'Vampire Diaries': Michael Trevino talks Tyler's transformation (and his first leather jacket)
Image Credit: Patrick Ecclesine/The CWEven before season 2 began, producers of The Vampire Diaries were talking about Michael Trevino’s beefed up role as a werewolf. So SPOILER-THAT-ISN’T-ACTUALLY-A-SPOILER: Last night, in episode 7, Tyler Lockwood finally (accidentally) killed someone and activated the family curse. (Read our recap.) Shortly after the episode aired on the East Coast (which Trevino watched while flipping back and forth from the World Series), he phoned EW to talk about what’s next for young Mr. Lockwood, which scene he’s yet to shoot that’s making him nervous, and why episode 210 is already one of his favorites.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Watching this episode, I was like, finally! We’ve known it was coming for so long, and now it’s on. Did you have a bit of that reaction to?
MICHAEL TREVINO: Yeah. It’s official now. It’s just a hint of it. It’s at the point where the next few episodes are going to be about preparing for the next full moon that comes. You’re gonna see Tyler do more research, because now he realizes he’s not going to be able to stop himself — it’s just inevitable.
Have you shot that full transformation yet? Are we going to see you shirtless and chained like Mason was?
We have not shot that. I think we might shoot that next week. It’s gotta be soon. I’m not sure how exactly it’s gonna happen, to be honest with you. I would think that he’s gonna go down to those old ruins were Mason was and probably do what he was doing and just lock himself up. And hopefully he doesn’t hurt anybody. He won’t be able to control himself, especially the first time.
Are you doing anything special to prepare for that? Are you bulking up even more?
I’m trying to, yeah. [Laughs] As far as hitting the weights and dieting, it’s hard to do. So just a little bit, nothing extreme.
We’ve all been enjoying the scenes between Tyler and Jeremy, and now, with Caroline covering for Tyler, it seems there could be a bond forming there. Should we expect them to develop an unlikely friendship?
I think that they will. You have two people who have a secret. Maybe she’ll, in the future, tell him her secret. Why does Caroline feel the need to want to help out Tyler? ‘Cause Tyler doesn’t really have anybody. He was just fighting there with Matt, and Jeremy seems to be having a little situation with Bonnie. It seems like Caroline is opening herself up to him. I would imagine he’d go to her for help or just to talk to somebody.
And Tyler hanging out with Caroline won’t go over well with Matt.
That’s a whole ‘nother thing. I imagine that it’d turn into some kind of trio here, or Matt just saying like, “Hey, you’re gettin’ awfully close to my ex-girlfriend.” That whole dynamic will come into play, I believe.
I keep forgetting that Tyler has no clue about the vampires.
It was funny, the episodes that we have shot already [since “Masquerade”], there’s been a couple lines in a couple scenes where I was like, That’s right. Tyler doesn’t know about vampires in Mystic Falls. He had one run-in with Stefan and Damon in season 1, but then Damon erased his memory. Tyler is still in the dark.
When he finds out about vampires, should we expect him to have Mason’s mentality — let’s not make this our battle — or will he have the natural werewolf aggression toward vampires?
I honestly don’t know. I don’t think he’d want any problems with the vampires. He’d just want there to be peace.
As an actor, would you like to rumble with Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley?
It would be fun. But you don’t want to get on Damon’s bad side as a character ’cause then, who knows what’s gonna happen to you. [Laughs] So I’d rather not. I don’t even want to test it. As a fan of the show, it’d be nice to see. But I’d rather not. [Laughs]
It’d be fun for Tyler to trade barbs with Damon.
Absolutely. That would be great. I know there’d be some great chemistry, but let’s just not piss off Damon.
We know Katherine wanted Tyler turned, and that she’s now entombed, but is there anything you can tease about if/when they’ll meet up?
Obviously, Katherine needs a werewolf. Maybe it would happen when this next full moon occurs and Tyler does the transformation. Maybe then she’ll be more aggressive in seeking him and using him. But this is just speculation.
It was so easy to dislike Tyler in season 1 because of the way he treated Vicki. How do you want fans to feel about him? Do you like the idea of a love-hate relationship, or do you wish he’d be adored?
