For most actors, getting the opportunity to join a beloved, established series like "The Vampire Diaries" would be a dream come true. And the same can be said for Elizabeth Blackmore, but in her case, there's a bit of a catch -- because Blackmore was given the often unforgiving task of splitting up a fan-favorite ship, Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Caroline (Candice King), also known as Steroline.
"I was terrified," Blackmore told MTV News over the phone with a laugh. "I was like, 'People are going to hate me! This is going to be crazy!'"
However, once the big love scene between Valerie and Stefan actually aired, the Aussie actress -- who "didn't know anything about Valerie's history with Stefan" when she got the part -- was pleasantly surprised by the Steroline community's classy response.
"It’s actually been really interesting, a lot of people have been very understanding, very empathetic," she continued. "There’s a lot of ‘Stay away from Stefan!’ stuff that I’m getting, which I completely understand, but it’s been a lot more welcoming than I had first anticipated."
Which is a good thing for many reasons, one of them being that Blackmore isn't even sure if Valerie's current feelings for Stefan are anything more than a nostalgic longing for better days.
"She’s very troubled; she was abandoned very early in her life," Blackmore explained. "This was the first genuine interaction she’d had with someone... he was the first real connection that she had with somebody in a romantic sense, and a familial sense. There’s a great sense of loss associated with Stefan, because everything that could have been such a beautiful life for her was taken away. Whether that’s an eternal flame thing or a romanticized version of the past is still yet to be seen."
One thing that was definitely not romantic was the filming of Valerie and Stefan's 18th century love scene itself -- but mostly because Blackmore and Wesley couldn't stop laughing at the idea of 33-year-old Wesley being a 16-year-old virgin in the scene.
"We laughed a lot about that; 16-year-old Paul," she explained. "Valerie is early 20s, so I had an easier time in that regard. It’s not often that you get to take the lead in those scenes as a woman, usually you’re being wooed or whatever. We had to remember that she was taking the lead a little bit."
But alas, their innocent and pure old-fashioned love affair was never meant to be -- 100 percent thanks to the series' new villain, Julian (Todd Lasance), who we'll see a whole lot more of starting tonight (November 12).
"Julian is a fascinating character," Blackmore said. "It’s partly because of Todd, who plays him, who is so incredible. He’s one of those bad guys who is so kind of nasty and horrible, but he’s so beautiful and charming and fun, and you can’t help but really like him, you know? So there’s all that interesting stuff going on, and he flips on the turn of a coin. He can be fun and playful, and then he’ll flip and be awful. You don’t quite know what you’re going to get, so it keeps him really interesting, and everyone’s on their toes all the time around him."
Valerie will do her best to show her fellow Heretics -- Lily included -- that Julian is the bad guy without directly telling them that he beat her so badly it killed her unborn child, but apparently we shouldn't count on this going very well.
"They’ve all kind of turned on one another," Blackmore explained. "Episode six starts to deal with how this is going to go forward, because now she needs to tell them what happened... they’re all so connected with Julian, they so want him back, he’s such a fun presence in their lives. They’re going to be very reluctant to listen to anything Valerie has to say... and everything has just kind of started to tumble out of her control. Everything is going the wrong way, and she’s trying to hold the pieces together without upsetting everyone, but it’s probably not going to be possible."
... Which sucks for her, but at the very least, it'll lead to an awesome -- and perhaps awesomely awkward -- team-up with Caroline.
"In episode six, they end up on an adventure together," Blackmore continued. "Valerie learns about the resurrection of Jo with the Phoenix Stone, and the consequences that are going to come from that, and she learns something about Jo and Alaric that is actually going to change the course of a lot of people’s futures. She’s the bearer of interesting news."
"Interesting" news -- like, say, maybe kinda-sorta knowing the vampire who is trapped in Jo's body? That's our theory, but of course, Blackmore couldn't say. Though she did reveal that soon enough, we'll all learn why Valerie has not been showing up in any of this season's many flash-forwards.
"There will be an answer in the not too distant future to that question," she teased.
Dun dun dun.