Joseph Morgan talks 'The Originals': Klaus and Caroline's 'long-distance relationship,' new foes, and a 'disgusting emotional choice'
"I have to just take a chance on it," he told us then. "I am putting myself out there a bit, and I am a bit concerned, because I really want it to be a success, and I want to continue exploring this character. That worry comes with the job, doesn't it, really?"
These days, the worry has been replaced by anticipation. The backdoor pilot for the new show will air as an episode of "The Vampire Diaries" on Thursday, April 25. We spoke with Morgan on Tuesday about what fans can expect from "The Originals" -- a more adult tone, a lasting connection with Caroline, compelling new characters, and, of course, "one of the most disgusting emotional choices we've ever seen him make."
Check out our Q&A with Morgan below and don't miss the episode this Thursday at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.
Zap2it: "The Originals" is just two days away! There's been so much anticipation for this show. Are you nervous, at all, for the fans to finally see the pilot?
Morgan: I'm really excited for people to see it. I'm interested, because I've seen the pilot which was presented to the network and the studio, but that's a different version than what's going to air. The episode that's going to air has slightly more "Vampire Diaries" in it, as opposed to just "The Originals." They've got extra scenes. I know the network and the studio really like it, but it's going to depend on people's reactions. I really hope that people respond to the new characters that we introduce and to the storyline. Right now I'm just ready for it to be out there. I'm tired of the world not knowing what's happening, what the storylines are. I think it's time for people to see. There's been so much support and anticipation, I'm looking forward to the fans being rewarded for that.
Klaus's relationship with Elijah and Rebekah is as bad as it's ever been. At this point, it's hard to imagine them deciding to move to New Orleans as one big happy family. Will their relationship improve over the course of this episode?
Things are definitely getting more complicated, but I don't know if that's an improvement or not. At the beginning of the episode, it feels like there's a line. Klaus is on one end of it, Rebekah's on the other, and Elijah is sort of in the middle, the great mediator -- but also still kind of siding with Rebekah. He's trying to bring things together in the family, but I think the most interesting thing about "The Originals" is that their dynamics are complicated. There's certainly some hate for one another, there are things you think they'll never forgive each other for, but there's love as well. As an actor, I make a conscious decision that there's love. When he says these terrible things to Rebekah -- "You're not my family, you're not my sister, you're nothing to me" -- I think that I have to make him go to a place where he shuts off his emotion. He puts up a wall around how he feels for her, as opposed to not ever feeling for her. Those are the things which make it really interesting. I don't know if the relationship is going to improve or not, but I know it's going to have more layers.
Tell us about some of the new characters we'll meet. Camille [Leah Pipes], who has been set up as a love interest for Klaus, is the human figure in the show. From what I've heard, she's not an Elena Gilbert-esque ingenue.
"The Originals" has been pitched as a darker, more adult show, and Camille personifies that. She's the only human regular character that's in the show, but she comes at it very damaged. The characters in "Vampire Diaries," at the beginning, had experienced tragedy, but they came at it from a very innocent place. She's coming in much more jaded, with an understanding of darkness. I have one proper scene with her -- a few run-ins with her, but one proper scene -- and I think that's some of the best work I've done. Even though I don't say much in the scene, it was a challenge for me. I really like working with Leah. She makes interesting choices with Julie. She's a beautiful girl, but to me, she doesn't look like the majority of the fans out there who watch the show, for example. They might have a slightly harder time relating to her, which is what makes her so intriguing. She's a fantastic character.
We'll be meeting Marcel [Charles Michael Davis], who has been holding down the fort in New Orleans. From the trailer, it seems that Klaus is poised to overthrow him.
There's a history there, there's a friendship there, but absolutely Klaus is envious of what Marcel has managed to achieve in his absence. Klaus is by far the more powerful being -- he's an Original vampire, and he's a hybrid, all these things. Marcel is just a vampire, sired by Klaus. But what Marcel has that Klaus doesn't is this army. He runs the town, he runs the vampires, he has the witches in the palm of his hand. They can't do magic without his say-so. What he lacks in personal power, he makes up for in influence. Should things come to a head between the two of them, that's where the challenge will be. Klaus is a one-man army, but Marcel actually has an army.
It sounds as if Marcel has managed to create the family that Klaus wanted, but couldn't create with the hybrids.
That's very astute of you, yeah, because that's absolutely where the envy and the jealousy comes from. Also, people just like Marcel. The characters respond to him; he's charismatic. Klaus doesn't have that, and he can't understand it. He mistrusts people, people betray him, and he betrays them. He doesn't have the leadership qualities Marcel has. He's envious of the charisma this guy has.
Will there be much talk of Caroline in this episode? If Klaus is gearing up to relocate to New Orleans, I imagine she'd be the biggest motivation to stay in Mystic Falls.
It's made reference to in the episode. Klaus makes reference to it and it's acknowledged in the writing toward the end. It's not like he's in this new place and he's like "Well, forget her!" I think the ideal thing for Klaus would be for her to come to New Orleans, and he's still enamored with her. They're not going to introduce a new love interest and immediately go, "Hey, he's with this girl now!" They respect the fans enough to keep acknowledging Caroline and potentially work in some crossovers.
Could there be a last minute twist, with Candice Accola joining "The Originals"?
I think "Vampire Diaries" would suffer greatly losing Caroline Forbes. I really feel that wouldn't be good for that show, for her to come over to "The Originals," and we've got to keep the balance now that the world's got bigger. There's two shows to maintain, potentially, so they might be in a bit of a long-distance relationship, if anything, for a while.
What about Hayley [Phoebe Tonkin]? Is she a viable love interest for Klaus, or was their hookup a one-time thing?
I think that's kind of a one-time thing. I think there's going to be some resolve, some of the aftermath of their liason in the episode. We'll see how they feel about it and how it's affected them both. He's not looking to rekindle that, and I think neither is she. I really loved that that happened between them, because it just goes to show the flawed nature of Klaus' character. I think it was a very bold choice of Julie and the writers, because they absolutely knew the repercussions that it would have, the backlash from all the fans. The Klaus and Caroline fans hate that she'd done that, but he's always been a flawed character. He's in no way perfect. He's made more mistakes in his lifetime than hundreds of people combined, so to show him make a mistake in that way -- I mean, he's a guy, to show him respond to his nature, his instinct -- I think that's a bold and right choice. I supported that.
Now that Klaus is the central figure of the show, should we expect to see him as the hero of this story, or is he still maintaining his villain status?
I think I'd go as far as to say anti-hero. He's definitely not a hero. He does awful things in the pilot; he makes one of the most disgusting emotional choices we've ever seen him make. He's not the villain of this piece. We're rooting for him -- I hope we're rooting for him, or the show's not going to work. That's what attracted me to the show. I would've never thought that the guy who came in and slaughtered Aunt Jenna could have his own show and people would actually be hoping he'd succeed. I think as long as we keep showing the cracks, the glimpses of vulnerability, we'll root for him. He's an anti-hero. I think, if I stand for anything, it's that if this goes to series, the eventual tale could be the tale of Klaus's salvation.