Paul Wesley stepped behind the camera to direct the April 17 episode of The Vampire Diaries, and while the hour will give viewers answers about new arrival Markos (Raffi Barsoumian) – “This guy is creating this alternate reality that is manifesting in Stefan and Elena’s mind, and that alternate reality is actually a set of clues leading to something,” he teases – there is one thing it won’t have: Stefan shirtless. The script originally called for it: “It was this beautiful scene where Stefan takes Elena, and he picks her up and kisses her, and they go on the kitchen counter and things get kinda hot and heavy. But rather than sexualizing it, I decided to make it romantic,” he says in an interview airing Thursday on Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM 105). “I pitched it to the writers – I was like ’Guys, I think this should be romantic and not sexual,’ and they fell for it. Suckers!”
Told that we would, of course, put the clip online to let fans curse him (hear it below), he assures us that he genuinely believed the moment played better that way. “Plus,” he adds with a laugh, “I did not feel like going to the gym. I’m like, ‘Guys, I am directing, I’m in prep. I don’t want to go to the goddamn gym.‘ “ Directing, it turns out, is a workout in itself: You actually do lose weight. “There’s this stereotypical image of a director sitting in a director’s chair at the monitor with a horn going, ‘Action!’ I didn’t do that,” he says. “I was literally running around the whole time. We have this little monitor that we move around on wheels – we call him Johnny Five because he looks like Johnny Five from that movie Short Circuit. I’m a little manic, and I was running around adjusting props.”
The experience was so satisfying, he already has plans to do it again next season for TVD. He also hopes to helm episodes of other shows, which is he knows is the real test. Dramas would be great, but so would comedies. ”Lately I’ve been binge-watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It’s so damn funny,” he says. “I love that show.”
Listen for the full interview during EW Radio’s 2 p.m. ET Editor’s Hour on April 17. Below are two clips. In the first, Wesley jokes about the shirtless veto and what we didn’t see in that sweet Steroline scene before the Travelers caught fire in the most recent ep. He also looks ahead to the season 5 finale, which won’t be pleasant for Stefan. “Without revealing too much, it actually is much worse for another character,” he says. “The cliffhanger in season 5 is that one of the leads ends up in a place that is quite dismal-looking for future hope.” (And to repeat for those making guesses, it’s not Stefan. “Correct,” he confirms. “That leaves 12 others. Good luck!”)
In the second clip, Wesley plays our game You Said It!, in which we read lines from his past roles and see if he can place them. What you need to know: We’d told him we almost put together a game in which he’d have guessed the participants in Vampire Diaries sex scenes from just the audio (moaning, shirt-tearing, furniture-breaking, song selection). He may have preferred that in the end.
The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. The Editor’s Hour airs Thursdays at 2 p.m. ET on Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM 105).