These days it’s hard to imagine anyone but Ian Somerhalder filling the snarky, sexy shoes of bad boy vampire Damon Salvatore on The Vampire Diaries — but apparently the casting of the character got off to a rocky start for Smolderhalder. Check out what Ian had to say about the story of his very first network test, and how grateful he is to the people who stood by him...

“Sitting under a palm tree, in a chair at Poquito Más, my favorite little taco stand in Burbank California next to the CW & Warner Bros. Why is that cool? Because, I just realized that 5 years ago, almost to the day - I was sitting right here drinking an iced tea waiting for my food and going over my lines before Auditioning for Damon Salvatore, just before I walked into the studio to get this show,” Ian captioned the photo of himself in the California sun.

He continues to recount the story of his casting and how far he’s come since then: “Wow! 5 YEARS! It's been an amazing time since then. I'm so grateful to the powers that be at CBS, The CW & Warner Bros for taking a chance on me and giving me this role. Even though I bombed my 1st Network test at the CW...Kevin Williamson had to fight tooth and nail for me - I LOVE YOU KEVIN FOR YOUR VISION, DIRECTION, BROTHERSHIP AND CHANGING MY LIFE. You, Julie Plec and this team really created something special. We all thank you, the devoted fans and the audience of this thing we call, The Vampire Diaries Love you all Ian and Damon.”

We’re so grateful to see that the casting worked out how it did — and not just in Ian’s case. Though so much of the success of TVD is owed to the amazing creators and their vision, the young actors in this show have done a great deal to bring a commitment and integrity that is desperately needed in such a fantastical story.

Can you imagine anyone else playing Damon Salvatore? Sound off in the comments below!

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursday nights 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+!