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October 21, 2014

'The Vampire Diaries' Star Matt Davis Tells the Truth About Jenna and Alaric

by Jean Bentley, posted Oct 13th 2011 3:00PM
The Vampire Diaries, Matt DavisConfession time: Matt Davis, who plays high school teacher Alaric on 'The Vampire Diaries,' was never really into his character's romantic relationship with former Gilbert guardian Aunt Jenna.

"I felt that it was ultimately forced and never really fully developed in a way that I thought I could really bring a lot of life to it," he admitted recently in an interview with AOL TV.

That's not to say he didn't love working with Sara Canning, whose character was killed off at the end of Season 2. "As much as I was heartbroken to lose Sara -- as we were all heartbroken to lose her -- I creatively was relieved to be free of that relationship, because I just felt like it was difficult for me to really be in touch with it."

Why, exactly, was he so disconnected from the relationship? "I got tired of playing the doubt of lying to Jenna, the doubt of not being able to tell her what's really going on and his constant churning of like, 'What do I do? I'm lying to her, I'm this liar, I'm such a bad person,'" Davis said. "I really am glad that he's moving beyond that and he's coming into a state where he's much more open. I think his purpose is reactivated."

Read on for more of what Davis revealed when we visited the Atlanta-area 'Vampire Diaries' set, including an intriguing new twist for his character, his hopes for a new Alaric love interest, and how much fun he had while his character was possessed by the evil half-vampire, half-werewolf hybrid, Klaus.

How is Alaric faring after Jenna's death?
I think that he's not looking back. He really wants to look forward and he really wants to turn his life around. He really wants to find his purpose again, and I think he wants to be the best mentor he can be for the kids.

As an actor, I'm really creatively connected to the developing relationship with Elena, as her mentor and as a parental figure. But not even a parental figure -- [Alaric] thinks that because he's a guardian, he has to be a parent. He's got his own preconceived notions of what a good parent is, and he's coming to terms with the fact that maybe he's not a good parent traditionally.

The Vampire DiariesWell, the situation is anything but traditional.
Yeah, exactly. I think also as he's become invested in being the guardian to Elena, he will eventually find himself at odds with Damon, who he feels is moving in on Elena and almost preying off of her emotional vulnerability. She's so stretched out and so worn down by the fact that Stefan's off into the dark side. He sees Damon within this house dynamic that Alaric's in, Elena's in, Damon's in, Jeremy's in -- we're like this core group of people trying to find Stefan and combat the forces of Klaus' evil. In that process, Alaric sees Damon using his attraction to Elena to confuse her and pull her off her center, from his perspective. That's why I like the fact that the bromance with Alaric and Damon will be frayed. I'm not saying it's over or anything like that, but I'm saying he will make a stand to Damon now and really draw a line. And I like that that's happening.

It sounds like he's trying his best to take responsibility for these two kids he got stuck with.
Yeah, which is nice because I think that after having found Isobel in the first season, his whole purpose basically dissolved. His whole purpose in Season 1 was to find the truth of what happened to his wife. And he did -- he found her, and it turned out she was kind of a real b*tch, and it was startling and shocking. Once he had found her, his purpose dematerialized and he found himself in this weird nebulous relationship with Jenna which was basically his true rebound. Jenna was basically a rebound for Alaric in all his awkward glory. So now that the third season is coming around, his purpose is starting to re-materialize: being guardian and protector of the Gilbert kids.

That's good, because I was wondering, now that Jenna's out of the picture, how he'd find a way to hang out with teenagers and not be creepy.
Exactly. I'm excited to see what's going to happen. I talked to Julie [Plec, co-creator]. She's got new ideas for Alaric too that will be emerging that I'm really looking forward to. I think will add a nice new dimension to Alaric which is what I've been chasing. Last season he was the resident vampire hunter, and he didn't kill one vampire in Season 2, you know? All of the hiatus between second and third seasons, I've really been wracking my brain to figure out, What's his purpose? What does it mean for him to have this knowledge of vampires, being a vampire hunter on some level, how can he bring that all to [the forefront]? That's why I'm excited for Season 3, not only is that coming into focus with Elena, but there's going to be a new element introduced that Julie and I have been talking about that we decided to explore, which was born out of me having played Klaus last season.

The Vampire DiariesHow was it playing Klaus?
It was interesting. [Julie] and I had some really good conversations about how I wanted it to play out. So I was thinking, theoretically [Alaric] still has Klaus' blood coursing through his veins and I really wanted to play that angle, so I talked to Julie and shared some ideas with her about what that would mean. Like, how could having Klaus' blood inside Alaric's body really enable him to be an uber vampire? What qualities could he receive and gain from that blood transfusion, if you will, that no one could have foreseen? I had some really cool ideas that I did share with her that I wanted to see manifest, but she -- and I ultimately agreed with her -- [said that] to go in that direction would bend the character too far out of the narrative that we're already in. But understanding my intent behind these ideas, she has come up with an alternative that I'm equally -- if not moreso -- excited about.

So is that starting to play out in the episodes you're filming now or is that a future thing?
It's just happening. It's just an idea she's giving birth to and shared with me over the weekend, and I am so grateful to hear. Because I was really beginning to feel, on some level, uncertain. I really want to have a creative handle on something to play. I really loved playing Klaus for those few episodes. It was so much fun and she knew that, and we've talked about that, so we're going to try and bring a new darkness into Alaric, to really break him free from his self-doubt and break him free from any of his concerns he has about not living up to expectations and get into a dark side again. I want to reactivate some of that joy of playing a villain last season.

As a viewer you could tell you were having a lot of fun with it. I mean, what's not fun about that?
That's what I learned about playing a villain! The great thing about the villain is that there's really no internal conflict. They're just bad, and they enjoy it. I find the trick to playing a villain is that you can't be bad for the sake of being bad. It has to be rooted in some sort of heartbreak. To become a villain you had to have become disillusioned, and in order to become disillusioned you had to have been passionate about something you believed in that was shaken and ripped from your grasp as a protagonist in that stage of your life leaving you disillusioned with God, if you will. From that disillusionment, you become dark and in that there's this freedom to be malevolent on all levels. Free, uncovered by any sense of morality, so you can just go and be dark. That's what I liked about it, understanding the root cause for Klaus and really just having fun with being sinister. [Laughs]

Now that Alaric's finding himself and Jenna is out of the picture, is there going to be another love interest for him?
I hope so. Julie has talked to me about it. When that will happen remains to be seen, but I think it will happen. We just don't want him to jump into another relationship right away, but I think it would be important for him. My comment, what I would have want to have happened, is to have a new principal, or a new teacher, who's just smoking hot. [Laughs] Just smart and has her own mystery. I wanted to see the relationship between Alaric at school play out in the teacher's office, the teacher's lounge, between this principal or new teacher, whatever it may be, and see him beginning to go out on dates. See him really begin to fall for somebody, genuinely, born out of an intense connection. I wanted him to have his protection of Elena and his love for this woman become the bedrock for his perspective on the new seasons. I don't think that's going to happen, as far as the love interest is concerned, but I know that they're going to bring him in another direction which will be cool to play regardless. I don't know exactly what is, but I know it will happen.

'The Vampire Diaries' airs Thursdays, 8PM on The CW.

Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean


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Becky Schiffman

Love Alaric! I really want to see his character less of a bad guy (ala Klaus) though and more of a badass vampire hunter like when he was first introduced in season 1.

October 13 2011 at 6:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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