By Carina Adly MacKenzie
If “The Vampire Diaries” star Paul Wesley didn’t sway you to Team Stefan with his video pitch, the Season 2 premiere might have done just that. It was clear as Stefan threatened Elena’s Uncle John that he’s let go of some of his reservations. Wesley tells Zap2it that the change in Stefan will become more obvious as the season continues.
“Last season, one of the main themes for Stefan was denying who he is,” he says. “He was all, ‘Who am I? What am I? I don’t want to be a vampire.’ In Season 2, he still thinks this is a curse, but he’s accepted the circumstances and he’s going to deal the deck of cards he’s got.”
Does this translate to less forehead brooding? “That’s exactly right!” Wesley laughs. “Now he’s going to accept it. For lack of a better term, Stefan is going to grow some balls and man up and stop thinking about everything so damn much. He’s going to do the best he can to have moments to smile and moments to laugh, if not for him, then for Elena — but mainly for him. He needs to have bright spots to be functioning.”
Last season, it seemed that everyone had a friend but Stefan. Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Alaric (Matthew Davis) had their reluctant bromance, and Elena (Nina Dobrev) had Bonnie and Caroline. Meanwhile, Stefan spent most of his time worrying about Damon. Wesley promises me that Stefan won’t be so alone this year.
“I can’t see Stefan ever having other romantic relationships,” Wesley says, “but he’ll definitely have some more platonic relationships in Season 2. I can say that for sure. We’re going to expand his horizons a bit.” When I mention the hint of friendship that emerged between Stefan and Matt (Zach Roerig) last season, Wesley says he expects that to continue to grow.
As an actor, Wesley looks forward to Stefan having some fun. “I welcomed the darkness last season, but I’m looking forward to Stefan lightening up on occasion. I mean, we’re not going to all of a sudden make him Carrot Top, but he’ll crack a smile more often.”
I start to ask another question, but Wesley interrupts, “Though, toward the end of the season, I did start kind of looking like Carrot Top, didn’t I? Huge hair.”
Somerhalder and Dobrev have joked that Wesley’s hair gets its own place on the call sheet. “I’ve been wearing my hair like this, ironically, my whole life,” he says, grinning. “Even when I was 14, 15, 16 — my hair has always been, well… up.” He pats the top of his head, his hair still rising in perfect spikes since he’s just finished shooting scenes with Dobrev.
Despite playing an eternal 17-year-old, Wesley recently turned 28. He’s not worried about maintaining his youthful looks over the course of the series, though. “Stefan’s style is going to change at some point,” he says. “He hasn’t always dressed like this or worn his hair like this, and he won’t necessarily continue to. Plus, as Kevin Williamson pointed out, we’ve made incredible advancements in computer generated photography. I could play this out for a long time. But who knows, maybe he’ll get a buzz cut or a mohawk. A mohawk would be cool… I’m not sure it’d be Stefan, but it’d be cool.”
Wesley is open to exploring all sides of Stefan – even the side that may have worn a mohawk at some point. “I want to see all of the things he’s experienced,” he says, considering possible flashback episodes. “We got a flash of some of the things he’s been through. We know he’s seen evil, and that at some point he may have been evil. Maybe he was a rock-n-roller at some point, maybe at one point he was an actual legitimate businessman. We know he’s gone to college. I think Stefan went out and experienced every single possible life and in the end, with everything he learned, he came back to the root of it, which is that he wants to be a good man and he wants to find pure, real love. The rest of it doesn’t matter.”
Right now, protecting that true love means that Stefan has to go toe-to-toe with his evil ex-girlfriend, Katherine.
“Stefan knows she’s going to try to manipulate him, and to mess with Elena,” Wesley says. “And he’s going to do whatever it takes to keep Elena safe. That may mean some angry, brutal force. Some fighting is going to go down between Katherine and Stefan. If she tries to hurt Elena, hell yeah, there will be some serious beat-downs.”