’ve taken with him?


Image via CW

YUSUF GATEWOOD: Certainly. First of all, when we first started out with this character, it was a recurring guest spot. I don’t know how many episodes were guaranteed. It was maybe two episodes. I don’t know how long the arc was meant to be. We started out with the possession by Finn, and that was different, completely, in terms of story. Finn was a Mikaelson and his purpose was completely different from Vincent. It’s just been about putting things together, as it goes. It’s been a really fun journey that’s been really interesting to work through. Hopefully, we’ve done a pretty good job, from then until now, with this character.

A show called The Originals has to focus on the Original family, but there are so many interesting characters on this show and it feels like everyone has really gotten a chance to shine this season. What’s it been like to dig deeper into this character and explore some of the relationship dynamics that you haven’t really gotten to explore before?

GATEWOOD: I’m an actor and the thing that I love doing most is just working with another actor in the scene. If you’re asking about the process of creating the inner life of that person, I don’t really know how to answer that question too well. We’re given a lot to play with, just in the script. What happens when you’re working in a scene with Cami, Davina, Marcel or any of the Original family, the interplay and the back-and-forth between two actors is where a lot of the stuff happens. You can’t do it in a vacuum. You have to have other actors to work with. All of us owe the work that we create to each other. It’s very much a play that we do.

Vincent made a pretty shocking move by giving Marcel the serum that he extracted from Aurora’s heart. Does he realize just how dangerous a move he made, especially if Marcel actually goes through with it?

GATEWOOD: Yeah, absolutely, he realizes it. That just illustrates how high the stakes are and how desperate times call for desperate measures. But certainly, he’s aware of it. Going back to what you were saying, the show is called The Originals and you have supporting players that are there, in many respects, to help support the A story, I don’t think that should come at the detriment of the supporting characters’ strengths. He’s not an ignorant character. He’s not a weak character. He does have his own agenda. Whether he succeeds in that or not remains to be seen, and is up to the writers and producers, but I don’t think there’s anything ignorant about this guy.

From his point of view, what are the advantages of Marcel taking the serum?

GATEWOOD: I think one of the main advantages, at this point, is a very human emotion, which is something The Originals does so well, and that’s revenge. At the same time, it would be serving the Mikaelsons a little bit of their own medicine. What always drives him is just to do what’s best for the people of New Orleans. His idea of the people of New Orleans has been very set in stone, with the innocent people and the witches and the covens. But, who knows? You might see that his tribe, so to speak, expands. It might take on new allies. Going back to one of your original questions, that’s something else that’s interesting in the evolution of Vincent.

It’s been really fun to watch the friendship and the growing respect that Vincent and Marcel have developed this season, especially because they’re two people who wouldn’t have been friends before and likely would never have worked together. What’s it been like to get to explore that and to get to work with Charles Michael Davis?


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GATEWOOD: I just like to work with actors, so I can’t really answer that question. It’s a story and I’m playing a character, so working with anybody is the interesting back-and-forth that you have with another actor. But in terms of a friendship, that relationship that the writers have put together is very interesting because there is so much backstory with regard to Marcel and when he was first sitting on the throne, ruling New Orleans and how he treated the witches. It makes no logical sense for Vincent to, all of a sudden, be chummy-chummy with that guy, but that’s what’s fun about it. It’s not black and white. It’s very, very specific shades of grey. It just speaks to what happens when certain people, through necessity, are forced to put differences aside or put them on pause to get the business done. It’s been interesting to think about it, as an actor, and to play with it. I hope people who appreciate the show will appreciate our efforts in that direction.

We’ve also gotten to see a really beautiful friendship develop between Vincent and Cami, and he clearly deeply mourned her death. What does losing Cami and then Davina, so close to each other, mean to Vincent? How is he dealing with that?

GATEWOOD: Well, I hope that’s something people can watch the show and draw their own conclusions about. As an actor, I have my own personal opinions about what I do, in order to create an inner life. It’s a huge moment for the story. It’s fun to play with. If you care to know, I never really thought of them as being friends. I thought of it as more of an unrequited love. It made no logical sense for someone whose first priority has been his community, the witches, to make decisions that aren’t in their best interest, over this woman who he’s just conjured a friendship with. It’s more than a friendship, and that, to me, raises the stakes again and makes the loss of Cami that much more painful for him. That’s absolutely fun to play with, and I hope that people can draw their own conclusions about the work that the actors, the directors, the writers, our cameramen and everybody who’s on set creating the show, put into it.

We know that Vincent and Kol will have to work together to attempt to stop the ancestors. After what Kol has done, what can we expect to see from that partnership, which must be so awkward?

GATEWOOD: Yeah, it’s certainly awkward. You can expect to see awkwardness. These two find themselves in a situation where they’re forced to work together. They come from very different backgrounds and have very different motivations. How those overlap and how they run against each other will certainly be something that’s explored in [Episode 321]. Hopefully, it will be just as interesting as some of the other partnerships this season have been.

We’ve heard Vincent express a bit of guilt and feelings of responsibility for setting these events in motion, even though it wasn’t really his fault. Does he still feel that way, or is he more focused on revenge?

GATEWOOD: I don’t know that the two are mutually exclusive. I feel as though he does still feel responsible. Whether or not he is doesn’t matter. What he feels is what he feels. He could feel completely responsible, and that could set the revenge in motion.

Without giving anything away, when you first read the season finale and found out how everything and everyone would end up this season, what was your reaction?


Image via CW

GATEWOOD: My reaction was, “This is what this draft says.” The thing about The Originals is that you never, ever know what’s going to happen. Sometimes people assume that we’re in the know more than we are. I feel like sometimes you just wait until the day happens. Sometimes the muses visit, and when they do, that could change something. I wasn’t there on every single day of shooting, so I have no idea what ended up in the can. But I can tell you this, at the table read, I remember being really excited by the possibilities of it. I anticipate actually seeing how it cuts together and seeing what happens. All things being said, from start to finish, this has been an insane season, just with the things going on. As you said early, there are so many people who had the opportunity to shine this season. It’s really good actors with really great writing. I’m excited by what’s happened.

The Originals is definitely a show that keeps you guessing and you never know what’s coming.

GATEWOOD: You never know, but really, you never know what’s going on with life. That’s the way things work. Because our show is so high stakes and we live in a vampire universe, it makes it much more interesting to watch, but at the core of it all is human relationships dealing with human circumstances in absolute chaos. You never know what’s going to happen in your life, and that’s The Originals.

The Originals airs on Friday nights on The CW.


Image via CW


Image via CW


Image via CW


Image via CW