The CW’s TV take-over begins in earnest with their eagerly anticipated Vampire Diaries spin-off The Originals – airing now on Syfy in the UK – which follows the original clan of bloodsuckers in their New Orleans bastion. We catch up with actor Joseph Morgan – who plays Klaus Mikaelson on the show – to find out more…
How does it feel to be the star of The Vampire Diaries spin-off, The Originals?
It’s incredibly rewarding to be given this opportunity to explore this great character even further. I joined as a guest on The Vampire Diaries for 4 episodes and I always knew there was a possibility of becoming a regular – but when that happened, it was only supposed to be for one year. A year was always my plan because I didn’t see what this role could offer me for any longer. I thought, ‘How would I be interested in this villain for more than a year? Are they going to turn him good if he sticks around too long? And do I really want that?’
What changed your mind and made you want to stay on the show?
I started having so much fun with the character – and I didn’t want it to end. My opinion changed after episode nine in Season 3 when Klaus has the confrontation with his father and ends up killing him. After that episode, I decided I wanted to do this for a lot longer, so I went to see [The Vampire Diaries and The Originals executive producer] Julie Plec. I said to Julie, “I think there’s a misconception that I want Klaus to die. I really want you to know that I want to do another season if I can.”
How did Julie Plec respond to your request?
After a week, Julie wrote back to me and said, “Yeah, you’re staying around.” And then The Originals came along, which was a huge vote of confidence for me because I’m now being trusted with a show. It’s not just me shouldering the burden of the show, though. I know the pilot was very much Klaus’ show, but the first episode after the pilot is going to be very much Elijah’s episode. That’s really exciting for me because I might possibly have a day off!
If the next episode is Elijah’s story, what can you tell us about the episode after that?
The following episode is also awesome. It’s so good. I’m really excited about it, but I don’t want to give away too much of the storyline at this stage. However, I will tell you that a lot more backstories will be revealed as we move forward. You know what? I’m really honored to be in this position on a show like this. I feel like I’ve struck gold with this character. You can go your whole career without playing anything that anyone really responds to in this way – but I really feel like I’ve hit upon something wonderful with Klaus and I would be foolish to give it up. I’m really, really proud that I’ve been allowed to stay with the character.
How much of Klaus’ character will be unveiled as the series progresses?
Naturally, we’re going to see more of Klaus due to the fact that he’s going to have much more screen time. He’s on screen a lot; therefore more of his personality and psychology will be explored. I hope there are some more aspects of his character introduced.
Which of Klaus’ character traits excite you the most?
Personally, I was thrilled with the idea of Klaus being a painter. I paint myself, and my dad was an artist, so I was really happy to see that come through on the show. I like that it gives him an edge of culture, as well as all this murdering for the last thousand years. He’s travelled and painted, and he appreciates fine art and culture. That’s wonderful to me.
What else interests Klaus?
When I did my audition for Klaus, he talked about being a fan of Donizetti’s opera and I always loved that about him. I always loved the idea that he was a refined monster. I thought that was great, so I really hope they bring more of that to him in The Originals.
What went through your mind when you heard that Klaus was going to become a father?
It’s definitely a turn up for the books, isn’t it? I didn’t see that coming at all. I found out there was going to be a baby in The Originals, but I had no idea Klaus would be involved. I think I discovered the baby news earlier than Julie Plec would have liked me to know about it. Someone slipped up and told me because they thought I knew. For some reason, I didn’t put it together that it was Klaus’ baby.
How come you didn’t figure it out? Especially after audiences saw Klaus and Hayley together on The Vampire Diaries…
I knew it was Hayley who was having this baby and I knew it was going to happen just after we filmed the episode where we have the liaison – but I still didn’t put it together. I was like, ‘There’s going to be a child and it’s Hayley’s… And we’re going to be warring over this child. It’s going to be really cool.’ I can’t believe I didn’t figure it out! Then I read the episode and I was like, ‘Wait a minute… I’m the father? How did I not see that coming? Why didn’t I put it together?’ It was exciting.
How much will Klaus care about his child?
That’s an interesting question. I don’t know if the baby’s going to survive or if Klaus is going to want the baby in the end. I know he wants it right now because he likes the idea of an heir – but not because he has any illusions about family. It’s just because he believes the child will bring him power.
When it comes to the baby, Klaus and Hayley might have to come to some kind of agreement. But for how long can an agreement like that last?
Hayley is fiery. She certainly doesn’t mind standing up to Klaus – and she hasn’t from the beginning. I definitely think they are going to have to reach some sort of understanding if this is going to work with having the child and protecting the child. While she has the baby inside her, she’s safe. But once she’s had the child, I don’t know…
Now that Klaus has a weakness, his child, does he want to be king or would he be happy to lose his crown?
If we think about Klaus at the point where we left him at the end of the backdoor pilot, he’s absolutely more concerned with becoming king. He’s interested in whatever will make him the most powerful. He really is 100% behind that. Personally, I hope that he gets behind the idea of having the child because I think there’s something very appealing about playing this monster with this tiny little baby that he cares about more than anything in the world. For me, that’s a really exciting idea. But right now, he’s all about the throne.
What do you think of the relationship between Klaus and Marcel?
Klaus is a little torn about this relationship because Marcel meant a lot to him back in the day. In fact, you could draw a parallel with the relationship he had with Stefan Salvatore [played by Paul Wesley] in Chicago [in The Vampire Diaries]. It’s a little different because Stefan was more of a brother to Klaus, and Marcel started out as more of a son – but he’s absolutely torn. I think he’s also insulted by the way Marcel thinks he can run things now. Klaus is very needy. He needs to be paid the right respect; the respect he feels he is due. It’s going to be very interesting to see this relationship play out.
The Originals is airing now on Syfy, Tuesdays at 10pm. The Vampire Diaries Season 4 is available on DVD from 26 August 2013, pre-order it now for £17.51 from Amazon.co.uk.