Before sitting down at our table, “Vampire Diaries” Executive Producer Kevin Williamson had to rush over to another table to consult with his cohort Julie Plec. It seems that he wanted to make sure they were on the same page about what they were allowed to talk about. Considering Kevin has been spending a lot of his time lately getting “The Secret Circle” going (I got to talk to him in two different press rooms that day), it was understandable that he was out of the loop on some things. He certainly hasn’t been out of the loop in breaking story though and had plenty to share with us.
When he did sit down to talk with us, he apologized for his voice. It was a bit grainy and he told about how he was at a party last night screaming over music. It was still good enough that we had an excellent conversation with him about the upcoming third season.
What’s going to happen with Damon and Elena the first few episodes?
Not to give anything away but I think it’s obvious, Stefan has taken off with Klaus for a greater agenda. Klaus is up to something. That’s the first chapter in our story and what that entails. It will be Elena’s search for Stefan and how their relationship changes. At the end of season two Katherine (says) “It’s okay to love both of them.” We’re going to see that play out and what does that mean? It meant one thing for Katherine, what does it mean for Elena? You can love someone brotherly, love someone like a friend, and romantic love may not be okay for her, to love both of them.
I think that’s the journey. She’s on a big journey because 100 percent, yes she’s attracted to this man, yet she loves Stefan. That’s an epic love that’s never going to change. It’s so tragic these characters. Damon is the reluctant hero who doesn’t want to be the hero, it’s not his role in life, he’s not good at it. Elena’s going to be there pushing him on to be the hero but his nature is to kill people. It’s going to be interesting, that love is going to escalate and blow up. We’ll see what happens. And we have Stefan who has turned and is going to the dark side.
Are we going to see Klaus’ agenda?
There are 22 episodes so it doesn’t all come out in the first episode, but you wake up to it. You know us, we get it out there and then we do it some more. It’s a big story so it has a different bunch of beats to it. The first episode will kick it right off.
Any new villains this season?
Klaus, and with Klaus comes a whole host of problems and people and characters. The relatives are still out there and now that he’s a hybrid, it’s interesting to see what he’s up to with the original family. Which we hope to meet as the series progresses. I think it was eight family members we said, I don’t know how many we’re going be able meet in one season. Hopefully if we do it right we’ll have another season and there will be more on that.
How long do you plan ahead?
Julie and I, when we were finishing up last season we’re like ‘We didn’t do this, we didn’t do this’ and we started breaking the next season. We broke it out into four chapters, six episodes each. That’s how we always try to do it. From from those four we try to break it down to two character audio. When you think about each episode to 22 it’s so overwhelming. We try to do tent poles. Here it is and this is going to happen. And then we look at the schedule and see when the breaks are. The network tells you where you have hiatus for four weeks, so we go, ‘Well, maybe we should do that there,” so then everyone is hanging for 4 weeks. We like to torture our audiences as much as we torture our characters. It’s fun.
What’s up for Matt, one of the few totally human characters at this point.
I personally love him as a human character. I want to also show that relationship of how he views the supernatural world. Because Mystic Falls clearly has got something wrong with it that it attracts paranormal activity. It’s going to be interesting to watch our one standing human character. A) See how long he’ll survive and B) what’s his response to the relationships all the people around him, and the lies, and the betrayal, and all the stuff that’s happening. I like him as a human, I wouldn’t change that for the world, unless of course we explored all that human stuff. I don’t want to blow it with him.
How did you come to the decision to get rid of Jenna?
It was a hard one. It was something that we toyed with a little bit on and off in the first year and into the second year. Once we started developing the third season and we knew it would be great to do this and it would be great for this stuff to happen I really couldn’t figure out where she might of fit in that world. I didn’t want Jenna in the kitchen with the oatmeal and the coffee being this human character. I wasn’t quite sure with what to do with that character. I struggled with it. I struggled with the character as the aunt and the caretaker and the authority and the parent. I’ve struggled with those characters on all my shows quite frankly. In a weird way I thought, let’s send her out in a beautiful way and let it mean something. Once again let our characters deal with death up front and personally. It started having an emotional impact that would be devastating in a way in which shows the repercussions of living in this town. It’s very sad.
(Alice) Any chance she’ll come up with Jeremy’s “I can see dead people” thing.
You know what, I’ve learned to never say never. I remember when I told Kayla (Ewell) that she was going to die. I just remember how painful that was. The show had just started and we were all one family and we were on this journey together and then she had to find out the hard way she was going to die. She was like, “Is it for certain?” I was like, “Yeah, because if people don’t die for real our show doesn’t mean anything. There’s no consequences.” It was so sad. I was crying, Julie couldn’t speak, it was the most emotional day ever, everyone was crying. Then I’m, “You know what, I can’t promise you’ll never be back.” We left a little glimmer of hope. She was so great to come back. She could have said “screw you” but she didn’t. She was always part of the family she never left. She would come visit, she’d come hang out, so I think that’s how we got away with it. She would always come to Atlanta anyway because she and Nina are like that. No one ever thought she was filming in that season finale.
Speaking of Jeremy, can a briefly dead guy and a witch make it work?
I hope so. We’ll see. We’re telling the story in an interesting way. We’re slowly unveiling what these ghost like people are or whatever we call them, apparitions. So it’ll be interesting see Bonnie gets into the middle of it and sort of helps him stop seeing dead people and also they’re his ex-girlfriends. They’re the two other people he’s loved, the only two in his entire life that he’s loved beyond his parents or Aunt Jenna and Elena. This romantic love and it’s a total triangle, quadrangle, ghosts, witches, humans, it’s kind of cool. I love this stuff. I just get off on it.
You said that writing for Jenna is a hard. What character is your favorite?
Damon. I’m the go to. We’ll be breaking story and Julie would go, “Oh, that’s just him.” It’s hard writing for these characters. When he (Damon) dated Caroline, the insecure mean girl, I can do something with that. When you’re in vampire land I can do something with that. But Aunt Jenna as caretaker, that was maddening. Unless I had turned her into a drunk alcoholic who was having orgies in her bedroom at night, or turn her into a vampire, I’m not fascinated by that character. There’s that need to have a parental figure on the show because there are children. I couldn’t make her a bad girl, I had to make her responsible and smart. We made her a little loose. The thing about her is the actress is amazing. She’s a terrific actress who I’m hoping like hell to work with again.
That ended the interview and we waited for Ian Somerhandler. I have one more note about Kevin Williamson. When asked in “The Secret Circle” press room which show would get the primary focus from him, Williamson declared without a doubt “The Vampire Diaries.” He was all but ready to hand over showrunner duties for “The Secret Circle” to Andrew Miller. He’s there to consult and he has a strong commitment to Julie Plec. Considering after these interviews he fired Executive Producer Richard Hatem for “The Secret Circle” we’ll see how easily he’ll be able to do that now, but that was clearly his intent when we talked to him.