For Enzo, death is only just the beginning.
The vampire found out the love of his love that he spent 70 years pining for had been killed back in the ’60s by his best and only friend on “The Vampire Diaries” last week, so to say that he took the news poorly would be a massive understatement. Enzo flipped his humanity switch so he could enact his revenge on Damon and everyone else without remorse. He was even willing to sacrifice his own life to turn Stefan and Damon against each other since Stefan’s the reason Enzo is dead. And now, Enzo will continue with his vendetta as a ghost on The CW’s supernatural drama.
Zap2it got the man behind the dreamy ally-turned-villain Enzo, Michael Malarkey, on the line to discuss how much damage Enzo can inflict while on the Other Side, what his fate means for Malarkey’s own future on the series, and much more. Check out the full Q&A below.
Zap2it: Enzo has become a fan-favorite character in such a short amount of time. What has it been like joining the “TVD” family to such a positive reception?
Michael Malarkey: It’s been an amazing journey. I started off by auditioning for this creepy little vampire and who knew where it was going to end up? I have never felt so welcome on a set than I do with these people. It’s been an absolute joy.
The fans welcomed you with opens arms too, which was really apparent after last week’s episode. Even though Enzo died, people weren’t ready to let go of this character.
Oh man, I was really overwhelmed by all the lovely comments. I’m a big ol’ softie at heart. I’m not actually a murderous vampire. So getting all those comments and flood of tears [laughs], it was all quite heartwarming. I am so appreciative of all that support. The fans are what make our show the juggernaut that it is today. Without them, this would be a very different operation.
You’re clearly sticking around “TVD” as a ghost now, but were you ever worried that Enzo’s death meant that was it for you on the show?
Yeah, of course! Especially since I’ve been enjoying the character so immensely and I felt like he was just starting to warm up. I would have felt rather sad to have to say goodbye to him because he’s so fun to play. And then there’s the aspect of well, now you’re dead, you’re unemployed, you’re back on the job market. But mostly, I don’t want to say goodbye to one of the more fun characters that I’ve had the opportunity to play.
So tell me a little bit about what Enzo’s role is now that he’s a ghost. How much damage can he really inflict from the Other Side?
He’s going to freak everyone out for a little bit. [laughs] He’s discovered a few glitches in the matrix of the Other Side and is therefore able to manage to affect people in the land of the living in a rather creepy manner. You’ll see how in the next episode. It’s a good one. And at the moment, he’s pissed off. He’s got this vendetta and he wants to cause people trouble. He’s in full anarchist mode.
And I’m sure that’s only magnified since he flipped his humanity switch. Watching him turn off his emotions, that whole scene was just so powerful. I could literally see the emotions leaving your face. What was it like filming that scene?
I was listening to Nick Cave all day. That’s the truth. [laughs] He’s one of my favorite artists and I like to listen to music that puts me in a space to deal with the scenes that I’m going to be doing. And “Man on Fire” was all Nick Cave, the album “Push the Sky Away.” And I thoroughly enjoyed that scene. It gave me an opportunity to really investigate all these aspects of Enzo’s personality, some of which we have not really seen as viewers before. I was more focused doing that episode than any other one I’ve done on the show so far. I just felt like it required that immense focus to do it justice. I had my headphones on, going through the intentions of my character, all the way up until when they called, “Action.” That’s something that I haven’t actually done before, to that extent. But I feel like each new job I do, I try out different things and sometimes different stimuli work for me in different ways as an actor. In this particular case, that really kept me in it and helped me focus.
And the scene was even more intense due to Damon panicking and trying to prevent Enzo from flipping that switch. They have such an interesting, complex friendship, and obviously that took a hit when Enzo found out that Damon killed Maggie. So how are we going to see their friendship evolve even more going forward?
Oh god, at the moment it’s in such a precarious place. It’s going to be more like picking up the broken pieces and seeing if we could even make a puzzle out of them. It’s going to take a lot of work for them to find some kind of retribution, you know? If that’s even possible. So we’ll see how that plays out in the next coming episodes.
Since the Other Side has an expiration date, what does that mean for Enzo’s future? Is there any chance you’ll be sticking around for Season 6 (please say yes)?
[laughs] Well it means that Enzo also potentially has an expiration date. It’s up to him now to get the hell out of the Other Side in time. Hopefully he does that! [laughs] We’ll see what happens in the huge buildup to the finale. And that’s only a few episodes away! That’s crazy. It’s come up so fast, hasn’t it? But yeah, he finds out what’s going on with the Other Side and decides to make it his number one priority to get the h*** out. It does not feel good over there. It’s creepy.
So does that mean Enzo regrets essentially killing himself now that he knows what’s going on with the Other Side?
I think Enzo has such a soldier’s mind. Any vampire is like their former self, amplified by 100. So having previously been a soldier, that makes his soldier mentality even more magnified. Soldiers literally think, “No regrets. Keep moving forward. What’s next? Deal with anything as it comes along.” That’s how they survive. So I don’t think that Enzo has regrets. He sees a situation and deals with it. And I think that’s one of the most interesting sides to his personality, how methodical he is as he goes about things. “This is the problem? Let’s deal with it.”
What has been your favorite part of playing Enzo?
The fact that he’s a vampire! [laughs] I mean, I’m joking, but I’m not. Playing a vampire was, believe it or not, on my bucket list, ever since I saw “Interview With a Vampire” back when I was a wee lad. I was like, “I’ve got to do that someday. That looks fun and sexy and hot.” So that’s been a joy. But also the fact that he’s kind of a bad guy. I’m wary about using that term because I think all characters have choices and they make choices, but that doesn’t mean that they’re good or bad. They just make choices on what they think is appropriate in any given situation. But the fact that he is a “bad guy” is really enjoyable. I have played my fair share of heroes and heroes are actually harder to play in a sense. You don’t second-guess bad guys as much. But a hero is constantly questing and
questioning what’s right. That’s harder to play, funnily enough.
That’s interesting. I’ve never really thought about that before.
Yeah, neither have I. It just kind of fell out of my mouth. [laughs]
Well it makes sense! We’ve seen flashbacks to Enzo as a vampire, is there any chance we’ll see flashbacks to when Enzo was a human?
I would absolutely love that. They only tell us a certain amount because things are constantly shifting as they go along. I have my own personal backstory that I’ve created but it changes if I get a script and I see, “Oh, this is what happened,” and I’ll just shift my narrative to incorporate that. But I would love to know what their idea is for what exactly went on in Enzo’s past. I love flashback episodes. They’re so fun. You get to wear cool costumes and goofy wigs.
Any chance you’ll share the narrative you’ve come up with for Enzo’s past?
Oh that’s private. [laughs] That’s actually rather embarrassing to talk about to be honest. Some acting work should stay under the surface. [laughs]
But yeah, how cool would that be to see Enzo as a human in like, 1800’s London, walking around on the streets? That would be pretty sweet. I’d love that.
Now I’m dying to see that. Especially since seeing flashbacks to when vampires were humans gives us a whole other perspective of who they are.
Absolutely. And that’s why I love all the flashbacks they’ve done on the show.
“The Vampire Diaries” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.