This past summer, "The Vampire Diaries" fans were thrilled to learn that the show would be embracing a new sort of love story for its seventh season: one between two women; the first gay couple to ever be featured on the show. The women in question, however, are not necessarily the types of LGBTQ characters who you'd want to have a beer with at the Stonewall Inn -- mostly because Nora (Scarlett Byrne) and Mary Louise (Teressa Liane) would most definitely eat the clientele at the Stonewall Inn if they ever decided to get their evil butts up to NYC.
... But that doesn't mean that they're not capable of pure, beautiful love, which is a fact that Byrne made sure to reiterate to MTV News, as we chatted about everything from what's in store for the vampire lovebirds (trouble in paradise!) to torturing Candice King to Stefan's scandalous past with Valerie:
MTV: When you first got the part of Nora, did you know what her story was going to be with Mary Louise?
Scarlett Byrne: No, that was developed after. Which was really interesting, because we were all dying to know what was going to happen... It’s been really cool to see our relationship as a couple develop. We guess when the new episodes are coming what’s going to happen, and we’re always completely wrong. But initially in the beginning, all we knew was they were a couple, and some very basic information. Which was exciting; it was really cool to be part of the process.
MTV: How have you found ways to let audiences know that they've been together and in love for 100 years, without really knowing their backstory?
Byrne: There’s so much in the writing as it is... in the beginning, even though we didn’t know everything that was going to be happening with our characters, we had a basic idea of where we were. We knew that they’d been monogamous together for 132 years, etcetera etcetera. But we didn’t really know much other than that. It’s been nice... we have conversations trying to explain our relationship, and think of ways to add to the story outside of reading it from the script. It’s been really cool.
MTV: Is there a lot of talk behind the scenes of the responsibility of being part of this first gay couple, while also having them be evil?
Byrne: It’s interesting; not really. There was a lot of excitement in the beginning, and that was one of the main reasons why I was so excited to play Nora, I thought it was going to be such a great opportunity, because they are the first same-sex couple or relationship on the show... It was really cool to have a character, and have her be a part of the relationship which has been on for longer than any other character has been with anyone else on the show.
But there wasn’t major talk about it, there was just excitement in general around the fact that we were going to have a relationship that’s been on for so long.
MTV: We did get to see a new side of your relationship -- overprotectiveness -- with Caroline last night. Will that be a theme moving forward?
Byrne: Mary Louise is very protective of Nora. I think [Nora] is the stronger one of our relationship. Nora is so cool, and she’s super psyched to be in this new world... You’ll see later in the show, she’s a lot more tech-y and things like that. She just wants to be a cool young Heretic, and just get to have a good time, whereas Mary Louise is a bit more uptight and isn’t as secure in their relationship right now. Them being in the prison world for so long, there was security there, because Mary Louise knew there wasn’t going to be any distraction. And it was always just the two of them. So now, Mary Louise is a lot more anxious -- and I think a bit scared, possibly -- to lose Nora.
MTV: How was it torturing Candice together -- were there any behind-the-scenes moments you can share? She's so used to it by now.
Byrne: When we first started filming the episode, we still didn’t really know each other that well. She’s so lovely, it’s so much fun working with her, and Teressa as well.
There was a funny moment where they were trying to play a little prank on her. The scene where Nora comes out and she’s in this long, Victorian costume... I’m supposed to walk out from the bathroom, and Caroline busts out and makes fun of Nora, and that’s when Mary Louise gets offended and then stabs her in the neck. But what happened is we had someone else swap with me -- he’s one of our assistant directors, Tony -- and he put on this big black robe and pretended to be me. When I was supposed to come out, and it was all on Candice’s coverage, he ran out instead and pretended to be me and was dressed in this huge big, black tent. Everybody cracked up laughing, because she had no idea.
MTV: Do we have more torture to look forward to?
Byrne: We don’t touch her, but we do keep her captive in the house. We, as Heretics, just enjoy the idea of torture. We don’t even know her that well. I think Mary Louise is just having a great time, really giving her hell. Poor Caroline is just suffering so much, and she’s always in that position of being tortured. She really gets it. But we’re just having a great time.
And we’re not so one-dimensional in the sense that we’re pure evil. That’s why I think it’s really nice that Nora and Mary Louise are in a relationship, because you will see more of the tender side to both of them. They really do love each other. It’s a really nice part of their characters, which makes them both really interesting.
MTV: Is that how the show humanizes you? By showing us that there's this one really nice thing about these women?
Byrne: Definitely. The show is so all about that -- important relationships, and loving relationships too. Even though they’re so evil, and they love to be bad and eat people, and cause absolute havoc, they do really love each other. It’s nice that we get to see those opportunities the rest of the season, those tender moments. It makes them more human.
MTV: Will we get to see the beginning of the relationship in flashbacks?
Byrne: I’m not allowed to say that. I’m not quite sure. You’ll have to keep watching to find out.
MTV: Are the Heretics going to start interacting with the Mystic Falls gang a little bit more? And if so, is there any one relationship you're most excited for fans to see?
Byrne: Bit by bit, you’ll see us develop other relationships with some of the main cast, which has been really cool. They obviously wanted to do that from the beginning, but it’s really nice, because I think some of the relationships, the fans are really going to love. Everyone compliments everyone really well.
For now, it’s the relationship between Valerie and Stefan. I really hope the fans like it. I really hope they don’t all hate Valerie. They might in the beginning. It’s a really cool arc for Valerie’s character. I know that Liz [Blackmore] has been super excited for people to see it -- in episode three, which I’m not in. Liz and Paul [Wesley] can talk more about that, if you get a chance to speak to them, but I’m looking forward to fans’ feedback on their relationship. I hope it’s a positive one, because I really like it.
MTV: We saw you guys do that massacre in the beginning of the season, but so far, we haven't seen you go as nuts as we've heard you're capable of. Will we see any of that stuff -- the sort of sexy, vampire foursome-style stuff Lady Gaga is doing over on "American Horror Story?"
Byrne: I think it was really cool for episode one to show how terrible we can all be as a group, just wreaking havoc and being totally out of control. It’s interesting to see the relationship between us and Lily, where she’s trying so hard to keep us under control... I think that’s why you don’t see us reach our complete potential of being bloody and awful, and really eating these innocent people. But you do see an element of what you’ve mentioned at some point throughout the season. I hope fans enjoy that, because it was really fun filming.
MTV: Is there any one scene or plot line coming up that you're most excited for fans to see?
Byrne: I’m excited for them to see our relationship be tested. It’s interesting, you don’t stay with someone for over a century, and there not be problems, and there not be... hanging out with someone you don’t necessarily like, or frustrations. We are so in love and we have that connection, but it’s nice to see them argue and fight, and then make up. Episode four especially, the Halloween episode -- which I’m so psyched for fans to see -- that’s been one of the most episodes I’ve had working on. I’m really excited to watch it.