Ian Somerhalder, Vampire Diaries

Quantrell Colbert/The CW

The CW's breakout hit The Vampire Diaries returns tonight, and we caught up with Ian Somerhalder (who plays wicked brother Damon) to find out what's in store for the Salvatores and their new pet Elena. (Hint: Damon stays just as mean as we saw in the premiere.) He told us how he insinuates himself into their world, with complicated results.

Plus, find out what Somerhalder can share about Boone's return to Lost and whether or not it will involve Ms. Maggie Grace...

Damon starts out pretty darn evil—is he likely to soften, or is that something he'll stick with for a while?
He sticks with it for a little while. I think that's his thing, and he has such a good time doing it. There are moments where you may see some sort of humanity in him, and there are moments when you may see that he may not be as intense as he appears to be.

Damon definitely seems like the more free-spirited and lighthearted brother, which is fun, but what appealed to you about the character?
That's why I love him. You just said it. He is a lot of fun, and I've been really lucky in this thing—I guess we call it careers—but he's the most fun character I've ever had the opportunity to play. And again, and it sounds kind of strange, but it's all about perspective. From his perspective, it's normal to eat people. It's like if you go to market and you know...

Are Damon and Stefan close at all, or is it strictly sibling rivalry with those two?
Stefan is not a fan of Damon, and for good reason. Whatever happened in the past, something happened between these two to yield an enormous amount of animosity, equally shared. Damon harbors a lot of anger toward Stefan for something he did in the past. So at any given moment, Stefan finds himself in a place where he's happy, Damon will show up to ruin it. And that's intense. Make no mistake about it, Damon loves his brother. He would never let anything happen to his brother. He's the only one he has. And to be honest with you, Stefan is the only person who truly understands Damon, who understands what he's been through, understands what he's coming from. So in that sense, the relationship is one-sided in that Damon does love his brother, and he misses his brother.

The books tell a fairly wide-ranging story. Do you see the TV series falling more on the epic, romance side of things or small-town gothic side of things?
The beautiful thing about Kevin is that he has this ability to mix together a genre, the small-town aspect of it, and take epic romantic aspects of it and then the scary aspect of it, where when you finally settle into your seat or couch a little bit, it pops up and makes you jump. To answer your question, I don't see it in any one given place. I see it as a mixture of all those elements.

What's surprised you the most so far?
I'll quote Kevin really quickly because he always talks about this isn't a film. It doesn't have a beginning, middle and end. A series evolves, and you get to evolve with these characters. Going from the pilot into the episodes and seeing the different interactions between characters has surprised me greatly, because I start to ingratiate myself into the town and try to weasel my way into Stefan's world, which I start to do with varying amounts of success. That surprises me, which has been a lot of fun. It's been a lot of fun to be in the room with a bunch of other people because it could have been that my relationship with Stefan and or Elena was all you saw. But that's not the case because Damon has an agenda. He does. And that's what's so cool about him.

Do you mind if we talk about Lost a little bit?
Not at all. I'm literally in Hawaii now. I just landed.

How much are you going to shoot?
I don't know that much. That's the funny thing. I'm going to do several episodes, and [laughs] that's basically all I know.

What do you want the fans to see of Boone that they didn't get to see the past few seasons?
I think that due to Boone's untimely death, I don't think anyone really got to see that there was strength in him, that there was goodness in him that went beyond his obsession with taking care of Shannon. I think that he had a life for himself. There were good things that Boone had to give the world, and I don't think he really get a chance to explore those things. Maybe, just maybe—I'm not sure—maybe we'll get to see a more-relaxed Boone. Maybe we'll get to see a Boone who's just happy. But who knows? I don't know. I really don't know.

Do you think we might see Boone and Shannon together again?
Yeah, that would be great.

Have you seen Maggie Grace at all?
Oh yeah. Absolutely. Maggie and I live very near to each other in California, and we're very, very close friends.

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