JJ: So there’s a new lady in Damon’s life, a reporter named Andie Star. What can you say about her?
IS: Andie’s awesome. She’s hot, quick, quirky, and witty. Even under compulsion she doesn’t give Damon sh–. What she does is she fires back at him as quickly as he fires off to her, and what’s cute about it is that he has this funny little answer yet he ties her scarf around her neck so no one can see. It’s just awesome. I love the dynamic that they created with her and they’re sort of this little team. She’s helping him execute his plans and they’re really just an unlikely team.
JJ: And who’s playing her?
IS: Her name is Dawn Olivieri. She’s a good friend of mine and I’ve known her for years and I was stoked when I heard that she was coming [to Vampire Diaries]. I don’t know how long we can keep her because she’s just got cast opposite Don Cheadle [in House of Lies] so I don’t think we get to keep her, but it’s bad for Damon and great for her.
JJ: Executive producer Julie Plec teased, “We have this impending ritual, the sacrifice that will break the curse of the sun and the moon — that’s where we’ll end our season”. Can you talk or hint a little bit about that?
IS: It’s funny because we get our scripts just a couple of days before. I know that there’s going to be a pretty sizable showdown between the werewolves and vampires and I can’t imagine Klaus not showing up after all this talk. So I don’t know, I can only imagine the way I see things going so there will be a big showdown, its a problem. Damon forged these relationships, found himself caring in places and times when its very intermediate, but I think protecting Elena and his home from one entity that’s more powerful or could possibly kill him is enough. Protecting her too is very difficult and it’s wearing on him and the couple is starting feel emotional and start not being able to understand how to grapple with all this emotion, it’s really tough.
JJ: Besides reading the scripts, is there a certain thing you always do to get into character?
IS: Yes. I think being able to pool from your life’s present, past, and future and knead the thread of life into that text is always a good idea. But there’s a woman I work with, and she’s probably one of the most renowned acting coaches walking on the face of the planet. She trains a lot of actors that we’ve grown to respect and I worked really closely with her day in and day out. There is a significant amount of preparation that goes into this.
JJ: Let’s talk about your IS Foundation. Has environmental protection always been a passion? Was there a specific experience that influenced your decision to launch it?
IS: Environmental protection was always a big thing for me. I grew up on the marshes of Louisiana; literally my front yard was thousands of acres of marsh. It was all in my dream to be part of an organization that protected the environment, but the Gulf oil spill was ultimately what made me drop the hammer immediately and say that “this is enough”. Watching my entire home be destroyed because of the lack of regulatory commissions for fossil fuels and the amount of back scratching that goes into the petroleum industry - or even any large industry. It changed my life and the lives of a lot people … This also involves cruelty and overpopulation issues with animals, so this is one of the most phenomenally inspiring thing I’ve ever been in involved in. The amount of support for this foundation goes above and beyond. Obviously it’s invariably difficult to raise money in a time of economic depression which we’re about to get into, but it’s so inspiring. Put it this way: a 6-year-old girl sent me an e-mail saying she gave our foundation her tooth fairy money to help save the planet and it blew my mind. She asked what she can do to help and just thought that this girl is going to be the president one day.
JJ: Any plans to travel with the foundation? There was a report saying you were heading to Africa and South America?
IS: Yeah, I’m not going to get to do Africa this year, but I am going to be in Central and South America. We’ll be going with The Global Alliance for Conservation, which is one of the largest environmental protection organizations in the world. Don Cheadle and I have signed on to be the two spokesperson for this … I’m going to Central and South America to look at the areas hit hard by deforestation and to figure out how to reforest them sustainably, efficiently, and economically to find ways to put people to work. I actually can’t sleep at night sometimes and I would go on my own foundation’s website and find more factors. So every tree we save, we have been able to put the actual cost benefit analysis of, so it recycles an X amount of dollars worth of air and water. Next Year we’ll be in Africa.
JJ: That’s awesome. Besides your busy schedule with the foundation, do you have any other upcoming projects?
IS: We’ve been looking very diligently, we’re looking for anything that fits into our time frame so hopefully the next time I talk to you I’ll have something interesting for you.
JJ: Got to ask, you were included in the most recent issue of People’s Sexiest Man Alive. What did you think about that? Did you get teased about it by anyone on set? What was the feedback?
IS: I become tongue-tied because of stuff like that. Of course I get teased by stuff like that, but we all have the ability to get the best out of ourselves and those around us. I think it’s awesome that People magazine was crazy enough to include me in that roster of pretty bad ass dudes, but if they’re crazy enough to believe it then I’m stoked.