VAMPIRES are all the rage in popular culture at the moment thanks in part to the successful drama television series The Vampire Diaries.
Paul Wesley, who played the "nice'' vampire brother Stefan Salvatore, was invited to China recently by FansTang to meet his Chinese fans. The leading role in the TV series has thrust him onto Hollywood's A-list, but Wesley is still a humble, easy-going character with a resemblance to his character on the show. He spoke to Shanghai Daily about his experience being a "vampire'' and demonstrated his confidence and relaxed, simple fashion style.
Q: How did you end up with the role as Stefan Salvatore? It's said you originally auditioned for the role of Damon Salvatore. Which role do you prefer, and why?
A: I read for Damon because I was told I was too old to play Stefan. Once Ian Somerhalder (act as Paul's brother Demon Salvatore) was cast, they thought I was young enough to play his brother. Both roles are great, but I always thought Stefan was the one that spoke to me more.
Q: Do you enjoy playing a supernatural creature, a vampire? If you could choose to have any superpower, which would it be?
A: Yes, it's nice because you can stretch your imagination. I like the idea of being able to manipulate with your eyes and compel anyone to do anything you want.
Q: How do you feel about the "vampire craze'' at the moment?
A:I am waiting for it to dissipate, inevitably.
Q: You once said that sometimes it's boring to be an actor and just sit around and wait for something to come around, so you want to create a role and that's something you've sort of been pursuing. Can you explain? What's your post-Diaries plan?
A: Yes, I've been working on a few side projects, creating different roles and scripts. I'm very excited about some things, but will wait to speak about them once they are more definitive.
Q: How do you become an actor? Is it what you expected as a career?
A: It's something that I sort of fell into. I started doing some theater in high school and eventually decided to take some acting classes in NYC. An agent saw me, and that's how it all started. As for expectations, I try not to have any. I think expectations are never a good thing.
Q: What do you think is the difference between acting in TV shows and movies?
A: I think that the difference between television and film is becoming less and less apparent. All of the media are now blending together. There is equally exciting material both in television and film. I certainly wouldn't want to limit myself to just one thing. The script and characters and people you work with are the most important.
Q: Which actors, actresses or directors do you look up to? Why?
A: I look up to Philip Seymour Hoffman because of his versatility. Marlin Brando and Al Pacino have always been my favorites ... spontaneous and unpredictable, which are the two best attributes an actor could have.
Q: In real life, do you share any character traits in common with Stefan Salvatore?
A: He is a very loyal guy and I like to see myself that way. He also has some conflicts with some darkness that surrounds him and I think everyone can relate to that.
Q: The ring that lets you walk around in the sunlight is also more or less a fashion statement. Do you wear rings in real life? If so, which style?
A: I wear my wedding ring and an old ring my grandfather gave me. He and I are very close, so it's symbolic of things he's taught me in life and my relationship with him.
Q: You've played a 160-year-old character and you've explored the 1860s. Is there a period in history you wish you could have lived in?
A: I think anything pre-Internet era is immensely more mystical and exciting. The Internet and social media have taken away a lot of romanticism that once existed in the past.
Q: Can you describe your personal style?
A: Simple, and I really don't put too much thought into it.
Q: You once said you admire UK style. Why?
A: I just would never have the time, desire (or) ability to make myself look as put together as some of the guys in London. I'm a bit envious of that.
Q: Nina Dobrev (leading actress in the Vampire Dairies as Elena Gilbert and Katherine Pierce) and Ian Somerhalder were invited by FansTang in December, and now, you also had a chance to come to China. How do you feel about it?
A: I feel very honored and blessed to know that so many people in China appreciate the work we do. It's a rarity for a show to reach different countries the way The Vampire Diaries does. China was an incredible place to visit and I hope to come back.
Q: What do you do on your days off and what's your favorite place besides New York City?
A: I don't do a lot. I try to relax. I also work on some side projects. I love Los Angeles because the weather is amazing and I have many friends there, so I try to go back as much as possible. Apart from acting, I love snowboarding, traveling, hockey, writing, reading and resting.
Q: The Vampire Diaries has brought you great popularity. How do you define success? Do you think you're successful now?
A: I don't really know how to define success. I prefer to look at it as happiness and fulfillment. I do feel very grateful for the opportunity to be on a popular series, but I will continue doing what I do because there's many things I have to explore.