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Ian Somerhalder’s instant reaction to The Vampire Diaries was to throw it on the ground and refer to it as “Twilight for TV.”

Somerhalder was fresh off being on the the series Lost and wanted another script he could sink his teeth into, so to speak. The Vampire Diaries didn’t strike him as being that deep until he finally read the script. Then it was a race to get to the audition.

Ian Somerhalder needed a minute to come around to ‘The Vampire Diaries’

Vampire movies and series were hot when Somerhalder got The Vampire Diaries script. So he didn’t want to be involved in a knockoff. “I had to fight tooth and nail,” he explained on The Drink with Kate Snow. “Long of the short of it, they sent me a script of The Vampire Diaries. I picked it up, and I said, ‘The is Twilight on TV.’ And I threw it on the ground.”

Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder attended the PaleyFest 2012 presents 'The Vampire Diaries'
Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev, and Ian Somerhalder | Tommaso Boddi/WireImage

But then a few days later he reconsidered. “Because I read the pilot and realized this is really fricken awesome,” he said. “And this character [Damon Salvatore] is unbelievable. This guy has the potential to be the coolest character on television.”

“Casting says yes we’ll see him, but he has to be here at 10 a.m. on the dot,” he recalled.

He created Damon Salvatore during a drive through the desert

But Somerhalder had a dilemma. “I was in Vegas at the time with my family,” he said. “Now it’s like 11 at night and I’m thinking like, Oh my God, I have eight pages of the script that I have to know for this show that I really want.”

He printed the script and headed out at 5 a.m. “I leave Vegas,” he recalled. “I taped all the pages together for The Vampire Diaries and put them on my dash. Because it’s still dark. So I drove through the Mojave Desert, early morning, into the morning. That is where I literally worked on and came up with the character of Damon Salvatore.”

He read his lines while he drove. “Oh and at warp speed because I knew I was gonna hit traffic,” he added. “So I’m going like 100 miles per hour.” But he added, “I’m a dad now. I wouldn’t do that s*** now.”

Iam Somerhalder would stick with Damon over a ‘Twilight’ role

Somerhalder is married to Nikki Reed, who played Rosalie Cullen in the Twilight film series. He was asked if he would have turned down The Vampire Diaries if he could have been in with his wife.  “Oh, Twilight is what sort of paved the way for the success of Vampire Diaries [and] I would have met my wife a lot earlier,” he said on Elle Magazine’s Thirst Trap in 2019.

But added, “You know, I think I’m going to stick with Damon. Damon was just bada**.”


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He acknowledged the impact Twilight had on pop culture. “[Twilight] is a huge phenomenon,” he told MTV in 2009. “Quite possibly and inarguably, yes [we have a show because of it], so I’m not going to complain. I haven’t seen [Twilight] yet, so I don’t know how it compares, but yeah, it’s good that they’re around.”

Vampires are very hot. It’s fun playing a vampire,” he added. “You’re 200 years old. You can fly around. You can eat beautiful girls — well, you can suck on their neck. I don’t physically cut them up and eat them. That would be a little sick.”