ABOVE: PAUL WESLEY (RIGHT) WITH SHAWN CHRISTENSEN. PHOTO COURTESY OF PAUL WESLEY.
New Jersey-native Paul Wesley is a rather busy man. The 32-year-old actor spends much of the year filming The Vampire Diaries in Georgia, a CW show on which he has played the brooding vampire heartthrob Stefan Salvatore since 2009. Over the last year he’s also filmed several indie movies, including Shawn Christensen‘s Before I Disappear, which won the Audience Award at SXSW, and Amira & Sam, which is currently in competition at the Savannah Film Festival presented by SCAD.
ANDY WARHOL: What do you think about love?
PAUL WESLEY: Love is something that is very personal to each individual based on where they are in their lives. It fluctuates and changes over time. I think there is a massive differentiation between infatuation and love, but people tend to confuse the two. WARHOL: When did you start making movies?
WESLEY: I started working in front of the camera for the first time when I was 15 years old. I joined a soap opera. We filmed in Brooklyn and I would skip class to shoot my scenes. It was terrifying and I entirely self-conscious in front of the camera.
WARHOL: What’s your favorite movie? WESLEY: That answer always changes depending on what mood I’m in. the one that seems to consistently come to mind is Scenes from a Marriage (1973) by Ingmar Bergman. Not exactly uplifting, but it had a huge impact on me that I can’t seem to get out of my mind. WARHOL: Did you go to acting school?
WESLEY: Yes and no. I would go to acting classes in New York City, but it was sporadic. I went to a bunch of classes in L.A. as an adult. I enjoy it for certain things but I am not dogmatic about it.
WARHOL: What’s the craziest thing a fan has sent you?
WESLEY: A box full of sausages—Polish sausages. I couldn’t tell if it was innuendo or if she really wanted me to enjoy the Polish sausages.
WARHOL: If you got a movie tomorrow, what would be your ideal role?
WESLEY: At this point in my career, anything that is non-vampire related. I look for characters that are extremely flawed and the anti-hero.
WARHOL: Do you go out a lot or stay at home?
WESLEY: I stay at home a lot by choice, but go out a lot due to work. As I’ve grown older, the simple pleasure of sitting on the couch with someone you love and watching a documentary is about as good as it gets for me.
WARHOL: Is there anything you regret not doing?
WESLEY: There’s one particular incident that comes to mind: one time I was assigned community service for getting into a fight in high school and they told me I had a week to complete 20 hours. I convinced the lady at the library (I was assigned to stack books) to sign off that I had finished the community service, but that between her and I, I would take several weeks because I was busy that week. She trusted me, signed the paper that I completed service, and I duped her and never came back. I literally think about that all that time. It haunts me and sometimes want to go back there and find her and stack books because I’m really wracked with terrible guilt. I was 16 at the time and didn’t have much of a conscience.
WARHOL: Do you dream?
WESLEY: Yes, but I rarely remember them for more than two to three minutes after waking up—unless I’m going through a trying time in my life, in which case I vividly remember everything.
WARHOL: How many hotels have you been kicked out of?
WESLEY: None, but I did get kicked out of several high schools. Does that count/make me cool?