Your character, Damon, shows up late in the first episode so we still have a lot to figure out about him. What can you tell us beyond that he’s the “bad” brother?
Well, he comes back for very specific reasons. It’s very interesting to him that there’s this girl that Stefan found. She bears a striking resemblance to someone that we knew very well a very long time ago and it is a source of animosity between us brothers. Damon is definitely a bad guy — he can wreak havoc at times — but he does have his reasons. He’s got a major beef with his brother and possibly with the town.
How do you like playing Damon? He’s very different from characters you’ve played, and it’s interesting to see another side.
Damon doesn’t take himself very seriously and every other character that I’ve ever played does. It’s so liberating and so fun to actually go to work every day and not take myself seriously. Kevin [Williamson, the show’s executive producer] and the team, they just write such great stuff for me to say and I’m really, really happy and lucky that I got to do this.
Have you read any of the books the show is based on?
I have been reading them. It’s definitely helped to understand. Sometimes I see things [from the books] in the script, you can kind of point them out. But I think there’s going to be variations.
I was a bit worried that Ian couldn’t pull this off, but I was impressed with his performance of Damon. What do you think of his performance?