PASADENA, Calif. _ Actor Paul Wesley was often in trouble when he was a teenager. In fact, he was booted out of two high schools in New Jersey, where he grew up. “I was a little bit of a troublemaker, not in a malicious way,” he says, easing his lean body into an overstuffed chair in a hotel room here.
“But I’m glad. I’m glad I didn’t conform to the system of the school. I’m a law-abiding citizen now. I haven’t brought it to the soundstage,” he grins.
Though he’s been an employable actor since his voice changed, intense attention focused on him when Wesley was cast as Stefan, the good vampire brother on the CW’s “The Vampire Diaries.” Like everything else in his career it was tough landing the job, but Wesley wasn’t about to give up.
“I had to really fight for it because … they were being pretty meticulous about the actor. They didn’t know if they wanted to go with someone 17 or someone in his 20s. ‘What do we need to do because we have to get that worldly thing where the person’s been alive for 160 years but yet maintain innocence.’ Understandably it was difficult.”
He kept reading for the role of Damon, the bad vampire brother. “And they decided no on that. When I initially read the script, it was Stefan, but they didn’t see me as Stefan. Then after casting Ian (Somerhalder) as Damon, I think they thought this could work.”
The casting people had seen hundreds of possible Stefans by the time Wesley forged his last try.
“I finally went in after reading a bunch of times and it was literally me and nine other guys _ a couple from Australia, a couple from London and some from New York. And a week later I was on the set filming. But it was way worth it, I’ll tell you that much. It’s the greatest part I’ve ever played. It’s a little more fun to play the villain, but this is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done and the thing I’ve fallen in love with the most.”