- Paul Wesley took an unusual approach to his chemistry test with Nina Dobrev by purposely ignoring her, wanting their first meeting to be authentic for their characters.
- Despite the initial awkwardness, Wesley’s approach worked, and their audition was a magical moment, leading to him landing the part.
- Dobrev and Wesley weren’t close at first, and even disliked each other, but grew to be very good friends.
The Vampire Diaries star Paul Wesley opens up about the unusual approach he took to landing his chemistry test with Nina Dobrev. Although the CW’s hit supernatural drama eventually moved on to other pairings, letting go of the romance between Dobrev’s Elena Gilbert and Wesley’s Stefan Salvatore, the duo remained popular because of the spark and real friendship between the actors. However, they started off on the wrong foot.
Wesley reflected on this in an interview on the Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum podcast (conducted prior to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike), explaining that he took the approach of ignoring Dobrev and turning his back before their chemistry read to make the first meeting between their characters more authentic. The approach worked, but it led to an awkward initial interaction. It was also a different approach than other auditioners, many of whom felt they needed to be extra friendly to Dobrev, since she was already cast as the leading lady. Read Wesley’s quote below:
I had a real specific approach… Nina, who was already cast as the lead girl was there. And everybody in that audition room during that process was kissing her ass because she was in the hallways. Everyone was going up to her and saying hi… And I was like, f—k that. I’m not going to look her in the eye and I’m also not going to introduce myself… I’m just gonna sit in the corner. Not because I was trying to be rude, but because in the scene, we were supposed to not know who one another is.
It’s supposed to be a mystery. We were supposed to meet for the first time. We were supposed to meet in that exact moment. And I thought, Well, f–k that. I want our moment to be really special. I want her to get to know me in that moment. Nina remembers this. And I just remember her looking over at me wanting to say hi to me and introduce herself. And I just turned away. I think she thought initially like, Who the f–ck does this guy think he is?
But anyway, I went in there and I just remember the audition and the first time we ever met in real life was actually in that audition room. It was just a very magical moment. And I felt it. She felt (it) and I know all those studio executives felt it. And I think that’s what landed me the part.
Wesley & Dobrev Are Good Friends Now, But They Weren’t At First
The awkward beginnings between Dobrev and Wesley weren’t just limited to the interaction at the chemistry test. Back in 2019 interviews with ET, the pair confirmed they hated each other at first. Dobrev even shared that they “despised” one another for a long time, with Wesley noting they weren’t creatively in sync either. They moved past it after “basically driving each other insane” and developed what Wesley describes as an “absolute mutual love.”
Wesley gives credit to their rough beginnings for the reason they became close later on, saying, “I actually think my best friendships always come from this evolution. And so now, I just adore her, she adores me, and I talk to her more than most of the other cast members.” That friendship can be seen in how Wesley visited Dobrev on the set of her short-lived CBS sitcom Fam, surprising her by showing up for a taping. They’ve also occasionally shared photos of their reunions on social media.
Wesley and Dobrev are in good company. The leads of The Vampire Diaries are similar to Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling, who didn’t like each other at first while filming the popular romantic drama The Notebook. The same situation is true for Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, who only became friends and got close once the original run of The X-Files ended. It could be the case that a healthy dislike can still make for excellent on-screen chemistry.