Gillies’ Elijah is probably the most well-balanced voice in the family, a stark contrast to the impulsive Klaus. When we spoke with Mr. Gillies at this year’s Comic-Con press room, he talked a little bit about that balance, and how Elijah’s agenda on The Originals might be pulled in different directions.
“I think it’s going to be the balancing act between navigating his brother away from his own sort of malevolent tendencies, and trying to design a strategy for taking back for their kingdom,” he told a table with several journalists from various outlets; however, he was unable to tell us specifics. “I actually don’t know. These things are written as we go along; I don’t know what his strategy’s going to be. I just know that he’s probably going to put his family first. That’s all I know.” The child of Klaus and Hayley – revealed in the series pilot – might be one of those things that also will guide the story and Elijah’s approach to family. “If you have the seed of possibly the most indestructible person on the planet, and you now have this child and it happens to be his relative, naturally, he’s going to use that as his bedrock for this new kingdom,” Gillies said. “It’s also going to be [Elijah’s] way to probably nurture and gently assuage out any of Klaus’s malevolent tendencies – to seduce him back towards a path where they could have some degree of power within New Orleans.”
Gillies landed the Originals job while also doing another series — CTV’s Saving Hope up in Canada, which also stars Smallville’s Erica Durance. For “two brutal months” Gillies will be doing both shows without time off, and Gillies admits anxiety, but an enthusiasm to see what happens. Ultimately, he knows doing both shows will be worth it. “I’m young. I have a baby on the way, so it’s a good thing for me to be earning money,” he said, also confirming that this double-duty will not affect the number of Originals episodes he appears in. “So far, I’m in the first few episodes… as many as they’ve written, I’m in ’em all,” he confirmed. The first episode following the pilot, in particular, is very Elijah-heavy. “It’s happening at the same time as the pilot’s happening, but you’re seeing it from Elijah’s perspective. So, Elijah will be interacting with a bunch of characters, and then you’ll see him turn a corner, and suddenly we’re in a scene from the pilot. You’re realizing the behind the scenes [moments] that he had while the pilot was transpiring. It’s really neat,” he enthused.
Continuing the theme of double duty, the series may also have to address Elijah’s feelings for Katherine (the Elena lookalike played by The Vampire Diaries’ Nina Dobrev), which Gillies does not seem to see as over. “I don’t want it to be,” Gillies confirmed. “And now that she’s human, she’s all the more sexy. Elijah loves humanity. He’s in love with humanity. I made that decision for him a long time ago, and I always try and squeeze it into the performances. I love him loving human beings. I think it’s one of the most important comments in the show, and I think the more humble she becomes, the more madly in love with her he will fall,” he said.
The mysterious New Orleans plays a good backdrop for The Originals, which Gillies describes as “sort of Games Of Thrones-y, but with this Louisiana vampire world,” and he points out that things there will be different from what we’ve seen in The Vampire Diaries. “There’s more of an objective. To me, Mystic Falls was more about survival, but I feel like in New Orleans, it’s more about retaking this empire,” he said. And, although Gillies once touted New York as a good place for a TVD spin-off, Gillies is very happy with the new locale, which promises “lots of intrigue in terms of where you can take the characters.” The battle for New Orleans begins in October.
The Originals premieres October 3 on The CW.