‘Tessa knows all,’ Janina tells us of her character, who first appears on ‘The Vampire Diaries’ this week.
Brace for impact, Vampire Diaries fans, because Mystic Falls is about to be hit with some huge bombshells. Janina Gavankar joins the series Oct. 18 as a mysterious woman named Tessa, and she tells HollywoodLife.com she “can’t believe” she gets to be the one to reveal so much about the Salvatores — including a “disturbing” message about Damon’s (Ian Somerhalder) future, and a few game-changing surprises about Stefan’s (Paul Wesley) past.
“She has a bad side you don’t want to get on,” Janina says of her shady character, who also has “about 18 pages of monologues” which reveal huge secrets about both Salvatore brothers. ”She kind of busts in and says, ‘You think you know, but you have no idea.’”
Read On For My Full Q&A With Janina Gavankar
>> So, we know almost nothing about Tessa, except that she ‘thwarts’ Damon & Elena’s plan to save Stefan.
Ah, yes, excellent use of ‘thwarts.’ We first meet her on episode three, which is called ‘Original Sin.’ It’s a flashback episode, so you will learn a lot. Tessa singlehandedly tells you a lot of information. She’s part of Stefan’s past, and she’s about to bring the truth.
>> How far back does Tessa go with Stefan?
As far back as he does. … You’ll understand exactly what that means after the episode airs.
>> Will what we learn change the way we look at Stefan?
>> Since flashbacks are involved, did you get to have some fun with ridiculous wigs and costumes?
I went through more make-up and hair tests on this show than I have, cumulatively, in my entire career [which includes shows like Arrow and True Blood]. It was a lot, but I’m really glad we did it, because I think we arrived at something that makes a lot of sense. We put a lot of time and thought into the way she looks, what she wears and where she comes from.
>> OK, now let’s talk about Damon. I understand Tessa reveals something bad about his future?
Oh, I do, that’s right! I can’t tell you exactly what she tells him, but Tessa knows all. She’s about to drop a bomb [on Damon and Stefan], whether they want to hear it or not, which they don’t. Most people don’t want to know what she knows, but she’s about to make them face the truth. She’s like, ‘Listen, sit down, because I’m about to handle things the way that I need to.’
>> What was it like walking onto the set of a show in its fifth season?
Well, I actually had a funny moment with Steven McQueen. The second I landed in Atlanta, I was like, ‘Someone, hand me all the DVDs right now!’ So I was in my dressing room, opposite Steven’s, and he came out of his room to say hi. I honestly didn’t recognize him because, on my screen in my dressing room, was a little baby emo child — and out of his room came this strapping man. I was like, ‘Nice to meet you. Who do you play?’ Meanwhile, there was a freeze frame of him on my TV screen.
>> Wow, that’s super-awkward. What about Nina? Did you get to work with her, too?
I did, and let me tell you, Nina Dobrev is working her butt off. She’s got such crazy hours, people don’t even know. By the end of my run on the show, she was doing things she’s never done before on the show, and I’m really happy that I got to be a part of it and see her do them. We had a lot of fun. … Oh, and not only is this girl doing these insane hours, but she still manages to look totally fly. … She’s fantastic. She loves her show, and she’s proud of her show.
>> Anything else we should know about Tessa?
There’s so much I want to tell you. So much is going to be learned on this episode, and I can’t wait to read the tweets. So, people reading this, tweet me your thoughts! … Seriously, I can’t believe I get to be the one who brings this character to this hit show.
HollywoodLifers, what do you make of Janina’s teases? Could she be foreseeing Damon’s death? And what could we learn about Stefan to change the way we feel about him? Drop a comment with your theories!
WATCH: ‘Vampire Diaries’ Clip From ‘Original Sin’
— Andy Swift