Elijah Mikaelson is an enigma wrapped in a well-tailored suit, but there’s nothing enigmatic about the talents and work ethic of the man who brings our favorite moral vampire to life. Daniel Gillies is an actor, director, producer, writer, and as bad ass in real life as his vampiric counterpart.
2. When he was around five years old, his parents – his father is a doctor and his mother is a nurse – moved him back to their native New Zealand, where he lived until his early twenties.
During his TVD Chicago convention appearance in 2014, Daniel talked about the cynicism and humor of New Zealand culture and how it influenced him.
3. He married fellow actor Rachael Leigh Cook in 2004; they were engaged five months after they started dating, and are the parents of one daughter, Charlotte, though they are expecting their second child later this year. Listen to Rachael talk about how they met.
4. Daniel wrote, produced, directed, and starred in an independent film called
, co-starring Cook. There is also related documentary,
, which chronicles his years-long struggle to make and retain funding for the film and features interviews with several other independent filmmakers discussing the difficulties involved in producing their own films.
was a labor of love and pain for Daniel and in a Reddit AMA he explained what inspired him to make the film:
I’ve often said (perhaps too frequently) that I’m a deeply curious coward. Chiefly, I wanted to peer into a situation that terrifies me. (Yes, you have to watch the movie to understand brokenkingdomfilm.com) There is a voyeuristic quality to filmmaking which excites me. You can study tragedy through the medium. Does that sound perverse?
from the film’s official website. (We highly recommend it.)
5. Did you know that Daniel and Ian Somerhalder worked together before
? Check out this scene from the 2006 film
6. That’s not the only fellow TVD actor he’s worked with before – he and Arielle Kebbel played con artist lovers in season three of
7. The character of Elijah wasn’t supposed to stick around. According to Julie Plec: “Elijah as a character was meant to bridge the gap between the introduction of Klaus in script and then the actual reveal of Klaus late in the season… and we didn’t have the true mythology of how to kill an original completely worked out when we first introduced Elijah. Then freaking Dan Gillies walks in that door and you know, in a big old haunted house, with that suit, and he has that accent and everything about him is so great that we’re like, well, we can’t make him easy to kill (Laughs)… and we don’t want our characters to look stupid for not being able to get rid of him, so we just made it harder and harder until we reached the point that’s, you know, screw it, originals are immortal. (Laughs) And it’s honestly because of Daniel and the work that he did.”
8. Daniel knew Elijah and Klaus were half-brothers before the rest of the
“You know, I suspected the ties of family between Klaus and Elijah, and I’m grateful that I went in that direction. I also suspected a deeper relationship and history with Katherine, and interestingly enough, that played out also,” he says. Executive producer Julie Plec did end up revealing that Elijah and Klaus were half-brothers before Gillies had to read it in a script. “She trusted me,” he says. “She didn’t even ask me to keep it under my hat, but I did anyway because I didn’t want to ruin it for the other cast members or in case anything got leaked.”
9. Too sweet! Did you know that he sings and dances with his baby daughter every night? Check out what he had to say about their adorable ritual in the Alloy Entertainment video, below! (Psst: at the 5:58 mark!)
pilot in New Orleans, though he told Entertainment Weekly the shoot was not without its quirks.
Gillies also had one of his favorite moments of the shoot at the Hotel Royal: “I was doing an EPK [Electronic Press Kit] on a balcony next to a guy who was obviously supposed to be having a ‘romantic weekend’ with his girl, and he came out and started laying into me at a certain point. I just remember thinking that this would normally be a sort of horrifying moment on a shoot, but because I was having so much fun, even that – this awful moment – seemed to have its own magic, its own kind of strange charm to it.”
11. He explained to Just Jared Jr. how he conceived Elijah’s unique accent. Interview
[The writers] gave me this information: he’s the oldest living vampire in the world. He’s lived all over the world. I was like, “OK, should I do something Slavic or Eastern European? Do we go British?” And then thinking where he would have lived, I said a vampire would live in New York. I’ve traveled a lot and there’s no way I’d live anywhere but New York. Or Paris. Or Rome. Why wouldn’t you live in the coolest places ever? So I said, I can imagine someone with an American accent, who has to have an amazing command of language, so let’s give him a British cadence. And then I started looking up actors who had that. Do you remember
? Remember Higgins?. He had an American accent, but he spoke with a British cadence. I was like, “That’s what he’ll sound like.” And it’s Kelsey Grammer from Cheers. I wanted him to sound like he came from a wealthy family and studied in England. A semantics change would take place over the course of time. Like, I go back home to New Zealand now after having lived in the States for 10 years and people hear me, and they’re like, “You sound like an American. Everything you say sounds American.” But to you guys, I sound like I’m from somewhere else. It really only takes about 20 years for an accent to be completely uprooted.
