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“There’s not going to be ten doppelgängers and all these magic spells,” the actor tells THR. “I want to get away from that. I want to get back to the human elements that made people love this show.”
“This is not, I repeat, not, a total departure from the show,” Ian Somerhalder (Damon) insists to The Hollywood Reporter about the upcoming seventh season of The Vampire Diaries.
It’s understandable why he wants to make the distinction. After all, this is the first season of the long-running CW drama without its original female lead, Nina Dobrev.
But though Elena is gone, she is very much not forgotten — while still allowing for the show to move on in its new form. “There’s still a lot of elements of [the show that was],” says Somerhalder. “We know that she’s there, and there’s still very much the presence of Elena. This is Mystic Falls without her. I think people are going to like it. This is the evolution of this story. And it’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot of great interaction with the brothers; there’s a lot happening.”
The recalibration of the show might also allow the series, in many ways, to go back to the basics. “I’m really enjoying this season, because it is somewhat of a departure. We are going back to finding those very dark season one things,” notes Somerhalder. “There’s not going to be ten doppelgängers and all these magic spells. I want to get away from that. I want to get back to the human elements that made people love this show. Listen, remember when Stefan told Elena he was a vampire? It was like f–ing world news, and it was the biggest moment. Now, to get the same reaction out of the audience and us [as characters], we have to kill three people, blow up five cars, and a house. It’s a weird thing. I want to get that simplicity back. And we’re all fighting and struggling for it.”
When the season kicks off, Damon is on a European adventure with his buddy, Alaric (Matt Davis), who is going through his own grief spiral. “He’s definitely not in a good place,” previews Somerhalder. “But it does open up in really fun way you could imagine Damon and Alaric to be in: getting completely wasted, drowning out their tears in Amsterdam, while Bonnie babysits them. Alaric went through the most horrific thing — shy of dying yourself in a horrific way, what Alaric went through was a worst case scenario, in every shape and form. As a result of that, Damon wants to be there for his friend. He wants his friend to be OK with life. And Damon is hurting. So he’s drowning his sorrows, he’s drowning his fear of being left alone. … He’s also putting all of this energy into Alaric so he forgets his own sadness. It’s really effective because Alaric is pretty f–ed up.”
The Bonnie (Kat Graham) issue — Elena will remain asleep until Bonnie dies, thanks to a nasty, irreversible sleeping spell — is painful for Damon in an increasingly complicated way. “The Damon and Bonnie friendship is wonderful and special,” says The Vampire Diaries co-creator Julie Plec. “Because, secretly, Damon[‘s] every third thought is wondering what life would be like if Bonnie Bennett was dead [and then Elena could be revived]. And yet he probably wouldn’t do so well without her.”
“Bonnie knows that,” she continues. “Bonnie knows there’s that elephant in the room. And she knows it’s not her fault. But that doesn’t keep her from feeling a little bit slighted by Damon’s antics, and reminding him that she loved Elena, too. She lost someone she deeply cared about, too. They’re actually kind of living the same journey. They’re just doing it in a different way.”
Though Damon is in pain now, when the fog clears, “he sees the light,” says Somerhalder. “60 years away — he waited for Katherine for 150. He can wait 60-something years until Bonnie bites the big one, and has the big sleep.”
“He, ultimately, is prepared to do it. She said, ‘Don’t be a saint; don’t wait for me. Live your life… and I’ll see you in a little while,'” he continues. “I don’t think that is anywhere near in his train of thought, but he does know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel — it’s just a matter of getting there. To pass the time, he’s going to help his friends, he’s going to enjoy whatever enemies and foes he has. He’s like, ‘F– it, man. I’ve got to wait all this time. I might as well have fun. I might as well drink like a fish, eat like a pig, travel like a maniac, and do some good.’
An unexpected boost to Damon’s mood? Having an enemy — namely, his mother, Lily (Annie Wersching) and her heretics — to focus on. “When Lily came back into the picture, she imposed herself [and] her will on this town,” Somerhalder points out. “Justly so. This woman has been locked up since 1903 — that’s a long time. She has a family [in these heretics] she deeply cares about. She was put in there a vicious ripper, and she rehabilitated herself. She quelled that urge. She fixed herself. And now she’s coming out and she just wants a place for her family. However, it just so happens to be the town that these guys love and they live in.”
