'The Originals': Charles Michael Davis talks flashbacks, a young Marcel, and why he's Team Elijah

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Image Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW

Last Thursday, viewers were introduced to The Originals, a show about the world’s oldest family of vampires and one sibling’s burning desire to rule the French Quarter … again. And although the show serves as a spinoff of The CW’s hit show The Vampire Diaries, there’s still plenty of back story to be explored, particularly among the show’s new characters. And in episode 2, “House of the Rising Son,” it looks like we’re going to learn a lot more about Marcel, the man Klaus calls his “protégé” and all of New Orleans calls “king.”

We will get our first look into Marcel’s past with the Original family tonight when The Originals makes its debut at its series regular time slot on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. But before you run off to set your DVRs, we got to chat with Marcel himself, Charles Michael Davis, about what this episode holds, Marcel’s back story, and which Original he prefers:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I always feel like pilots have to much to do in terms of setting things up and introducing characters, so I’m excited to see the second episode of The Originals. Generally, second episodes get to delve more into the stories and the show’s dynamics. Is that true in tonight’s case?
CHARLES MICHAEL DAVIS: Yeah. That’s why I was really excited that we were going Thursday then Tuesday, because I feel like it picks up a lot more steam in episodes two and especially three, four, five, all the way through from what I’ve read and have done. So yea, we get right into the back story – flashbacks, which before we started the pilot, I thought we were going to wait until like episode five or six to get into, but we go right into it, so it will definitely be a different speed.

Speaking of flashbacks, we have the photo of the 1800s flashback when Klaus is pointing a sword at you.
Ah, that photo. That was, I don’t know, it was probably some sort of disagreement. [Laughs]

Just maybe …
[Laughs] Just showing me some moves …

Is this when Klaus and Marcel first met? Is that what we’re going to see?
I don’t know how much I can give away, but you’ll see what I think is a good set-up and a complete back story as far as Marcel growing up with the Original family, and that scene is a little bit further in the line of Marcel’s lifetime. You’ll see a younger Marcel and then it will jump forward. So there’s different phases in the flashbacks for episode two.

I would imagine that Marcel was different in 1800s, as opposed to the confident guy he is now, so that must be fun for you to explore.
I like that. It showed me who he was as a kid, the innocence, and I think how bright-eyed, sort of unphased he was. For me, it gives the character a lot more humanity. Because in the first episode I’m out there killing witches. I kind of have to justify that.

Rebekah’s now in town, so Marcel has three Originals on his hands (if we count a daggered Elijah). Does that intimidate him? Is he scared?
I mean [there are] different levels of scared, but definitely some anxiety because it puts him into action where he has to now deal with not one or two but three personalities, so yea he’s definitely taking steps and measures. That’s the thing is it’s a pretty quick introduction into the city of all three Originals, so I’m sure his head’s spinning a little bit about what to do. Everything seems so stable and then Klaus shows up, and then Rebekah and Elijah are also in the picture, so yea, there’s a little bit of anxiety there.

The episode description uses the word “dangerous” a lot. What should fans expect in terms of that dangerous element?
You’re going to know more of the back story, not just that it is dangerous but why it’s dangerous. I think it’s kind of like walking in on somebody and they’re watching a sporting event. They’re watching a game and they’re really intense about it, and you’re like, “Why is it such a big event?” And then they tell you it’s the final game of the world cup, and the two teams are battling it out, and they give you the story, and then you’re like “Oh,” and you become even more hooked and invested, and [you] like certain players on certain teams. This will give you the back story and make you understand why the stakes are so high.

So is there something about Marcel in this episode or in general – whether it’s a relationship with a specific character or just a side of him – you’re most excited for fans to see?
Oh yeah! In the pilot it’s pretty much all me and Klaus except for a short scene with Cami, and we also cut the part with Davina, and so that was the other thing I was really excited about was it’s a much different side with Davina’s character. I think you get to see a different side of Marcel, more caring and it’s a different role than he has of course with his inner circle and with Klaus. That’s the one that I was really really excited about and the one that we got into really early in the show, so I feel like with each episode, you get different dimensions. So it’s not so procedural – it’s not so plug and play – for me I’m getting to know Marcel through the different relationships that he has. And then there’s a few surprises, I believe in episode four there’s a character that gets introduced and it adds a whole other dynamic and a different side that you get to see for Marcel’s character, and I was really happy working with that actor and was really looking forward to doing more scenes with him or her.

Such a tease!
Yeah. [Laughs]

Despite him being the sort of main character, Klaus still feels a bit like an antagonist on this show, perhaps because he’s so evil. Do you feel Marcel’s role is the “hero” of this show?
I do.

Who doesn’t want to be the hero?
That’s the thing, is that we’re all fighting for something. I think a template was kind of like a Games of Thrones-ish kind of thing, and the great thing about that show is everyone’s fighting for something given their talents and given their position and place in life, and I feel the same thing for Marcel. I’m really behind him, and I’m really rooting for him. I love the way that the stories open up so the audience I think, people will either … you know some people love him, some people hate him, but I think some people [will] definitely side with him. They’ll be Team Marcel.

And after tonight’s episode, you think fans will have a better idea of where they stand?
Yeah, and as it goes on and on, even some of the crew, they’ll go back and forth and they’ll be like, “Well at first I was Team Klaus, but now I’m Team Marcel” or, “I really like Marcel.” I don’t know if anyone says they really like Klaus, but …

I’m team Elijah, so …
Oh you are? Yeah, me too! So smooth. It’s those suits.

The Originals’ second episode airs tonight at 8 p.m. on The CW.

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