No character on ‘The Vampire Diaries‘ has undergone a bigger transformation this season than Caroline. When the series began, she was an insecure girl who was desperate to win other people’s approval. In the second season’s premiere, Katherine turned her into a vampire. Becoming one of the undead has made her stronger, and, surprisingly, more heroic. Now she’s embroiled in the show’s hottest love triangle and is poised to play an integral role in breaking the curse that has doomed both vampires and werewolves for centuries. Candice Accola, who plays the role, previews what fans can look forward to after the show returns in January from its far too lengthy hiatus.
When did you find out that Caroline was going to become a vampire?
Kevin [Williamson] and Julie [Plec] had kind of told me right around the time of the hiatus but things change so often on our show that you kind of learn to take every storyline with a grain of salt. So my biggest concern was just that Caroline gets out of the coma she was in by the end of season one. Kind of a running joke by the end of the season was, ‘Caroline survives but she’s in a coma for the first six episodes.’ Kevin called me the week that the first script of season two was coming out just to let me know that even though Caroline gets smothered at the end of the episode, it’s to transition into a vampire. So I still had my job, so that’s good.
How do you think becoming a vampire has changed Caroline’s personality? How do you play her differently?
For Caroline, becoming a vampire has really just forced her to grow up. To say that it was a traumatic experience is an understatement. It changed her relationship with her family, her friends, but most importantly the relationship she has with herself. She had to become very aware of what she’s capable of and how she’s capable of hurting other people. In the first season all of her relationships with the opposite sex were based upon physical attraction and there wasn’t really a substantial friendship that Caroline had with anyone of the opposite sex. That’s changed a lot in season two. She’s having friendships now and she’s looking at things from a much bigger perspective. She’s having to do things and say things and make choices based on protecting those that she loves. That’s why she puts Matt in a position to break up with her. It’s not what she wants, but it’s the right thing to do. Just like with her mother, she compelled her to forget, even though it’s not what she wants, but she knows that’s what has to happen and the important thing is it’s the right thing to do in that situation. I think that Caroline’s just grown up a lot. How I personally got into playing that really has been myself relating to what getting this job has done to my own life and how it’s given me a bigger perspective on what I want, and what I bring to the table, and my own responsibilities toward jobs my relationship with my family. It’s been a wonderful avenue to explore and learn and grow as a person as well.
Who is the right guy for Caroline: Matt or Tyler?
I don’t think there is a right or wrong guy. Caroline, her number one relationship is the one that she has with herself right now. She cares for both people, but for very different reasons. The writers have done such a great job because her relationship and friendship with Tyler is based on experience that Matt could never relate to. It creates a bond for them that there are no words to describe. Her relationship and friendship with Matt is based on her first love. That really takes a hold of your heart when you’re young. It’s like that old sweater that you always want to wear. But, at the same time, there’s things changing in her life that he won’t be able to relate to. She will never be able to be her full on, open self with him. Both of them were lacking what the other one has so there really is no right or wrong choice.
In the preview of the first post-hiatus episode, Caroline laments that everyone is kissing her. Can you give me some hints about what is happening?
The next episode is her figuring out what she wants. Now there’s options. She had to work her butt off to get Matt’s attention. For the first time she’s really occupied with what she wants in her own mind, where these guys are all coming to her. I think she’s a little overwhelmed. It was really funny to read the script. There’s a lot of kissing in this episode.
In the pilot she complained that all the guys were after Elena and she has to try so hard. Has she gotten to the point where she doesn’t have to try anymore?
I don’t think it’s necessarily that Caroline doesn’t feel she has to try anymore. It’s just that that’s not become her main priority. I think that a person is at her sexiest when you know who you are and you don’t need anyone else. That neediness has just evaporated from Caroline. She’s now her own independent person, which is a very attractive quality.
Preview The Jan. 27 Episode Below:
Is the legend right? If a werewolf bites a vampire, will the vampire die?
That’s a story that’s going to be told on the episode that airs on January 27th. That is going to explain how much Caroline risked of herself by staying to help Tyler [when he transformed]. You are also going to meet a couple other werewolves.
When is Klaus going to arrive in Mystic Falls?
I don’t know. I keep asking the writers, ‘Who is this person?’ They keep joking that it’s going to be this eight year-old girl. I don’t know if he’s older. I don’t know if he’s younger. I don’t know if he’s brooding. I don’t know if he’s quirky. Nobody knows. That’s something that the writers are still swirling around in their magic, creative pot of ideas.
So much of the season has centered around possession of the moonstone. When will we see it in action?
There’s not been much explanation as to how crazy this ritual could potentially be, how twisted, how everyone will fit into that storyline. There’s so much story left to tell within the season and we are really not that much ahead of you guys. So I have no idea what’s going to happen with the moonstone. I have no idea how many Originals there are. I have no idea who Klaus is or when he’s going to come. That’s all stuff that we’re waiting to see what’s in the scripts as well… They needed a vampire to break the curse so she she’s involved with that: a witch, a wolf and a vampire. So she, Bonnie and Tyler are all involved in that.
Stefan and Caroline have bonded as he’s taught her how to be a vampire who does not kill humans. Is there a possibility they could become romantically involved down the road?
I think on our show anything is possible. But to be frank, I don’t necessarily see that as a possibility right now. I would actually be pretty bummed if that happened. She really needs a member of the opposite sex as just her friend and nothing more. I think it’s tied into her father leaving. Every guy that she meets, she needs that relationship to prove to herself that she can make him stay. It’s a breakthrough for her to just have a male friend.
What was it like shooting Tyler’s transformation scenes? I read it was so grueling you asked the caterers to bring chocolate chip cookies to Michael Trevino afterward.
It was a very vulnerable setting for an actor, especially for a man. It’s one thing to be emotionally vulnerable with all the crew around, and on top of that he wasn’t wearing many clothes. All the chains that he had on were real chains. It was two twelve to fourteen hour days of him screaming these gut wrenching screams and crying. There’s these normal things that tend to happen on a set… a light blows out. Here he gets into an emotional mode and he’s screaming and he’s crying and then it’s ‘Oh, we have to reset the light.’ Luckily we’ve got such an amazing and respectful, good-hearted crew. He’d been so good about eating healthy. Of course it was the one day that whole week that there was sugar cookies [in craft services] and he knew it. Luckily, craft services had some chocolate chip cookie dough left over [for afterward]. It’s important I think especially in the circumstance where you have a very heavy emotional scene, you have to know that everybody has your back. That’s what the cookies were for.
I read that you started a book club on the set. Who else is in it?
There’s a good amount of women who work on the set, but it’s mostly men so I just wanted to unify the women from all the different [departments]: women who work in props, makeup and wardrobe, and the art department, and the actors and being everyone together. I kept going around asking everyone, Have you read ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo?’ Everyone’s same response was, ‘No, but I wanted to.’ So we’ve all been reading it and everyone’s carrying their book around. It’s really an excuse to bring together the ladies of the set.
What is Caroline’s favorite book?
Some Jodi Picault novel. I don’t know which one. I’ve only read ‘My Sister’s Keeper.’
What do you think of Caroline’s transformation this season? Do you hope she winds up with Matt or Tyler? (Or neither?!)