Sara Canning to Starry Mag: “As an actor, you tell a story the best as you can.”

Q) What are the recent projects that you are working on?

A) Right now it is all about “The Vampire Diaries.” We’re in kind of an intense shooting schedule here in Atlanta. We just started shooting our fifth episode so everybody is just kind of gung-ho about our second season. I’ve also been doing a lot of promoting a Canadian indie film I did last year in between shooting “The Vampire Diaries” pilot and the show being picked up, with me moving to Atlanta. I shot a Canadian gothic period piece that has been doing very well in Canada and the film festival circuits, which is called Black Field.

Q) What is new this season on “The Vampire Diaries” and with your character Jenna Sommers?

A) I think one of the biggest things that the viewers are looking forward to is the return of Katherine. You have seen the tense moment at the end of season one and that will definitely be addressed in the first episode. I think that’s really going to effect every character. We’ve seen Jenna let Katherine (Nina Dobrev) into the house so she’s sort of been a catalyst for everything that is about to go down. I think that is going to play a big part for Jenna, how she is going to deal with Katherine being around and her not knowing who she is. Matt Davis and I were also working together at the later part of the first season and we’ve seen a lot of stop and start with a relationship developing between them. They got stuck, but there is so much chemistry between them. There are so many other factors that aren’t letting things be easy for them. We get to see things grow between them, maybe in a positive way, but I don’t think it will ever be easy for them. The fact that Alaric, unbeknownst to Jenna, has an alliance with a group of vampires that her niece is involved with…That alone puts a stress on the relationship since there are a lot of secrets.

Q) What made you originally want to be a part of the show?

A) I read the pilot of “The Vampire Diaries” back in Vancouver, when I lived there. I thought it was such a fabulous show. Of course, it’s a show about vampires, but what struck me right away was how well developed each character was and I really cared about all of these people living in this small town. I love vampires and as soon as I read the pilot I thought, “Oh, people are really loving vampires right now.” They are sort of involved in a pop culture sensation. I’ve always loved the darker side of the vampire stories. So, I was really excited to audition for the show and then to be a part of it was incredible. It was the first pilot I had ever done and I realized how lucky and blessed I am do that.

Q) Had you read any of the books before becoming a part of the show?

A) I hadn’t read it before I got my audition, but as soon as I got my character breakdown for Jenna and learned what the story was about, I picked up the first novel in the series and read that. As soon as we found out we were going to series then I read all the books. I was excited to be part of the show and I wanted to be well versed with what exactly the tone of the show is and who the characters are. We’ve had a lot of plot lines sort of veer from the novel, everything hasn’t been 100% true to the novel, but the basics are there of this wonderful concept of the love triangle between these two vampire brothers, Elena and Katherine. It was really great to read the novel to get a feel for her problems and point more to the story.

Q) What has been the most challenging aspect of playing Jenna?

A) I think one of the most interesting challenges of this role is that I am a part of this cast that’s really close and they are really good friends, but I play a lot older than them. We have the whole dynamic of people going to the same high school and doing things together and then Jenna is sort of in a different boat. Playing a parental guardian has been really interesting because I’m twenty-three years old. So, I am quite a bit younger than Jenna is and that’s been a pretty significant challenge. It’s just wrapping my head around the responsibilities she’s taken on and making her that young hearted character that the writers wanted. She’s just a flawed girl who had done her share of partying and drugs and had terrible relationships with guys, but is also this very loving aunt who wants to be the best friend while knowing she has a lot of responsibility all of a sudden. She knows she has to do a good job of it since she has two lives in her hands now.

Q) Was there instant chemistry when the cast began working together or did it take a bit of time to develop?

A) From shooting the pilot in Vancouver, everyone just really clicked and we’ve truly gone through this entire experience together. From that new exciting feeling of shooting the pilot to all of us relocating down to Atlanta. Now that we’ve known each other for a year and a half, we’re like a married couple made up of ten people. It’s us and the crew. We just know each other inside and out. We get along so well, but I think one of the things that keeps us so close is the fact that we can talk to each other about anything. If we have any concerns about anything, then we can sit down and have a conversation about it. We really are a family. We maintain that by doing things together and always speaking what’s on our mind.

Q) What’s been your most memorable moment from shooting “The Vampire Diaries?”

A) I think one of the coolest things for us as a cast happened last year. We had heard numbers of people watching the show and they were really great, but it was when we won our first award (The People’s Choice Award). I don’t think we knew we were nominated until a couple days before. We were all here working and no one was at the award ceremony to actually accept it. We weren’t even aware of the attention the show was garnering. I think when we won the award it was just this concrete “well done” with a pat on the back. That was really exciting and we were all kind of ecstatic and grateful. We didn’t really see it coming so it was all the more exciting because of that.

Q) The show has garnered a lot of online support. How does that make you feel?

A) It’s not a shock to me that the show is doing well. The fan side of it is just a new experience for me. I’ve been working in the film and television industry for a few years now, but for a long time I was working in Canada doing smaller scale stuff and a lot of independent films. I think I’ve never actually been recognized for my work and it’s actually a very interesting sensation. It’s bizarre and so cool. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it, but it’s very flattering. I got to be apart of a cast meet and greet last season and it blew my mind. They let about 1500 people in and the excitement that these people had for the show was unbelievable. It’s so cool and it’s such a validation of your work. As an actor, you tell a story the best as you can and to find that people are completely invested in the story and it’s really cool. It’s a very big validation of what we do and I am just so grateful for the fans that we have.

Q) Why do you think people continue to tune in to see the show?

A) The plot thickens every week. Sometimes I’ll read an episode and think, “What?! I did not see that coming!” I haven’t read the sixth episode yet and I’ve been hearing rumors that some crazy stuff goes down in the next episode. I’m just as excited as the audience to see what happens. I also think the Salvatore brothers are fascinating. I think the writers have done such a great job of writing their history and their relationship is well developed. It’s a rare look at this family and what they’ve done to each other for the past 145 years. You don’t get to see that very often in television. I think it is that and all the other characters on the show. There is so much drama and so much heartache, but there is also a lot of comedy in the show. There are just some really quirky fun people and I think you want to follow them to see what happens to all of them. You want to see how they deal with these supernatural beings living in Mystic Falls.

Q) Where can people go online to learn more about you?

A) There are fan sites that have links to the cast. I don’t have Twitter, but I am thinking about it. I think if you did any “The Vampire Diaries” search they’ve done a good job of linking up the sites to make it one giant network.

Source: TVD StarBuzz


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