(Jeremy Gilbert) from The Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries is back this week and I think I speak for everyone when I say ‘Finally!’ This hiatus has been far too long for my liking. When last we left our favorite residents of Mystic Falls, they were dealing with a crazy werewolf transformation (and some great Caroline and Tyler moments!), Stefan trapped in the tomb (and freed by Elijah as part of a deal with Elena) and Luka lying to Bonnie about freeing the moonstone of its curse. Bonnie obviously has feelings for Luka, but Jeremy has feelings for Bonnie, which makes for a pretty fantastic love triangle. I recently had the chance to visit the set of The Vampire Diaries in Atlanta, where I chatted with Steven R. McQueen about Jeremy’s bigger role this season, the aforementioned love triangle and whether we might see him team up with Damon again anytime soon.

Jeremy’s really gotten into the mix this season. What has it been like for you taking on this bigger role?
It’s been fun. Jeremy definitely came back with a vengeance. He’s kind of opened Pandora’s Box and likes what he’s found. At the end of the first season he kind of had no purpose and was willing just to kind of say F it and give it all up and become this monster. He has purpose and drive now.

How do you think his motivations have changed from season one until now?
I think a lot of times when he was young, he was at a point when he had no direction. He had no way to go but down. And now he has his feet pointed in a certain direction and he’s made the choice to keep moving forward.

Yeah. And Anna was such a fan favorite.
Malese was a good actress.

Yeah, she was fantastic. But now there’s this budding thing with Bonnie and Jeremy, so where is that going to go? What might we see coming up?
(laughs) The Bonnie/Jeremy storyline was very unexpected. But when it happened, our chemistry was so great and ended up working so well that it obviously can’t be jumped right into because she’s friends with my sister and stuff like that. But I feel like it comes from such a pure place. It’s been fun.

Are we going to see more of a love triangle with Luka?

Some jealousy perhaps?
The love triangle definitely goes on. I’m hoping Jeremy will prevail.

Team Jeremy! And how is his relationship with Elena going to continue to develop?
I think Jeremy was at the young, fighting the world, everyone’s against me point (laughs) but now he’s found out about this new world and he’s got his head screwed on a little straighter and he wants to protect his sister now, more than anything. More than saying “You’ve done this and this and hurt me this way.” It’s just like, alright, I get all that, I’m just here to protect my sister and kind of get more involved in this world.

Do you think we’re going to see Jeremy and Damon butt heads again?
Maybe. I’m sure they’ll butt heads. I think in the beginning, Jeremy was looking for a father figure because he never had one, ever since his father died. And I think he saw that in Damon for a little while until he saw that he wasn’t a great example. He was somebody that was pointing him in the wrong direction. And so I don’t think it will be the same dynamic as it was before, but they are together in this small town so they are bound to intertwine at some point.

And what do you think has been the biggest challenge for you playing Jeremy?
Just trying to connect with all the loss that’s he’s had. (laughs) He’s gone through more things than most people ever will or I hope ever have to and just letting your imagination go and kind of connecting with that spot of hitting complete rock bottom can be emotionally strenuous.

But you’re such a happy person!
Yeah, it’s true.

Happier than Jeremy is!
I have my days (laughs) I have my days. So just kind of connecting with that can be difficult at times. But as an actor, it’s fun.

Do you have a favorite moment from filming the show so far?
There’s been so many. He’s gone through so many weird things. But I really liked episode 210. [It] was probably one of my favorites just because he really goes toe to toe with the big dogs and kind of holds his own til he gets his ass kicked or his butt kicked. [Ed Note: Steven is so polite] And then puts himself on the line with Bonnie and gets shut down. That was just fun. There were a bunch of levels in that episode and it was fun to shoot.

I hear that the lean in for the kiss wasn’t scripted.
No, that was all me. We had this beat where we’re supposed to just stare at each other and it’s supposed to be uncomfortable. And I was just like alright, I feel like Jeremy’s at this point where he’s made all these mistakes and we got to that in the scene where we’re supposed to stare face to face and I was just like you know what? He’s probably so uncomfortable and so vulnerable at that moment that he’s looking for some sort of connection, some sort of physical interaction to distract himself from all this crazy-ness and then I was like alright, I’ll try to kiss her.

You went for it.
And I gave them about two takes of that and the director was stoked and they ended up keeping it. I was very happy about that.

Are we going to see Jeremy hang out with people his own age — with Tyler maybe?
Possibly. There hasn’t been too much in that because I know [he's] going through this whole transformation. So I think he’s been distracted. But I think Tyler is also very secluded, very alone in his own way, so I feel like Jeremy can relate in that respect.

Maybe there’s some future bonding ahead…some bro moments.
Yeah, I think at some point we’ll have some bro moments. (laughs)

And can you give a little teaser of what we are going to see after the hiatus?
Stuff just keeps getting crazier and crazier and I’m still like a little puppy dog chasing after Bonnie. And things will either work out or they wont.

Maybe a new love interest down the line?
Maybe, or maybe it works out, who knows!


Team Jeremy, crossing my fingers!
Me too!