V Wars, based on the comic series by Jonathan Maberry centers around Dr. Luther Swann (Ian Somerhalder, Vampire Diaries) and his best friend, Michael Fayne (Adrian Holmes, A Christmas Horror Story) as they adapt and adjust in world with a deadly outbreak, it’s fatal consequences, and ultimately a war between humans and vampires. Ian Somerhalder was on hand to talk with us about his role as producer, actor and director, why this project is so special and some of the things we can expect.
On being an actor, producer, and director on V Wars and why this show is so special, Somerhalder told us: “I’ve given so much to this role and it is my first since Vampire Diaries that I was producing from the ground up. This is also the first time I am playing a father on camera, and I’ve been able to draw inspiration from my real life, first-time role as a dad.”
On the challenges of being a producer and adapting this project, he told us: “There are thousands of components to put together when producing a project. For me, I took on this project, not because I didn’t want to fail, or because of ego, but I really just wanted to tell this story. This is such a diverse global story, and I’m all about community and building conversations around entertainment.”
“Outside of my life as a producer, I have a vitamin drink company that’s building community around health. I also have a bourbon company that’s building community around spirits. I have a wine company that’s building community around sitting around having a bottle or glass of wine at a dinner table. For me, it’s about getting people together and sparking conversation, because people don’t talk anymore. So, I just desperately wanted to tell this brilliant comic series that Jonathan Maberry put together. Not only is he a prolific writer, but he wanted to tell authentic stories with perspective.”
On some of the characters we’ll see throughout the first season, he commented: “Well, we follow a young Mexican girl on the border who starts off alone and pregnant and ends up having to hunt in the wild to raise her child after birth. We’ve got vigilantes and Hell’s Angels bikers standing up for everyone. So, this show naturally creates a lot of conversation around social justice issues.”
So, where did this mysterious disease come from? Somerhalder shares: “Well what interested me about this was the origin of this disease, which manifested due to rampant climate change and glacial deterioration. It’s exposing all of this stuff that was once safely kept in ice for years. So now that the glaciers are melting, these pathogens, viruses, and bacteria are being exposed. On the show, my character, Luther, calls it an ancient form of Ebola. Humanity is not ready. We don’t have vaccines, we’re not ready on a societal level for these diseases and things that we’re about to be exposed to. So, Luther Swann is the guy who’s been studying this entire life, in hopes of protecting humanity from this exact thing.”
On the social relevance of this story now, he mentioned: “So there’s something very cool about being able to tell a socially relevant story as it’s happening. And it all starts with climate change. What really drew me to it because we’re dealing with these big tent-pole issues: border control, racism, disease, fear, politics, and how of it is being put into the psyche of humanity for control or gain. So, everything that is happening in the world, we touch on in this story. In real life and in this body of work, we’re being bombarded by all of these external elements while just trying to have a family and make a living.”
What does he want people to take away from season 1, he said: “Holy shit, I can’t wait for season two. That’s what I hope people say at the end because there is so much setup that happens in these first ten episodes and we are looking forward to expanding it in season two.”
What kind of character growth can we expect from Luther Swann in future seasons, he shared:
“I’m sure some of you saw The Vampire Diaries. It was a fun ride and Damon Salvatore was one of the best written and most dynamic characters, I’ve ever had the privilege of playing. After eight years with Damon, I so very much wanted to play a character that was just a good man and his superpower was just being a good dad. Luther’s superpower is being an amazing scientist and a devoted husband. To me, great fathers, great husbands, and scientists are superheroes. Because if you think about it, everything around them spreads in a positive manner, right?”
He continued:” I won’t spoil it but Luther does go through a major metamorphosis and he’s forced to change in a way that he didn’t see coming. So, in season two, we’ll dive much more into that and his transformation from a calm, nice, normal guy, to a warrior.”
Lastly, does he feel like Dr. Luther Swann will resonate the most with audiences or are there characters that they may relate more to? He shared: “I think I played Swann sort of on the nose, and as authentic as I could. But I do think there are other characters in the show that are far more dynamic. While Swann is still dynamic, having more dynamic characters was not by accident, but by design. I don’t want or need to be the standout. I am happy for other actors and characters to take that role.”
Guess we’ll have to see Dr. Swann’s metamorphosis when we check out V Wars, only on Netflix!