[03/10/12 - 11:55 PM]
Live at the Paley Festival: The CW's "The Vampire Diaries"
By Jim Halterman (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

6:58 PM - The classic clip that starts each PaleyFest night never disappoints and this one takes us way back to 1972 with a clip of Darren McGavin, the original vampire slayer in the made for TV movie "The Night Stalker" that would inspire the unforgettable series of the same name. Priceless!

7:01 PM - The Paley Center's Becky Levikow welcomes everyone to night night of the 29th Annual PaleyFest and, after thanking HuluPlus for its sponsorship of the Festival, she introduces TV Guide Magazine's Debra Birnbaum, who will be tonight's moderator for "The Vampire Diaries" panel. Debra clearly loves the show and is happy to bring Executive Producer Julie Plec to the stage.

7:03 PM - Julie announces that we're going to be screening the next new episode, "1912," which doesn't air until this Thursday. She also says cautiously that there is a big storyline reveal at the end of the episode and she really hopes people will keep it to themselves and not spoil it for others.

7:50 PM - The episode is over and, as the show usually does, it completely delivers on all fronts. Debra returns and quickly gets to bringing the cast and Julie out on the stage to talk. Candice Accola (Caroline)! Paul Wesley (Stefan)! Julie Plec! Ian Somerhalder (Damon)! Nina Dobrev (Elena)! Matt Davis (Alaric)! Kat Graham (Bonnie)!

7:53 PM - Debra starts off by saying that the Livestream is being delayed a few minutes so we can talk about the "1912" episode. Without giving anything too much away (and since Julie has talked about this before), there is a lot that happens with Alaric in this episode. "Alaric is a character that is very near and dear to all of us," says Julie. "Getting to explore a darker side is both exciting for a character and exciting for an actor and we wanted to showcase that."

7:55 PM - Matt says we're at the tipping point for Alaric and the next few episodes will be (using his word) "shocking." And, again, without spoiling this week's episode, the repercussions of what happens will have some effect on Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen), who has been missing from the past several episodes but is coming back soon (as is Tyler, played by Michael Trevino).

7:59 PM - "It's like being on the set of 'Vampire Diaries' here," says Ian as they try to get the iPhone out of Matt's tightly clutched hand. He reluctantly sets it down and shakes his hand, already missing the device.

8:01 PM - Julie does say that everyone is on a journey together the rest of the season. Big journey for Elena and big journey for Alaric but, in fact, everyone will be going through a lot.

8:02 PM - One fun moment from the episode is seeing Damon playing sober coach for Stefan with Damon's typically sardonic ways. "There's nothing worse than a sarcastic sobriety coach," says Paul of how Damon tries to "help" Stefan.

8:03 PM - Discussion of "1912" is over so Livestream has joined so no more spoilery talk. Debra asks about The Originals. "Have we seen the last of them?" Julie says, "Nooooo," but doesn't reveal anything more. (One thing about this group is they're very good about not giving too much away.)

8:04 PM - Candice is asked about Klaus and the chemistry between he and Caroline. She said everyone is so excited about this potential pairing but what they forget is that Klaus is a killer! She says, "I just love that their whole relationship or what ever the relationship is is based on manipulations on both their part." Ian chimes in and adds, "Aren't all relationships based on manipulations?" Laughs galore.

8:07 PM - Ian is asked about the recently released episode photos (from #318) where his arms are tied above his head, shirt open and blood all over his chest. While he first jokes that there is torture with every woman in a relationship, he gets more serious and says, "That scene for that particular image is one where I think there's an amazing bonding moment for both Elena and Damon and Stefan and Damon... some pretty gnarly stuff." He adds that as demented as Damon was in the first season of the show, "these Originals have an appetite for destruction and they act on it." Julie teases that Damon is going to do something really bad to Rebekah (Claire Holt) in the next episode after "1912" and the photo of Damon tied up and bloody is a result of that.

8:10 PM - The last episode before the hiatus, Julie explains, is not the last we've seen of the Originals or Esther's plan with her children. "There's still a whole other chapter to that story," she promises. Asked about whether there's a spark between Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Elena, Julie laughs and says, "I think Elijah has to get in line behind Alaric." Julie also makes it clear that she does not advocate Matt's online campaign to get Alaric and Elena together. Matt, obviously, would really like to see this happen.

8:16 PM - We haven't seen Katherine (also played by Dobrev) in a while, Debra points out. Is she going to pop up anytime soon? Julie says, "Katherine spent 500 years running from Klaus to great success so if he's in Mystic Falls... there's no love story that's more important than Katherine and her own self interest so whatever she feels about these boys she's going to stay the hell out of dodge."

8:18 PM - Nina is cold on-stage so Ian gives her his jacket. Awwww. We also find out that the girls will have more scenes together. "You'll definitely see a lot of Caroline and Bonnie working together, which I think this is cool," says Kat.

