'The Secret Circle': Thomas Dekker channels 'The Craft,' makes mix tapes, and loves a good struggle

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tsc-britt-robertson-thomas-dekker-bedroom.jpgLeaves are turning colors, the pumpkin spice latte is back, teen witches are seeking answers about their parents' mysterious deaths. Must be October!

"The Secret Circle" is turning up the scare fare in tonight's episode, "Heather," in which the kids seek out a woman who has been in a catatonic state since the fateful fire that killed their parents 16 years ago. Prepare to be seriously spooked.

Even as the danger looms, Adam ( Thomas Dekker) and Cassie ( Britt Robertson) just can't keep their chemistry under control. But hey... at least their longing looks don't make lightbulbs explode anymore, right? Witch girl problems.

As with any strongly-written love triangle, we're having a little trouble deciding where we stand. Sure, Adam and Cassie have a palpable connection, and their almost-but-not-quite-kisses are killing us, but we also love the strong, sturdy bond that he shares with Diana ( Shelley Hennig).

Of course we're familiar with Dekker's work on "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" and films like the incredible "Cinema Verite," but when we sat down with him in Los Angeles, we realized that there's a lot to learn about the man behind Adam Conant. For example -- he makes mix CDs for his co-stars (cute!), hangs out in New Age bookstores, and feels right at home doing spells in the woods. Read on!

Zap2it: What was it about Adam that particularly appealed to you?

Dekker: For me, personally, as an actor, I always try to find roles that have a duality to them, to bring together two opposite sides in one person. I tried to do that with everything from John Connor to "Kaboom" -- all the stuff I've done. Adam's this really strong, all-American working guy with a girlfriend who takes care of his dad, but at the other side, he's very connected to his witchiness. He can be very spiritual and very sensual and very connected with nature. He becomes Cassie's instructor in all of this. I liked the idea of getting to play those two opposites. You don't see it very often, particularly in television.

Zap2it:  How much do you consider the original "Secret Circle" novels when you're working? Did you use the books as a foundation?

Dekker: I hadn't read the books when I got the role, and I went to Kevin Williamson and asked him how strictly close to the books he wanted Adam to be. I said, "If you do, then I need to read them and copy it. If you don't, then I'm just going to use my perception." He said that they wanted me to go in the direction I was going, so I've purposely not read the books.

Zap2it: You're on Twitter, so you obviously see the fans' reaction on a regular basis. Does it make you nervous to be playing an established character and taking him in a new direction?

tsc-shelley-hennig-thomas-dekker-dance.jpg Dekker: Of course it does! It always does, because you want people to like what you're doing and you run the risk, the more you change it and the more you play with it, that they're not going to. Obviously, I've been down this road before, of having crazy fans and now here I am, stepping on their territory, and it seemed to work out for me pretty well last time, so I'm going to stick with my instincts, stick to my guns and intuition. Film and television is a different medium than the books, and we've got to go in a new direction to sustain the story.

Zap2it: Now that the circle is bound and everyone has to rely on each other, how are we going to see the characters' powers develop?

Dekker:  The idea is that now that we're bound, some of us are happy with the circle, and some of us are not. Some of us will be manipulated into thinking that one thing is a better choice when it's not, or vice-versa.

Zap2it: My favorite thing about this story is that these kids are very much a family, in that they didn't choose each other. They're not friends, or if they are, they're friends by necessity, not by choice.

Dekker: Faye doesn't particularly seem to like anybody, does she? Still, we're protective of the circle in general. Diana and Adam are very caring, level-headed characters. The circle is important to them and they want to make sure that Faye doesn't f*** it up, basically! As the show progresses, the really cool thing that I'm incredibly excited about with this show is that because of the way the powers develop, there's no say as to how we'll always be as individual characters. We all have room to go through major transformations. Eventually, Faye could be the good one, and Diana could be dangerous. There's room for shifting, which is exciting as an actor.

Zap2it: How do you see Adam's relationship with his father progressing?

Dekker: I think Adam and his father are more similar than perhaps the audience realizes. They're very much the same person. At this point, Ethan is the one good adult that we've met. He's a good man that has gone through a bit of trouble, as has Adam. You'll find out a bit more about how Diana and Adam came to be and where Adam was in his life before the circle. He maybe wasn't quite so peachy keen as he is now. I love to get to play this relationship where he takes care of his dad but he doesn't look to his dad as a burden. He understands where he comes from.

Zap2it: Now that Cassie's in the mix and there's obviously a strong connection there, will we see that relationship between Diana and Adam start to fracture?

Dekker: I think it's inevitable, regardless of how long we sustain it, something's going to go down. We are pacing it nicely, though. We're not just rushing into throwing away four years. Adam is too good of a guy to go, "Oh, I have all this history with you, but I'm just gonna jump on over to this new girl." He's pulled in all directions, and it's hurting him too.

Zap2it: The connection that the witches have to nature is a really strong aspect of the show.

Dekker: Isn't it? As a young teen I was really obsessed with that movie "The Craft" in the '90s. I just wanted to be like crazy Fairuza Balk. I was a bit angry as a kid. [Laughs] From that and other things, I've always been into books on Wicca or Paganism, and I've always been obsessed with nature. My parents were obsessed with nature and very connected to their spirituality and all that. I've never been a specifically religious type, but I've always felt that everything is very connected in that way, so in the scenes where we get to do spells up in the woods, it feels -- no pun intended -- very second nature to me. I feel like it's real.

Zap2it:  You really get into this stuff!

Dekker: You have no idea. I made a mix CD for everyone. I call it "The Secret Circle Score." There's a lot of really obscure kind of witchcraft music, great, really random stuff. The type of stuff they play in The Psychic Eye [bookstore]. You can track it down. There's rock and stuff in there too. Just stuff that gets you in the mood. I might Twitter-release what each track is so that people can make their own soundtrack.

Zap2it: We loved you in "Cinema Verite" this summer.

Dekker: Thank you. Bit different from this!

Zap2it: Very. Do you have a preference in terms of television or movies? You've really been involved in both worlds.

Dekker: They both have their major pluses and minuses. The great thing about a film is that its so concise. It's one piece. You know when you do it what your start is and what your finish is and you can just get into the meat of what you're doing. What I love about TV is being at the mercy of the writers. We get the scripts one day before we start filming.

Zap2it: Being "at the mercy" doesn't sound good!

Dekker: It is though! Actors are masochists. We're all in it for the struggle.

Tune in to "The Secret Circle" on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. EST on The CW.
Photo/Video credit: The CW