Paleyfest 2010 honors ‘The Vampire Diaries’ with an evening of laughs


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Paul Wesley’s self-proclaimed biggest fan, Melinda Miller, traveled to Los Angeles from North Carolina just for the Paley Center for Media’s celebration of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ on Saturday night in Beverly Hills. After her long flight, she arrived early at the Saban Theatre and stood in line outside in the rain -- for eight hours. Miller, who goes by @PaulWesleyLover on Twitter, was proudly clad in her ‘Team Stefan’ T-shirt.

It was well worth the effort when, during the Q&A portion of the panel, Miller was the first fan to take the microphone. She certainly seized the opportunity to talk to Wesley. ‘I belong with you,’ Miller blurted happily, much to the delight of the entire crowd and, of course, Wesley himself. ‘My question is for, obviously, you. Do you ever get nervous filming a scene? Like, you know, the amazing sex scene?’ she asked. ‘If you don’t have time to explain your answer, please feel free to get my number after the show. You have the: Best. Abs. Ever.’


The room full of fans and admirers clapped and whistled as Wesley removed his microphone and hopped off the stage to give Miller a hug and a couple of kisses on the cheek. There’s nothing quite like watching a bona fide fangirl share a moment with the object of her affection.

Cast and crew agreed that Miller’s moment was the highlight of a great evening of vampire fun, which included a clip from ‘Once More With Feeling,’ the musical episode of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ and a screening of an upcoming episode of ‘The Vampire Diaries.’

The honored guest panelists were executive producers Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec and Bob Levy and stars Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev and, of course, Paul Wesley. For them, the phenomenal success of the show is only just starting to sink in. Plec recalled watching a Dodge Charger ‘Man’s Last Stand’ commercial during the Super Bowl, in which men lamented the sacrifices they made for the women in their lives. ‘The men say, ‘I will be nice to your mother. I will watch your vampire TV shows,’ ‘ Plec said. ‘And I thought, prior to us there was only one vampire TV show on the air! Plural means we matter!’

The cast members joked that they spent so much time with one another that they should just buy a house and move in together. ‘I’ll need a walk-in closet,’ Dobrev was quick to inform the men.

Though she, Wesley and Somerhalder are quite obviously very close, there’s no shortage of good-natured ribbing, either. Somerhalder, who would later thrill the audience by sinking one of his signature vampire bites into Dobrev’s wrist, teased her about her tendency to pack heavy. ‘We were only away for one day,’ he said, remembering a trip when Dobrev’s luggage got lost. ‘Paul and I had backpacks, and Nina had this big suitcase.’

‘They left me at the airport,’ Nina wailed. ‘On my birthday!’

As for their on-set time together, everyone agreed that flashback episodes were their favorite ones to shoot, despite the painful corsets Dobrev got strapped into when she played Civil War-era vampiress Katherine Pierce. They also mentioned that the numerous fight scenes between vampire brothers Stefan and Damon Salvatore can get a bit dicey. ‘I literally sent Ian to the chiropractor,’ Wesley said.

‘He moved my rib,’ Somerhalder agreed.

Writers Williamson and Plec shared that they got bored in the writers room, so they tended to break their stories at Jerry’s Deli or IHOP. ‘Our characters’ lives get dictated by what happens at IHOP?’ Ian laughed.


‘Well, the one in West Hollywood has valet,’ Plec said.

Kevin Williamson assured fans that more flashbacks were on the way: He’s writing a flashback episode right now. In the meantime, he gave us another kind of blast from the past when a ‘Dawson’s Creek’ fan complained about the series’ finale, in which Joey Potter chose to be with Pacey over Dawson.

‘She chose them both,’ Williamson insisted. ‘Dawson and Joey are forever. He wrote a show about her! They’re together forever.’ He paused. ‘She’s having sex with Pacey, though.’

The evening was full of laughs and some insider insight into what had become easily the CW network’s most successful show. Melinda Miller remembers it mostly as a blur. ‘My brain feels like it is trying to block the memory so I don’t maintain a perpetual smile for the rest of my life and risk a possible heart attack at remembering that Paul Wesley’s amazing lips touched my cheek!’ she says. ‘I don’t think I have any idea as to what was said on the panel.’

Don’t miss Melinda Clarke’s highly anticipated first appearance as Kelly Donovan when ‘The Vampire Diaries’ returns with an all-new episode March 25 at 8 p.m. on the CW. And, as always, chime in below if you’ve got any comments or questions!

-- Carina MacKenzie (Chat with me on Twitter @cadlymack)

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