Cinema Blaze shared this great interview with Paul where he talks about how he likes Stefan to be and about pranks on the set.
Interview with Paul Wesley of ‘The Vampire Diaries’. In The CW’s new hit series “The Vampire Diaries, Paul Wesley plays the role of Stefan Salvatore, a vampire who struggles to live in peace with humans. He’s in love with a human by the name of Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev). As if it’s not difficult enough to keep himself from sinking his teeth into her neck, he’s forced to protect her from his villainous brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder) who has no problem drinking blood directly from a human’s neck.
During the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, Paul Wesley talked about how much he enjoys wearing fangs and getting to work with the cast on the series.
Q: Do you talk to the producers about aspects of the character you’d like to see on The Vampire Diaries?
Paul: Yes, absolutely. As a matter of fact, when we get the scripts, we have a relationship where we can call them and say, “Why do I do this?” Julie and Kevin write our characters for us and, the way that we play our characters, they’ll see something and go, “Oh, I like that smile there,” or “I like Stefan sort of sinister,” and they start writing more of that. They cater to it and, in a sense, mold it to your liking.
Q: What powers of Stefan’s do you wish you had?
Paul: I have every power that he has, he just has it tenfold. Everything that he has is heightened.
Q: Would you want to have those heightened senses?
Paul: It would make me insanely neurotic, even more than I am now, especially overhearing what people say about me. I don’t think I’d want it.
Q: Do you and Ian discuss the sibling relationship?
Paul: We do analyze it. We do a lot of work and spend a lot of time talking about our roles, but then we let it go and drift. We are bros in real life and you can’t fabricate that.
Q: Did you enjoy it when Stefan and Damon were imitating each other?
Paul: That was fantastic! We had a blast. We spend 24 hours a day together, so I didn’t have to look at him anymore. I knew exactly what he did. I knew exactly how to make fun of him. I get all his little quirks. We had so much fun that day. Everybody was laughing. It was one of those days on set where the crew was like, “Oh, my God, Ian and Paul are not taking themselves so seriously.” I’m usually like, “I need another take.” I’m always about it being good and perfect, to the point of detriment, and that day we just wanted to have fun.
Q: You and Ian talk about how much you love working together. Does Nina ever feel left out?
Paul: She’s mutually admired, in the same way. Ian and I are bros, so I can mess with him. Nina is like our little sister, in a sense. It sounds a little incestuous because we’re acting that we’re in love with her, but we protect her. Me and Ian just rip on each other, but that’s ‘cause I love him.
Q: What makes you a good friend?
Paul: At the end of the day, if someone I cared about called me at 4:00 in the morning and said, “I’m stuck. Can you drive two hours to help me?,” I’ll do it. I have four friends that will do that for me and I know Ian is one of them. I have five people on my speed dial and he’s one of them.
Q: Are there ever any pranks on the set?
Paul: We prank each other on a daily basis. There’s nothing major, but they’re constantly ripping on me. Ian and I kid around, constantly. I’ll switch Ian’s number on the call sheet, so that instead of number 3, I’ll make him number 13 and say, “You dropped to number 13 status, man. You’re not up on the list of priorities.” We rip on each other ‘cause we love each other so much. It’s little things like that, but nothing crazy.
Q: Have there been any embarrassing moments, on or off the set?Q: Have there been any embarrassing moments, on or off the set?
Paul: We are all playing such intense characters that sometimes we’ll say a word that is so the opposite of intense. We’ll say some really embarrassing word on camera, in a really intense moment, and then we start dying of laughter. It could be a curse word, or anything. You’re this brooding vampire and then you just say something that makes no sense and you sound like a juvenile delinquent. You just look like an idiot, on camera.
Q: What about off set, even back in school?
Paul: Oh, my God, there were so many moments. I grew up in Jersey and I really thought it was cool to be a Homie G because we all wanted to be like rappers. So, I’d wear my pants below my ass and go walking down the hallway in high school and my pants literally fell off and I fell on my ass, and everybody saw it. I deserved it. I was an idiot. I should have pulled up my damn pants.
Q: How were the fangs to get used to?
