The Hollywood Reporter
It's hard enough to join a popular show mid-second season, but to enter the world of Vampire Diaries as a "villain" and yet become so well-liked is nearly impossible. Somehow, Daniel Gillies pulled it off.
"First of all, people absolutely love the guy who's not the good guy," Gillies tells TVGuide.com." I think the great thing we're doing is generating questions [and] not supplying answers. I think Elijah is the embodiment of the question — that's why people are so drawn to him."
Gillies plays Elijah, who first appeared in the episode "Rose" and comes from the oldest and most powerful vampire family there is. Although his original mission was to capture Elena (Nina Dobrev) for his brother Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Elijah joined Elena in order to destroy his brother once and for all. In the penultimate episode, however, Klaus revealed that the bodies of their family were still intact, and in that moment, Elijah chose his blood over everything else.
"I agree with his decision," Gillies says. "He's been pursuing this for centuries; this is what his goal was." The actor said choosing his brother in the end showed his humanity, something he believes Elijah strives for despite being a vampire. "He's got this conviction and you sense a deep belief in something so special about being human," Gillies says. "He's learned to suppress that he thinks humanity is actually a beautiful and wonderful gift that's being squandered every day."
Just as Gillies supports Elijah's choice, so do many of the devoted Vampire Diaries fans, even while it puts Mystic Falls' heroes at risk. "This show emphasizes the importance of family at every turn. Elijah chose his family too," @onlymystory writes on Twitter. The fansite @tvdnews adds, "At the end of the day, #TVD is about family...for better or worse."
As brotherhood has always been at the heart of the show, so has the blurred line between good and evil. Gillies makes the distinction that it's not as simple as calling Elijah a villain or a virtuous vampire.
"The one thing I really like about this show is that I don't think they design people as good guys and bad guys," Gilles says. "In a sense we're talking about vampires and mortality, but one of the great discussions is what it is to be a person, the responsibility of being human, and the frailty of that. It's too easy to call someone a good guy or a bad guy."
Gillies hopes to explore all that and more of Elijah's still-mysterious past of in Season 3. "I enjoy going back into his history because I like playing him with a degree of humility and vulnerability," he says. "I also [want to see] the strength of the brotherhood."
Are you excited to see more of Elijah next season?
Let’s forget Damon & Stefan for a minute. The show’s new will-they-won’t-they couple is totally Elena & Elijah.
The idea of a romantic relationship between Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Klaus‘ brother Elijah (Daniel Gillies) on The Vampire Diaries might seem crazy at first, but take a minute to really chew it over. There’s a spark, and you know it. Daniel knows it too, and he recently revealed to HollywoodLife.com that he’s a total Elena-Elijah shipper. “It’s dangerous,” Daniel admits, “But I think there’s something intoxicating about the combination of Elena’s purity and Elijah’s ancient resonance.”
Daniel says he finds the pairing to be “exciting and interesting,” and that it works on multiple levels.
“She represents something magnificent to him, something he doesn’t see very often in people,” he tells us. “The fans are right; There’s a resistance and a purity, and the sexual tension becomes pyre between them. Perhaps people think Elena looks safe around him. It’s the same reason people want to see her with Damon, but it’s on a different level, because Elijah’s got an older spirit.”
Daniel says he was surprised, at first, to hear that so many fans like the idea of Elena getting with Elijah: “I thought it might seem creepy,” he admits, “because I’m [13 years] older than her.”
But I’m pretty sure Elena’s “daddy issues” are thoroughly established at this point.
As if Elena didn't already have enough potential vampire suitors vying for her affections, it now appears that our "Vampire Diaries"heroine may be looking at a love square in Season 3. There's no denying Elijah's ( Daniel Gillies) charm and charisma -- but could he sway Elena away from Stefan and Damon?
When Zap2it caught up with Gillies this week, we had to ask him about Elijah's potential for romance in Season 3. After all, he clearly has some centuries-old love for Katherine, and it's arguable that his interest in Elena extends beyond the sacrifice.
"It's funny you say that," Gillies says (as we swoon over his accent). "I would venture to say that those romances have already begun. Whether it's requited or unrequited, I think that Elijah already has enormous feelings for Elena, and I think he did have incredible feelings for Katerina. I think that there already is romance."
