Jim's Notebook: The Walking Dead, Person of Interest, TVD Set Visit

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This week’s Notebook comes to you from Mystic Falls... well, Atlanta, to be honest, where I'm hard at work on the set of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals.

The former is back in production for Season 5 and Ian Somerhalder told me why the Salvatore Mansion is so crowded. Elsewhere, Walking Dead star Steven Yeun told me how he’s adjusted – or maybe not – to newfound fame, while Person of Interest’s Sarah Shahi gets some gun lessons. Let’s do this...

Jim's Notebook

THE WALKING DEAD When you’re on a show that this much a part of the pop culture zeitgeist, you’re going to get recognized in your everyday life. How is Steven Yeun handling it? “It’s great in regards that I love that people love our show,” he told me over coffee recently. “I just don’t know that I’m the type of person who was mentally ready to have that…it wasn’t gradual, it was out of nowhere. I definitely had a moment where I flipped out but I’m okay now.”

But while we all know celebrities that love themselves a little too much, the opposite can be said for Yeun, who said the fans are often more than a little excited to see him and he doesn’t always know how to react: “To be honest, I’m not even that satisfied with my performance so I don’t know what you’re talking about [but] it’s that mentality that always kind of messes me up because if someone snaps and screams, I don’t know how to respond to that. Do you say ‘Yeah, it’s me’ or do you just go ‘Uh…hi…what’s up?’ That’s what freaked me out.”

The actor, who still returns to his comedy roots in improv when he’s able, said perhaps his subconscious is more at work with his take on it all. He told me with a laugh: “I might be guarding my sanity for when all of it stops so I won’t miss it, per se.” (Read my full interview with Yeun now!)

PERSON OF INTEREST For all her work on shows like Chicago Fire and Fairly Legal, one thing Sarah Shahi hasn’t done much of is work with a gun. So how has she dealt with yielding a weapon, which she does frequently when she has to help Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel get out of a tough spot on Person of Interest?

“When I first got the role [of Sam Shaw], I had a wonderful instructor named James Deaver, who, he's in the Marines, and I had such a crush on him,” she said with a smile.

As for what the training entailed, the actress, who does return to Chicago Fire to wrap up her guest arc from last season, sai:  “I kind of did this very intensive course for a couple of weeks with just military training, weapons training, gun training, knife training, stunt training. They just really kind of threw me in there with [Jim], and yeah, this was the first I've done anything like this.” And, she also teased, watch for us to find out more about Shaw in Person of Interest Season 3, specifically Episode 5. (More of my on-set chat with Shahi coming soon on TV Fanatic - and you can watch the Person of Interest season premiere promo in the meantime!)

Sarah Shahi on POI

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES I spent yesterday in Mystic Falls chatting up Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, Steven R. McQueen and new cast members Rick Cosnett (Dr. Wes Maxfield) and Kendrick Sampson (student Jesse) about The Vampire Diaries Season 5. Somerhalder, sitting with me in the Salvatore Mansion, told me when the new season launches, the house is a little crowded: “The Gilberts are camped out at the Salvatore Mansion and I guess you take the good with the bad. You get the girl, you take the brother. Sort of like the Mother-in-Law, like when the mother-in-law moves in.”

Asked what the biggest challenge will be for the Damon and Elena relationship, the actor joked that it’s the fact that she is 18 and he’s 172 but, in truth, he said the town of Mystic Falls is the biggest challenge: “It’s a very toxic environment. Things happen in this little town and what’s great about it is that, yes, it’s pretty and it’s got this amazing feel but the dark underbelly of Mystic Falls – it’s called the supernatural dark underbelly – is significant. It’s TVD…you can’t stay that happy that long otherwise there will be no drama!” (Watch for the rest of the interview with The Vampire Diaries and The Originals – all on video – coming soon on TV Fanatic)

That’s a wrap for this week! Anything else you’re dying to know about your favorite show or one of the new fall offerings? Leave a comment here or you email me directly at jim@jimhalterman.com. And remember: follow @TVFanatic for all your TV scoop!

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Vampire Diaries Quotes

Dear Diary, a chipmunk asked me my name today. I told him it was Joe. That lie, will haunt me, forever.


Put the damn crossbow down, Pocahontas.