Paul Wesley has come a long way. While he’s best known for his role as Stefan Salvatore on The Vampire Diaries, he began acting 10 years before taking on the famous blood-sucking role. Now, he’s taking on a whole new world in his first streaming series, Tell Me a Story. Creator Kevin Williamson knew of Wesley’s talents as they worked together on The Vampire Diaries, but the role is completely opposite from Stefan, allowing the 36-year-old to head back to his roots.
“It’s funny, I used to play antiheroes when I was younger prior to joining The Vampire Diaries. I was always playing, I would say, troubled characters and so it’s nice to go back to that. It’s nice to do something that I am actually more comfortable with, believe it or not,” the actor said on this week’s “Watch With Us” podcast. “I love it and it was one of the things that I was looking to do, something different, something that would be the antithesis of what people need from the guy.”
That guy he’s playing now is Eddie, a reckless bartender who “numbs himself every day” through some sort of substance, and dabbles in robberies. “He’s a mess, so when the opportunity presents itself to him where he can make some cash and potentially get away with it, he takes it,” Welsey said.
The actor also opened up to Us about his career – from working on Guiding Light with Brittany Snow at 16 to appearing in an episode of The O.C. alongside Ben McKenzie, who he is still in touch with, to starring on Everwood. However, none of those prepared him for life on Vampire Diaries. He was thankful he was 26 when The CW hit began.
“If I had achieved that level of fame at 19, I probably would have been even bigger of a mess than I was when I was 26. So I am grateful it happened a little bit later,” he told Us. Plus, after eight years on the hit show, it was time to hang up the Stefan hat.
“To be honest with you, the show probably could’ve ended maybe a year earlier. I felt like we kept it going, but we all knew this was the best possible thing to do. You start to run out of story, and I think we had told all the story that needed to be told,” he said, adding that it only works if you have it based around all new characters, like Legacies is doing.
“I’m actually gonna go direct it. I’m leaving in like a week and a half. And it’s amazing to me that they were able to do it, but this makes sense to me, it’s a whole new set of characters,” he noted. “It’s really a whole new generation and that’s the only way that I think the show could continue was a whole new set of characters and a new generation. But as far as the Stefan and Damon of it all, I think those guys … they needed to hang up their hats and retire.”
Listen to the full podcast interview above and tune into Tell Me a Story on CBS All Access on Halloween.
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