[03/06/10 - 07:00 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.

7:04 PM - Tonight's archival clip is from the 2001 musical episode of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer." Hard to imagine "The Vampire Diaries" ever having Stefan and Damon break into song but Joss Whedon made it work so who knows!

7:08 PM - The Paley Center's Craig Hitchcock ushers in night seven of the festival and brings out TV Guide's Craig Tomashoff, who drops several vampire phrases in his depiction of the cultural phenomenon that is "The Vampire Diaries."

7:12 PM - After a few chuckles about how the show doesn't... wait for it... suck, Craig brings out series creator Kevin Williamson who doesn't waste any time in introducing the newest episode "A Few Good Men," which will air on March 25 on the CW. The audience isn't shy about showing their excitement to see the new episode.

8:00 PM - An action packed episode ends and Craig returns to the podium to introduce Bob Levy! Julie Plec! Paul Wesley (ear-ringing screams from the fans)! Nina Dobrev! Ian Somerhalder (who gets screams before his name is even announced)! And Kevin Williamson!

8:03 PM - Craig asks who the panel would like to use compulsion powers of persuasion on if they could. Ian shouts out "I would compel our executive producers to get us whatever we wanted!"

8:04 PM - Asked at what point the panel knew they were onto something with the show, Bob said it was the first day that Paul worked on the pilot when he saw the chemistry between the actor and Nina. Julie said it was when she saw a Super Bowl car commercial that referred to "Vampire TV shows"... not just one vampire show but plural vampire shows! They're relevant!

8:07 PM - Paul said he knew something was going on when they went to a live event where he wondered if anyone would show up and there about five times the number of people sitting in the Saban Theater tonight.

8:08 PM - Kevin admitted to initially being very worried about creating another vampire show but he said when the cast came together it just worked. "When you have a cast like this it makes you want to stay up all night and write!"

8:10 PM - After Julie gave Kevin the L.J. Smith books to read, he initially felt it was too "Twilight"-ish. He called Julie saying he wasn't sure about the project and she asked, "What page are you on?" and he said "47." "Keep going!" she said and the story in the book soon turned and Kevin knew they had a series.

8:12 PM - Ian also voiced his early concern about the comparisons to "Twilight" but realized that "Vampire Diaries" is about the town and "is a well constructed story with well constructed characters." Adding, "I never saw 'Twilight'... I knew the books were huge but I never saw it. I chose not to see it so I wouldn't make comparisons."

8:14 PM - Kevin admits that he knew as long as they could get viewers to the "fork in the road" they could get fans to see that this was very different than the other vampire shows and movies out there. "Our special effects people also do 'True Blood' and we said, 'Whatever you do for 'True Blood,' don't do it for us.' We wanted to be different and unique from 'True Blood.'"

8:16 PM - Craig asks about the chemistry between Ian, Nina and Paul. Ian said it helps that they spend every waking second with each other. Paul suggests they just buy a house together so they can literally be together all the time.

8:17 PM - Kevin compares having the cast film in Atlanta to when he shot "Dawson's Creek" in Wilmington, North Carolina. "They're not here in Hollywood so they're not running around being looked at or being on Perez Hilton everyday. They're a family and they're friends and they hang out."

8:20 PM - The three actors confess that the fight scenes are tough to shoot. Case in point, after an intense fight scene where Paul threw Ian against a wall, Ian ended up going to the chiropractor for his back pain.

8:24 PM - Asked if the actors could analyze their characters, Paul chides himself for being too serious but says, "As the season progresses, I'm really excited about Stefan because the layers are really complex and he's hiding something."

8:26 PM - Nina on being torn between Damon and Stefan: "What's a girl to do?" An audience member yells out "Enjoy it!" Julie commends Nina for playing Elena as "this really warm, gentle spirit. A very empathetic person... and Katherine, on the other hand is this raging, manipulative narcissist who really doesn't give a damn about anything but herself."

8:28 PM - The panel is asked how they feel about the flashback episodes to the 1800s and everyone says they love it. Kevin says, "We get to see Damon with his innocence and when he was vulnerable."

8:29 PM - Bob on just how closely they're using Smith's books at this point: "The books are a starting place but it's up the writers to make their own experiences with what's in the books." Kevin admits that he read a lot of books when he was younger that were either later made into movies or television series and he always loved the changes they took from the source material.

8:32 PM - A few things from the books that Kevin decided not to use in the series - the fog ("It's just a hassle!") and the characters' ability to turn into animals (Ian says "You end up with two hours of coverage just for the bird to go, "Caw!'")

8:34 PM - Bob says a favorite part of the first season is when they were literally shooting episode #106 when the pilot was airing. "We were gauging when the show was on the air and we were working but we were looking at our Blackberries to see what Twitters was doing. You shoot the pilot in March, get picked in May, go into production in July and then it's months of waiting to see if it works. For me, it was Twitter blowing up and it was these people saying 'It's working! We love it!'"

8:37 PM - Every Thursday at 5:00 PM (when the show is airing at 8:00 PM on the East Coast), Kevin says they take a break and start watching the online traffic on the show as its airing.

8:38 PM - "Keep in mind our characters are dictated by what happens at IHOP!" says Ian after Kevin and Julie confess they have gone there (and Jerry's Deli) on Fridays to break story.

8:41 PM - Paul on playing Stefan: "I think of it as a guy who is like a recovering alcoholic." Ian says of his on-air brother's worrying all the time, "Just bite her!" Ian takes Nina's wrist and simulates taking a bite out of her arm.

8:43 PM - Nina on figuring out how to play Katherine: "I think it was Julie who said to me that Katherine taught Damon everything he is so I basically just copy whatever Ian does."

8:46 PM - Since it's such a powerful part of the books, Craig reads a suggestion from a fan who has written in and asks to see Damon peel an orange (the point being that he doesn't need to eat but he still gets some pleasure out of food).

8:47 PM - The first question from the audience is a woman wearing a white "Team Stefan" shirt which she gladly turns around and shows the crowd. After gushing about the show making Thursday night TV great again, how she came all the way from North Carolina for the event, Paul's amazing abs, etc., Paul finally takes off his mic and jumps off the stage to give her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. A true fan.

8:52 PM - Kevin on Nina's audition tape wowing everyone. "We saw it and took it to Warner Brothers and Peter Roth saw it. He said 'Oh my God! Where is she?!' We showed it to Dawn Ostroff of the CW. We sent it to Les Moonves and she got the part!' Nina adds that nobody told her any of this during the time auditioning the guys since her deal hadn't closed.

8:54 PM - A fan says "I'm still traumatized that Joey chose Pacey over Dawson," referring to the still-controversial conclusion to Kevin's "Dawson's Creek." Kevin clarifies that, "Joey and Dawson are forever... in my mind they'll be friends forever. Joey's just having sex with Pacey."

8:58 PM - A very young fan asks about the eye makeup used when the guys turn into vampires. While they admit a lot of it is CGI, Ian says his makeup takes less time than Paul's because Paul is so pretty.

9:00 PM - Kevin on the guys shirtless scenes becoming gratuitous: "We just don't need them to take their shirts off every five seconds!" Julie's expression says she feels different.

9:04 PM - Another young fan asks if Elena is going to ever have a crush on Damon. Julie promises, "Damon is going to realize that he has a crush on Elena a long time before Elena realizes she has one on Damon."

9:06 PM - That's all for tonight, folks! Brian will be back on Tuesday for "Seth MacFarlane and Friends!"

  [march 2010]  


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