Friday's episode of The Vampire Diaries isn't just when we find out whether or not Damon actually slaughtered all of his friends after emerging from the Phoenix Stone. (Spoiler: He probably didn't? Because then everyone would be dead.) It also marks the third time star Paul Wesley has directed his costars in an episode of their CW hit.
Wesley was working every day this week on a Stefan-centric episode (helmed by co-creator Julie Plec, actually), making a phone conversation impossible, but he answered a few questions about his third directing stint over email instead. Find out what he had to say about his time in the director's chair, Michael Trevino's return to Mystic Falls and the upcoming TVD-Originals crossover.
E! News: This is your third time directing an episode of TVD—has it gotten any easier? Or is it still pretty difficult to direct and be in front of the camera?
Wesley: It's always a challenge but as I direct more, I have become more confident and most importantly I understand the mechanics of each crew member's job. We have an incredible crew so it makes it much easier for my vision to come to life. I've become good buddies with both of my DPs and the prep has become a lot of fun. When directing a scene I'm acting in, I tend to rely on my DP to tell me if the technicalities were on point. I rarely watch playback of my own coverage because it can really slow down the process.
What's the hardest part about directing and acting at the same time—doing two jobs, or wrangling Ian Somerhalder?
Ha, well, there's not much wrangling with Ian. He's been playing his role for seven years so it's more about finessing and the same can be said for when he directs me.
Right now Stefan is trying to help Damon recover after his time in the Phoenix Stone, but doesn't he have his own trauma to think about?
That's the crux of the episode this Friday. It's Stefan's own demons he must conquer as a result of being in the hell stone. It's a PTSD-type episode with flashback and a dreamlike reality.
What can you say about the Stefan-centric episode that Julie is currently directing? How did Stefan's experience in the stone differ from Damon's?
I'm in the midst of it now. In terms of Stefan's storyline, this episode is a breath of fresh air. It's a chance for me to truly enjoy the acting. Not every episode is Stefan-centric of course, but this one allows for a real ability for me to play and have fun. It's been exciting to come to work this week.
Tyler left on a very emotional note last season, what was it like having Trevino back in Mystic Falls for this episode (and getting to direct it to boot)?
Great. It's always fun when a main character makes a return. He arrives in the midst of Mystic Falls having fallen apart even worse than it had been.
What were the best and worst parts about the upcoming Originals crossover (since you're the guy whose storyline brings the two shows together)?
Having Joseph [Morgan] on set was nostalgic. He is a very prepared and committed actor, which made me have to step up my game, naturally. There were no downsides. Anytime we switch up the usual VD formula it is welcome, in my opinion.
Is Stefan actually cool with the fact that his girlfriend is carrying Alaric's babies?
I'm not sure he's too comfortable with the notion, no. Can you blame him?
What are your thoughts on the fact that Alaric and Caroline are together in the future? Weird? Strangely OK?
Weird. Very weird.
Finally, how scared should we be of this huntress who's after Stefan in the future?
Well, she's this year's big baddie and if we have learned anything from history, the Salvatore boys are pretty resilient.
The Vampire Diaries airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on The CW.