. If you’ve been following him on Twitter – @danieljgillies – you already know this, but his appearances at TVD conventions are also delightful. And let’s not forget his unforgettable Reddit AMA, which was a combination of sincere and laugh-out-loud funny, featuring these gems:
13. He writes poetry and posts it on his blog at holymonster.com. Check out “The Confession. The Promise.” and “Black and Blue.”
in Atlanta (and sometimes New Orleans), Daniel plays Dr. Joel Goran on the Canadian medical-drama-with-a-supernatural-twist
15. In an interview with StayFamous.Net, Daniel explained why he pursued a career in the entertainment industry:
“It was just sort of the only thing I was ever any good at, to be honest. I’m lazy. [laughs] I have zero respect for the idea of donning a suit every day for work. The irony being of course that I’ve ended up playing several characters who wear suits. I spent at least four or five years of my acting career wearing suits every day. At the outset of my career, I ended up playing a lawyer… and then Elijah on
is of course never seen without his suit. So I don’t know whether or not I succeeded in that pursuit.
That being said, what’s YOUR favorite fun fact about Daniel Gillies? Share your thoughts in the comments, below!
*Heather Vee lives in Tucson, Arizona, where she is a media buyer with a fondness for Alexandre Dumas, bourbon, music, and OPI’s Russian Navy nail polish. She is also co-editor (with Red and Leah Wilson) of
A Visitor’s Guide to Mystic Falls: Your Favorite Authors on The Vampire Diaries (Smart Pop Books), and co-author (with Crissy Calhoun) of Love You to Death – Season 4 and Love You to Death – Season 5: The Unofficial Companion to The Vampire Diaries (ECW Press). She can be found online at Love You to Death, heathervee.com, GoodReads and Twitter @dieslaughing.*
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Actor Daniel Gillies attends John Varvatos and Converse\'s Fashion Week celebration and launch of The Weapon on September 7, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for John Varvatos)
NEW YORK - APRIL 26: Actor Daniel Gillies attends the premiere of "Descent" at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival on April 26, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival) *** Local Caption *** Daniel Gillies
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 13: Actor Daniel Gillies arrives at Showtime\'s VIP prefight party for "Mayhem: Mayweather vs. Maidana 2" at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 13, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for SHOWTIME SPORTS)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 20: In this handout photo provided by WBTV, "The Originals" star Daniel Gillies signs autographs for Comic-Con fans in the Warner Bros. booth on July 20, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Chris Frawley/WBTV via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JUNE 22: Actor Daniel Gillies attends the premiere of the Sony film "Spider-Man 2" on June 22, 2004 at the Mann Village Theater, in Westwood, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 18: Actors Rachael Leigh Cook and Daniel Gillies arrive at the Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull Premiere at the Palais des Festivals during the 61st International Cannes Film Festival on May 18 , 2008 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 25: In this handout photo provided by Warner Bros, "The Originals" Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies and Phoebe Tonkin attend Comic-Con International 2014 on July 25, 2014 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Chris Frawley/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 9: (L-R) Director Gurinder Chadha, actors Martin Henderson, Aishwarya Rai, Naveen Andrews and Daniel Gilles attend the premiere of Miramax\'s "Bride And Prejudice" February 9, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images)5
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 26: In this handout photo provided by Warner Bros, Daniel Gillies of "The Originals" attends Comic-Con International 2014 on July 26, 2014 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Smallz+Raskind/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: Actor Daniel Gillies attends The CW Network\'s New York 2013 Upfront Presentation at The London Hotel on May 16, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
BURBANK, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Shane West and Daniel Gillies attend the CW launch party presented by Bing at Warner Bros. Studios on September 10, 2011 in Burbank, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for The CW)
PASADENA, CA - APRIL 18: Actors Erica Durance and Daniel Gillies attend the NBCUniversal summer press day held at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on April 18, 2012 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images for NBCUniversal)
NEW YORK - APRIL 30: Actor Daniel Gillies attends the premiere of "Numb" at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival on April 30, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival) *** Local Caption *** Daniel Gillies
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 9: Actor Daniel Gilles attends the premiere of Miramax\'s "Bride And Prejudice" February 9, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: Actor Daniel Gillies attends the CW Network\'s New York 2014 Upfront Presentation at The London Hotel on May 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
Care To Join Daniel Gillies for Dinner? Right This Way!
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