Sitting in a hotel conference room, Ian Somerhalder was munching away on potato wedges, fries, and a salad, trying to get some lunch in during his busy press day. He was excited to talk to us, fist-pumping everyone as they came in the room and when they asked a question. He could have sat there all day talking about his new show, V-Wars. The publicist was lingering trying to get the next group of reporters, but Ian wasn’t done yet.
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening,” Ian says. “It’s going to be fun. Check it out, share it with your peeps and let’s get into expanding this world and creating some unique social juxtapositions that flip us upside down and build a community around it.”
I became a fan of Ian while watching him play Damon on The Vampire Diaries. He was sexy, smart, and he cared about the people he loved. Watching this show helped me through my divorce, and I never knew how much work he put into portraying a character that I loved so much.
When he was on TVD, he would fly back to LA on a Saturday after wrapping at 5 am, do press, then work on his lines with his acting coach before flying back and resting a bit on a Sunday. Or he would work on lines on a Sunday and take the red-eye back to Atlanta and then go straight to set.
If it’s possible, he cares even more about creating V-Wars. It’s his baby. He didn’t just act, he produced and directed. He wants every detail to be perfect. He ended up in the emergency room because he worked so hard, but now he knows his limits.
This project is close to his heart because it has so much of what he cares about in it. His foundation is all about protecting the environment and animals. While V-Wars is another vampire show, it’s nothing like TVD. It’s rooted in reality. Being vampires on this show is because of a disease. It’s a disease that’s caused by global warming. The ice is melting, and below it is a dormant disease that is getting out. The movie I found most scary growing up was The Net because your identity could be stolen. V-Wars is one of those.
“These pathogens, if they hit it’s like Luther Swann says on the show, an ancient form of ebola exposed from melting ice could wreak havoc and create an epidemic so big that it makes the ebonic plague look like a chickenpox party,” Ian says.
That’s a frightening thought. It’s not just climate change Ian wants to touch on through this show. Now that he’s set up the world, he wants to explore socially relevant topics like borders, racism, disease, fear, politics, and politics of fear. All the things we are dealing with in our everyday lives.
“I’m excited to share [the show] with you guys because this is the first season of what I think will be something that resonates with you,” Ian says. “My first show called Young Americans, it was this WB show, it only went a season, but it still created a lot of chatter and launched a lot of careers. Lost and Vampire Diaries were these sort of tent pole watercooler shows. I don’t have any plans not to build water cooler shows. Ones that make you think, ones that make you talk.”
“If one person has a constructive conversation about something they learned about society or themself in the result on this show, then we have succeeded.”
V-Wars premieres on Netflix, Thursday, December 5. Check out the entire interview with Ian: