On his 10th green tea of the day, Ian Somerhalder stepped out onto the stage at the National Fan Expo to a deafening chorus of cheers, and as the Q&A began many in the audience were not shy about vocalizing their love for the man that plays the “bad” vampire brother Damon on The Vampire Diaries. “I need it if I’m going to keep up with all these women,” he said of his tea to renewed cheers of the predominately female audience. There were some guys in the audience, but none of them proposed marriage. Or asked him to take his shirt off. Or made any of the myriad of other romantic overtures…
Somerhalder called The Vampire Diaries “the longest relationship I’ve ever had,” but he’s still pleased to be working, and he’s still glad to be Damon. Even if that means that his character isn’t as wonderfully mean as he used to be.
“I prefer the darker, snarkier, crazy [version],” he said. “I miss that season one Damon, but Julie [Plec] and Kevin [Williamson] made me quickly realize that Damon can’t be a one trick pony.”
That was especially true when Diaries took off and became a hit early in its run. But why is the show so beloved by fans even going into its sixth season?
“I think Thursdays is when liquor stores have their big sales,” he joked. “‘This bourbon that Damon drinks is only $5.99 this week…’”
“It came at this time during the crazy vampire phase,” he said more seriously. “Twilight hit, and then we hit, and we quickly separated from the thing that gave us birth.”
Not that he’s giving Twilight praise or anything. If it did come down between Damon and Edward in a fight, Somerhalder knows exactly who would win. “That guy didn’t have the balls to go get the girl,” Somerhalder said of Twilight’s main character. “I’ve never seen the movie, but I’ve met Robert Pattinson and I’m pretty sure I can kick his ass.”
As for what fans can expect from season six, Somerhalder couldn’t go into too much detail because he’s character was literally left in limbo in the season five finale. “Everyone gets to start over,” he said of the sixth season’s theme. “I think starting over is a good thing. But after telling so many stories for so long, you’re guess is as good as mine [where it’s going].”
Starting over for Somerhalder, means turning over a new leaf and joining co-star Paul Wesley in the fraternity of Vampire Diaries directors. “I start prepping my episode in two weeks, and it’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said, adding that it’s easy for him and Wesley to step into the director’s seat versus someone new to the show.“You’re crazy if you think you’re going to show up and tell those actors that you know their characters better than they do,” he explained. “I think as actors directing episodes of our own show, our job is to make it look as awesome as possible.”
A fan asked Somerhalder which character he’d like to play on the show other than Damon, and if he had the chance, the actor said that he’s like to play his own character’s brother. “I think Stefan is a beautifully written character that has this moral compass that’s flawless, even though he has these little dips,” he said.
“Paul and I have a good time despite [Damon] and Stefan wanting to kill each other,” Somerhalder said of his TV brother. “I like the season one flashbacks before we wanted to kill each other. You see them as two dudes who genuinely love each other. Brotherhood is an amazing thing.”
There was also Lost talk. “When I was killed on Lost,” Somerhalder started to explain losing his train of thought be a chorus of boos. “I should have made Boone funnier, I might have stayed a little longer.”
One fan said that they cried when Boone died on the show. “You think you cried?!” he said. “I had to move away from Hawaii!”
But there’s no crying when it comes to playing Damon, even if he’s being evil and mean. “He loves what he does and that’s why you can’t judge him,” he said. “Whether he saves a kitten, or he’s ripping your face off, he has the same look on his face.”
That humor, or rather using humor as a mask for something deeply wrong inside, Somerhalder said, is all too relatable. “Humor is a medium,” he said. “We as human beings use humor as a band-aid for pain. A lot of these guys who are the funniest people in the world are in such pain, but that’s why they’re so funny.”