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EXCLUSIVE: Ian Somerhalder on Emmy Award Chances, Elena Versus Stefan and Much More!

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Will Ian Somerhalder ever win an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Damon Salvatore on The Vampire Diaries? Whose life would this character choose to save, if only given one option: Elena's or Stefan's? How has Damon changed since we first met him?

In an exclusive interview with TV Fanatic, the actor who makes women swoon and men stand up to cheer answered these questions and many more. He even touched on efforts to clean up the oil spill in his native Louisiana. Warning to fans: you're about to like Somerhalder even more than you did before...

Somerhalder Shot

We didn't think it would be possible to surpass season one, but season two is proving us wrong.
I hope so. It’s actually going to get better. We are committed and we understand that we have to make this a better season of television than last year. Katherine’s back, and there are a couple of other unknown forces that are lurking about. I think this season's dynamic is that it’s not quite as much fun for Damon to be honest with you [laughs]. I don’t get to wreak havoc and destroy shit, but it’s a little more layered and dynamic. I think the cool thing is that Stefan and Damon are going to have to bind together and set their differences aside and fight for what they love, which is the town and Elena.

What has changed for Damon?
I think that what’s sort of thrown Damon for a loop is what he said at the end of the finale, “I came to this town wanting to destroy it and everything in it, and now I find myself wanted to protect it." How the hell does that happen? I think that it happens because when you forge relationships with people you raise stakes, you have something to lose. For someone who’s never had anything to lose, it’s throwing him a bit. It’s fun to play, but I think there are a lot of things that are about to pop up that are going to make for some action.

Damon has grown from being such a sweet person, as we see in flashbacks, to someone so full of anger.
I think what’s sad about Damon is that he's such a tortured character. In life, we use humor as a band aid; it’s a medicine for pain, which is why comedians are the most miserable people you’ve ever met. These two brothers have dealt with a pretty substantial amount of pain in their lives, like anybody, except it’s drawn out over a century and a half. I think now, Damon feels, if anything, just stupid. You know when you do something you know is your fault and you’ve suffered from it? You just want to slap yourself.

There are petitions online that want you to be nominated for an Emmy.
Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. Damon being [Entertainment Weekly's] Sexiest Beast and me being nominated for an Emmy are two very different things. If I had that mind compulsion thing that Damon had I could probably go to the Academy and just brainwash them all.

If Stefan and Elena’s relationship is so great, why do you think there are so many Delena fans out there?
I don’t know. I think the only difference is, Stefan’s a much more sound individual. I just think the only reason is, Stefan’s got so much to deal with... with his brother, protecting his girlfriend, all of this shit, that Damon just has a lot more fun, and I think Stefan is just so concerned with protecting or making everything right, that Elena ends up having more fun with Damon.

Damon

We've learned a lot about Damon via flashbacks. Is there any background on the character you'd still like to know?
What his favorite color was. No, just kidding. Yeah, there are a couple of things. I would like to know what Damon was doing to fill those 150 years. I can almost guarantee that he slept with Marilyn Monroe, and probably hung out with Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart and all those guys. Did he go to Rolling Stonea concerts? How cool would it be to see a scene of old stock footage of Damon being in the exact same clothing, but sort of standing backstage or sitting in the front of a Rolling Stones concert in 1968. How cool would that be? Maybe by season three when we have the money [laughs].

What were those 150 years filled with? I wouldn’t say that Damon was the most philanthropic human being in the world, but who knows. Was he? I don’t know. I’d love to know what he did, the relationships that he had. It’s interesting.

What's your favorite Damon one-liner of all-time?
There are a lot of them. But one of them that I really, really loved is the Count Deepak line. One of the coolest, most surreal experiences I’ve ever had was when I was doing that Larry King telethon for the Golf Oil spill and Deepak Chopra came up to me. He said “I really like that line in your television show, and my niece is going to kill me if I don’t get a picture with you." This is Deepak Chopra saying this to me on the stage of Larry King Live. I thought, if nothing else comes from this television show, no career, no nothing, that would be worth it.

If Damon had so save either Elena or Stefan, who would it be?
Wow. It couldn’t be save Stefan and Elena and lose his own life? Because I think at the end of the day at this point, truly, because he’s an old man, and he’s fucked up enough, I think that if Damon had to choose between Elena living and him going bye-bye, I think in a heartbeat he would take the latter. He really would.

Here’s the thing: Stefan’s not going to sleep with him. So I definitely have to say that he would save Elena’s life. But Stefan can cook. It’s a total toss up. At the end of the day, the sex always wins over. It is a little odd to cross swords with your brother, but hey.

Where are things standing with Gulf oil spill, and how things are moving along with your efforts?
It’s coming. It’s a disaster, and everyone’s been so helpful. I think BP’s going to make it right. I know that the nurseries that we thought had been destroyed haven’t been destroyed, the marshes weren’t destroyed, which is great. I think overall, with a lot of help from man, I think Mother Nature is going to bounce back. There’s a lot of oil that we don’t know where it is and there’s going to be a lot of side effects. It’s too early to know. What we’re seeing right now, we have no idea what’s lurking under the surface or what’s going to happen next year.

How can fans get involved?
I am putting together a foundation that’s going to work in conjunction with a bunch of other foundations that will be very, very focused on going into that region, and helping. A great deal. The National Wildlife Federation, the RDC, are involved in what’s going on. Right now, there needs to be a solid go-to place in order to help, and that’s what I’m literally working on as we speak. I’m not even kidding. Keep up and support these people, there’s a lot that needs to happen.

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Excellent interview. Completely adore Ian Somerhalder, he is truly a man to love and admire. The work he does for animal rescue and the enviroment comes from his heart and with such passion. The character of Damon Salvatore could never be portrayed by anyone but Ian. He has taken that character and made it his own. Truly a brilliant actor.

Amy-jackey

no stefan isnt going to sleep with damon because they are both straight and brothers on the show lol. I've seen one movie he has been in and I also saw one of law and order svu episode with ian in it. I never liked lost. both ian and paul are hot but ian is hotter.

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This could be such a hot show, if they would try to gear more toward an adult audience. What I mean is, have more sexy scenes with Nina and Paul. Ians character should not have him such a whimp. The way they have him following Nina around is really making the show boring. He is best when he is being a player. The time slot is excellent. If they want the ratings to go through the roof, make it more adult. When you hear the kids arguing over the characters it really takes away from the show.

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how could anybody not love him (?) he's such asweet guy :))

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Ian Somerhalder may not be the biggest star but he certainly shines the brightest. Since he's not making megabucks or
landing mega-movie roles, you know that what he does is from the heart. I love the way he treats his teen fans and tries to make them feel special and important instead of just reveling in their worship. He's a stand-up guy and I'm proud to be a fan.
I'm over 50 and if I had a son, I'd want him to be just like him.
You're beautiful Ian and I love you; not in a cougar-type way.

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Ian, can I put you in my pocket and save you for later?? So very very yummy!!

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Ok, so this just makes Ian even hotter than he already is. From Lost to Vampire Diaries, I'm a huge fan.

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stefan isn't going to sleep with damon.....lol

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Ian is always so intelligent in his answers :):):):) LOVE HIM!