For the last three seasons we’ve watched Nina Dobrev declare herself one of TV’s most divine dramatic actresses with her continually evolving and exciting performance(s) on The Vampire Diaries. And starting Friday, Nina takes that powerful screen presence to a larger canvas when The Perks of Being A Wallflower opens in theaters.
In the must-see movie, Nina plays Candace, big sister to Logan Lerman’s Charlie, and proof that he’s not the only victim of the their dysfunctional family.
Then, on October 11, the fourth season of The CW’s Vampire Diaries premieres an episode that picks up with the jaw-dropping revelation that Elena was accidentally turned into a vampire at the close of season three. How will she handle this new life? That was just one of the questions Nina answered when she chatted with TheInsider.com today!
TheInsider.com: Were you familiar with The Perks of Being A Wallflower before the script crossed your desk?
Nina Dobrev: No, the script was [her first exposure]. Once I brought up that I was auditioning for The Perks of Being A Wallflower, my assistant was immediately like, “What?!? I love that book, it changed my life.” And from that point on, everyone I spoke to was very vocal about how big an impact the book had on their lives. Having read it after the fact, I can see why. It has such a unique voice, a very important message and I think Stephen [Chbosky, author/screenwriter/director] did a great job of making the transition from novel to screenplay to movie.
Insider.com: What was it about Candace’s journey that appealed to you?
Nina: I gravitate towards roles that have depth or issues or are real people going through problems. Something that’s going to be challenging. When I read the script, Candace wanted to be perfect but is in this abusive relationship. There’s more to her in the books, and the initial screenplay, that didn’t make it into the final film – she gets pregnant and has an abortion – unfortunately for me. But that’s why I liked the character and she was so different from anything I’ve ever done before.
Insider.com: Your character has a strong opposition to mix tapes from her boyfriend. Are you a fan?
Nina: My friends and I still make each other CDs for roadtrips and I think they’re a lot of fun. I love them. But I haven’t seen a tape recorder in years [laughs].
Insider.com: Who has been dominating your mixtapes of late?
Nina: M83, Florence + the Machine, Ellie Goulding, We Are Young (by fun.). Arcade Fire always makes me happy too.
Insider.com: On TVD you’re in nearly every scene, was it nice to work on a project in a less-demanding capacity?
Nina: It was a breather, for sure. This was a low budget film so it wasn’t as slow as some movies are, but compared to Vampire Diaries, it was definitely a breather. I also didn’t have to be on set every single day – the film didn’t rest on my shoulders, that fell to Logan [Lerman] and Emma [Watson]. They’re both so beautiful in the film.
Insider.com: Before you head back into a new season of TVD, is there anything you try to do to prepare?
Nina: I am a big vacationer. I love traveling and during every opportunity, even long weekends, I get on a plane and go somewhere. To get a little bit of R&R, rejuvenate and refresh. You need a change of pace sometimes. Spa weekends are big for me too – I just discovered Korean Spas, which are amazing, but weird because you have to walk around completely naked [laughs]. It’s this giant place with 8 different saunas, and steamrooms and scrubs. You can even stay the night there, which is weird to me, but it’s this giant retreat of amazingness. It’s really refreshing.
Insider.com: Given Elena’s new status, does the fourth season of Vampire Diaries feel refreshed as well?
Nina: It does feel a little different. This season is more character driven. We’re going deep into everyone’s storylines – there will still be a lot of action, but I feel like last season was too action driven and so shock driven that you started to not care about the characters. Or if you did, there wasn’t enough time to feel what they were feeling because something else would happen and your attention would be pulled somewhere else. This season, we’re focusing back in on the characters and grounding it back into reality. Without holding on to your humanity, why would anyone care about these characters?
Insider.com: You’ve been vocal about wanting to explore Elena outside of her relationships with Stefan and Damon. Does this new storyline allow for that?
Nina: Not really. Not yet, at least. She is leaning on both of the boys, and all her friends, in a big way for support. Everyone helps her in different areas, but she’s not very independent in the first part of the season. I think that’ll come, but we’re not there yet.
Insider.com: You obviously have experiencing playing a vampire, but is it odd to be exploring the transition aspect of that journey now?
Nina: It is definitely a challenge to act like it’s the first time for everything. Elena is experiencing all these things for the first time, whereas I’ve played Katherine a lot, so that’s been interesting.
Insider.com: Were you excited by the idea of Elena turning, or did you need convincing?
Nina: I’m definitely mourning Elena’s humanity a bit because, selfishly, I liked the variety of playing these completely different characters. Obviously they’re still different because Elena is still Elena in almost every single way, but there are definite changes. She’s going in a different direction with the way she acts and what she does — I think people will be surprised by the shift.
Insider.com: I’d also imagine the role Stefan played in her transition alters their relationship as well?
Nina: There is a definite shift that makes it, in a lot of ways, very much like the triangle we saw in season one. But it’s very different because, yes, the boys are still arguing and having differing opinions over how she should lead her newly vamped life. But while their arguments remain the same, her perspective is very different now that she’s a vampire.
Insider.com: What are you excited for fans to see this season?
Nina: I’m excited for fans to eventually see how Elena does start changing. She’s been needing to loosen up and she’s going to, which will be fun for the fans to see – and fun for me to shoot!