Worried this season of The Vampire Diaries won't be as good now that Nina Dobrev has left the show? Think again. We (along with a table full of reporters) caught up with Ian Somerhalder before the show's Comic-Con panel, and he assured us that season seven is going back to the basics: less mythology and more emotion. He also said a few things that have us really excited to see what Damon's up to in the premiere. Oh, and still hoping for Damon and Bonnie to hook up? He talked about that too.
What can we expect from Damon this season?
Ian Somerhalder: Damon Salvatore is a hands-down lushy, smarmy drunk. That's why we love him! His weaknesses are his strengths, and his strengths are his weaknesses. When I leave tomorrow, we shoot all this cool stuff. There's a lot of great Damon and Bonnie stuff. The opening of season six, with Damon and Bonnie, is my favorite stuff ever. She's the reason that Damon's girlfriend is chilled out in this box and when they look at each other, they resent each other, they love each other, and they are stuck together. It sounds like a beautiful recipe for disaster and amazingness.
Is there any potential for Bonnie and Damon to become a couple?
IS: At the end of the day, Bonnie is truly one of the only people Damon would go to bat for. It's Stefan, Bonnie, Alaric, and Damon would go out on a limb for Matt. There are very few people that he would do this for, but he loves Bonnie. There are actually a couple of really great scenes coming up — actually we're shooting them on Monday!
Are we going to get to see more of the old Damon?
IS: If you go back and look at the first three seasons of the show, there is some badass storytelling. Some stuff was deep and beautiful, yet simple. The biggest f*cking moment was Stefan telling Elena he's a vampire. Now we have to blow up three cars and kill 20 people to get that same effect. It's like drug addicts; they have to do more and more and more to get the same buzz, and it's a shame. We want to go back to that simple type of storytelling, where it's sexy, dark, and funny. Damon was this supervolatile and very unpredictable guy. He wasn't very a nice a lot of the time, but he was vulnerable. People can respect that, and it draws them in. Without giving too much away, we want to go back to that type of storytelling: sh*t that means something to people without getting bogged down in mythology about moonstones and wolves. It really takes a toll on you and takes a toll on the writers; it's not fun for them to have to come up with stuff like, "Well, when there's a full moon, and there's this comet, and then there's a stone, and when they all line up and lick each other, crazy things happen." Come on man, let's go back to just relationships.
So it will be more emotionally grounded?
IS: Yes. When we're impassioned or sad or enthused about something, it's based on something real to us. It's a catalyst, whether we're in love, or whether we're in light, or whether we're in hate, or whether we're hungry, or whether we're horny. Whatever! It's something real. It's not tangible, but it's a feeling, and as a human being, that's what we connect to. And we're fortunate. Sometimes, in the 14th or 15th hour of shooting, even when it's 15ºF, when we're talking about some cool stuff, I look at my costars and say, "Look, at least we get to do some really cool sh*t every week, you know?"
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