‘Vampire Diaries’: Nina Dobrev Sinks Her Teeth Into Dual Role

by | March 3, 2011 at 8:16 AM | Interviews, Vampire Diaries

Nina Dobrev on Vampire Diaries (The CW)

Nina Dobrev on Vampire Diaries (The CW)

The phrase March Madness has a new meaning this year. It’s a description of the mental state of “Vampire Diaries” fans who must wait until April 7th to see another new episode of the addictive CW drama. Fortunately, Nina Dobrev, who plays both heroic human Elena and deliciously evil vampire Katherine, has come to the rescue, offering her insights about playing a dual role, which Salvatore brother is the right man for Elena, and how Katherine became the only Bulgarian character on American television.

When you originally tried out for “Vampire Diaries” did you audition for Katherine as well as Elena, or was it a surprise that you were playing a double role?
When I first auditioned, I worked really hard and crossed my fingers that I would get the part of Elena. I had no idea I would also be playing Katherine. Much later Katherine was introduced into the script through the flashbacks and I found out I was both Elena and Katherine. It raised the stakes and changed the opportunity from just the role of a girl next door to two very conflicting and different challenges.

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You do such a great job of playing two distinctive characters.  How do you approach each role? What drives each character?
It’s not always easy for sure, but it keeps me engaged and keeps me challenged. The clothes, accessories, hair, and all those seemingly superficial details really help me transition and embrace whichever role I’m playing. For example, if I’m rocking a pair of Converse I can sink into Elena, but if I’m wearing some edgy boots, I naturally begin not only walking but I also feel like Katherine. I think the motivation behind both characters is very different. For Elena it’s the people she cares about. She would do anything for her friends and family. For Katherine, it’s self-preservation. Really, she’s just looking out for herself and only herself.

Did the writers make Katherine Bulgarian because you were born in Bulgaria?
In the books, Katherine comes from a German heritage. It may be because I’m Bulgarian, but I think we all agreed that Bulgaria has a sense of mystique that is strangely unique. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I already speak Bulgarian. The writers heard me speaking Bulgarian to my mom on the phone while I was on set one day. One thing led to the other and voila!

How do you shoot the scenes where Katherine and Elena interact?
I get to play against myself in a scene, which is both challenging and interesting at the same time. I really just have to stay focused on the moment and the motivation behind whichever character I shoot first and allow myself to transition when it’s time to switch. I have to plan my actions and movements and remember to react to them when we shoot the reverse/other character.

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If Katherine and Elena are both Petrova doppelgangers, are we going to meet the original Petrova this season? Would you like to play a third character?
Playing a third character would be wild! I feel up to just about anything now though.

Who loves Stefan more: Elena or Katherine?  Why?
I’d have to say that their loves come from two very different places. Elena loves Stefan (Paul Wesley) because she feels a deep connection with him that surpasses all the common emotions of high school life. Katherine loves Stefan because her history with him ties back further than most mortals could ever understand. And its like a game of cat and mouse. He’s playing hard to get. It’s exciting for her.

Will Elena ever reciprocate Damon’s (Ian Somerhalder) feelings for her?
Although it seems like an adventurous opportunity, it’s a bit precarious to go along with Damon, so I doubt she would put herself in the line of danger. Plus, she is known for her loyalty so it would definitely be surprising.

On a certain level does she enjoy being loved by both brothers?
Poor Elena seems to have enough drama going on in her life to really enjoy any additional chaos, but if she did, could you blame her?

Will Katherine ever manage to use her powers to seduce Stefan?
Stefan has really been through it all with Katherine so it would have to take something pretty massive to sway him towards her again.

Elena has been through so much in the past two years.  How has all the drama and loss that she has experienced changed her?
She’s definitely become stronger. Very little surprises Elena these days so she’s become more prepared to handle all the insanity. She understands the severity of this dark world that has emerged and is willing to protect the people she cares about no matter what the sacrifice. Her skin has gotten thicker. She’s grown and matured both mentally and emotionally. She’s more courageous and strong. She’s becoming a woman.