updated 08/19/2010 AT 12:00 AM ET
•originally published 01/21/2010 AT 12:00 AM ET
In an early episode of the CW’s hit drama, bad boy vampire Damon Salvatore (played by Ian Somerhalder) flipped through a book in the Twilight series and dismissed it, saying, “This book, by the way, has it all wrong.” Scoffing at the idea of a vampire that “sparkles,” he also added, “I live in the real world where vampires burn in the sun.”
The cast and writers of Vampire Diaries are aware that being the latest blood-sucking drama to unfold following the success of Twilight and True Blood will inevitably force comparisons, but they’re not worried by it.
“When the show first started … you automatically thought Twilight,” Nina Dobrev, who plays mortal heroine Elena Gilbert, tells Nylon magazine. “But once you continue, there’s a whole other side of it that goes a lot deeper. It’s about letting everyone know that we’re different but we all respect each other.”
The show’s stars are also quick to give Twilight’s Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristen Stewart) their due for the popularity of Vampire Diaries. (The show is averaging twice the audience of the CW’s other hit, Gossip Girl.)
“Do I think the show would be successful as it is, if it weren’t for all that? No,” says Paul Wesley, who plays Elena’s brooding, repentant vampire boyfriend, Stefan Salvatore.
Somerhalder agrees, saying he too was positive the show would catch on because of the current vampire phenomenon, and was eager to join the cast. “This is gonna be the coolest character on television,” he says of playing Damon, Stefan’s charismatic and trouble-making undead brother. “It reminded me of Sawyer, Josh Holloway’s character on Lost. He was always the character I secretly wished I could play.”
The Vampire Diaries returns Thursday (8 p.m. EST) on the CW. –Kiran HefaMarvin Scott Jarrett