8:20 PM - Paul on having his wife (Torrey DeVitto) play Meredith on the show. Pauls says, "She had to audition and Julie is a fan of 'Pretty Little Liars' (where Torrey appeared) so it just kinda worked out." Ian says, "Two words. Casting Couch." Ian teases that he's done scenes with her and she's better than Paul. Ian also reveals that Matt Davis was horrified when he found out his love interest was going to be played by Paul's wife. "He's horrified!?" says Paul.

8:22 PM - Playing bad Stefan, Paul says, "I really want to maintain that." Even though Paul likes playing bad Stefan, Julie says it's all part of Stefan's journey when he still shows a conscience and guilt over his actions. "The brothers are sharing a journey and it's just manifesting itself," says Julie.

8:27 PM - Love triangle talk. Julie has said the Damon-Elena-Stefan triangle is going to come to a head by the end of the season and Ian and Nina both say, "Is it?" Julie clarifies that it will come to a head but maybe not THE head. (The innuendos strike many in the audience, who giggle.) Julie adds, "What we'll see before the end of the season is Elena asking questions of herself what do these men mean to me?" Nina says Elena needs to go to Europe and meet some new boys. "Can we do a Europe episode?" she pleads. "'Gossip Girl' did it?"

8:32 PM - After a brief period where everyone seems to want Ian to take off his shirt (he doesn't do it), Debra asks "Will everyone survive the season?" Julie quickly replies, "I don't know." Hmmmm....

8:34 PM - Does the cast have a favorite plot twist or surprise? Kat says she loved it when Tyler (Michael Trevino) turned into a hybrid. Matt says his hasn't aired yet but it's coming. Nina says when Elena stabbed Rebekah in the back. Ian can't come up with one. Julie likes the episodes where we saw that Klaus and Stefan were friends once. "I loved that," she says. Paul agrees with Julie. Candice liked seeing the Originals come together as well as Elena and Damon's real kiss.

8:39 PM - Do the actors ever give suggestions to the writers that have ended up in the scripts? Paul says Julie welcomes opinions and Ian says they never end up on the page. Julie adds that oftentimes the writers are ahead of the curve and are making changes to characters and stories just as the actors are just starting to want to change some things. She says she often hears from people via Twitter who aren't happy about a story or character and she giggles because the writers are already veering things in the direction the fans want. Julie admits that it's hard not to shut out the comments from the fans, it's loud but she clarifies "beautifully loud."

8:42 PM - Are we going to find out more about the death of Elena's parents anytime soon? Julie says, "We don't know... we are talking about having a flashback as we get to the end of the season showing Elena's life before she had vampires in it." She adds that that episode would definitely involve her parents.

8:45 PM - A fan asks Nina about playing both Elena and Katherine and she says it's a good balance and "there's always been challenges but I think the challenge is keeping it fresh and to make sure that it's as exciting and you're still as excited about it."

8:46 PM - A fan asks about breaking stories in the season which gives Julie an opportunity to give a shout out to Executive Producer Kevin Williamson, who is in Atlanta and promised to be watching on Livestream. "Essentially every episode is its own new movie," she says. She also explains that the events in the episodes function to bring the characters and the stories all together and she says they are crucial. "It makes the show feel like you're tuning into a new movie every week as opposed to just having a serialized mass of nothing."

8:49 PM - Julie says she sees the series as an unrequited love between the brothers so she hopes they'll truly come together someday. Ian jokes it will be Season 14. The brothers are trying to be heroes to each other, Julie says, and she hopes to keep them that way at least for a little while.

8:52 PM - A fan asks a loooooong question about the platform of the show and the success that it brings. Julie recounts something Zach Roerig (Matt) had said that they'll someday look back on this era and the vampire zeitgeist and that he'll always be a part of it. In terms of success, "it can happen after long hard road or it can happen in an instant," says Julie of the success you can achieve. Ian says, "The idea that luck is when opportunity meets preparation... luck does not just fall in your lap." Wise man!

8:57 PM - Ian talks about the rigors of testing for any TV show and when he read the script for this show he knew Damon was the role for him. He said he made it past the studio test but he bombed at the network test. Kevin helped him go back and do what he needed to do. It still wasn't good enough and he had to go back and retest again. "I wanted to jump off of a building," he says. Of course, we know the story ended happily.

9:02 PM - Final question. Elena turns into a vampire in the books. Will we see that on the show? Julie says when she and Kevin came on board and first heard Elena's journey in the book, they both asked to take some license but her answer to the question is "we'll see."

9:03 PM - That's a wrap for tonight. I'll be covering the afternoon panel tomorrow for ABC's "Revenge."

And for more PaleyFest coverage - past and present - visit our Paley Center topic page.

  [march 2012]  


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