'The Vampire Diaries' Q&A: Paul Wesley On Directing

Paul Wesley in the 'What Lies Beneath' episode of 'The Vampire Diaries' Paul Wesley in the 'What Lies Beneath' episode of 'The Vampire Diaries'

Paul Wesley makes his directorial debut with Thursday’s “The Vampire Diaries,” and heading behind the camera is something he had been hoping to do for a long time.

“I did a pilot when I was like 19 years old and I remember before the show even got picked up, I asked the creator, ‘Hey listen, if this goes to Season 5, will you let me direct one?’ And they were like, ‘Yeah.’ So it’s something I’ve wanted to do for the last decade,” Paul told AccessHollywood.com.

“Directing is something I’ve always respected and been fascinated by and I’ve always been sort of intrigued by the likes of Stanley Kubrick and some great filmmakers and it’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do,” he continued.

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In a new interview with AccessHollywood.com, Paul discussed making his directorial debut and which other star from The CW he ran into while preparing. Paul also hinted at what’s next for Mystic Falls’ newest bad boy, Enzo.

AccessHollywood.com: Misha Collins from ‘Supernatural’ just did the same thing. He made his directorial debut with ‘Supernatural.’ And he got pied in the face at the end of it. I’m curious if you faced a similar fate from your co-stars?
Paul Wesley: (Laughs) No, but maybe I should be offended that I didn’t get pied in the face. In fact, I got limited to no hazing.

READ: Misha Collins Talks Cast Hijinks While Directing ‘Supernatural’

Access: That’s awesome.
Paul:
I’m not sure if it’s awesome or if it’s just that people don’t feel like having any social interaction with me, I can’t tell.

Access: Tell me about the challenges doing this for the first time. Did you go somewhere for advice?
Paul: I actually ended up partaking in several WB director, sort of, workshop classes. I wasn’t able to complete the entire thing, but they have these classes that they offer in person on the WB lot and I actually saw Misha Collins there and we were talking about the fact that we were both going to be first-time directors. We didn’t talk very much about it, but I remember seeing him there and talking to him for a few minutes, so it’s funny you should mention that.

Access: It looks like, from the previews, there are a couple of dream/fantasy sequences in this episode. Did that present any challenges for you – other than the fact that you’re in some of them?
Paul:
That was actually really interesting, but I actually didn’t mind that as much as I thought I would because I have this sort of idea that I would obsessively be watching playback and analyzing my performance and hating, but I realized very quickly that time is not your friend when you’re shooting television and I was unable to deeply criticize myself (laughs). It ended up being more challenging to watch scenes and have to compromise and move on knowing that it wasn’t exactly what I wanted every time, but knowing that the time was ticking and I would go over budget.

Access: Is there anything you noticed about your performance in this that you hadn’t noticed about your work before?
Paul:
It’s funny, I was talking to Daniel Gillies and he directed a film that he also acted in — he was the lead in — and he said that he really enjoyed the experience because he had so many things on his plate and he had so many other things to worry about that his acting was kind of like the last thing he really thought about. And I kind of agree with him in that… I’m thinking about so many other things, I know this character so well and I’ve been doing it for so long now and it was nice to not have that be the only thing that I had to think about. It was nice to have other responsibilities and I kind of just didn’t have time to overanalyze anything, which I think is a really positive thing for actors. I think that sometimes, actors can get in their heads.

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Access: Although, in the last episode, you played another version of your character. Are you sad Tom met his fate so quickly?
Paul:
No, I’m very happy he met his fate so quickly.

Access: Why?
Paul: Because that means I don’t have to work eight out of eight days playing nine different characters (laughs). He was a nice guy, and it was actually fun playing him ‘cause I kind of just goofed around and just decided to make him sort of incredibly vanilla and just very genuine and sincere and I think people actually liked him.

Access: I liked him!
Paul: I know, everybody really liked him funnily enough. But, I think the audience is a little doppelgangered-out so I think it was a necessary fate.

Access: What can you tell us about Enzo’s role in this episode? I know that you’re probably pretty aware that people are very interested in the semi-newcomer.
Paul: Yeah, I am too. I think Michael Malarkey is a great actor and he’s a friend of mine and he’s an extremely welcome and much needed addition to ‘The Vampire Diaries.’ … There’s this really interesting kind of nuanced — he comes from a theater background. It was a really joyful thing to direct him because his barometer so to speak is very sensitive in that I can give him a note and he can just tweak a little bit and the performance, the take, is totally different. I really enjoy that when an actor can take a note and not just sort of go extreme or not know what to do with it. He really knows how to tweak things. It was really fun. I really enjoyed directing him. Anyway, his character — I guess there’s a really nice moment between him and Caroline that I think she sort of sees him in a new light, I guess.

“The Vampire Diaries” airs Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW.

-- Jolie Lash

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