Paul Wesley’s Next Step: What Comes After ‘The Vampire Diaries’

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In a time when television is an even bigger medium than film, it isn’t surprising that some of the best talent in the industry has transferred to the small screen. As Stefan Salvatore on the deliciously addicting and fantastically written series The Vampire Diaries, actor Paul Wesley just so happens to be one of them. If he isn’t considered already, Wesley is on his way to A-list status, and his work on the show and other projects prove just that. During my recent chat with the New Jersey native, Paul let me in on how he got his start in acting and what may come next after Mystic Falls.

“I guess I’ve always sort of been an actor. I used to do plays as a kid,” he explains. “I didn’t think I was going to do it as a profession until I dropped out. I was working as an actor until I was 15 or 16. I was thrown into it. Somebody saw me and they said you know, ‘Do you want an agent?’ I said, ‘Yes, sure.’ So we did it and I just sort of—I was still going to college at 18 or 19 and I sort of realized, ‘Well, this is silly. I’m going to college, but I’m really doing what I love. I’m just going to pursue this.'” Paul initially went to Rutgers University in his hometown, New Brunswick. “You have all these plans that are engrained in your head that you have to get good grades. But it took me a year in college or less to just sort of let this idea of maybe not doing academic level and pursuing the arts on sort of a gut instinct. And that was a big deal to me, but I’m very glad I did.”

And that gut instinct clearly paid off. After guesting on shows like Everwood and The O.C., he later landed the CW series that’s now in its fourth season. And though we wish he could make those silent phone call faces and be a part of Stelena forever, we know there will inevitably be an endgame. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a plan. Do you know what I mean?” Paul says of the future. “But I think I’m very excited.”

Assuming one of the reasons he tried out for TVD is because of Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson’s writing, what’s on the page is what he focuses on first. “It really is about the script and I really enjoy putting things together from the ground up. I like taking ideas and creating something. Sometimes it’s boring to be an actor and just sit around and wait for something to come around, so you want to create a role. So that’s something I’ve sort of been pursuing as well.”

But no matter what, luckily we get to continue watching Stefan in his current Stebekah romance and hopefully soon-to-be returned ripper ways. Later adding, “I’m going to take things as they come. I don’t have a plan. I don’t really care about doing something in a timely matter. Just doing things that I really enjoy and not really putting a lot of pressure on myself.”

Plan or not, in Mystic Falls or not, one detail is clear of Paul’s future: we’ll be watching.

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