After five years of playing immortal vampire Stefan Salvatore on The Vampire Diaries, BuzzFeed can exclusively reveal that Paul Wesley will make his directorial debut on an upcoming episode.
“It’s an honor and the cast couldn’t be any more supportive, which I feel truly grateful for,” Wesley told BuzzFeed of landing the gig and becoming the first actor on The CW series to helm an episode.
Wesley will direct Episode 18 of Season 5, airing later this year, and he said the hour is “both nostalgic and suspenseful.” “It feels like our world, but something is a bit askew. It feels uneasy. And I respond to that,” Wesley added.
But the actor’s behind-the-scenes role doesn’t mean the episode will be short on Stefan. “It’s not Stefan-light, but it’s also not Stefan-heavy,” Wesley said of his character’s screen time in Episode 18. “I’d say it is somewhere in the middle. A good friend of mine recently directed a film he also starred in, and I was on set the whole time, so I got to see firsthand what that experience looked like.”
Wesley said he’s been looking to get behind the TVD camera for years. “I had expressed my interest to [executive producer] Julie Plec and the studio early on. They responded positively, but also made it clear I had to earn the position if they were to grant it to me. I spent a year shadowing directors, attending meetings, prepping, sitting in the editing room, etc. Even though I have been working in TV for years, it ended up being such a blessing because I learned invaluable information. They finally granted me an episode, which was met with a great deal of excitement and nervousness on my part.
“Directing is something that I’ve been passionate about for a long time [and] I’ve had many, many lessons over the last 15 years and many mentors,” Wesley added. “But the thing that I have most discovered over the last year is that it is entirely a team effort. Every single person on set, from props to focus puller to director of photography to the actors themselves, is crucial. And everyone is there to create something truly memorable that will be captured on film for eternity. You have to trust in your team entirely and do everything you can to incentivize everyone to be the best they can be.”
In addition to directing, Wesley has also begun producing and his first feature, Before I Disappear, which will premiere at this year’s South by Southwest Festival in Austin this March. “Making film and television as a whole is a fascinating process to me. I plan on directing more and more in the future and learning along the way,” he said.