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Vampire Diaries Stars Talk Season Two

Appearing at the 2010 Monte Carlo Television Festival, Vampire Diaries stars Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder sat for a press conference.
'The Vampire Diaries' has a very devout following. How much attention do you pay to social media and what a lot of the fans are talking about?

Ian Somerhalder: There's a lot of it. It's pretty phenomenal. We don't get to view too much of it. It could actually be problematic to soak all that in. We tend to be saturated with the mythology in and of itself.

Paul Wesley: I think it's a mistake to follow that too much. It's good to be aware of it. I don't know. To a certain extent, we're in Atlanta, we're excluded and we do our thing 14 hours a day, so we don't have much exposure to it. That's the truth and the reality of it.

Nina Dobrev: But also, minus the killing and the blood, we don't sleep during the nighttime hours. We work at night and sleep during the day. Thankfully we don't have a lot of time to go on the Internet and read all that stuff. Everyone has an opinion, and a lot of it is very positive, but there's so much out there, and it's hard to please everyone.

Wesley: I think initially when we shot the pilot, there was a huge thing about the fact that you had dark hair.

Dobrev: Elena in the books is blonde-haired and blue-eyed.

Wesley: At that point, it was just a hair color. But if you allow something like that to affect you ...

Dobrev: That's basically when I stopped reading them. I was reading them for a little bit.

Somerhalder: We all fall in love with characters and grow with them and become married to [their personalities], whether it's a simple nuance or an aesthetic aspect, so I think it's best for us to stay as far away as possible from that and live within the beautiful confines of whatever the story gives us.

Ian, you achieved fame with your character on 'Lost'. Were you scared after he died not to find a role like that again?

Somerhalder: Scared to death.

Was it hard to find a new role?

Somerhalder: It's really funny. As an actor, you always think that whatever job you have is going to be your last. In some way, shape or form, you think you're going to screw it up and you're never going to work again. And it literally took five years to find another show. I worked with HBO for a short time. It's an exciting prospect but also kind of a scary prospect. Finding work in this business is a nearly impossible task.

Dobrev: Finding good work. You can find work.

Somerhalder: Finding good work. It's exhilarating and challenging at the same time. It was a welcome challenge.

There are a lot of flashbacks in the series. How much have you enjoyed being in costume and how much has that affected the way you act?

Dobrev: I like the flashbacks. We all have fun because we get to go into a different time frame and get to do period work and put on these different costumes. When you're on a film set, not only do you look different, but it's a whole different world that they create.

Somerhalder: It transports you back in time.

Dobrev: We get to be part of it. It's a challenge and it's different, so we're very lucky. I love it because I get to put on the corset and the dress and play dress-up and get to fight people. It's great.

Wesley: I think apart from the fact that you're in this brand new setting with this amazing [costume] that is perfectly made so that it fits, all the time, there are different relationships. Damon and I love one another. We're innocent, naïve boys, and we fall in love with the wrong girl -- or the right girl, that's subjective -- who makes us who we are.

Somerhalder: That's exhilarating because she's a beautiful figure who's very, very powerful and sucks us in. The naïveté and the first cut of what you think is love is quite arguably one of the most powerful moments of your life. I think that this woman came into their lives, really inspired them and made them think and feel things that they had never felt. However, having said that, the naïveté also lends itself to complete bliss. You get to see Stefan and Damon having so much fun together. It's such a startling contrast to what you generally see them as.

Nina, what is it like to play two diametrically opposed characters like Elena and Katherine?

Dobrev: It's a very rare opportunity that I feel very lucky for. It's hard to find one character that's challenging, gritty and amazing, and I have two amazing, contrasting characters. I play Elena, a sweet, nice and lovable girl, who's also very courageous and will take care of all the people around her. She's very selfless. Katherine is the complete opposite -- she's selfish, narcissistic and very crazy -- and she does everything for her own pleasure and amusement. The world and these boys are her playground.

Wesley: That's why we fall in love with her.

Somerhalder: And she makes us.

Dobrev: Exactly. It's interesting and fun to explore two completely different things, and when it comes to Katherine, really be someone so far from myself. It's beautiful. I love it.

Which flashbacks have been your favorite and why? Which time period would you like to visit in the future?

Wesley: 1970s disco, in a roller rink.

Dobrev: I'd love to do the Twenties.

Somerhalder: The Roaring Twenties. I second that. That's one of my favorite decades. I think when we first started these flashbacks, they were some of the best ones simply because it was an introduction that we had never done before. For me, it was the beginning parts of when Stefan and Damon were truly so happy. When they first meet Katherine and she steps off of the carriage ... you know, I don't even see us as actors [when I watch that]. I see us as the characters, and I thought, "It's so cute. They look like they've been hit in the head with a bat."