Paul: I have fangs in real life, so I’m used to them. I have natural fangs. These are my teeth. Actually, the fangs are pretty fantastic. They mold to your teeth. We went to orthodontists to get that done.
Q: Do you ever get jealous of Ian because your character is so controlled?Q: Do you ever get jealous of Ian because your character is so controlled?
Paul: In a way, but I’m biding my time. I know it’s just a matter of time before I get to go nuts. This is a game of tennis. He’s playing his game right now by serving his aces, and I’m doing my backhands and staying in front of the net. Eventually, I’m going switch up my game. I think Stefan’s the good guy, but my biggest interest is Elena and her love. He lives for Elena. Without her, he’s nothing. If he loses her to Damon, he will resort to something else.
Q: Are you often in the dark about plotlines?
Paul: Yes. As an actor, I’ll create a back story for my character to justify my behavior, and then, I’ll read a script that contradicts my entire back story and I’ll go, “Oh, wow, I’d have been playing that so differently, if I had known he went to a Bon Jovi concert with Lexi, 20 years ago, and was a wild guy.” So, I justify that in my mind and then start molding my character to play that. As we get information, we make our characters what they are. We also have the books for back story.
Q: How often are you surprised?
Paul: Every week. Every week, I read a script that gives me new pieces of information about Stefan that I didn’t know anything about.
Q: Have you read the books?
Paul: I have read the books
Q: Do they greatly deviate?
Paul: They deviate, and justly so. Hopefully, we will be on for a while, and we’re going to have to create subplots and ups and downs. The books are what they are, but we need to make a TV show.
Q: If the series goes for nine years, have you given any thought to what you’ll do to keep the character from aging?
Paul: Honestly, I’d have to use a lot of sleep and moisturizer. I hadn’t thought about it, but now you’re making me think about it. What am I going to do?
Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Paul: If they’re a fan of The Vampire Diaries and they haven’t seen me in anything else or know me, they probably don’t know that I am the jokester. I like to kid around and I love comedy. I love to laugh and do impressions. I’m not great at it, but I like to make an ass out of myself. Stefan doesn’t really make an ass out of himself.
Q: Are you surprised that you didn’t get into sitcoms then, rather than dramas?
Paul: Not really because I tried doing a sitcom once. I did 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, and I almost peed myself out of nervous energy. I have a good time when I feel safe and comfortable on set, with my family. When I’m on a live sitcom stage and there’s 300 people waiting for me to make a joke, I just freeze up and act like an idiot. I love live theater.
Q: The show is a vampire story, a love story and a historical drama. Do you think that’s why it appeals to fans?
Paul: I think it’s brought in a lot of fans because there’s an undercurrent of something deeper. The thing about The Vampire Diaries is, if you watch it as an adult, it’s because it really is engaging, smart writing. Kevin Williamson has this dialogue that can cater to a youthful, smart audience, but as an adult, you can watch it and find yourself riveted and have no idea why.
Q: What did you think about getting the role of a vampire?
Paul: It was a huge undertaking. I was a little nervous becau/se there’s a lot to think about. It’s, “Okay, how do I encompass 160 years of knowledge in my brain when I’m 27?” I’m thinking about the wisdom of my grandfather, who’s 80 and probably my hero.
Q: Growing up, did you ever want to be a vampire?
Paul: To be honest with you, I’d never thought about it. But, when I read about 160-year-old guy who was stuck in a kid’s body, I thought, “Well, this is going to be the most challenging role of my life, if I get it,” and it has been. Try encompassing 160 years of knowledge into your brain. My grandfather is 80 and my hero. He’s the wisest man I’ve ever met in my life, and I’m playing a character that’s twice his age. Stefan has been through the Civil War. He’s been through every fad — the ‘60s, the ‘70s, the ‘80s, the grunge ‘90s, everything.
Q: How hard did you work for this role?
Paul: The hardest I’ve ever worked for any part. I auditioned for the role of Damon three or four times. I went back and forth. They wouldn’t see me for Stefan. They thought I wasn’t right for it. Then, they went older for Damon and cast Ian and thought, “Maybe this will work,” so they brought me in for Stefan. I read for that four times and then tested. They had already tested for the role of Stefan and saw hundreds of guys. At the screen test, I had to go against three guys from Australia, three guys from London, four guys from New York and five guys from L.A. It was like American Idol.
