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The Blood-Sucking Series Ian Somerhalder Auditioned For Before The Vampire Diaries

In 2009, Ian Somerhalder made viewers swoon with his charismatic turn as the wicked Damon Salvatore on The CW's "The Vampire Diaries." The older brother of the compassionate, true-hearted Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), Damon is a foil to his sibling's good intentions. He happily leans into the ruthless nature of his identity as a vampire. While his younger brother fights against his bloodlust, Damon preys on humans with an offhand quip and a devilish smirk. At the same time, his bad-boy persona ultimately proves to be just that –- a thin façade that hides his penchant for strong, poignant emotions, including an unerring sense of loyalty. Throughout the show's run, Somerhalder's versatile portrayal of the tortured Salvatore consistently deepened the lore of the overall story, most notably when he falls in love with his brother's girlfriend, the spirited human Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev).

For eight seasons, "The Vampire Diaries" enthralled fans with the love triangle between the Salvatore brothers and Elena (via EW). The chemistry of the show's leads led to a wildly successful run on The CW, which ultimately culminated in a slate of spin-offs that built off the mythology of the original show, including "The Originals" and "Legacies" (via Forbes). Even after Somerhalder completed his arc as Damon, his character remained a heroic figure in the town of Mystic Falls. However, "The Vampire Diaries" was not the first time Somerhalder was in the running to play a supernatural bloodsucker. Before landing his star-making role as Damon, he originally auditioned for another popular vampire series.

He auditioned for the steamy HBO vampire drama True Blood

During an interview with Newsweek, Ian Somerhalder revealed that he first auditioned to play the character Jason Stackhouse on "True Blood." The HBO series follows human protagonist Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) as she becomes embroiled in the dramas of a Louisiana community of vampires. While the role of her brother Jason eventually went to actor Ryan Kwanten, Somerhalder noted that he was quite passionate about the potential opportunity. As Somerhalder explained, "I'm from New Orleans. There's a lot of vampire mystique and mythology that resonates there, and I was fascinated by it. I always wanted to play one ... I just couldn't convince Alan Ball that was my role." Stressing the extent of his disillusionment, he added that he was only able to watch "True Blood" after securing his role as Damon on "The Vampire Diaries," per Newsweek.

However, despite his initial disappointment, Somerhalder was equally enthusiastic about his audition for "The Vampire Diaries," sharing that he "desperately wanted it." According to the actor, he rushed through the Nevada desert to arrive on time for his meeting with the team (via Newsweek). Despite the highly competitive audition, he was clearly able to make a lasting impression with his performance. In the end, it appears that everything worked out exactly as it should have for the vampires of Bon Temps and Mystic Falls.