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Ian Somerhalder talks using vampire skills to end climate change

Ian Somerhalder plays Damon Salvatore in "The Vampire Diaries." Credit: Bob Mahoney Ian Somerhalder plays Damon Salvatore in "The Vampire Diaries."
Credit: Bob Mahoney

Ian Somerhalder has been playing vampire Damon Salvatore on the CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” for five years, but he has a new idea for what his character should do next: save the environment.

“I’ve already been here for 200 years and I’m going to be here for another millennium — I might as well try and preserve this place. Things are just going to get worse,” says Somerhalder of what his character should be thinking.

It’s a cause close to the actor’s heart. He recently appeared in “Years of Living Dangerously,” Showtime’s documentary series focusing on individual attempts to halt climate change, with each episode following a celebrity as he or she learns about those efforts. Harrison Ford kicked off the series, and Somerhalder’s episode saw the actor traveling with Anna Jane Joyner in North Carolina to try and convince her father, a climate change denier, of the importance of taking action.

It's not a small task. Her father is Rick Joyner, founder of the massive MorningStar Ministries, and could reach quite a large audience if he started advocating for action on climate change. The actor said he was thrilled to be part of the documentary series, which James Cameron spearheaded.

“My heart jumped out of my chest because it was just incredible. Looking at the cast of characters, it’s not even a cast. It’s a movement,” says Somerhalder. Other participants include Matt Damon, chef Mark Bittman and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But that doesn’t mean the actor has left his day job. Though he’s not totally a fan of the nicer Damon fans have been getting since the character found love with Elena Gilbert, he understands the creative decision: “Being on a TV show is very much like life. You get thrown curveballs all the time and it’s how you deal with them, and it makes you a bigger and better person.” He did enjoy revisiting Damon’s darker side this season, calling it his favorite since the first season and teasing that the finale is “intense.”

“The way it ends, I never saw coming,” Somerhalder says. “It’s going to freak a bunch of people out.”

Somerhalder's episode of "Years of Living Dangerously" airs May 4 on Showtime at 10 p.m., and "The Vampire Diaries" wraps up its season on May 15 at 8 p.m. on the CW.


In bed time with a vampire


Somerhalder had some fun with the initial design for Damon’s bedroom, since the character is a bit of a womanizer. “We were talking about filming Damon’s room and I said, ‘Oh, wow, you know what, his bed and his shower, they need to be able to fit at least eight sorority girls’ — and it does.”The designers took Somerhalder’s advice to heart. “It’s two king beds together. It’s huge,” says the actor. Cozy!

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