SAN DIEGO — Last week Blast brought an inside look and review on the upcoming CW series’ “The Vampire Diaries” with a review of its pilot during the Comic-Con International in San Diego. Since then, the fledgling series has been the hot topic between loyalists of the books (“The Vampire Diaries” is based on a series by L.J. Smith), fans of its cast like Ian Somerhalder of “Lost” fame, as well as its producers like Kevin Williamson who brought another television hit, “Dawson’s Creek”.
And while the frenzy for all things vampiric hasn’t slowed down, as witnessed by the legion of “Twilight” fans awaiting Stephenie Meyer’s second installation in her series, “New Moon” it begs the question as to whether “The Vampire Diaries” will pander to the popular trend or pave its own way?
Blast spoke with the cast and producers about this dilemma recently. When asked about concerns from fans about its parallels between the books and its depiction onscreen? Producers Julie Plec, Kevin Williamson and Bob Levy were happy to clear some things up.
“Well, the thing is there are very big fans of the books” Williamson said.
“There was this ongoing joke about Damon and oranges on (a fansite) and I thought I had missed something in the books. So, I went back and tried to re-read everything because I didn’t want [fans] to think I hadn’t gone through it” Plec added “So, that site posted it up, and I thought, ‘Perfect! Now at some point we can have Damon with an orange in a scene!’ So it’s just a little nod towards fans.”
Certainly one of the series’ strengths will be the books, themselves, which provide a strong enough platform to make television translation fairly easy. Anyone who has read them will notice that, while the obvious alterations have been made — as casting the heroine, Elena Gilbert, with a brunette actress instead of a blond — the context of the characters are very close to the books despite a few bumps. In fact, the whole debate about hair color is absurd when one realizes how wonderful Nina Dobrev is as the lead. She makes the character likable and interesting as opposed to the mean girl type Elena is in the books. For some this may be a good thing or a bad thing — along the same lines as defining whether Blair Waldorf is necessarily bad or good.
And for clarification, due to all the ruckus about blond versus brunette, Elena could have any colored hair as long as it bore the stark resemblance to a particular character. It’s supposed to have a deja-vu effect and serves nothing more than a plot device in the books. And insofar as romance aspect of the series.
“It’s really about the love story between these two characters (Elena and Stefan)” said Levy. On the possibility of the series getting darker: “I think this is a case where Kevin (Williamson) is at his best. He balances both aspects great. Overall, we will be focused on the relationships between the characters (and) blend them with the plot.”
For those curious as to whether we can expect Elena to do some action scenes like her leading men seen in recent promos: “You know, I’ve been asking that question too!” Nina Dobrev told Blast. “I’ve been asking the writers, ‘When will I get to jump off a roof too?’ You know I grew up with an older brother and played every sport imaginable. So yeah, I would like to do some action scenes. There are some things I can’t talk about but if you read the books, you’ll know it’ll surprise you. So not right now, but eventually.”
Paul Wesley may have gotten some of the action fighting, but so far he doesn’t necessarily have a favorite scene. “It’s a scene that hasn’t happened” he revealed, “but when Elena eventually finds out Stefan is a vampire … when they get to that point, for me, that’ll be my favorite part because it’s such a big moment for them, because he truly loves this girl.”
There is something to be said for that comment considering the character he portrays, Stefan Salvatore, wears his heart on his sleeve, but his brother Damon is another story. “He controls life. Life doesn’t control him … except sometimes it stops, and makes him work a little bit harder” said Ian Somerhalder who plays Damon.
On the traits of playing a more villainous character as Damon Salvatore: “It’s all about perspective, isn’t? It’s fun getting to play him. I mean Damon has an immense amount of strengths. He has mind manipulation powers, and can make you think whatever you want? How cool is that? But when that doesn’t work, it throws him off a bit. So the thing about about Stefan is he loses the love of his life, and there’s this vendetta for (more than one hundred years). I promise him an eternity of misery.” He added the last part with a grin, perhaps unintentionally.
“The Vampire Diaries” is not a series for all demographics. It’s catered toward a particular niche. That niche of viewers tuning to the series will be either of the nerdcore, whose love for vamps and the books know no bounds, or those looking for a weekly escape preceding the successful cult series, “Supernatural.”
The show needs time to grow outside of the shadow of “Twilight” which has saturated the media beyond the popularity of the books and into the personal lives of the actors themselves.
“The Vampire Diaries” is set for Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. on The CW.