Unfortunately for Damon, Stefan (Paul Wesley) has a different approach on how to handle their mother. “Stefan, much to Damon’s chagrin, has been doing everything he can to keep things from disintegrating [in Mystic Falls],” teases Plec. “What we see in the first episode is, as much as he’d like to rid the town of Lily and her heretics, he’s reached a point where, ultimately, you have to negotiate with the terrorists as opposed to trying to get them out. Which is not going to go over well with Damon, who in a way, is going to feel like Stefan rolled over. But Stefan, as always, is thinking from a place of long-term heroics.”
As well-intentioned (and potentially correct) as Stefan may be, Lily will always be a sore issue for Damon. “It brings up more abandonment issues,” says Somerhalder. “The two women [from his past] he loved more than anything in the world were Katherine and his mom. And they both abandoned him. And left him. And lied about it. And he found out. He’s really in a place where she has inserted herself into his orbit, and it’s highly frustrating. It makes him super pissed off. It makes him frustrated, vengeful. … He wants her gone. And when you see him interacting with her, you really get a glimpse of the fact that she hurt him. She f–ed him up, a lot. It’s not just going to go away.”
Klaus Mikaelson is a lot of things: paranoid, stubborn, murderous, deathly scared of being alone, and of course, a supernatural hybrid, which makes all of these characteristics even more prominent. The combination of all of these things is what led him to drive his family away at the end of the Originals second season. And when season 3 picks up a few months later, there’s been no healing between family members, namely Klaus and Elijah. (A rift tends to happen when you burn your brother’s girlfriend alive.)
“I think there was some discontent with his decision although [Klaus] would never admit it,” Joseph Morgan tells EW. “Elijah doesn’t seem ready to forgive him at the end of season 2 and certainly nothing has changed there in season 3. They are not on even talking terms. It’s very curt and functional, their relationship at the moment, and it’s all to do with looking after Hope. [The compound is] definitely not a happy place to be. Klaus is still clinging on to that idea that he was right in doing what he did. I think that’s something he clings to in general to justify these awful things he does.”
With Hope holding the family together and Freya sticking around to help out with Hope, Morgan did say that Klaus has managed to grow a bit closer with his older sister. “Riley [Voelkel] and I have been playing toward that,” he said. “Although, the truth of the matter is she knows just as well as the rest of his family does that the decisions he made weren’t necessarily the best ones, although he believed in them at the time, so I think she’s a little torn. But at the moment she’s grateful to have a family and she doesn’t want to take sides too much at this point.”
Speaking to how much actual parenting Klaus is doing, Morgan said “he’ll get his hands dirty, but it’s a family affair. He’s trying to do his part.” And yet, “I don’t know exactly how many nappies he’s changing but he’s doing his bit.”
But we all know that changing diapers can only occupy Klaus for so long, and it’s simply a matter of time until he regrets handing his kingdom back over to Marcel. “Well I’ll tell you this: theoretically he’s done that, but I’ve already done lines where he’s referred to it as ‘my city’ so I’m not sure how definite that is,” Morgan said.
However, Klaus might not have time to try to take his city back when a new set of villains comes into town in the form of the Trinity — the first vampires that Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah sired. “All of the characters believe that they’ve outgrown those relationships, that they left their sires behind and they pushed them out the nest,” he said. “Now the three of them coming to New Orleans and saying, ‘Hey this is going on you didn’t know about and there’s this you should really pay attention,’ it’s a lot for them to take in.”
