(Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers)
This is the third year in a row where I've gotten to talk to Ian Somerhandler (Damon) at Comic Con and I must say, he's always memorable. Rarely do we bloggers get in a lot of questions with him. He gives long answers that often border on the philosophical side and he's not a fast talker. However, the answers are actually enjoyable and he's always very personable. He also looked great this go around with his buttoned white shirt and hat. Here's the transcript of our near ten minute chat with him. As you can tell, Ian did most of the chatting. We didn't mind one bit.
Will Damon’s near death experience change him next season?
Probably not. People keep talking about this “steamy kiss”. I don’t know if anyone was really paying attention but Damon was pale, sweating, and bleeding profusely, so I’m not sure how passionate it was but he definitely remembers it. Ultimately, he’s pretty pissed off. For two seasons he tried to get his brother what he wanted him to be, to eat and destroy everything in their paths, which would have been fun. Sort of be who he really is. We tried that for two seasons. Now Stefan is running around with Klaus, a dude that Damon absolutely hates, he tried to kill him, doing all those fun things that he was trying to get his brother to do. Now Damon is stuck in Mystic Falls with this girl that he loves that’s 150 years younger than he is, who a) doesn’t want him and b) it;s his brother’s girl so he can’t ultimately do that, so I think he’s really not happy with the way things have turned out. I think he’s going to rise to the occasion and he’s going to have fun doing whatever it is. This is the guy whether he’s ripping someone’s head off or saving a kitten he has the exact same frown on his face. He feels the exact same way about either one of those things.
It’s that thing as season one, which is that push/pull. It’s like the alcoholic in the bar, how difficult that is. These guys they are natural killers, that’s what they do. If you put a mouse or a cricket in front of a kitten or a cat they’re not just going to watch it, they’re going to play with it. It’s built into the framework of their being. I think that push/pull is what makes dynamic storytelling. Stefan has that push/pull with Klaus, he tried to save his brother yet ultimately he’s compelled and he’s going along with the whole thing. Damon has the push/pull of wanting to destroy everything in his path but needing to protect this girl that he loves and Elena has the push/pull of many things, poor thing, she’s being pulled from every limb.
She gets something from Damon she doesn’t get from Stefan. They laugh, they prod at each other, they bicker. There’s actually a line in the next episode where Alaric even says, “What are you guys, twelve?” They have this cute banter thing happening and I think it’s cool. We’re going to start seeing these different sides of these characters. If people are expecting Damon to be this wearing his heart on his sleeve, hero character, ain’t happening.
How after Stefan is gone will Damon go for Elena?
That’s a question I don’t know the answer to. It’s another push/pull for Damon. He doesn’t feel very good about that. I think he’s going to do what he was doing in every other season. He’s trying to distract himself and placate himself so he’s not firing on all pistons heading toward Elena.
So there are lines he won’t cross.
I don’t know if there are lines he won’t cross but if he crosses them he’ll probably step back over.
Speaking of that, you just said he does that same thing all the time. Beyond the writer’s expectations, is there a way you try to keep things fresh?
Beyond a shadow of a doubt. It’s weird. You guys know more about TV than I do and the structure of the story, but it’s not a movie that has a beginning, middle and end. These guys are dictating where this story goes and we’re ultimately a feather in the wind. Life isn’t always one dimensional. It changes, it throws curveballs at it, we have to adapt to it. In story situations, when you’re playing a character on TV, you always want that character to be the fun, badass guy who gets all the good lines, just has fun. But that’s not exactly the way it’s going to workout. There has to be struggle, there has to be pressure applied to make him more resilient and dynamic as a character. To keep it fresh, you weave the thread of your life into the text. You have to be pulling from your real life experiences past, present and future. Everyday you get up you’re a different person. And you figure out a way to make everyday fresh. Or a new life in your life. New years happens and you say “Dammit, I’m going to do X, Y, and Z this year. I’m going to change my perspective on this or that.”
I think keeping it going into a season three on a television show, I’ve never been on a show for more than a season, apparently I get myself killed every time, but you do have to keep it fresh. You have to keep that sense of newness and that sense of excitement and all you do is pull from your life. My life from April 18th when I left is wildly different from my life right now and my goals and perspectives. Hopefully we get to keep it fresh and don’t ruin it.
(Our little chat took a brief break as Kevin Williamson walked by. Ian, aware of the voice issue, advised him out of concern to stop talking.)
I love that man.
Speaking of Kevin, he writes some amazing dialogue for you, and all the great one liners.
I truly love that man. He and Julie I’m so eternally grateful and in debt (to), unfortunately. Those are the last two people you want to be in debt to (laughs). Because they’re, crazy, wicked, smart, and manipulative and wonderful. Kevin has this thing where he writes so well for Damon because I think in many respects, obviously ixnay on the maniacal killer aspect, there’s a lot of Kevin in Damon. There’s a lot of me in Damon, but Kevin, we just have a profound relationship. He has this ability to write these lines.
It’s always so weird how when writers write you read the story somehow there are naturally parallels that happening in your life. I think they pick up on that. They know us so well. Whether it’s what they hear on dailies when we’re not paying attention when we’re miked. When they read articles or see something about us. Maybe it’s a little insight they didn’t know before. They use all of that stuff. Much to our chagrin our times. That’s what makes the story great. They’re no dummies.