Matt Donovan is not a vampire. He’s not a werewolf. He’s neither a ghost nor doppelganger as well. He’s just a small-town guy who appreciates his friends and family, loves a good game of football, and works hard at the Grill to support himself. Despite his ‘mere” human status, Matt remains one of the most good-natured, pure-hearted characters in Mystic Falls. And, as Elena recently found out, in a world filled with monsters, murders, and shocking twists, having a kind and reliable friend to run to when times get hard is a rare blessing indeed! So what’s next for Matt on Vampire Diaries Season 3? We recently chatted with the talented Zach Roerig and got the scoop on Matt’s upcoming incredible growth and sense of empowerment.
TVD: Viewers everywhere are so excited for the Mystic Falls ball! Can you tell us a little more about how Matt scored an invite?
Zach: Rebakah asks Matt to the ball, and I think that Matt is excited because she is a very attractive girl. However, there also there’s a part of him that’s very intimidated and afraid to say no. So, Matt goes to the ball and finds himself in a situation that he’s not exactly used to and could so very well [get used to].
TVD: Hmm. A dangerous situation…or a pleasant one?
Zach: I think that Matt is going to be blissfully unaware of any danger around him on tonight’s episode. So, if anything were to happen he wouldn’t see it coming, therefore it would be painless. So that’s not necessarily the short of the end of the stick. [Laughs]
TVD: Everyone looks amazing! What was it like shooting such a fancy episode –was there a different vibe on set?
Zach: Oh yea definitely! We were all carrying ourselves a bit differently – very, not stiff, but we all had a very good posture about us, everything seemed to flow. When we were walking, it was sort of like [starts singing] “bada pom pom / bada pom pom.” [Laughs] We all took ballroom dancing lessons before we shot the episode so that was a blast. And, yea, there’s something about being in a fitted tux – it just kind of grabs you and transforms you.
TVD: So, on to Elena and Matt! They’ve been hanging out more and more this season. Will they reconnect romantically at any point?
Zach: I think for right it’s strictly friendship. But I think it’s also going to be a very interesting friendship to watch because it’s not like they’re jumping back into their old friendship. We had that scene on the bridge where they were both acknowledging that she’s not the same girl anymore and moving forward finding that they both still appreciate one another and are still important in each other’s lives. It’s just kind of a nice discovery to play and a nice one to watch as well.
TVD: We enjoy Matt and Elena scenes but Matt and Caroline were a great couple as well. Who would you rather see him end up with — Elena or Car?
Zach: Well, I mean, look [laughs]…I think it’d be fun if he revisited his relationship with Caroline for sure. Candice is a blast and everyone loves working with her. But I don’t see that [relationship] being a real possibility. Of the two, I would like to see Matt rekindle things with Elena but I don’t think now is the time. Even though Matt has spent his life picturing marrying Elena and having kids with the white picket fence, I don’t think either of which are going to happen any time soon.
TVD: This question comes from a @VampireDiaries twitter follower! How do you feel about your character being more integrated into the show as his own person rather than Elena’s ex, Vicki Donovan’s brother, and so forth?
Zach: I feel great about it as an actor. And I think Matt as a character has undergone a huge transformation. You know, with everything earlier this season – trying to take his own life, trying to understand his own mortality, trying to accept the fact that his mother left. He’s definitely facing a lot of things that weren’t dealt with and now, knowing about all the supernatural ongoings around him, I think Matt is finally starting to roll his shoulders back and step ahead.
TVD: Are we going to see Matt taking more risks this season?
Zach: You’re going to see a much more daring Matt – but daring and reckless are two different things. I’ve used this analogy before and I’ll use it again: Matt has always been an athlete. He’s a quarterback, the leader of a team. Now Matt is understanding that he’s part of a much different team and he’s NOT the quarterback in this situation. However, Matt is very much a team player and he loves each of his friends dearly…Bonnie, Tyler –despite their now strange relationship –, Caroline, and Elena…even Jeremy. He loves all of them so I think he’s going to do whatever he needs to do to help them. He’s definitely a key member of the special teams.
TVD: You mentioned Tyler, who’s currently MIA. Just like Alaric and Damon have teamed up, will Matt find a new “bro” as well?
Zach: No I don’t think Matt’s going to find a new bro. I think that if anything, I’ve seen Matt rekindle the relationships that he’s already had. I don’t think there’s going to be any new relationships to burn.
TVD: Will Matt have any run-ins with the Original family?
Zach: Yes, man he will. [laughs] I don’t know if Matt’s entirely aware of how many Originals he’s surrounded himself with. But he’s attending the the ball,which is hosted by an Original, and he’s going to dance with an Original so…you know. [Laughs]
TVD: What’s your biggest hope for Matt?
Zach: My biggest hope for Matt is to find something that’s truly his…find something just for himself. We’ve continually seen Matt be a very selfless person up until this point and it would be nice to see him be selfish for once – just to really make decisions based totally on how it affects him and why he needs it — and why doesn’t need it — versus how it affects everyone that he really loves.
TVD: Are there any upcoming episodes in which Matt really steps up his game?
Zach: [Exclaims excitedly] Ooooohhh!!! Definitely. [Teasingly] I have an answer for it I just don’t remember which episode it was. [Contemplates for a few seconds.] Well, I can say this for sure: Matt gets his little inspector gadget on for a minute and that was pretty fun to play.
TVD: Any slayage action?
Zach: No. No slaying. [Laughs]
TVD: And, because we just gotta know, on a scale of 1 to 10, how would you describe your slash Matt’s waltzing skills?
Zach: [ponders teasingly for a while] Uuuuuuuuuum, I’ll give him a 7 and a half! Yea, he’s not too bad. [Laughs]