After all, news of a war between the sire lines isn’t exactly the sort of thing an Original loves to hear considering that if you kill one Original, you kill its entire line. In fact, Klaus’ progeny, Lucien, will be the first member of the Trinity that fans meet, and he has his own idea of who exactly Klaus Mikaelson is. “Klaus’ sire knows Klaus pre-Hope, so his idea of Klaus the self-destructive, volatile playboy is quite different from the Klaus he finds now who had these responsibilities and these people he cares about in his life,” Morgan said. “There’s a sense of one of your old mates coming into town from years ago and going, ‘What do you mean we’re not going out all night? Come on, leave your phone behind, you’re not going to need it, we’re going to have some fun tonight.’ “
And Klaus won’t have the easiest time saying no to Lucien, because if anything creates a bond, it’s being the first vampire Klaus sired. “We learned how to make vampires when my sire was created,” Morgan said. “There’s definitely a bond there. We were friends as well and we have a connection. We owe each other a lot. There’s also this element that it’s not just the three of them but they’re in contact with a lot of the sire line for each of us so it’s like, ‘Hey, remember us? All those vampires that you turned who you’ve now abandoned? Well guess what, we’re not too happy about that and here’s why.’ They come to town with an agenda definitely.”
Combine that agenda with Lucien and Klaus’ bond and the Elijah-Klaus rift, and you’ve got the perfect opportunity to try to pin the always-and-forever siblings against each other. “There’s also the idea of a wedge being driven between the family, Morgan said. “[Lucien] comes to Klaus at a point where Klaus is vulnerable to that because his family pretty much hates him. He turned everyone against him at the end of last season and then in comes this sire who’s like, ‘Hey, I’m your best friend and I’m back. Let’s have some fun!’”
So yes, there will be fun, and there will more than likely be war. But even more than that, there’s going to be a lot of history. “I love playing scenes with new characters that my character has a history with because you learn something about your character,” Morgan said. “It’s a thrill. The vibe going on on set is this is the best season yet. It’s very vampire-centric. It’s very much based in the vampire world now, instead of the witches or the parents or whatever. It’s all about that, which is exciting to me.”
From a badass Bennett witch to a seductive songstress, The Vampire Diaries’ Kat Graham is bewitching fans with her latest album!
The multi-talented 26-year-old is having one hell of a month. With premiere of The Vampire Diaries’ seventh season, and the recent release of her debut album, Roxbury Drive, Graham is taking the pop culture world by storm.
To celebrate her success, ETonline called up Graham to get the exclusive scoop on Roxbury Drive’s wildly catchy melodies, and what’s next in the romance department for her on-screen alter ego, Bonnie Bennett.
What do you want to tell Vampire Diaries fans about this new album, Roxbury Drive?
Kat Graham: People might look at this and be like, ‘Oh, that girl from Vampire Diaries made a ’90s tribute album,’ but actually it goes a lot deeper than that. It’s the lyrics, every song tells a story and everything is connected and makes sense. You’ll understand that there’s one specific person that this Roxbury Drive album is about and this is the person that opened me up and changed my world.
Why is Roxbury Drive different than the other albums you’ve done in your past?
KG: I think, sonically, I wanted to do something that was more dance-driven and more R&B-driven, and more inspired by the music that made me want to fall in love with music in the first place. Inspirations from like Madonna’s Bedtime Stories and Aaliyah and of archived Janet [Jackson] and obviously Babyface. [But] it’s definitely not a tribute album — it’s my own sound.
We can’t stop listening to the album, so we’ve got to know: What’s your favorite song on Roxbury Drive?
KG: My favorite song on the album would have to be “Off.” I’m a melodies girl. I just love a lot of really cool melodies, and a lot of hooky and fun songs, and that’s definitely the sexiest song on the album. But it’s also the most playful, and the most fun, and melodically, it just feels good. I just like the vibe of that one.
Would you ever want to have one of your songs play on The Vampire Diaries or have Bonnie take part in a karaoke night?
KG: I started off, actually, as a beat-maker, which a lot of people don’t know. Before The Vampire Diaries, I was making beats, which is how I got will.i.am’s attention, and I went on tour with him. He brought me on, and had me jump on his record because I kept sending him beats that I made. So I’d be actually more interested in scoring something for the actual show, or doing some curating of music for the show, versus actually having one of my songs on the show. My music is very, very specific right now to an era, and that is the phase that I’m in right now, so maybe in the future, I’ll make an album that I think makes more sense for the show, but right now, I don’t think I want that. I like to keep them separate, especially since that character is so fiercely different than I am.
Speaking of fierce, you have such a strong social media following and many of those “Bamon” fans are really rooting for Bonnie and Damon to get together this season. What would you say to those fans?
