Mystic Falls is a dangerous place, and no one, not even immortal vampires, are safe from premature deaths. The consequence of watching a show populated with dangerous killers is that some of our favorite characters are gone too soon. (R.I.P. Jenna.) One such recent dearly departed was the one-episode wonder Slater. We recently had a chance to chat with the brainy vampire’s portrayer, Trevor Peterson, and he gave us the lowdown on what it’s like to get staked. And if you’re reading this, Julie Plec, Trevor’s ready to come back in any flashbacks you may have planned. Although we think a Vampire Diaries prequel starring the bloodsucking scholar would make for awesome TV. Just saying. Until then, you can catch Trevor in the new movie Prom, which opened April 29.
Where were you filming?
The café where we filmed was just kind of right in downtown Atlanta. I was really familiar with the area since I went to high school there, so it was really funny. I was just right around the corner from a couple places I’d been in high school. Yeah, it was just at the bottom of this really tall building, a little hip little coffee, fresh café.
The other one was this gorgeous like loft in kind of the outskirts of downtown… It was like an art gallery at the basement. And they had this huge room, and then you walk up the stairs and they had a really old-school, cool, rustic elevator in the middle of it. And at the top was where the guy who owned this art gallery lived, and that was his apartment, which was mine in the show. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Beautiful art everywhere… I was sorry to die.
Did you watch the show before or do any research for it?
Funny enough, I auditioned for Trevor’s role. [Editor’s note: Trevor is played by Trent Ford.] And then they kind of made me come back, because… the new vampires, they turned kind of British, you know, as you can see. And so I had to come back and do a British accent, and then they ended going with a real Brit ‘cause I am American.
But they really liked me a lot, so they kinda kept me, you know, in their back pocket. And then I think it was like a couple weeks later, they kinda just offered me the part. So I actually didn’t know what I was doing until probably, you know, a week before I was supposed to shoot.
So, basically when I got the script I had all that talk about vampires and folklore and that kind of thing. I had to quickly brush up. In my hotel room I basically caught up on the whole second season on Hulu and read all those scripts that hadn’t been, you know, hadn’t aired yet. So, I actually did a lot. You know, for me, I was just, you know, talking a lot about that stuff, and I kinda had no clue what I was even saying. So I had to do my own research. Which, you know, I think Slater would do that as well, if he had to prepare for something, I think he’d be prepared as I was.
What was the process you had to go through to get ready for your death scene?
Basically they make a protective, kind of, almost like a police bulletproof vest for you to wear. And they make it so specific that it’s actually kind of, you know, like your skin, you know. And they put a big ol’ wet T-shirt on you that, you know, hardens. You have to stand there, and you can’t move for about 15 to 20 minutes. And then they take it off and make this shield for you. So basically I was able to, you know, like stab myself without getting hurt. In turn, they kind of make something special in the front to where they can just screw in a stake, so that it looks as if it’s inside of me …
The CGI guy was there, and the makeup lady puts dots all around your eyeballs, your temples, your chin, your neck. And they go do their magic. But it was funny ‘cause when I saw it, it was like, it was actually kind of frightening for me at the first part ‘cause I didn’t expect for my face to get that grey and all the veins in my neck. I was actually like, “Wow, I kinda look muscular there for a second.” One day I’ll get enough money just to do that on my own.
Julie Plec said recently that she would’ve loved to do a spinoff series with your character Slater, but you got killed off too soon.
Did she really? Oh, that’s really funny… I was at a party, and I happened to meet a blogger, and she was a big fan. She recognized me and was a big fan of the show and kind of mentioned the same thing, where she said, “I talked to Julie and wondered why you got killed so quickly.” And I guess Julie said, “Yeah, I know. I really love this character, I wish we would’ve kept him going.” It was kind of a nice thing to hear from an executive producer of the show.
What would be your dream pilot episode of that show?
My dream pilot episode? Oh man. I think that’d be kind of funny. It would kind of be the anti-vampire show, because that seems to be his whole deal is how he doesn’t want to spend his time going around killing people, doing that kind of thing, or fighting. He just wants to spend his time learning. I guess it would kind of maybe be the alternative to like, you know, power through, I guess, force and that kind of thing. It would be power through knowledge. You know, that’s kind of a different side to a vampire, where he could just learn, and learn, and learn, and kind of take over, you know, take over the world via knowledge.
Slater had 4 PhDs and 18 degrees. One of the PhD was in psychology. What do you think the other three would be in?
The PhDs? I mean, it’d have to be something about art history. I’m sure literature is one of them… If you’ve seen the show, he has all these computers, and it has to be some kind of…a computer degree or some kind of technology-based degree. You know, something in that field. As you can tell, I’m not privy to that kind of thing.
Can you tell us about your role in the new move Prom?
The main guy, Thomas McDonell, he kind of plays the bad boy in the movie. His mother is a diner waitress. And so we’re at the diner, basically, I’m just a college kid, just being a jackass… I just kind of make a mess with the plates. And she comes over and starts to clean up, and I make her feel bad. And in the end, he comes over and tries to pick a fight with us. We’re just kind of this little thing for him to take out anger on… We all did fight choreography outside of the diner where he, you know, spoiler alert, hits me in the face, and we all take him down. It’s kinda funny.
It seems like you get killed or beat up a lot.
Yeah, I guess so. I gotta watch that. It’s good for me though; it puts me back in my place so I don’t get a big ol’ head.
Thanks for talking with us. Let’s hope we get to see you again soon as Slater.
Thank you so much. Please. We’ll start a little plea online. Start a Facebook fanpage for the new Slater show.
Wetpaint: What was the atmosphere like on the set?
Trevor Peterson: I went to high school in Georgia … So for me, it was just real relaxing to begin with, because when I wasn’t working, I was able to go see my family. But when you get to set, it was very relaxing. Everybody was just doing their own thing. And when we weren’t shooting, it was pretty laid back and cracking jokes. And no one took themselves too seriously, which I think is important.
Who was more intimidating: Ian Somerhalder (Damon) or Daniel Gillies (Elijah)?
I’d have to say, I mean, Elijah is pretty intimidating. There’s something about an accent alone that will get you, you know, aquiver, at least, that is, for me. But yeah, he’s got that quiet, you know, quiet strength about him, that he kind of just needs to stare at you and, “Whatever. Let him have whatever he wants.” But Ian’s fun too. He was just fun to roll off of and kind of play with. For me, I didn’t see him as a threat, so to speak.
You’re one of many characters to be killed. Do they give you a cake or anything to send you off? A way of saying, “Thank you for dying with us”?
I wish… No, I just got a, “Oh wow, you die well.” Or, “Even though you’re dying, make sure you don’t hurt yourself when you fall down.” That kind of thing … But once I died, it was kind of just, “Alright, next scene.” … I wish I’d I’ve gotten a sendoff or at least some kind of T-shirt that said, “Keep Slater Alive.”
We guess there are too many deaths for anything like that.
Funny enough, they have a death wall in the production office, where they have pictures of all the headshots of people who have died. It’s just like, there’s so many pictures, of course. And then they have kind of a mark, a marker board, for each assistant director, ‘cause the A.D.s switch off every episode. And so they have kind of a kill count for each A.D. of who has the most kills … But that’s when you go in there and you look around and see all the other people who have died and realize, “Oh, well, I’m not that special.”