‘The Originals’: Charles Michael Davis on Marcel’s pride, back story

Oct. 08, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.

"The Originals" cast members Claire Holt, left, Daniel Gillies, Joseph Morgan, Charles Michael Davis and Phoebe Tonkin attend the Warner Bros. booth for Comic-Con on July 20. ( Chris Frawley / WBTV)

"The Originals" star Joseph Morgan poses with "The Vampire Diaries" star Paul Wesley at DC Entertainment and Warner Bros.'s Superman 75th party at Comic-Con. (Jerod Harris / Getty Images for DC Entertainment)

Joseph Morgan holds a poster promoting the new CW series "The Originals" at Comic-Con 2013. ( Chris Frawley / WBTV)

Daniel Gillies as Elijah and Joseph Morgan as Klaus. (Skip Bolen / The CW)

Charles Michael Davis as Marcel and Joseph Morgan as Klaus in "The Originals." (Skip Bolen / The CW)

Joseph Morgan as Klaus, a vampire-werewolf hybrid, in "The Originals." (The CW)

Phoebe Tonkin as Hayley and Daniella Pineda as Sophie. (Skip Bolen / The CW)

Malaya Rivera Drew as Jane-Anne and Daniella Pineda as Sophie. (Skip Bolen / The CW)

Daniel Gillies as Elijah and Claire Holt as Rebekah. (Bob Mahoney / The CW)

Daniel Gillies as Elijah and Joseph Morgan as Klaus. (Skip Bolen / The CW)

Joseph Morgan as Klaus and Charles Michael Davis as Marcel. (Skip Bolen / The CW)

Daniel Gillies as Elijah and Daniella Pineda as Sophie. (Skip Bolen / The CW)

Joseph Morgan as Klaus and Daniel Gillies as Elijah. (Skip Bolen / The CW)

Daniel Gillies as Elijah and Joseph Morgan as Klaus. (Skip Bolen / The CW)

Joseph Morgan as Klaus and Daniel Gillies as Elijah. (Skip Bolen / The CW)

Daniel Gillies as Elijah and Claire Holt as Rebekah. (Bob Mahoney / The CW)

“The Originals” star Charles Michael Davis is new blood in the “Vampire Diaries” universe. His character Marcel is vengefully staking his claim in vampire-overrun New Orleans amid a bitter rivalry with his creator, the fearsome hybrid Klaus.

The new CW spinoff series, which aired its back-door pilot during “The Vampire Diaries” last April, premiered last week and centers on the family of Niklaus Mikaelson, or Klaus (Joseph Morgan), who was born a werewolf but was transformed along with his half-siblings into the world’s first vampires thanks to a protective spell cast centuries ago by their mother. The bloodline of this Original family links all the vampires of the two television series.

In Tuesday’s episode, Klaus’ estranged sister Rebekah (Claire Holt) arrives in New Orleans at their brother Elijah’s (Daniel Gillies) behest. Klaus is already embroiled in two rivalries: one with his charismatic protege-turned-nemesis, Marcel — the treacherous vampire king of New Orleans — and another with the town’s witches, who are keeping his werewolf baby hostage in a plot to dethrone Marcel.

After Klaus and his family were run out of town a century earlier by their vampire-hunting father, Marcel stepped in and carved out his place as leader of the vampire-run French Quarter of New Orleans. Marcel eradicated the town’s werewolves and has the witches under his control thanks to a witch named Davina, who fans met at the end of the pilot, and seems to mystically sense other witches’ use of magic. Her talent allows Marcel’s crones to keep them in check and lay down the law, which resulted in the recent slaughter of a witch named Jane-Anne Deveraux who, unbeknown to Marcel at the time, cast a spell to verify that Klaus had fathered a magical child during a one-night stand with a werewolf named Hayley. Now Klaus still poses a threat, especially since he’s infiltrated Marcel’s inner circle with the sole purpose of ousting him.

Joseph Morgan as Klaus and Charles Michael Davis as Marcel. (Skip Bolen / The CW)

Joseph Morgan as Klaus and Charles Michael Davis as Marcel. (Skip Bolen / The CW)

Davis, the almost perpetually-smiling actor who is currently wrapping up the show’s seventh episode in Conyers (just southeast of Atlanta) chatted with Hero Complex about Tuesday’s episode, “House of the Rising Son,” as the show begins its run in its regular time slot on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. PDT.

HC:  When we last spoke at Comic-Con you said you were impatient and really excited about the different layers and levels that you see in Marcel and you couldn’t wait to show all the different sides of Marcel. How’s that going so far?

CMD: Oh, really well! Every episode has been something different especially with different relationships and even some new characters. And there’s still even more to go, which I’m surprised about because I didn’t want to burn out and get into sort of a procedural kind of thing. But yeah, the way [creator and writer] Julie Plec has it mapped out, she told us a lot about where our characters’ story lines are headed so I know there’s still a lot more. I just read Episode 8 and I was really excited about the different scenes.

Joseph and I were talking and we both will read an episode and then go, “This is my favorite scene to shoot,” and the next day, it’s like “No, this is my favorite scene to shoot.” So for me knowing that he’s been on it for two years now and then going into his own show and he’s still excited about difference scenes, that tells me that I don’t have to worry so much about losing that enthusiasm — that the character will keep developing. It’s been holding pretty true, every episode has a scene or something that I’m really, really excited about.

