As Marcel on "The Originals" (premiering tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET on The CW), Charles Michael Davis is all charismatic malice, charming even when he's tearing apart anyone who'd be stupid enough to stand in his way. Marcel might just be the guy to take on Klaus (Joseph Morgan), though we'll find out how that head-to-head turns out soon enough. The show, a spinoff from "The Vampire Diaries," follows Klaus to New Orleans, a little swamp he once built into a real city many, many years ago -- and, when he left, a city he left in the hands of his friend Marcel. Now Klaus is back, and Marcel isn't all that happy to hand over the reigns. I talked to Davis during press tour, and found out that, like Marcel, he's charming and, yes, funny. Unlike Marcel, I don't think he kills people when they displease him. Or at least I hope not.
What's up with Marcel and Klaus? They used to be friends, and now Klaus is picking a fight with him.
There's a lot of history. We used to be friends, and he was also a mentor and sort of a father figure. And with that, he also wants what Marcel has, so he's going to get creative, like really creative in how he starts to disassemble his rules and his inner circle all to get back the city and also to maintain his family. So I'm one of the things that stands in his way, and also in the way of the witches and the werewolves.
It would seem that Marcel might have an advantage once Klaus becomes a daddy.
He's got a baby and I've got [sorry, guys -- I'm cutting this because the episode hasn't aired yet]. I've got that little ace up my sleeve of tricks that you'll get to see.
Should we get used to Marcel? He seems a worthy rival for Klaus.
I'm in it for the long haul, but it's a show that involves a lot of killing. Characters die and come back, so… As long as I don't give away too many secrets right now, I think I should survive the first season.
Because Julie [Plec, show creator] will kill you?
She has a butterfly knife that she keeps in her back pocket. That's not true, but…
I love it! Julie Plec, assassin!
She's trained in the ancient art of knife fighting. She's got, like, 30 percent of the network and she can knife fight. And she may be pretty good with nunchucks, I don't know.
What does it take to capture that vampire glower?
You just have to look really intense and the lighting helps.
Marcel has never been to Mystic Falls, but he could travel, right?
I haven't been in Mystic Falls…
But could you be? Let's make a crossover happen!
I'm trying to get on other shows that aren't even relevant to my character. I'll be on "Reign," which is a period piece [laughs]. With crossovers, we'd like for it to happen. We're only 20 minutes away from each other, our studios. But then again, there's our work schedules. So maybe if I can, I'll just do background someday. Show up in the background. Hang out in Mystic Falls, catch a football game, I don't know. Really, it would just be "Where's Waldo." See if you can spot one of "The Originals" [stars] in "The Vampire Diaries"!
What's coming down the pipeline for you?
There's a short film I did with Matthew Gray Gubler ["Criminal Minds"] called "The Learning Curve" based on the short story by David Sedaris, I think about David Sedaris. So it's really well done, it's funny, it's a great cast, and that will be coming out to the film festivals very soon.
Some characters have a long history on "Vampire Diaries." Did you worry about coming into this established group?
Did I feel like that lonely new kid who just moved into town? They were very welcoming, even the first day I showed up. I had known the UPM on "Vampire Diaries," so she had a welcome sign on her back, "Charlies Michael Davies, #1 fan," and Joseph and I had known each other for a few years before this. So for me, it was just exciting. I wasn't worried. The only challenge was to bring the energy. I'm very fortunate. This is a great cast, a great family. It makes it easy to be a mean vampire when you can be happy Charles off camera.
Well, Marcel is really pretty nice until he kills you.
Or until he's hungry. We're all like that.
Will you be watching "The Originals"?