The Wall Street Journal interviews Ian Somerhalder: “It’s going to be cool.”

For Ian Somerhalder it’s good being the bad guy. The new season of “The Vampire Diaries” premieres tonight on the CW, and Somerhalder, a former cast member on “Lost,” has become a breakout star in his role as Damon Salvatore, a handsome, anti-heroic vampire who sometimes shows a softer side.

In real life, Somerhalder, a native of Covington, Louisiana, recently helped launch Go Green Mobile Power, a company that provides solar, wind and biodiesel mobile energy generators. Somerhalder says he’s been inspired to take more action in his life after meeting spiritualist Deepak Chopra, whom he calls his “new bff.”

The Wall Street Journal spoke to Somerhalder about his role on the show, and what the coming season has in store.

Speakeasy: What can we look forward to from Damon this season?

Ian Somerhalder: Some changes. Changes in the sense that in the season finale, Damon raised the question that he came to this town with the intention of destroying everyone and now [things have changed]. He started building relationships and when we forge relationships, we raise the stakes, and I think having said that he’s not as hell bent on destroying the town this season. He and his brother are going to discover a few problems, outside of Elena, and they’re going to have to bind together to protect what they love and to protect each other.

Is there anything you can tell us about the new season without giving away any spoilers?

Katherine comes back and I’ve been eagerly awaiting Katherine despite the fact that it’s going to make Damon’s life harder. Katherine presents a plethora of problems because she’s a threat to everyone. She can kill anyone of us in the blink of an eye and that poses a very serious problem. I think that the Lockwood family is also going to pose pretty serious problems for the Salvatores. [With the ability to dive back into time], you get the assemblage of the events that lead up to right now. You get to see normal high school kids sort of battling these ultra supernatural issues. It’s going to be cool.

Why do you think “Vampire Diaries” is finding success with so many other vampire shows saturating the market?

The vampire genre right now is huge. Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec know how to mold together different genres to appeal to broad spectrum of people and to layer to make them work. Our creators have the capabilities to do that. Our books had quite a following. “True Blood” is a super R-rated, campy version of the genre and “Twilight” is the wildly successful movie franchise but a 13-year-old girl can’t watch “True Blood” with her parents. It gets very uncomfortable, very quickly. “Vampire Diaries” fires all pistons and our show luckily seems to be reaching multiple demographics and resonating with many people.

Did your role on “Lost “prepare you in anyway for Vampire Diaries?

Boone was such a serious guy and I always had this notion that being so dark was compelling and interesting what I realized is people that have fun are compelling and interesting and Boone never had a chance to settle on the island and find his place [and have fun]. It’s my fault for not finding that for Boone. Damon is such a wildly charismatic, multi-layered person that has so much fun and he has reasons that are righteous but he has ill intentions. Now i think that’s having to change a bit and I think he’s becoming more of a well rounded person but I can’t guarantee that’s going to stick. Doing a show the size of a “Lost” definitely prepared me to be on another network show like this.

You once said you don’t like blood, has that changed with your time on the set?

Nope. I had to have blood taken just for your annual check up and watching it come out into the butterfly looking needle is quite fascinating stuff. Looking up and holding it up you see the viscosity of it and when you flip it upside down you see it has nutrients and cells. I don’t want to see blood spewing out but I don’t mind it in controlled environment. Does it make me squeamish? No. I grew up as a country boy. I don’t mind it all. I just don’t like seeing it come out of people when they are in pain.

Another Vampire show out there, “True Blood,” is set in Louisiana. As a native of Louisiana, what do you think about the show?

I love it. I love that my home state is the backdrop to the show. I so desperately wanted to do “True Blood” but blew my audition with Alan Ball–but I think it ended up working out pretty well.

What other projects are you working on now?

None. We shoot “Vampire” 10 months a year. The major of other thing in my life is a green mobile power company, which is a huge and exciting daunting task. It’s pretty amazing. Launching this company and I’m starting a foundation.

What does the company do?

The company Go Green Mobile Power provides off the grid wind, solar power, biodiesel energy generators that can be dropped out of a helicopter.

What size are the devices?

It’s like a trailer that you can pull behind a truck. They range from 7 to 50 feet long, and you can drop the devices via helicopter or plan in a disaster situation…After seeing what I saw with BP and watching my home be destroyed, I would just like to put it out there that this technology exists and I really hope to make our future bright and green not black and oily. I can’t let this go by anymore. I can’t let time move on without fighting tooth and nail and hopefully being a part of a revolution that is positive. What we’re doing to the planet is inexcusable. It’s time we put our thinking caps on. Look, we need energy but there are other methods and means.

How was your home in Louisiana affected?

All of those marshes, all of that water that I had while growing up that fed my family and other families, is gone. My great great great grandchildren will never be able to enjoy that place like I did. The ironic part is I was looking forward to spending a lot more time there and I had to not only watch all these families [suffer] but I had to restructure the way I want to live my life down there.

Maybe in 10 years we’ll find out what happened but until then we’ll never know. I just want to fix it and move forward with the public and like the public I never [want] to see that again. That breaks my heart, makes me angry, makes me saddened but it has inspired me. It has inspired the hell out of me. Whatever I can do to contribute, I’ll do.


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