Ian Somerhalder is returning to the world of vampires in his newest series V Wars. Unlike his time on Vampire Diaries, Somerhalder will play the role of a human scientist named Luther Swann this time around.
Quirktastic got the exclusive opportunity to chat with Ian about his newest series. Read on below for more!
V Wars is based on the comics by Jonathan Maberry. The 10 episode Netflix series is set in a world where a dangerous disease is released into the world. The virus came from deep within melting ice caps that made its way to the surface because of global warming. The side effects are dire and it turns people into vampires which eventually divides society into warring factions. Doctor Swann finds himself in the middle of the fray when his best friend, Michael (Adrian Holmes) is turned into a vampire.
This is series marks many firsts for Somerhalder. “It was my first role as a father. In real life, and as a father on camera,” he notes. “It’s also my first thing outside of Vampire Diaries that I was producing from the ground up.” The show has been a labor of love for him and his team. They’ve been working nonstop to put together something that will not only be entertaining to watch but will also foster important conversations relevant to issues today.
“There’s something very cool about being able to tell a socially relevant story, as it’s happening… So I’m excited to tell these stories, but the human side of it right, not the side, not the policy side, not the economic side.”
Somerhalder feels that, at its core, this show can shed light on issues of climate change, economics, racism, fear-mongering and more. “I know deep inside this is such a diverse global story. And for me, I’m all about community, right, building conversations around entertainment.” In his own life, he has a nutraceuticals company that aims to build a community around health. He also has a wine company that’s focused on building a sense of kinship around the dinner table. The main point of his work is to get people together and have impactful conversations.
Of course, to properly represent a community and tell authentic stories, you need to hear from the people that belong to them. Maberry did just that – he brought in writers to give the perspectives he wasn’t equipped to. Some examples include a young Mexican girl on the border who is alone and pregnant and raising a baby on her own. There are vigilante Hells Angels bikers that stand up for humanity and fight in any way that they can. In Somerhalder’s words, “you want to create some social justice within the social conversation.”
Think About The Environment
With the virus springing from melting ice caps, this show also touches on the current state of the Earth. It asks what happens when lifestyles must change to adapt to rapid climate change. “This isn’t happening just in our story,” he says. “This is literally happening out there right now, every week. This is literally happening out there right now, every week. There’s article after article after article coming out from the scientific community insanely concerned because this is actually already happening.”
He points out that society is more fragile than most people think it is. “This disease that’s spreading right it’s a one in four infection rate… There’s like 7 billion of us. That’s a shit ton of people. What happens when there’re millions of people who are sick or are turning into murderous beasts and they’re either out, destroying society or they’re already dead. What happens when they stop paying their mortgages because they’re sick… What happens when the mortgage part of banking starts to collapse a little bit, or telecommunications companies can’t function because people aren’t paying their bills?”
He rightfully points out that with the number of sick people increasing at alarming rates, society will experience a shift. The fall of huge companies can bring literal chaos. Somerhalder also brings up the fact that so many vampires are now roaming around that there’s a need for legal representation or congressional representation. V Wars recognizes the challenge of rebuilding society in a way that’s fair and diverse while protecting vulnerable people.
Unlike his parts on Vampire Diaries and Lost, which broadcasted on television, V Wars is streaming on Netflix. “Movies are 30% character 70% plot because you have a very specific amount of time to tell that story. TV is 70% character 30% plot.” Having this story being formatted as a show gives his team time to delve into the complexities each character will experience and setting up deep world-building. Netflix, as a global platform, will get this story out there.
Somerhalder and his producing partners knew they had something special with this IP – there are multiple books filled with content. It was a lot to work with and they needed extra time to get everything right. Luckily, Netflix was willing to give them that time. “We’ve been in post production for 11 months,” Somerhalder says. “And this isn’t like a $15 million episode of Game of Thrones. This is like a 10 episode vampire show, but we wanted to go to every frame and make sure it’s good as we could get it that it meant something to us and hopefully it’ll mean something to you.”
What Does It Mean To Be a Hero?
Vampire Diaries’ Damon was a dynamic character to play according to Somerhalder. However, having been in that role for eight years, he expressed his desire to play a good man. Swann isn’t an all-powerful supernatural being, but he’s a hero in his own way.
“His superpower was just being an amazing scientist and a devoted husband because to me, great fathers great husbands and scientists are fucking superheroes… If you think about it, everything around them spreads in a positive manner, right? I just wanted to play that guy.”
He mentions that most people don’t want an ordinary hero; they want an extraordinary one. He realized that extraordinary actions inspire people and he’s no exception to that. It’s why Luther Swann undergoes a transformation that viewers “won’t see coming.” He starts out as an ordinary man that is forced to change due to so much outside pressure. In fact, Netflix let him go back and rebuilt a lot of the aspects of the show to make sure that transformation is as amazing as possible.
It’s obvious by now that the issues V Wars bring up correlate to some real-life events. It’s hard to implement solutions, but the show offers some ideas. “You can take every car off the road every plane out of the sky, every maritime shipping vessel out of the ocean… climate change is still happening. Food production agriculture [takes up the] the largest space in the world on our planet… If we switch to a regenerative farming practices and no-till farming industry, not only will your yields be bigger, but we will hold in more water. We will produce more food, and we will have healthier soil, and we will use those new growing plants, polycultures now monocultures to draw down that carbon by 2040.”
Somerhalder notes that the only real way to fix things is for more people to demand it be fixed. This is a sentiment we’re sure to see appear in the show.
V Wars will be available to watch on Netflix on December 5th!