Q: Why do you think you got it?
Paul: I don’t know why I got it. I’ve been on my own since I was 16 years old, and that’s a long time. I don’t know, but I think that, if they went with a younger guy still living at his parents’ house, he might not be able to pull off being 160 years old. I don’t even know if I pull it off, but I think I maybe pulled it off better than the guys that they saw. I guess I got lucky.
Q: What do your sisters think of you being on this show?
Paul: I have three sisters: one’s a lawyer, one’s 13 years old and one’s 11. My younger sisters are my #1 fans. My little sister just turned 13 and had a birthday party, and the main attraction was me. I showed up and it was literally an hour of me, having fun and hanging out with her friends. That’s what they wanted. I was like, “This is going to be really boring,” and she was like, “No, they love The Vampire Diaries.”
Q: What were you like in high school?
Paul: I got kicked out of a bunch of high schools. I was the troublemaker, in a sense. I didn’t get along with any of the kids. I didn’t get along with the teachers. That’s how I fell into acting. It was my escape. Then, I went to New York.
Q: How do you like shooting in Atlanta?
Paul: One of the great things about being in Atlanta is that we have each other and only each other, in a sense. We don’t really have a social life and, when we do, it’s the three of us, which creates more chemistry on screen. I think that’s fantastic. If we were in L.A., or some other major metropolis with tons of friends and distractions, it would be detrimental.
Q: Does Stefan having anything going on, leading up to the finale, that you can hint at?
Paul: I hope so. That’s a subjective thing, right? I don’t know if I can tell you much. I think that people who read the books will be impressed. Whether we stray or not, it’s captivating.
Q: How has life changed for you in the last few months?Q: How has life changed for you in the last few months?
Paul: It’s very quickly become apparent that a lot of people watch the show. When I do go places now, I find the oddest people coming up to me. The businessman in the elevator, who’s just standing there minding his own business in awkward silence goes, “Love your show.” That kind of thing happens all the time. It’s awesome.
Q: What kind of letters do you get from fans?
Paul: Very positive ones. No scary letters from jail. They look up to Stefan, for some reason. They find him to be so noble. They’re just really positive and sweet.
Q: When do you finish shooting and get to have a life? Are you lining something up for hiatus?
Paul: I’m hoping to find something amazing for hiatus.
Q: What would you like to do?
Paul: An amazing film. I love what I do. I’m 27 years old and I want to keep doing it until I simply cannot do it anymore. I don’t need to go relax on an island.
Q: What do you do when you’re not working?
Paul: I feel like I’m always working. Otherwise, I would be miserable. But, essentially, I have the weekends, and then I’m usually doing some sort of press. It sounds like a really boring answer, but it’s true. When I’m not working, I’m on the phone with Ian or Nina, to talk about the script or whatever. We did have a month break. That was really nice. And I went to London for press stuff, but then I went to Poland, believe it or not, to visit my family, which was fantastic. That was really amazing because I haven’t seen my family there in years. But, I don’t do that all the time. It was my first break, so that’s what I did.
Q: Is there anything that you’re passionate about?
Paul: I love winter sports. I love snowboarding. I’ve been doing it for 13 years. I don’t know if I’m good. I don’t want to pat myself on the back. I love ice hockey. I’ve been playing since I was six. I suck at everything else.
Q: You are also on at least four episodes of 24 this season. How did you work that out?
Paul: I shot the first two episodes before I got The Vampire Diaries, and the next two between the pilot and when it got picked up to series. It never conflicted. It’s incredibly minor. I don’t do much. I have a couple of lines.
Q: Were you a fan of that show?
Paul: I auditioned for it about seven times, for different parts. I was always a huge fan of the writing and the people that run the show. I don’t watch much television, but I caught it a couple of times and I always thought it was fantastic. When they offered me the part, I said “Absolutely!,” because it’s the type of show I’d be proud to have an association with.
Q: Is there any chance of your character coming back?
Paul: I haven’t been approached to do more. Also with my schedule, I can’t imagine that happening.
Be sure to check out “The Vampire Diaries” Thursdays on The CW.