Ian Somerhalder Chats With Us About His Highly-Anticipated Netflix Series ‘V-Wars’

We can hardly contain our excitement for the release of Netflix’s newest binge-worthy series “V-Wars” starring Ian Somerhalder as Dr. Luther Swann. In the series, which is based upon the comics by Johnathan Mayberry and Alan Robinson, Dr. Swann enters a world of untold horror when a mysterious disease transforms his best friend, Michael Fayne (Adrian Holmes), into a murderous predator who feeds on other humans. As the disease spreads, society fractures into opposing camps pitting normal people against these “vampires.” Swann races against time to understand what’s happening, while Fayne rises to become the leader of the vampires.

“V-Wars” is built upon many different layers and is not necessarily your typical vampire series. There are added levels of science fiction, social commentary, and human conflict.

“V-Wars” will begin streaming on Netflix starting on Thursday, December 5th and will consist of ten episodes, however, to hold you over in the meantime, we caught up with series star and executive producer Ian Somerhalder to chat about the series, it’s creation, how it speaks to society as a whole and more!

Speaking about the excitement for “V-Wars”, Somerhalder tells us, “This has been such a passion and legitimate journey for me and my team of producers. From the beginning, this has been 15 months of my life. And the last 11 months was post-production, just fine-tuning. We knew we had something special. There’s this attachment. We have now been doing all this together but getting this to where we are now, was such a feat. So you guys know me, I mean, I did 171 episodes of “Vampire Diaries”! It was my life. I worked hard to make sure that that character came to life that the story came to life and felt really right. People always say I’m an actor I pretend to be something like I make-believe all day and I disagree. I would say, as an actor, I try and tell the truth all day. Because you’re in a make-believe situation, but you’re trying to find the truth in whatever it is that you’re saying so as a producer and lead of the show it wasn’t just about what we got to film. It was also about what we did with that truth. After being in post-production for almost a year crafting this and that what’s so great about working with Netflix and with IDW is that we knew we had something special. So we begged and pleaded and groveled to get more time to do that and they allowed us to do it and so here we are!”

Talk to us about some of the new things he learned along the way wearing both the hat of executive producer and the hat of the lead actor, Somerhalder revealed,

” I still took so much stock in every frame. On-set with “Vampire Diaries” I didn’t have the ability to go into the final mixing stages and work with technicolor and say, ‘I’d really rather bring this sound over here or can we bring this sound up by 30%, or bring his voice up a little bit. No one was going to let me do that! However, the skill set that I learned on “Vampire Diaries”, I was able to bring on board and I am incredibly grateful for those skills because it allowed me to produce the show at my best. It’s a great responsibility. It’s a lot of different stressors when you’re on set as an actor. You just want to do the best job, but also to work as a producer. I’m there thinking we’ve got to get out of this scene, and a half-hour more and we’re not going to make our day. All right, what can I do? And then, you know, make sure you go talk to the DP and you talk to some of the crew and you go guys look. I love you guys, don’t kill me … We got to jam, like, let’s bring craft service a little closer, maybe you know everybody has a good cup of coffee, but we gotta go now and I swear I’ll get you out of here on time but we got to get this one shot right so please guys help me out! Can we just barrel through this and you’re finding five minutes here you saved. So, it’s not just being an actor you’re producing this thing and its part of your DNA…  it’s like your baby.

Somerhalder went on to tell us,

“The show took me away from my family for months, although I got to be with my family a bit because my wife is so supportive. And even though she’s building her company and while we sit here and talk about “V-Wars, my wife is over at Forbes talking about how fast her company is growing. We were together for part of the production, and she came and did us a huge favor she was in the show with me. She did four episodes of “V-Wars”, played an amazing role and did an incredible job. She was still with our baby and gave these very powerful and nuanced performances and then when back to run her company. She did this all simultaneously. She is just a rock star!

Somerhalder says that when something takes you away from your wife and tiny baby for 11 months, it feels like they have been in a post-production vortex, as he has been working till 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning for the last five months and it can “really get to you”! He goes on to reveal,

” I put my heart and soul into the show, we work so hard on it. And this is where I’m just so excited to present season one. Season one of shows are tough because you’re just finding your footing. You’re finding characters, you’re also finding the look, you’re finding everything out. You’re really building every day and you get it to that place where now you’ve got enough fluidity and this is nonlinear TV so this is something I’d never done before with Netflix it’s always been on a network format for me. Think about season one on a network show where you’ve got a really long runway, you got 22 episodes, six months or nine months to their area. You can stumble through a couple of places. It’s like if you read a book that’s got 22 chapters, where you read a book that’s got 10 chapters. When it’s condensed every frame is telling you even a bigger story. So it’s working more condensed and more intense. So this was all this learning experience to find fluidity, even with different directors and different points of view.