It was frustrating, because like you said, it was really easy to dislike Tyler. But now, we’ve seen the family that he comes from and what he has to deal with at home. He’s not just this bully or punk; he has a heart. Yes, he has problems. Yes, he has a temper, but there’s more humanity in him. I think fans of the show are gonna see that in the unlikely friendship that happens between Tyler and Caroline.
What about Tyler’s storyline to date has surprised you most?
I think when Mason came in, and how quickly his character evolved and started gettin’ in the mix with Stefan and Damon — I was surprised by that. And the bond between Tyler and Mason — during our hiatus on season 1, I wouldn’t have seen that happening so soon. But of course, I loved it. Taylor Kinney just set the tone with the whole werewolf attitude.
Is there anything you’ll incorporate from Taylor’s performance into Tyler?
You know, I remember asking him how he prepared for the transformation. Then I saw the episode where he transformed, and I saw where he feels like his body’s real warm, and it’s hot, and he’s kind of breathing heavy, and it’s coming, and it’s just like this intensity that’s going throughout your body. I think that’s just something I’m gonna have to play around with and see, because not until we’re shooting it am I gonna see what works and what doesn’t work. I think I’m gonna have to go somewhere dark and to a vulnerable state, where it’s just so terrifying at the same time. Tyler is cocky and he’s always got things under control, but he obviously doesn’t want this curse. He was scared to death when he saw [that girl] collapse and hit her head because he knows what’s to come. He doesn’t want any part of that, and because of that, it will show the vulnerable side of him. With the next full moon coming, it’s like a countdown, and he’s terrified. Showing that different side of Tyler will be nice.
Are you already thinking about how you’ll get to that dark place? Will you use music? Are you that kind of actor?
I can’t really say. I’m just gonna have to close my eyes and go somewhere really dark. [Laughs] I’m gonna have to play with a couple of things. It could be music. It could be studying films. I’m actually terrified as an actor to even try, just preparing for what’s gonna happen and to make it look as real and believable as possible. To do that, it’s gonna take a toll on me.
Yeah, like do you practice some in your living room before you get to the set? It must be a strange thing to contemplate doing.
The rehearsal process you do at home, I think it’s just writing down the backstory of what I think about Tyler. With me, some genuine emotion comes out of writing down these thoughts. I’ll start there, and then [Laughs] just go. Just go.
I thought the amber eyes tonight looked great. I’m excited to see you go werewolf.
Yeah, I paused it, because I was watching it on my DVR, and I was like, “Good.” Because the eyes were different from Mason’s — just a little. That I like. When we actually do the fuller transformation, I’m looking forward to seeing what my wolf looks like. It’ll be subtle, but just a little different from Mason’s.
Do you get a say in that?
I try to, but no. I don’t. I try to sneak in, and say, “Let me see some pictures.” But I don’t have a say, or approval, or nothing. [Laughs] But I try. I try.
The good news: Should EW do another Sexy Beasts bracket game, you will now be eligible.
Yeah, I’m really looking forward to that. [Laughs] When is that? Is that another year? Did that just happen?
Am I gonna be in the mix for 2011?
We’ll start the campaign early.
Okay, that works. I’m gonna hold you to that. If not, I’m makin’ phone calls.
To end on a similarly lighthearted note, I’ve been admiring in recent weeks the number of Henleys the men on this show have been wearing. What is your favorite look for Tyler? Because you look good in a Henley. I’m just gonna put it out there.
It’s funny that you say that. We’re shooting episode 210 right now, and I would have to say 210’s wardrobe is probably my favorite because I finally get to wear this leather jacket with a hood. You know, Jeremy, Stefan, Damon, everybody’s worn cool leather jackets, like GQ-style. And Tyler’s always just wearin’ like a sweater. [Laughs] Something always tight, but you know, I was just like, “Yo, give the man a jacket.” So I’m excited about this because I get to wear a badass-looking jacket. So 210, look for Tyler in an awesome leather jacket.
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The Vampire Diaries
Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley star in the CW’s romance-infused vampire soap opera.