Ian Somerhalder Knows Returning to Vampire Genre for 'V-Wars' Sounds 'Insane'

Ian Somerhalder wasn't originally itching to return to the vampire genre after leaving The Vampire Diaries behind in Season 8.

But he was drawn back in after getting the pitch for Netflix's new series V-Wars, in which he plays (human) Dr. Luther Swann, tasked with combating a mysterious disease that turns people, including his best friend, into vampires. Somerhalder talked to PopCulture.com exclusively from the set of the new show, premiering in 2019, explaining what it was that appealed to him about the series.

"Initially, the thought of a guy spending eight years on a vampire series and then going off and doing another one, I'm sure to some people in the public, it sounds insane," he admitted. "I mean, if [Twilight star] Robert Pattinson went and did another movie franchise basically on vampires, people would think he was out of his mind. This is a different evolution of this story. This is all the things I could not do in Vampire Diaries."

In addition to the freedom the streaming network brings to the storyline, Somerhalder added that the performances in the new series are more grounded in reality than the CW drama.

"We get to really tackle some massive relevant social topics that we are experiencing right now. A biological pathogen is exposed due to rampant ice melt. That's not really that far around the corner, and so we really get to tackle humanity from another side — a realistic side." he said.

He added, "This is a genre show, we're not reinventing the wheel but I think the best thing that we can do is ... we're doing our best to ground these performances in reality, so anything and everything that comes out of the actor's mouths is true. True to that person."

The show is still filming, which means Somerhalder isn't totally sure how it will come out yet. But he's "insanely excited" to see what it will tap into in audiences.

"So my hypothesis is that, if people feel how grounded in reality these performances are, woven into the thread of the text, then hopefully we have a show that makes people think, feel, laugh, cry, scream, whatever it may be. Hopefully it makes them feel something," he said. "We may fail, people may think that it's boring. I don't know, but I do know that I'm insanely excited about this show. I'm living and breathing and sleeping it and working incredibly, incredibly, hard you know? I'm grateful to be able to star in this thing and be able to produce this thing alongside some amazing, amazing, amazing people."

When he's not on set, Somerhalder is loving spending time with wife Nikki Reed and 1-year-old daughter Bodhi, along with their nine fur babies. It's this connection to animals and the environment that drove the actor to start the Ian Somerhalder Foundation and to get involved with Royal Canin's Take your Cat to the Vet Day.

"These kitties, these kids, just like us, they need a yearly check-up. Every single year." he said of the initiative. "At least once, if not twice. Because it's all about preventative health care. Preventative measures."

He continued, "Because, here's the thing. I think a lot of reasons that maybe cats don't see the vet as much, is that it can kind of sometimes be difficult for both the cat and the owner, the parents. But also too, a lot of people that have indoor kitties, they think that they're not susceptible to illnesses and diseases. But, the reality of it is they're actually, those little kiddos, is that they're masters of disguise. They can often hide or they can mask illness very, very well and so it's quite deceiving."

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V-Wars premieres in 2019 on Netflix.

Photo credit: CW