HC: What’s one scene you’ve been really excited about?

CMD: At first it was the scenes with Davina because people don’t see that in the pilot, they see that in the director’s cut. And I couldn’t wait to show different sides of Davina’s character. They did a great job developing her in the first four or five episodes.

HC: What can you tell us about her?

CMD: That she’s special [laughs] and she does play a pivotal role between what’s going on with everybody, with a lot of the other characters. She’s tied in with everybody.

HC: She’s a witch, right?

CMD: Yes.

HC: OK, good. She’s not a vampire-hybrid that we don’t know anything about yet?

CMD: Could be! I don’t know what they’ve got in store for her [laughs].

HC: What’s Marcel’s plan with her as his “secret weapon”?

CMD: He doesn’t really have a plan necessarily. It’s just that, that would be very manipulative, that’s more Klaus’ style. But you’ll see how she comes into play because one of the things is he never really accounts for the Original family coming back. Before then we know that Marcel, from the monologue in the first episode, that he got rid of the werewolves, he controls the witches and he built the city and you’ll see how Davina was a part of some of that.

HC: In your own words, could you elaborate more on his back story, can you give us a little bit more about him as a character?

CMD: He started from the bottom, and now he’s here…


CMD: YOLO! [laughs] And his model is  YOLO! “You only live once” as a vampire, and you live for a really long time! And I guess at first he was afraid, he was petrified … [laughs]

 HC: OK, now we’re going into “I Will Survive” territory…

CMD: Yeah! These songs really sum up his back story!

HC: I’m looking forward to seeing disco Marcel!

CMD: Yeah! There’s a flashback to the ’70s with him and Klaus and how they ruled the disco scenes…

HC: That would be amazing!

CMD: I guess that sums it up in my own words, to paraphrase some of the greats! [laughs]

HC: In the teasers to Tuesday’s episode we do see more about him and Rebekah, can you tell us about that and how that came about?

CMD: You get to see the history between them and the different dynamics of their relationship. Present day aside from the flashbacks — there’s a few flashbacks with Marcel and the Original family — you’ll see Rebekah’s character in the present and there’s even a scene between Marcel, Rebekah and Davina and that comes up in “House of the Rising Son.”

Charles Michael Davis. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

Charles Michael Davis. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

HC: It looked like there was sort of romantic entanglement between Marcel and Rebekah?

CMD: You think so? [laughs] Maybe you’re just reading into it?

HC: Maybe, but are we going to see more of that? Any love interests for him given “The Vampire Diaries’” history of love triangles?

CMD: Yeah, with the show, given the success of shipping and all that for different characters, especially for the CW. Yeah, he’s going to have definite romantic interests.

HC: I’m going to assume that one of them is going to be with Rebekah…

CMD: Well, you know what they say about assuming…

HC: Don’t say that, that’s just mean!

CMD: Nobody says that anymore! [laughs]

HC: “The Vampire Diaries” and now “The Originals” put such a huge emphasis on family — Klaus’ brother Elijah said it several times in the pilot — who’s Marcel’s family, do we learn anything about them?

CMD: Yeah, actually you do. Coming up in the very early episodes you see that probably his inner circle is his family and they go into the relationship between Marcel and one character in particular in the inner circle — how they became friends and what their relationship means to Marcel.

HC: So this is more of his vampire family rather than his blood family.

CMD: Yeah.

HC: Do we learn anything about his blood relatives?

CMD: Yeah, in “House of the Rising Son” there’s a little bit about his mom.

HC: Does that mean we’re going to see more about his transformation story of how Klaus turn him into a vampire too?

CMD: Klaus is his sire, that’s for sure. It’s one of the things we mention in the pilot. Yeah we do, I can’t give away if there’s any scenes or anything about it but it’s definitely at least talked about in the first few episodes.

HC: Let’s get a little more philosophical: What motivates Marcel? Is it this power or rivalry? Does he really think he’s smarter than Klaus?

CMD: I think he is. He has a lot of confidence in what he’s built. I think there’s a definite reflection in what he’s built. He’s very proud of it especially given the fact that growing up, knowing the Original family for so long and seeing that they’re somewhat dysfunctional and they’re all a family. And he was also able to build a family [of his own] and live in a way where they can be proud to be vampires in a city like New Orleans.

He is ambitious and everything’s been going his way so with that you don’t see any reason to stop and I guess really reflect on the results of what’s going on. It’s just that things seem to be going his way obviously that’s until the Original family shows up. That causes him to have a little anxiety, turn things around and try to adjust. So I think that he’s very confident then that he can handle the Original family even though he hasn’t had to handle them for the last few hundred years.

– Nardine Saad | @NardineSaad | Google+


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2 Responses to ‘The Originals’: Charles Michael Davis on Marcel’s pride, back story

  1. Laura says:

    I like him! The dynamic appeal of his character makes the show worth watching…

  2. Shooda says:

    Charles Michael Davis is the handsome hunk that was missing from the Vampire Diaries.

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