Discussing how special “V-Wars” is going to be Somerhalder says

“We knew we had something special with “V-Wars” and we wanted to spend more time building out these creatures, building up the world, fortunately, Netflix, and IDW allowed us to do that and it’s a beautiful thing working with them as they let us do it. And now we’ve got the world at least started, and I’m encouraging anyone who watched me on “Vampire Diaries” to just spare a second to watch the show, and not just give it a chance, but just dive in. We worked really hard on it and I think people will enjoy it. But it sets up the world going forward and getting into Season two and subsequent seasons,  we are really going to get to expand.”

“V-Wars” will be dealing with a lot of “controversial juxtapositions” and many that we are currently dealing with in society right now including borders, racism, fear, disease, politics, the politics of fear and “how that plays into the psyche of society”.

Somerhalder goes on to fully explains,

“These are things that we’re not only hearing and are our own echo chambers, but these are also things that are out there right now in the world. The climate issue we have, which is where this disease came from, you know, as this ice melts it’s exposing things that have been safely trapped in this ice for millennia, possibly hundreds of millennia, as it’s being exposed, it is going to has the potential to wreak havoc on our society. And that’s not just happening in our show. That’s actually happening in the world right now, you know, there’s scientific article after scientific article after scientific article right now, another one just came out this morning of the effects of the melting ice. We’re going to see it in wildlife. We’re seeing it now in livestock. And these pathogens, if they hit. It’s like Luther Swan says in the show he said you know an ancient form of Ebola uncovered. You know expose from melting ice could wreak havoc and create an epidemic, so big that it makes the bubonic plague look like a chickenpox party. There are 7.4 billion people in the world, can you just imagine what would happen? That’s what makes a show like “V-Wars” so unique to me, it’s very grounded and science-based but also the diversity aspect is going to blow people out of the water because it’s global. We get to bring in characters from all over the world.”

We asked Somerhalder to speak about the various authors, who along with Jonathan Mayberry each lent their voice to create the “V-Wars” story. He commented,

“That is what’s beautiful about it and what is so brilliant about Mayberry’s approach. You know it takes balls as a writer to not want to take all the credit and Mayberry is so cool and so smart. He says, ‘Look, I’m a white guy I live in San Diego. But I want to tell a story about a young girl and a border town. You guys are writers, you know, write what you know. So he brought in these amazing writers to weave these authentic perspectives. And then, intertwine them and weave them into thread of this overall the fabric of this story, those specific perspectives. That’s what I love, it wasn’t difficult at all going to the source material because those voices are so special. And the perspective is so palpable. That’s what’s exciting. You know what I mean. In fact that the Mooney storyline, actually in Book One is really one of my favorite ones about this, you know, young Latina girl in a border town is beaten and raped pregnant and you know her story is amazing. She’s hunting jackrabbits coyotes to feed herself. It’s so powerful I cannot wait to get down and shoot in season two in New Mexico or Mexico.”

Somerhalder revealed a lot of the details behind setting the palette and color tone for the series to make sure that it would help advance the story overall. He felt the overall finished product was both amazing and incredibly rewarding. He stressed that “preparation, preparation, preparation” was the key element so you can learn from both your successes and failures.

When asked if there was anything he was surprised to learn about himself as an actor, Somerhalder tells us,

“You know, I’ve never played anything as a parent and, I just became a parent. Well, now she’s two years old, a little over two years old but when we first started shooting the show she was nine months old. She’s a tiny little baby. And so as a parent, your sole job in life, at this point is to stay alive to protect that kid. That’s it. So, that energy you bring it into every scene with you, it’s always there. And I learned, you know, there is nothing that can take that away from you. Another thing I learned was that on a set when you’re trying to act. You also have to trust the process and the team around you, because it’s my job to get it on camera, the best of my ability. Again, there are times in scenes where I fail. It’s failure and me trying to do my best. You know what I mean. So I accept it, and you learn more from your failures than you do from your successes.”

In closing Somerhalder says,

“This show is our baby, this is been 15 months of my life it’s taken me away from my amazing family. My supportive and amazing family. I couldn’t have done this without my wife being so supportive while building her own giant company and breastfeeding our baby. But you know, I did this to the best of my ability. And, you know, working so hard so much actually put me in the emergency room for a second. And for me, I think hell makes a great story. I won’t do that again because now I know my limits, and you learn again from your failures, more than your successes, but I say with “V-Wars” what an amazing journey.  And I’m excited to share with you guys because this is the first season of what I think…what I hope is something that resonates with you guys and that’s a hit show. Let’s get into expanding this world, and creating some really unique social juxtapositions that make us, just flip this world upside down, you know, and build community around it if we can, If one person has a constructive and amazing conversation of something they learned from society or about society or about themselves as a result of this show that we have succeeded. Hopefully, that’s on a much bigger scale but I’ll just take just one.”

 

 

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