Vampire Diaries Writer José Molina Talks Coffins, Hunters, and Writing for Damon in Season 4, Episode 8 — Exclusive
Let’s start by saying that we’re very excited for tomorrow night’s episode of Vampire Diaries, “We’ll Always Have Bourbon Street,” because it’s a flashback episode where we get to see Damon (Ian Somerhalder) in uniform. That’s right. Damon. A uniform. Our hearts exploding.
In anticipation of this hour-long drool fest, Wetpaint Entertainment turned to one of the writers of this episode, José Molina, to get deets on everything from what we can expect, to the process of writing the episode. (And for our interview with co-writer Charlie Charbonneau, click here.)
Wetpaint Entertainment: So far, which has been your favorite character to write on Season 4? José Molina: As a newcomer to the show, I'd always wanted to write Damon because he's a guy who doesn't have much of a filter between his brain and his mouth. He calls it like he sees it, and doesn't much care if that upsets anybody. Did any characters surprise you while writing this episode? It was great to write the brothers in the 1940s, after they'd been away from each other for 30 years. What do you have on the walls of your office for vampy inspiration? Not a thing. Julie Plec just walked into my office the other day and went, "Your office is depressing. You have to do something about it." Do you ever worry about how the fans will react when you're writing? I try to approach the show as a fan and think of what I want to see. I can be pretty hard to please as an audience member, so I feel like I have a decent barometer for what fellow fans will like. My biggest worry tends to be about boring the audience. Boring is criminal, as far as I'm concerned.
What's the weirdest part of working on a show about supernatural creatures? Sometimes I wonder, "What would my mom would think if she heard the words that just came out of my mouth." Are you Team Stelena or Delena? Team Peeta. Say what you will, but that kid went through hell and he deserves a happy ending. Can you tell us a little about the process of collaborating for this episode? I had a lot of fun working with Charlie [Charbonneau], and at times felt like a big brother...Mostly because Charlie is about twelve years old and I'm ancient. He worked his ass off, and the results showed on the page. I was totally impressed and can only hope he hires me when he becomes the Big Shot he will inevitably be.
From the time you pitch an idea to it getting green lit, how far in advance do you get to write an episode? The overall pitch usually gets a thumbs up or thumbs down within a few hours or a couple of days at most. From that point on, we take a few days—seldom more than a week—to come up with the general structure of the story. Then we spend another 4-7 days writing the first draft and rewrite our tails off until it goes in front of the cameras and they yank the pages out of our reluctant hands. How much freedom do you have as a writer when it comes to story? Do you have to stay within a certain structure? Given how serialized the story is on this show, we definitely have to stay within certain parameters. There's no such thing as a formula, but there's always certain notes you have to hit — certain character arcs to service, plot to advance, etc. It's not so much a structure as it is a tone. Vampire Diaries is a very specific mix of genres, and you try to have the right balance in every script. Is the writers’ room set up like a vampire den? I tried to bring in my coffin, but apparently that kind of thing is frowned upon in a professional environment. So I just brought in some dirt from my homeland and stuffed it under the table where nobody could see it. Is there an episode of Vampire Diaries that you wish you'd gotten to write? I'm gonna go with Charlie and say, "all of them." Can you imagine the residuals?! Out of all the supernatural creatures you get to work with — which are your favorite? (Vampires, Originals, Hybrids, Doppelgangers, Werewolves) I've really enjoyed writing the Hunters and helping create the myth of The Five for this season. We had some pretty awesome "creatures" to begin with, so with the Hunters it's just like adding a few strips of bacon to an already tasty cheeseburger. Will there be a Hunters arc in tomorrow night’s Episode 8 of Season 4? You’ll just have to tune in at 8 p.m. to find out!