Ask America’s hottest new TV stars Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder how their show The Vampire Diaries differs to others in its genre, and the handsome threesome will bite your head off.
“Different relationships, different tone and different structure,” Paul says, matter-of-factly. “There’s nothing even remotely relatable as far as the relationships and the story with any of the other shows.”
The story starts with gorgeous Nina as Elena Gilbert, a teen trying to cope after her parents are killed in a tragic accident. As she tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered life she is also supporting her troubled younger brother Jeremy, played by Steven McQueen. The action starts when, on Elena’s first day back at Mystic Falls High School, she meets a new student called Stefan Salvatore, played by Wesley.
The two have an instant connection but Elena has no idea what she is dealing with, while Stefan battles to control his urge for her blood. Things get more complicated when Stefan’s evil older brother, Damon, returns to Mystic Falls to cause mayhem, and win Elena’s heart as part of a game that turns bloody.
Unlike other vampire shows, the heroine, Elena, does not aspire to become immortal.
“I think it’s important for Elena to hold her ground,” Nina says. “You don’t see that many women characters portrayed in the media that are strong, confident, stand up for their friends and their family before their boyfriends. A lot of the characters portrayed on television are girls that are like, ‘I wanna have a boyfriend. I want to hang out at the mall and hang out with my friends.’
“It’s not about that for her. She cares about Stefan and he’s important to her. She has this connection with him but she will put her friends and her family, and the safety of her town before anything else. She’s not going to swoon over the fact that he’s a vampire and ask him to bite her right away and all that.”
Nina is no stranger to playing a love interest that wrecks havoc but in real life she is single. In her last show, Degrassi: The Next Generation, her boyfriend died because he was fighting over her. But “a lot more people die on this show because of me,” she says, laughing.
Ian puts the show’s success down to complicated onscreen relationships that intrigue and engage viewers, despite the clichéd storyline of mortal girl meets vampire and falls in love.
“True Blood is obviously the R-rated cable version of what we are,” Ian explains. “A 13-year-old girl can’t watch True Blood with her mom. There’s no sex in Twilight. Who wants to see that? So that’s how we’re different.”
If vampires did exist, Ian, Nina and Paul would befriend them after researching for their roles. Nina believes with no time limit on earth, vampires would seek constant fun while exploring the world and trying new things.
“They’re basically just people in different circumstances,” Nina explains. “They have these powers and advantages and disadvantages because they have extended life, but they have these cravings.”
Paul says his character isn’t having fun; instead he’s taking the “altruistic route”. “He’s like, ‘If I’m going to be evil inside, then I’m going to be all good outside’.”
The Vampire Diaries is based on the best-selling book series by L.J. Smith and filmed in Atlanta, Georgia. When the show debut in the United States it drew nearly five million viewers. It is now a worldwide hit and in its second season of filming.
The Vampire Diaries screens on Thursdays at 8.30pm on TV2.