That said, as an ancient vampire, Elijah is as patient as they come. It's possible that he won't actually act on any feelings for a while -- and that's just fine with Gillies. "I don't mind the very Elizabethan suppression of emotions," he tells us. "It's very theatrical but kind of wonderful. I feel like the restraint of romance to me is just as interesting as the execution of romance."
Now that Elijah betrayed Elena in favor of his family, their relationship may prove to be more contentious than affectionate. Still, Gillies likes the antagonism that exists beneath the surface.
"I really liked the scene where Elena put the knife in me, actually," he says after we ask about his favorite moments this season. "I quite liked that - I don't know why, but there's something about it that's kind of romantic to me. I don't know if it's the imagery, or just something about those two together. When I watched that back, even though she stuck the knife in, there's something sort of symbolic about love and a relationship. I love scenes with her. I think that particularly with Elena -- apart from the fact that Nina is a cool actress to work with -- Elena reminds Elijah that people can be enchanting, too."
In tonight's Season 2 finale, Elijah continues his quest to save his family, who were killed by Klaus with white oak daggers. "He's going to explore further this assertion that Klaus made about the bodies," says Gillies.
We've got our doubts as to whether Klaus can be trusted, though. Did he really keep the pile of Original bodies safe, or did he toss them out to sea? Gillies says that even though Klaus isn't as honorable as Elijah, Elijah had no choice but to leave Klaus's heart in his chest.
"He had to take that chance. I think it's something that he's been trying to do for thousands of years, hundreds of years. I think that it's something he had to do. I don't even question that decision that he made," Gillies says.
Tune in to see how it all plays out tonight, Thursday May 12, at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.
Can Vampire Diaries fans trust Elijah? In one word: yes.
That's what Daniel Gillies said to TV Fanatic this week, telling us in an exclusive interview that his Original is a man of his word. What, exactly, will this mean for Elena and company? Whose bed might Elijah find himself in? Read on. Find out.
You make Elijah look so sweet that you don’t even want to dislike him, but he rips hearts out! The calm and collected bad guys are the scariest.
I never wanted to play him with any menace... He’s not a sweet person, [but] can you imagine if you’ve lived this long? He must have seen so much death, murdering someone must be like hitting a bug... I’m so lucky to play this character. Maybe that’s the joy you’re sensing... I love playing him. He’s so fun.
You and Nina Dobrev work extremely well together.
From the moment I walked on set, she was just immediately kind to me. It doesn’t happen that often. It’s the nicest crew and cast ever... Nina, she’s what? 21? I’m 34... She’s smarter than me. And boy does she work hard, she’s playing both roles. She’s there every day and she doesn’t bitch, and she’s tough and she knows she has a great thing. She cares and she always has a sense of humor. She’s just vicious and she rips on me. We tease each other all day and I think it reads in the performance.
Last week, we saw Dr. Martin take down a pack of wolves to save Elena’s friends. Does that make it safe to say Elijah wasn’t lying about his deal?
Yes, he’s clearly orchestrating these things. That was his mayhem. He’s acting as a godfather at this point... He’s ultimately playing chess with these kids.
Have you met Joseph Morgan? Are you excited to see what he’ll bring to the table as Klaus?
I haven’t. I’ve seen a little bit of his stuff, but I don’t know enough about Joseph to make a comment. I’m excited that there’s the idea that there could be a war between us, because I think that would be the most exciting thing in this show, like an exponential curve at the end of the second season.
Does Elijah know Isobel?
He’s aware of everybody. That’s the thing about Elijah, the only thing that slipped through the cracks was the potential of this doppelganger... The moment there is information to be had, he’ll have it. Nobody will be better researched or more equipped.
Will we see Isobel again this season?
They give me the script right before I film, and I have not seen any Isobel.
Any spoilers for the rest of the season?
Damon has been pissing me off lately, so I’ll give him a slap on the wrist if he gets too close. It’s funny; I’m talking as Elijah now. Elena is going to be in danger if they don’t do what I decree must be done. Also, I like the look of the Jenna girl, she looks sweet. I’ll go hang out with her for a while, she’s cute.
What else do you have in the works?
I’m finishing up post production on a movie called Broken Kingdom, which I performed in, wrote and directed. My wife, [Rachael Leigh Cook] stars in it as well, and it’s a very different role for her. She plays a real woman.