In The Vampire Diaries’ six seasons, the best character transformation has debatably belonged to Caroline Forbes, who went from high school cheerleader to kickass vampire and hasn’t looked back. Ever wonder what Candice Accola, the actress who plays Caroline, thinks about the emotional, hilarious, whatever they may be—but always very Caroline—moments she gets to act out? So did we. So EW has given Accola the space to share her thoughts each week about what’s going on in the episode and behind the scenes. This, week she breaks down Thursday’s episode, “Because.” (Read the full recap here.)
Episode 619, “Because,” was a special episode not only for Caroline, but for myself as well. It is a privilege to work on a series for six seasons—it’s not the long hours of filming I’ll look back on, but the bonds that are formed with the people I’ve filmed with. Episode 619 was directed by a TVD family member, whom I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside since the beginning: our camera operator-turned-director Mr. Geoff Shotz. Geoff has filmed some of Caroline’s biggest moments and I couldn’t help but grow a little sentimental that he was behind the camera directing this episode.
My entire storyline in “Because” practically took place in one room, which meant we shot almost 4 days in a row, in a singular space, for at least 12 hours a day. Talk about together time!
As an actor, attention can be easy to come by. But stepping onto the set of a television series, you quickly realize who is deserving of the real praise: the crew. I was asked by EW.com to tell stories about what happened on set while filming an episode of The Vampire Diaries. Filming this episode, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the true characters that make filming this series possible.
At the start of our day before we roll, Tony, our sssistant director, takes a moment to dedicate the first take to Sarah Jones, a forever member of our TVD family. (Not only can he make you laugh at the drop of a hat, he can also hold a handstand for over a minute—and might be the only person in the world who can beat Julie Plec in a Diet Coke-drinking contest.)
Fans of our series probably have noticed we film a lot of stunts. What they might not know is how many people work together to make a simple stunt happen. For instance, when Damon shoots Caroline with a vervain gun, we filmed a take solely of my reaction before falling onto a stunt mat held by Brett, who was crouching next to me off-camera. We then filmed a take where Greg Oliver, in special effects, provided custom vervain darts to be perfectly placed. With a little help from our amazing editors in Los Angeles, we have a surprise vervain shot! It truly takes a village.
Luckily, we have a kick-butt village—including Jessica, my stunt double who literally kicked down a wooden door to make me look like a badass; Joe Connelly, in our prop department, who designed breakaway wooden shutters that I was able to smash with my “vampire strength;” and our set decorator, who transformed a room that has been shot many times on The Vampire Diaries into a brand-new bed and breakfast set. I wish I could go into detail about every person on our crew and in our production office, but I’d be writing a novel.
My point is: As actors, we get days off. Our crew is there every minute of every shooting day, creating the world that you escape to every Thursday night.
You might not find this to be all that special, but when you’re locked in various rooms with the same group of people for six years, you realize just how special all of their stories are.
In this episode, Caroline is locked in a room, forced to face her reality. After being locked in that room, facing my own reality, it’s easy to realize how much I love it. That is a testament to all the people who make coming to work such a joy, and who put all their blood, sweat and tears into making magic happen. It is because of you, Atlanta crew, that so many are able to disappear into the world of The Vampire Diaries week after week.