Ian Somerhalder (a.k.a. the Sexy Beast Champion) talks 'Vampire Diaries' season 2

ian-somerhalder-vampire-diariesImage Credit: Patrick Ecclesine / The CWThe Vampire Diaries has been good to Ian Somerhalder: It earned him a spot on Entertainment Weekly’s 2009 list of TV’s Best Bitches and the title of Sexiest Beast in this summer’s popular EW.com bracket game, which saw readers rack up more than 1.5 million votes while whittling the 64-deep field down to his devilishly delicious Damon Salvatore and Twilight‘s saintly sensitive Edward Cullen. Shortly after his victory last month, we caught up with a humbled and grateful Somerhalder, who was already feeling the pressure that comes with the crown…

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congratulations on Damon being named the ultimate Sexy Beast.
IAN SOMERHALDER:
[Laughs] That is so cool.

What would you like to say to the people who voted for you?
Thank you, thank you, thank you. It makes you realize the dedication of the fans, how much fun they’re having and how much fun they make us have. It’s the fans who are making the success of the show happen. We can’t thank them enough. We’re just doing the acting leg of it. Season 2 is starting [Sept. 9, 8 p.m. ET, The CW], and we’re gonna try not to suck. Wow, that’s a terrible pun. Let me reword that. You finish the first season of the show, and everyone worked their asses off, and the season went really well, and people liked the show. But then season 2 comes up, and you realize, whoa, we have more of a responsibility now. The heat is really on now. We cannot do a bad job. So, we are committed to making this a better year of television than last year. So that’s what I want to tell everyone: “Thank you, and literally, we’ll try not to suck.” [Laughs]

We know from promos that Katherine [Nina Dobrev as the vampire lover who essentially turned the brothers in 1864] says she’s returned for Stefan and never loved Damon. What can you tease about season 2?
Poor Damon. Katherine comes back, and it’s the chicken or the egg thing. In the story, Katherine obviously came before Damon, and Damon learned a lot of his antics from Katherine and then 150 years of cynicism. When I watch Nina be Katherine, it’s crazy, the similarity that you see between Katherine and Damon. She starts wreaking havoc in a very similar way that for most of season 1 Damon wreaked havoc — because he wanted something. You’re gonna see Damon in a way in which you haven’t necessarily seen him before dealing with Katherine and what happens after so many years of longing and wanting to be with someone, being hurt and let down in that extreme manner. It’s a lot of fun watching Katherine and how powerful and manipulative and sexy and crazy she is. It’s a lot of fun to play. It’s brutal for me. [In classic Damon delivery] Damon doesn’t always get what he wants now, which is boring for Ian, but great for the story.

After the show premiered last fall, you told us that you used to be jealous of Josh Holloway for the things he got to say and do as Sawyer on Lost. Now Damon is that character. What do you think it is about him that draws fans in?
I only know what I love about him: Though he may be doing things that are off our moral compass, Damon loves what he’s doing, and he’s enjoying the hell out of his life, even despite the amount of pain and anger that he has inside of him. A lot of the world has a lot of pain and anger, and it’s fun to watch someone who’s learned how to take their pain and make it fun. [Exec producers] Kevin [Williamson] and Julie [Plec] have assembled a phenomenal writing team. When I watch the episodes, I don’t see Damon as me, because Damon is such a specific, strong character. It has nothing to do with me. It’s the way it’s written down on the page.

I recently spoke with Kevin and Julie for EW’s Fall TV preview issue [on stands Sept. 10], and he said something that I wanted to float by you: According to him, it’s a blessing when an actor is asked to be shirtless in a scene on The Vampire Diaries because of the heat in Atlanta. Is that how you look at it?
At this point, why not? Literally. Let me tell you something. I love the South. I’m from the South. I’m a Southern boy. You experience temperatures here that one just doesn’t understand until one is actually geographically here. I am watching our crew members melting like snowmen. It’s insane. When we are in wardrobe and it’s 100 degrees, with 60, 70, 80 percent humidity, you get this heat index and it just sticks to you. So yeah, why not? It is easier just to have your shirt off. I walk around set with it off half the time anyway now, so we might as well shoot it on camera. I’m imagining this isn’t gonna last much longer, but it is summer in Georgia, baby. That’s what you get.

Well, congratulations again, and good luck with season 2. I hope it doesn’t suck. I’m sure it will not.
[Laughs] If it doesn’t suck, I’m sure I’ll talk to you again soon. If it does suck, then I’ll know because you’re not gonna call me back.

The Sexy Beast victory song written for Somerhalder by Ernesto Riley (aka his castmate Matt Davis, who plays Alaric):

More on Ian Somerhalder:
Vampire Diaries producers endorse Damon Salvatore, and nominate Katherine as next year’s Sexy Beast
Ian Somerhalder talks Vampire Diaries and why we want to slap him, then kiss him
Ian Somerhalder politely declines your request that he bite you

Comments (26 total) Add your comment
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  • CindyC

    I adore both Ian & Damon. TVD S2 premiere tomorrow night is my most anticipated returning show this fall, so I’m just extremely excited.

  • Rob

    For sure, one of the most beautiful men in the history of television

    • Bec

      Agreed. And it was exceptionally hot this summer in Georgia. It rarely ever gets over the 100s, and the average temp was like 103.

  • thuha

    Matthew Davis is hilarious!

    • Irish

      agreed

  • Stella

    Ian Somerhalder is truly one sexy beast! There is no other season premiere (other than Fringe) that I am more looking forward to! As long as they can keep season 2 as sitting on the edge of your seat as season 1 was it will be alright by me :)

  • Michelle

    I adore Ian, I adore Damon and I adore TVD. I’m ridiculously excited for the season to start. And I’m certain it won’t suck! ;)

  • tracy bluth

    Boone! I recently read that he has a huge crush on Elizabeth Mitchell, which makes him 1000000x more awesome.

  • Amanda

    Ian is the best!! I adore him. He is very down to earth, humble, sensible and all around beautiful!

    • Georgia Peach

      Completely Agree!

  • Lily

    Great actor from Louisiana!!!

  • joebecca

    love love love Damon!!! can’t wait for season 2!!

  • Damon4ever

    I adore Ian, he’s such a talented actor!! I enjoy reading interviews with him because he always talks about Damon like he has actually spent time analizing him and tries to really understand the charcater and it really shows in his performance. He’s so sexy and extremly humble and smart.

  • Pisces228

    Add me to the list of Ian/Damon fans. With True Blood finishing up it’s season on Sunday, I’m very much looking forward to continuing my love of vampire dramas with TVD. :-)

    • TrueBlood Junkie

      I agree:)

  • Miss Talk

    “Saintly Sensitive Edward?” yeah right. In Damon Salvatore’s own words, that means “whipped”.
    Anyway, I’m so ready for TVD Season 2 tomorrow.(And for Ian, anytime he wants ^^).

    • Kalie

      I think it means Edward tries to be good. Damon does not. He kills people w/o a second thought.

  • sofia

    i love him.

  • tina

    OMG that video is so funny. I cannot wait for season 2 tomorrow night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kimberley

    Ian says that Damon’s strong character has nothing to do with him as a person,that it’s written that way. I disagree. Although it is probably written that way, I doubt that anyone else could portray Damon as well as Ian does it. So it does have to do a lot with him. I think he doesn’t give himself enough credit,he’s modest and I like that about him. In most of his inteviews he talks about his character and he really seems to understand what Damon stands for,what his motives are,etc. It takes a lot to bring a character to life without it sucking(in his words) and he does it well.

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