While Damon's life has never looked brighter (he got the girl and spent a whole summer in bed with her), a darkness is coming and Ian Somerhalder, for one, can not wait! What that means for Damon's relationship with Elena remains to be seen, but when The Vampire Diaries season five starts, the two are crazy in love and looking forward to an eternity together.
Turns out, figuring out how to play Damon in that headspace presented an unexpectedly large challenge for Somerhalder, who couldn't stop gushing about season five's tonal shift when I hit up the set last month!
ETonline: The premiere picks up a few months later, where do we find Damon?
Ian Somerhalder: In love and giddy and happy for the first time in, probably, a really long time. Nina [Dobrev] and I always joke about this, but despite the fact I'm 173 and she's 18, they're genuinely happy and it's cute to see their dynamic. To see Damon as this guy in love is adorable.
ETonline: When was the last time he was this happy?
Somerhalder: In the 1860s with Katherine. Even if he was with women throughout his life, which there were many of [laughs], it wasn't that real thing. And the whole thing with Katherine was about the naivete of a 23-year-old boy. When you're 23, you feel like a boy. Hell, I'm 33 and I still feel like a boy. But I think it's still gotta be weird being with this woman who is the carbon copy of the woman who broke your heart; just a sweeter, even more beautiful version because she's so pure.
ETonline: When I talked to Caroline Dries she said that figuring out how to write Damon as a character in love was unexpectedly tough. Was it tough for you from a performance perspective?
Somerhalder: No because it was in the writing. They wrote really great stuff, that's the difference. The thing about this season is, the show has done very well, but I've been incredibly outspoken about the fact Damon changed significantly after season one and it sent me down a wormhole. It wasn't the character I signed on to play. But Kevin Williamson had to beat it into my thick skull that I can't be a one-trick pony for six years. This is a 100-plus episode journey for this man and he had a point. But season one encapsulated everything that is Vampire Diaries; that's what hooked people in. We're a dark, night, vampire show; we're not a day exterior show. This year, we're really getting back to that and everything is just working in a really amazing way as we bring back the elements of season one that really inspired us. I have a really rejuvenated feeling about this season.
ETonline: Historically Damon is a major self-sabotager. Will he torpedo his relationship with Elena?
Somerhalder: I don't think he's going to ultimately find a way to f*ck it up. Things change, it's life and ... the parallels of how art imitates life this season are pretty staggering. Especially when you have a team of writers who know you so well. I'm starting to see my life surface in the art and I'm starting to see the art surfacing in my life. It's a very interesting dichotomy actors live but they're supposed to be intertwined. Art should imitate life and life should imitate art.
ETonline: Looking at this season, what are you excited for the fans to experience?
Somerhalder: The return of that feeling we all loved about season one. The feeling that initially sucked them in and allowed these stories to resonate. The scripts are coming in huge, the actors are pushing each other to make sure the scenes are the best they can be without compromising and it's darker; and our show is supposed to be dark and we're really taking it there this year.
The Vampire Diaries premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. on The CW.
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