Interview

Interview

'Vampire Diaries' Star Talks Klaus, Boiling Bunnies

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The Vampire DiariesEaster is a special occasion. Families gather. Big meals are prepared. Children frantically hunt for Easter eggs. But if you’re The Vampire Diaries’ quick-tempered Klaus, celebrating the holiday may involve other gruesome traditions.

“Probably boiling bunnies,” offers actor Joseph Morgan with maniacal glee over the phone.

Klaus might bask in snapping necks and drowning parents, but in the last three seasons, the bloodsucking fiend has developed into one of The Vampire Diaries’ most complex and multifaceted characters. On Good Friday, Morgan spoke to me about Klaus’ love, flaws and The Originals backdoor pilot.

Klaus and Caroline (Candice Accola) are now officially “friends.” At this point, where are his head and heart when it comes to her?

Klaus is still very much enamored with her. Look, he felt he was dying and called Caroline. Not his sister. Not his brother. That says a lot about where he is in terms of his feelings towards her. We had that episode where Caroline was dying (Into the Wild) and she said, “I know you’re in love with me.” Klaus wants to believe he is, that he is someone capable of love. We’ll see how it plays out, but he’s definitely on board with the idea of being with her.

It sounds like Klaus is going a little soft.

A little soft? Not really, no. What is great is we’re getting to explore more of his vulnerable side, certainly in last night’s episode (American Gothic) where he believed he was dying. We absolutely got to explore some of that fear and vulnerability. The thing about Klaus is just as soon as you start to like him and believe he’s a better person, he goes out and slaughters 12 hybrids with a sword or kills someone’s mom. I believe until the end of this character, whenever that may be, I’ll continue to go through these cycles of vulnerability. He has his ups and downs, which is what makes him such a wonderful character to play.

Over the course of the series, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) transitioned from this coldhearted psychopath into a tortured antihero. Is the same possible with Klaus?

It would be nice if The Originals go to series, if it’s ultimately the story of Klaus’ redemption. But I wonder if anyone will really, truly forget about Aunt Jenna (Sara Canning) and the other people Klaus has put in the ground. He has a thousand years of murdering and doing what he wants to get his way. I wonder how quickly you can be redeemed for that. And redemption in whose eyes? I would like to think it is possible for him, but it’s going to take a little work.

Not long ago, Klaus was magically trapped in the Gilberts’ living room and hell-bent on revenge. Is all that anger water under the bridge?

Oh no. He spent 500 years chasing Katerina. No, he’s a man who bears a grudge. Your perception of time when you’re that old is a little different. It doesn’t mean revenge has to be immediate. The Mystic Falls Scooby Doo Gang put him down at the end of season three and he hasn’t even forgiven them for that. He’s chased Tyler (Michael Trevino) out of town. Klaus has done a few things to move towards that, but he’s not the kind of man to let a grudge go.

How has Klaus’ little encounter with Silas affected him?

Now that Klaus has realized Silas can get inside his mind like that, that he can manipulate him in a way no one else has been able to do… Klaus always likes to be the Alpha. He likes to be the strongest in the room and the most powerful. It’s worrying for him that there is a being out there capable of not only killing him, but making him believe he was dying. That will always be a thorn in his side. It’s not a nice thing to not be in control of yourself, which is what he felt for in the episode last night.

Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Rebekah (Claire Holt) are heading back to Mystic Falls with the cure. What is that family dynamic like? How does Klaus view his siblings?

He’s not on good terms with Rebekah. She’s convinced she wants to be human again, wants to love, which he can’t really get on board with or understand. They’ve been at odds since she destroyed his ability to create any more hybrids. He will be more pleased to see Elijah. He’s wanted to see his brother for a while and Elijah is coming home with the cure, which is what Klaus needs to get Silas off his back. There’s a practical pleasure for Klaus there, in that Elijah is bringing home the very thing he needs. But also, he misses his brother, as he would his sister if she had been away too long. I always say this family is one that can do horrible things to each other, as long as no one else does anything to them. Then, suddenly, you’ll see how close they really are.

Can you preview the next few episodes, especially The Originals, which is serving as a backdoor pilot for a possible The Originals spinoff?

The next episode is going to build towards The Originals, so we’re going to see Klaus and Elijah reunited. We’re going to see what happens with the cure, at least in terms of where Elijah feels it would be most beneficial and who the cure should go to. We’re also going to see what takes Klaus to New Orleans for the spinoff episode. The spinoff episode is bookended by scenes in Mystic Falls. It starts with Stefan (Paul Wesley), Damon and Elena (Nina Dobrev) and ends with them, but everything in between is how it will be should it go to series. It’s amazing. It’s epic and a bigger story. For Vampire Diaries, it’s more of small-town stories and coming of age with humans and creatures involved. The Originals goes into why Klaus goes to New Orleans. We’ll meet all these new characters, some from his past and some new. We’ll see the world on a bigger scale. The Originals is building towards a war between two species and the struggle that exists there. You can expect a lot of Klaus screen time as well, which was a lot more work for me than an episode of Vampire Diaries. That was a new and fantastic challenge.

Lastly, why do viewers hate to love Klaus? Are you surprised he’s emerged as this fan-favorite character?

I was initially surprised. I didn’t set out to make him relatable, although maybe the writers did. I just knew there were parts of him that I related to and I tried to bring those out. I tried to have a reason for everything he did. He was always the child that was loved the least and his father’s least favorite. He was always struggling for his mother’s affections. By giving the character roots, reasons and motives like that, I was giving him a strong foundation. So every situation he found himself in, I could build from that. So yeah, it was surprising, but it gave me an opportunity to show his more vulnerable sides. He’s an immensely flawed character and I think I can be bold and say all of us are really flawed to a certain extent. Nobody is perfect. I hope there are little pieces of Klaus everyone can relate to…  This guy who keeps messing things up for himself, again and again and again.
 

Read the latest Vampire Diaries recap here.

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