Wesley: Literally one of the first scenes we shot was the scene where you and I were playing football in the yard.

Somerhalder: That's the scene.

Wesley: We had been fighting for months -- in the episode, not in real life -- and hated each other, and all of a sudden we were expected to laugh, run and play football. We were like, "Okay ... " and it was really fun. It was fantastic that Damon and Stefan get to do this. I realized how powerful and effective it was.

Are you worried about competition from all of these vampire shows on TV now and about all of the comparisons between 'The Vampire Diaries' and 'Twilight'?

Somerhalder: I think we are reaping the benefits of the unbelievable success that 'Twilight' created. If you look at the vampire shows that are floating around right now, they're all pretty different. They are apples and oranges. 'Twilight' is the feature film franchise version. 'True Blood' is the cable version that is a lot more risqué, and 12- and 13-year-olds cannot watch 'True Blood' with their parents. That would be weird.

Dobrev: Awkward.

Somerhalder: Then you have us, the primetime network version. Obviously the comparisons to 'Twilight' at the beginning were justified. The set up is quite the same, but I think the show very quickly distinguished itself from that.
Wesley: First of all, there's sex. Thanks, guys. I think we are also grateful that the pop-culture trend of vampires allowed us to make this.

Why do you think there has been this fascination with vampires throughout the centuries? Do you believe that vampires existed in the literal sense, or do you think they were a metaphoric representation of something deep within human nature?

Wesley: It's a great way to tell a story. For me, I think the vampire is constantly that rebel -- that ostracized, secluded, reclusive rebel -- that is so engaging and mysterious. I think all classic stories have that character.
Somerhalder: For some reason, we all feel like the outsider. What's great about it is that the mythology also changes. We change the mythology to evolve with the times, and it has transcended generations and been popular for so long simply because it can modify itself and is not period-specific.

Wesley: I think Ian's a vampire.

Dobrev: For every mythology and every story, I assume there's been some sort of an instance where over the years it got changed. Maybe there was a serial killer 700 years ago that kept draining people of their blood, and because people couldn't figure out what it was, they started rumors and thought, "Maybe it's this monster. It's a vampire and only comes out at night." As the years went on, the story and the mythology evolved.

Wesley: That's one theory. I think it's literally a great metaphor for something that the human mind naturally came up with.

Somerhalder: You know what's funny? We are by nature very destructive and vindictive and attracted to power, sex, fear and mystique. I think that these characters, these vampires, actually encapsulate all of those elements. For some reason, we are always attracted to something that's dangerous for us and mysterious to us. It's powerful, more than we are.

Wesley: Or it could've been some guy who was literally sitting in a dark room some night [and wanted to mess with people].

Is the rumor about a possible 'Vampire Diaries'/'Gossip Girl' crossover true?
Somerhalder: It's definitely a rumor.

Dobrev: I think we have so much work and such a wonderful show right now, and so many storylines and directions we're going to go in, just in Mystic Falls, that we wouldn't ...

Somerhalder: Well, when our ratings drop, will you go on 'American Idol'?

Dobrev: I will go and embarrass myself on 'American Idol' as soon as people stop watching our show.

Somerhalder: Or you could do 'America's Got Talent'.

Dobrev: Or 'Dancing With the Stars'? No ...

Wesley: The point is, we'll go on a reality show and make a crossover work [then].

This show has many fanatical fans. Do you have any funny or weird stories about encounters you have had?

Somerhalder: I've had a lot of offers to bite people.

Wesley: Yeah.

Somerhalder: But there's a whole legality issue to it.

Dobrev: Our fans are generally all so sweet and enthusiastic.

Somerhalder: They really are.

Dobrev: They are just really excited whenever they meet us. For example, yesterday I got something I thought was chocolate, and I opened up the box and it was actually a necklace with an engraving that said: "To Nina, with love. I will always strive to be better." It was engraved in silver and was beautiful. It was just very sweet, and I wore it all day yesterday.

Does such adoration make you uncomfortable sometimes?

Wesley: Not stuff like that. This girl from Italy came and gave me an amazing Chianti. We drank it in one night.

Somerhalder: That was an amazing bottle of wine. We are incredibly lucky to have the fans that we have. I think by nature, generally speaking, they're very young and really enthusiastic about the show, about the stories and about the characters. It's just great.

The second season of The Vampire Diaries premieres September 9th.
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