As if the cast of the CW’s highly addictive series The Vampire Diaries wasn’t smoldering enough, enter Taylor Kinney. The former Trauma actor upends Mystic Falls’ vampire-heavy population as new-werewolf-in-town, Mason Lockwood. Celebuzz chatted exclusively with Kinney about locking lips with co-star Nina Dobrev, skeet shooting with on-screen vamp Ian Somerhalder and hypothetically battling Twilight werewolf Taylor Lautner, whom Kinney says he could beat “no contest.”
Did you have any reservations about playing a werewolf?
There were ideas and rumors being thrown around that it was going to be hair extensions or something ridiculous. That was my only reservation. I didn’t want it to be campy, but I think they did a great job with it and I’m happy with it. We show the agony and the defeat going on in this character and then you skip… you don’t see claws coming out of his feet or bones protruding through his head. It’s all more internal. When you see Mason transform, it’s fresh.
It seems that in order to play a werewolf these days you have to have amazing abs. Taylor Lautner beefed up for his Twilight role – how did you prepare?
That’s the biggest prerequisite I think. People just send pictures of their abs and they can book a job just based off that (laughs.) Werewolves are just a little more masculine, a little bigger. You have your Your Taylor Lautners and that guy on True Blood’s like 9-feet tall and ripped, so… but it wasn’t intimidating. I’m pretty athletic and physical. I can’t sit still so when I have free time, I’m running around, I’m riding a bike, I’m surfing, I’m hitting the gym or doing something. It wasn’t too taxing just to stay in shape.
Werewolves are very hot right now pop-culturally. Do you watch True Blood and Twilight?
Well, I can’t sit still that long but I’ve watched episodes of True Blood; I think that’s a great show. I have seen the first two Twilight movies and I liked it. It’s fun to watch. To see what’s going on with the vampires and the werewolves and everything that’s popping right now, it’s just humbling to be a part of it. Anything that I can do that would be fresh or new within the werewolf community (laughs) is a pleasure.
If you and Taylor Lautner and Sam Trammell from True Blood went into the woods together, who would emerge victorious?
Oh yeah, I’d win for sure. For sure. That’s a no contest.
What’s the deal with the wolves on Vampire Diaries — are they CGI?
The wolves are real! I think they CGI the eyes a bit but the wolves themselves are real. They have trainers and handlers that raise them in ranches, I think, in the Midwest and California. These things are amazing creatures. They stand a foot or two feet taller than any dog. The handlers give people advice on not to make any sudden movements or not to look them in the eye just because they’re not the domestic creatures. They’re pretty wild.
That sounds terrifying. Were you scared?
I’m pretty animal-friendly. It’s not like I had to get in there and wrestle them. It was like, ‘I’ll do my thing and I’ll let the wolves do their thing and we’ll call it a day.’
Your character Mason doesn’t get along with the Salvatore Brothers, Damon and Stefan (Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley.) How is Mason going to fare against these two vampires?
I can tell you that it’s just going to escalate. The Salvatore Brothers don’t back down. Stefan, in most cases, would be the voice of reason but then Mason goes in and kinda affects him. I attack him as well. The tension between the three of us only escalates. It’s a chess match and it’s a boxing match. It really doesn’t stop anytime soon. There’s gonna be some good stuff in there.
In real life, though, we heard you like to hang with Ian on the set in Convington, Georgia.
One thing that I got into on my days off is skeet shooting. There’s a big skeet shooting complex and Ian’s kind of a country boy. He’s kind of a down-home boy and I grew up kinda similar so you bring out some shotguns and pistols or whatever and it’s going to be a legit competition. I think I beat him in one round and he got two up on me and beat me the last two times we went out, so I give him credit. The guy can shoot!
Last week the huge bombshell was dropped – Mason is one of the countless dudes under vampiress Katherine’s (Nina Dobrev’s) spell. Will Mason be another one of her casualties?
Mason’s not that naïve. He geniuinely has an affection and passion for Katherine. As of now, if there’s any possibility of her trying to manipulate a situation to get one up on him, maybe he’s molded a little, but I don’t think he cares. It’s one of those things where he met her, say a year ago, and he fell in love with her. That’s in the forefront of his mind.
How are you enjoying those scenes with Nina? It must be incredibly hard work pretending to be her boyfriend.
Oh my god, are you kidding me? You try not to get too excited about it but yeah, she’s beautiful! She kills that character so I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get excited to shoot those scenes. That’s the cream on the cake kind of stuff.
But there have to be some relationships issues when a vampire dates a werewolf.
I was wondering what would happen if they procreated. What is the vampire-werewolf mix? What would you call it?
A werepire? Yeah, it’s a werepire and it’s a hybrid and it has all the powers and abilities of a vampire plus a werewolf and it becomes a superpower. The only way it could die is if it bit itself in the neck on a full moon.
Werepires: coming soon to Vampire Diaries?
I’d like to see that. That’s gonna be big in the genre now – the werepire. Nobody’s going to see it coming. It’s perfect.