As conflicted baddie Klaus Mikaelson on The Originals, Joseph Morgan has made playing the villain an exercise in complex characterization — and he loves the challenge. What did the actor tell Dread Central about what he looks for in a role?

"I enjoy being the villain. It's not something that I actively look for... I'm just looking for interesting parts really, and I suppose what I deem as interesting is a role that's a little more damaged than most. More layered,” Joseph said. “So yeah, maybe I am attracted more to the darker roles, but it's not something that I will look at a role and say, 'That's not dark enough for me.' [laughs] I'm always looking for something challenging that will allow me to dig deep emotionally."

Well, we think JoMo has found it in his portrayal of Klaus. When we first heard of the plans for a Vampire Diaries spin-off starring the Mikaelson family, we assumed it would be a redemption story that diminished the characters’ morally ambiguous actions in some way. Thus far, that hasn’t been the case — at least for Klaus, the baddest of the Mikaelson clan. The Originals hasn’t shied away from treating him as a villain, from letting him do terrible things. What the show continues to do as well as its source material show, however, is make the character motivations for those actions believable and, in some cases, relatable — which, according to Joseph, is the most important component of a character.

"I have to be able to empathize with a character in order to play them," Joseph said. "I have to be able to relate to them and understand their motives, even if I don't agree with them objectively. I need to understand them because if I don't, then I'm just playing a two-dimensional character. In terms of playing Klaus, doing a TV show allows you to explore a character for far longer than you would do in a movie. I've seen hours and hours of this character, and I'm still having a good time playing him. I'm a perfectionist so I'm constantly able to improve on something or, in this case, someone. Being able to win people over with a complicated and quintessentially evil character like Klaus is a challenge which I very much enjoy."

We hope Joseph never tires of playing Klaus! We can’t imagine getting tired of watching him inhabit the charismatically, creepy, and complex role.

The Originals returns on Tuesday, February 25 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!