The CW’s TV take-over begins in earnest with their eagerly anticipated Vampire Diaries spin-off The Originals – airing from 22 October 2013 on Syfy in the UK – which follows the original clan of bloodsuckers in their New Orleans bastion, and sees old favourites rub shoulders (and other bits) with newcomers such as iron-fisted vampire king Marcel Gerard. Star Charles Michael Davis promises love, sympathy and a softer side in The Originals Season 1….
In the pilot episode of The Originals, the audience saw the charismatic side of Marcel. Will we get to see other aspects of his personality soon?
Definitely. You’re going to see many different sides to Marcel – and very soon. You’re going to see softer sides and the more competitive side to the character. You’re going to be introduced to some new characters very soon and you’re going to see fuller relationships develop. It’s going to be really interesting for everyone involved.
How much of Marcel’s backstory will be revealed in the first season of The Originals?
Lots and lots, but I’m only just discovering about it. A lot of his backstory was in my head, but now [The Originals and The Vampire Diaries executive producer] Julie Plec is putting it on paper and in the script, which is really cool for me. We’re going to see the mother and father who wronged Marcel, who he blames for his issues. You’ll see sibling rivalry. It will all be unveiled in the show.
How does it feel to see your character unveiled slowly on a show like this?
It’s intriguing. The way I look at it, the sky is the limit when it comes to Marcel. He could have anything in his past, so I’m really excited to find out about it. I know that Julie is very perceptive. She’s looking to see how the natural relationships on the show develop as well, and I’m sure that will have some sway as to what happens in the future. It’s all very therapeutic for me.
What else can you tell us about Marcel’s backstory?
In the backstory, you will see the relationship develop between Marcel and Klaus. You will see the beginnings of other relationships, too. What else can I give you? A little something to whet your appetite? There are definitely going to be a few surprises in the first few episodes. You’re going to have a peek behind the scenes to see how Marcel has control over his inner circle and how he maintains the rules. A lot more will be unveiled, too – but that’s all I can say for now. If I say any more, I’ll get fired off the show.
What rivalries will we see on the show?
It’s no secret that the show is about jockeying for power and the witches play a huge role in that. I don’t want to give too much away, but the witches play a major role in who controls New Orleans. They have a very important role in the show’s upcoming storylines.
Marcel is incredibly charming on the show. Are you as naturally charming in real life?
I think so. Yes. I get a lot from my dad. I always have to credit him. He’s a very, very charming fellow. Any charm that I have personally that bleeds into the character, I get it all from my father.
Do you think your natural charm helps you win roles?
Oh yes. When you’re sent a breakdown of a character, there’s often a long list of attributes. It will say something like, “Charming, intelligent, maybe edgy or sexy.” It’s nice to go, “Check, check, check,” and be confident about it, and know that it comes from a rooted source. In that sense, my charm definitely helps me win roles.
You mentioned sexy on that list of character attributes. Will there be romance on the cards for your character soon?
I hope so. That’s why I got into the business! [Laughs] I guarantee you there will be some romance going on. I don’t know when exactly, but it will happen.
How does Camille [played by Leah Pipes] fit into Marcel’s world?
Marcel has his eye on her. Right now, Marcel is the self-appointed king of New Orleans and every king needs a queen. Maybe she will be queen material?
Do you think Camille is right for Marcel?
I don’t think he’s picky! I think he’ll take whatever he can get. We’ll see what happens there. She’s beautiful, she’s very intelligent and she’s spunky. She’s a woman and she’s the full package. She’s a psychology major, too. Everyone wants to be understood, but she’s someone who wants to understand things – and that’s important for Marcel.
How awkward is it to shoot the romantic and saucy scenes on a show like The Originals?
I love that word, “Saucy!” It’s a great word, but I’ll let you into a secret: the saucier scenes can often be a little sterile. Again, it all depends on chemistry – but there’s a lot of good chemistry on our cast. Everyone is very confident. Everyone’s got their ‘sexy’ badge on their sleeve. I can’t say whether I will or will not enjoy it on this show, though. We’ll have to see what happens.
How well does the cast of the show get along?
These people are great. They are all very loving and very open. I have known Joseph Morgan a few years through mutual friends, so it’s great to be on a show with him. We used to play poker together and we also geek out about cameras a lot. I remember when I first met him. He said to me, “Hey, I want to show you my new Rebel [camera].” I was like, “Bring it on!” I knew we’d have great chemistry, so I feel very grateful to be working with him.
How does it feel to be on the spin-off show to a successful series like The Vampire Diaries?
It’s funny you ask me this because I came up with a work ‘wish list’ a while ago. I wanted to be on a show that had a built-in audience and a great cast and crew – from the executive producer downwards. My manager and I were talking at lunch after I booked this role and she said to me, “This is crazy. Everything you asked for on your ‘wish list’ came true.” To answer your question, it’s a dream come true. It’s great.
How is the tone of The Originals different to The Vampire Diaries?
It’s a tweak on edginess and sexiness, and it’s a little bit more adult in its issues. We’re not dealing with the prom; we’re having our own adult parties. We don’t have to worry about mom and dad coming home in our show. We’re experimenting and having fun. It’s that kind of tone.
Which of the characters from The Vampire Diaries would you most like to see appear in New Orleans?
Wow… That’s a good question. I would honestly like to see all of them make an appearance in our show. I know there’s already been some Bonnie [played by Katerina Graham] buzz. That’s cool, but I would love to see Caroline [played by Candice Accola] on our show. Caroline is the fan favorite, so she’s the one I’m going with.
Marcel would get into a lot of trouble with Damon Salvatore [played by Ian Somerhalder] if he came over to New Orleans from Mystic Falls…
Definitely! That’s the thing about this show. When different people come into the mix, it livens everybody up. I would love to have new people come on to the show that Marcel can show around and then see what happens. I think there’s going to be a lot of buzz going on in New Orleans now. I hope this buzz is going to attract other characters from The Vampire Diaries for one reason or another. I think the fans would get a great kick out of that. Even if it’s just a cameo. If Damon walks past in the background and sits at the bar – and then just takes off. Things like that would be cool.
What’s it like to shoot the show in New Orleans?
We’re based in Atlanta, but we head over to New Orleans to shoot scenes from time to time. We shot some of the pilot in New Orleans, which was a lot of fun. It’s a nutty place. There are elements of Spring Break, as well as a little bit of an old world and artsy feel to the place. The food is great, too. New Orleans is full of surprises. I love it.
The Originals is airing now on The CW, and begins 22 October 2013 on Syfy 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.