Paul Wesley: Saying goodbye to the character Stefan and the things that came along with being on the show [was hard]. Honestly, the show went on for so long that you sort of start saying goodbye by Season 6. It’s not a sudden jolt — you’re already starting to transition into a different phase in your life. So it wasn’t like I was splashed in the face with cold water and in complete shock. I’ve sort of been saying my slow goodbye to the character for about three years now, which I’m grateful for because it makes it easier to transition.
CK: The last day on set was incredibly emotional. I knew that I needed to cry … a lot. And luckily Julie was directing and wrote the last episode and she’s a crier, so it made me feel comfortable to cry as much as I did. It felt like an important moment of closure. “The Vampire Diaries” represented the majority of my 20s. I booked the show when I was 21 and I’m about to turn 30 now, so it’s really defined a decade of my life — and a pretty significant one as far as growing up and who you become. It really did shape me, and a lot of that is because of the people I got to work with. It felt so significant to stand next to so many people that had seen me grow and change and who’ve I’ve seen grow and change. We’ve all been with each other through life and death and marriage and divorce, and to be able to all stand in the Salvatore House great room set and hold hands and put arms around each other and really say goodbye to the series was a powerful moment I’ll never forget. A lot of tears, and silly string. The silly string brought the laughs after the tears.
JP: In that last moment, we really wanted to get Paul and Ian [Somerhalder] at the same time and so I had Candice and Kat [Graham] work with the art department, props and the AD department so that they could ninja-style launch an attack with the silly string and all the poppers and the sparkling champagne and all that. So we ended up wrapping on a party note.
PW: Oh, it was really funny. It was a bit surreal. I finished my take in my final scene and literally they hadn’t even yelled cut yet and someone just sprayed silly string directly into my eye. [Laughs] I have grown up on the set of “Vampire Diaries,” and, in many ways, it’s a beautiful thing and, in many ways, I have a relatively myopic view of things because you’re on set eight months out of the year. I’m 34 and I certainly want to be able to honor some of the artistic feelings I have in terms of my taste level. “The Vampire Diaries” is a fantastic show and I am so grateful for it and I think that it’s been incredible, but it will be exciting for me to do a series or a film or a play, as an actor, that is definitely a little more focused on adult stories.