Even though Mystic Falls isn't an actual town, Elena Gilbert's The Vampire Diaries hometown feels incredibly real and eerie. It's the perfect setting for the dramatic story of two competitive vampire brothers who fall in love with the same mortal girl. The show is still so popular that even now, fans want to know what really happened behind the scenes of TVD.
Filming a TV show for eight seasons is always going to be demanding. One cast member on The Vampire Diaries shared that they were asked to alter their appearance in order to play their beloved character. Here's why they were asked to do this and if any other male actors had to put the same effort in.
Paul Wesley's career after TVD saw him starring in TV shows ranging from Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to Tell Me a Story. While he hasn't starred in that many movies, he did play a small part in the 2016 drama Mothers And Daughters. It's definitely true that no matter how much time goes by, The Vampire Diaries fans will say that Wesley's best role is Stefan Salvatore.
Thankfully for fans, the actor seems to have no problem talking about the character who made him famous. He has revealed some juicy things over the years... including being asked to change his look.
In 2019, Paul Wesley talked about The Vampire Diaries on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen. He shared that he was asked to shave his chest because he was playing a teenager.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Wesley said that he had to put a lot of preparation into the role. He explained, "Based on the chest photos, clearly a lot of working out. A lot of tanning. A lot of shaving of my chest. … Well, I was playing a 17-year-old, so I kind of didn't have a choice in the matter."
Wesley continued on WWHL, "I took it very seriously, you know, I'm playing a 160-year-old guy and I had to, you know, be stoic. I just had to think about what it would be like to live on this Earth for 160 years and it just —deadpan expression."
At Comic-Con in 2015, Nikki Novak interviewed some Ian Somerhalder, Kat Graham, and Paul Wesley for Young Hollywood. The subject of chest hair came up right away. Paul Wesley asked "What do you think of my chest hair?" and she said, "Don't wax it."
Wesley said, "I have to shave it for the show because I'm 17 on the show and so I have to shave it for the show." He continued, "I don't do it by choice. But I have to maintain it. All the men in my family have hairy chests."
Nina Dobrev's character Elena Gilbert and Stefan Salvatore first chat in the pilot episode of The Vampire Diaries. She thinks that he's just a regular high school student and is attracted to him right away. In season 1, it's important that Elena thinks that Stefan is the same age as her. When she learns that he is actually a vampire who has been alive since 1846, it's definitely a big shock.
Even though Stefan is over 100 years old when he meets Elena, he looks 17 because he was turned into a vampire in his late teenage years.
Paul Wesley is 41 years old now, and he was around 27 when The Vampire Diaries began airing on The CW. It turns out that creator and producer Julie Plec wasn't sure that he looked young enough for the part. In an interview for TV Guide, Plec said, "I thought he was too old, truth be told." After hearing that, it makes sense that Wesley was asked to shave his chest hair.
When Wesley was cast in The Vampire Diaries, he might never have imagined that he would have to make sure that his chest looked a certain way in order to play his character. He must have gotten used it, though.
In the same video from Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder's Young Hollywood interview at Comic-Con, Somerhalder and Novak briefly chatted about his chest hair. He said that he had some, but he didn't mention being asked to shave it for the show.
If any other male The Vampire Diaries actors were asked to keep their chests completely bare, they haven't mentioned it.
Since Stefan Salvatore is seen as the sweet, innocent brother, it makes sense that he was asked to get rid of any hair on his chest. If he was allowed to keep his chest hair, he might look more like a rebellious "bad boy." Since that is the image that Somerhalder's character Damon has to keep up, that just wouldn't work.
While fans of teen dramas are used to seeing actors in their 20s or 30s playing teenagers, Wesley did need to look as young as possible.
Since Paul Wesley admitted that he has a lot of hair on his chest, it's possible that the producers and writers of The Vampire Diaries didn't feel that it was necessary to ask anyone else to do this.
While it sounds like Paul Wesley had to spend a lot of time thinking about his physical appearance when he starred in The Vampire Diaries, he also thought about the character in a more emotional way.
In an interview with Assignment X, Wesley talked about playing Stefan and answered a question about acting in a supernatural series rather than a straight drama. He said, "I think it's really more about the human condition and you're basing it in reality. Regardless of what the circumstances are, you need to base that in reality. You need to be a human being on Earth experiencing this. If you look at it as, 'Oh, this is just a fantasy,' then you're not bringing true emotion to it. You can't look at it in a biased way, you have to sort of objectify the whole thing."