It’s been an amazing year for Joseph Morgan (Klaus) — and it’s only halfway through. Not only did his movie Warhouse get distribution and the film he directed, Revelation, get into the New York City International Film Festival (and is playing this week!), the pilot for The Originals was smoking awesome and the series has been picked up for the fall.
The Vampire Diaries spin-off sees Klaus heading back to New Orleans to investigate a plot against him. When Wetpaint Entertainment spoke to Joseph, we couldn’t wait to ask him all about the new show, especially how it differs from TVD.
Wetpaint Entertainment: We’re excited about [the new spin-off].
Joseph Morgan: Me, too. It's been a long time coming, so I'm very excited for everyone to see it.
It looks... so different from TVD.
I think in terms of the looks of it, I know the director, Chris Grismer, really wanted to bring out the color of New Orleans, so it retained some of that kind of shadowy quality of Vampire Diaries, but it absolutely has more colors and more vibrancy to it. It's less muted. And then, also tonally, it's got a more adult tone to it. It's a little darker. Vampire Diaries is much more of a coming-of-age story, and this is more about people, supernatural creatures that really embrace what they are, who love to be vampires. So it's a little different, yeah.
It's hard to come of age when you're all hundreds of years old. Are we talking about adults here?
Absolutely, yeah, that's true. There's no prom in The Originals.
What can you tell us about the plotline [starting off]?
The French Quarter of New Orleans was a town that Klaus built with Marcel, his protégé. And when Klaus and his family were forced to leave New Orleans behind, Marcel stayed and built it as he saw fit. And he managed to rise up in power and control the witches and drive out the werewolves and really run the town. So when Klaus hears that one of the witches is plotting against him, his ego gets the better of him. And he goes back to New Orleans to find out who that is and to nip it in the bud. And in doing so, he runs into his old friend Marcel and starts to realize that this guy, this vampire has got everything he wanted.
And Marcel is now running this town, in a way is king of this town, and Klaus is still scrabbling in Mystic Falls, thinking, “What am I doing? Wait a second. This is something I want.” And he's prone to jealousy and envy and all of those more negative types of traits anyway. So I think that Marcel is a little bit of a show-off, shall we say, in terms of showing Klaus what he has and what Klaus could have had. And so, Klaus rises to that bait. He doesn't like it, so he wants it back.
If we're talking strict hierarchy, it was Klaus who turned Marcel. So technically, they shouldn't be each other's equals, but is there a power struggle at this point between the two of them?
Well, I mean, Klaus is by far the more powerful being. He's an Original vampire. Plus he's a hybrid, so he has that on Marcel. But Marcel runs the town, so he has all of the vampires in the town who work for him. That's over a hundred vampires. Plus, he's in control of the witches. None of the witches can do magic without his say-so. So that's a huge.
What kind of stories do you see there being told [on] The Originals?
I would hope over the course of the seasons that there would be potential for it to be a story of Klaus's salvation. I think from the point where we brought him in from where he started, and then those little cracks we've seen in his kind of villain demeanor, I think there's potential there to be redeemed. And I think this whole season of Vampire Diaries has been a setup.
I love the scene where Caroline says to him, “Anyone who is capable of love is capable of being saved.” If I were to make the decisions — which I don't — that would be the buzz line for him, for the season. But our storyline, the Original storyline has always been family and the ties that bind us and the idea that we can do these horrible, terrible things to each other, but no one, woe betide the person who steps on our toes, who comes in trying to challenge one of us, then we're all thick as thieves.
So I think it would really be the power struggle with the family and everyone else outside the family and also the dynamics within the family. I mean, it's on a more epic scale. Even the pilot teased a war between the witches and the vampires. So I'd very much like to explore this genre, but on a more kind of epic scale, like less coming of age and more like this.
Will we get flashbacks in the [new] first episode?
Not in the new pilot. There's so much there, coming to a new city and introducing all these new characters, but should we go to series, I think, I'm almost positive we'll have flashbacks. I mean, there's a wealth of history to explore there. So yeah, absolutely the series, but no, not in the pilot.
As a character, do you see Klaus going back to Mystic Falls if the New Orleans thing doesn't work out? Can he just sort of go back and hang?
I mean, I don't personally. I mean I understand his reason for staying behind in Mystic Falls so long with unfinished business, and we've seen him pack his stuff about three times and then not quite leave. For me, the idea of a 1,000-year-old being choosing Mystic Falls as a place to live or to settle down is not as realistic as somewhere like New York or London or Paris or New Orleans. I think he's showing himself to be a man of culture, a man who appreciates art and music and all of these things as well as graphic displays of violence. So I think certainly a city which embodies all of that would be more likely to be his permanent home.
If you could take someone with you from the Mystic Falls world into this world —
What are you fishing for now with this question? If I could take one of the random characters from Mystic Falls, who would I take with me? Come on, what are you looking for here? I would take Sheriff Forbes, definitely. No. Obviously, Klaus would take Caroline. I think that's the person who he's interested in. He's seen the thing through with Stefan in terms of their friendship, and he’s realized that Stefan isn't the ripper anymore. He fought that stuff so hard when Klaus tried to bring him back to who he was, and I think there's unfinished business with him and Caroline. So I think he would absolutely if he could take one person take her, but then you knew that anyway.
As a character, it seems like Klaus can take or leave Mystic Falls and not feel so bad about it. But as you, the actor, how do you feel about leaving TVD?
This show, it goes without saying, it’s changed my life. It's utterly opened me up to an audience who probably would have never seen anything I've done, and now, it seems like everything I've ever done is on YouTube. So I'm eternally grateful to the show. I think I've been playing sort of B-storylines for a long time because there's only so much of Klaus we can see in Vampire Diaries. Because the show is about Damon and Stefan and Elena, and it should be about them. It started about those, and it should finish about those. And I don't think there's room to expand more upon my character in that show.
So for me, I'm really excited to be moving into a show that we can learn more about him, and I'm really hopeful that they will exploit the crossover angle as much as they can. I'm perfectly willing, should my schedule allow it, for Klaus to make sporadic appearances in Mystic Falls, and I think they would be missing a trick if they didn't bring a few of the characters, perhaps even the one I talked about earlier, over to New Orleans for an episode or two at least.
But yeah, personally, I think this is the right time. I feel like if Klaus stays in Mystic Falls, and our heroes don't kill him — because he's never going to be on the same page entirely as our heroes; they're always going to be at odds — it just makes them look weak and stupid. I don't think anybody wants the heroes to look weak and stupid. So I think it's time for Klaus to branch out. I think for me as an actor as well. The challenge of having more screen time and heading up a show is certainly one.
So the fourth time he packs his bag, he's really leaving, man.
He's really leaving now. No one believes him because he's cried wolf so many times, but yeah, he's really going. He's packed up his stuff, and he's heading out.
What about Warhouse and Revelation. Is there anything we should know about [them]?
Yeah, Warhouse has gotten distribution. They just released the press today, actually. So it's on the IMDb site for Warhouse now. We've got distribution, and we've got US distribution as well. I think it's going to be very limited cinema release, then On Demand and so on and so forth. That after all the patience of everybody waiting to see that film. That's coming out there.
And Revelation... we got into the New York City International Film Festival. So that's the third film festival we've got into now in competition. Now, I'm just trying to collect the laurels like a badge of honor to put on the web poster, but I'm really excited. We played at Atlanta, and we're doing Los Angeles Fear and Fantasy. And we're doing New York City International Film Festival as well. I really feel like I'm kind of blessed at the moment. It's a really wonderful time.