'The Secret Circle's' Chris Zylka on the romance factor and replacing a beloved character

tsc-jake-cassie-kiss.jpgNick may be dead, but "The Secret Circle" has found a new member in his older brother, Jake -- who is taking over the window across from Cassie's bedroom as well as his brother's place in the coven.

Chris Zylka, who was considered for the role of Nick during pilot season, says he didn't have any trouble coming into the show and working alongside an already-established cast. "The cast is the most amazing cast on set and off the set," he tells Zap2it. "Everyone's so wonderful and has their own personalities that they bring to the group. It's really fascinating; we all kind of have our own circle off-screen. "

He says that the biggest challenge in joining the show was the idea that he was, in a sense, replacing a beloved character. "The only pressure I felt - that I completely put on myself, by the way - was because Nick is such a vital character to the story and so loved by so many fans, I didn't want to let them down. I also wanted them to give me the chance and the opportunity. And they have, I think."

tsc-chris-zylka-vertical.jpgWhen Zylka joined the cast, he only one episode of the show had aired, so he hadn't seen much of Nick at all. As the weeks went on and he was able to watch Louis Hunter's performance, his take on Jake changed significantly.

"The route that we were going to go was just that Jake hated his brother, going all the way with the bad boy thing, but there was something that Louis did with the character that really made it impossible for me to hate Nick -- not only as the character of Jake, but as myself," Zylka says.

"Jake and Nick are so much alike, but Jake wears his heart on his sleeve, whereas Nick was so internalized. Watching the episodes as they'd air, I would understand Nick more, and understand Jake a bit more through what Louis did. Kudos to him."

As we saw in last week's episode, Jake has the unique experience of being both a witch -- who is now bound to a circle -- and a witch hunter, out to eliminate the magic that killed his parents. "There's some s*** going on!" Zylka laughs. "As an actor, you try to be as loose as possible all the time, every scene you do, but there's something that stiffens you up when you're lying to everyone, going through every little scene lying to everyone. It's a dark character, but it's not so much brooding, it's straight-up lying. He's putting a smile behind a frown, instead of a frown behind a smile."

Jake has already caught Cassie's eye, and as the episodes continue, the spark between these two newcomers will only grow. The question, of course, is whether Jake's affection for her is genuine, or just another part of his plan to take her down.

"He has this goal, and he's doggedly smart and he covers all of his bases all of the time," Zylka says. "But can this girl get to him? Will this girl get to him in time? There's no answer for it yet. He's trying to figure out what's more important -- someone new, or an old feeling that won't go away, like losing your parents and knowing the secrets of the town and knowing the pain that magic is capable of causing."

Tune in to "The Secret Circle" Thursdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.
Photo/Video credit: The CW
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