KG: I can’t even say anymore because I have literally like pitched Bonnie with every single person under the sun — even women. Being a witch to me is a very, very sexy thing. There’s a lot of mystery to it, there’s a lot of energy in dealing with the unknown, and dealing with this kind of powerful force so you’d just think that [romance] would come with the territory. We’ll see what happens. I wish I could say it’s definitely happening, or it’s definitely not happening, but I just want them to appreciate whenever Ian and I do scenes together, and then we’ll just kind of see what the writers do.
What can you tease about the scenes you are sharing with Ian this season?
KG: There’s definitely some hills and valleys that they go through together — it’s a very cool dynamic. Ian and I have been campaigning to work together for years, and it’s always very exciting when we have a scene. You can feel the energy on set buzz because we work the same way, and we challenge each other — especially when he actually directs. He’s the first person who can look in my eyes and actually make the change because he knows specifically that I understand, and he can get a great performance out of me. So yeah, there are definitely more Damon and Bonnie scenes. I can’t comment how many and I can’t comment on what’s going to happen for the rest of the season, but I just want to bring to life what the writers are gravitating towards.
How does this season feel different, now that Nina Dobrev is no long a part of the series?
KG: Over the past three years, the show has definitely been an ensemble show, it’s written differently than it was in the first season, so a lot of these storylines would have been happening anyways. I think on set it feels different, but the show still feels like Vampire Diaries. The characters are still badasses, there’s still a lot of action, there’s still a lot of sexiness, and sex, and excitement, and it’s just a thrilling show. There’s a lot of action, and a lot of stuff goes down in the beginning of the season, so we’ve still got it.
What is the one thing you want your fans to know before they press play on Roxbury Drive?
KG: Roxbury Drive was the street I grew up on as a little kid, and it was the street that I first listened to records on, and where I actually really first fell in love with music. So I hope that they come back to Roxbury Drive with me. I hope that they travel back in time, and that they fall in love with music all over again too.
Your favorite bad guy may not be so bad after all. Ok, we know that Enzo made that choice at the end of the season premiere of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ — but this season will feature a different side of him that we’ve never seen. And this time, it won’t be ‘f–king with people’s heads.’ Michael Malarkey’s words, not mine.
When Enzo (Michael Malarkey) turned on Caroline (Candice King) in The Vampire Diaries premiere, we have to admit — we were heartbroken. But that decision may not be as permeant as it seems. While he’s loyal to Lily for now, Michael Malarkey revealed to HollywoodLife.com that Enzo’s not exactly against Caroline and the gang — he’s just looking for one thing: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
“He feel like all that stuff he does, no one looks at him and is like, ‘Oh I see why you did that.’ Everyone looks at him and is like, ‘Oh c’mon Enzo,’ or ‘Why’d you do that?’ He feels like no one respects him or his choices, so I think that’s a huge part of it,” Michael told us exclusively. “And one of the ways you can achieve respect is by having a family, so his way of achieving respect is through developing family ties, which is why he’s made the choice he’s made. And what we discover later on, we find that he’s testing how much respect he actually has between Lily and the Heretics family. He wants to make sure that he’s a legit Sergeant in their army.”
But along with that respect, we’ll also see Enzo searching for something else: love. That’s right, Michael told us we will be seeing his love interest in flash-forwards pretty soon — and it may or may not be a familiar face. “I think people will be pretty shocked by it,” he teased. “All I’ll tell you is that there was immediate chemistry. I know that those scenes that we already shot together will be f–king amazing.” Of course, the first thing in my mind is Bonnie (Kat Graham) since we know she’s getting a love interest too, and it’s someone “know and love.”
As for those Carenzo shippers out there, well, don’t hold your breathe. Michael knows there’s chemistry between the two, but doesn’t think it’s “necessarily romantic.” However, he is excited for the “Denzo” scene that’s coming up. Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Enzo’s friendship was one of the best ever, and we’ll see a scene of them together soon. “They’ve kept us apart for too long, we’ve been petitioning to start working together again! It’s another moral stretch of Enzo’s, how he deals with that.” Besides his love story, Michael’s excited for the audience to see a more “human” side of Enzo, which includes his choices and struggles, something we didn’t see much in season six.