Paul Wesley, originally named Pawel Tomasz Wasilewski, is a well-known actor, director and producer. Born and raised in New Jersey, he also spent a lot of time in Poland since his parents immigrated from there. With most of his family is still there, Wesley was able to pick up on the language from visiting so often.
Wesley starred as vampire Stefan Salvatore in “The Vampire Diaries” when the series premiered in September of 2009 on The CW. He and Ian Somerhalder, cast as Damon Salvatore, played brothers, and he also captures the heart of Elena Gilbert, a teenage girl played by Nina Dobrev. Wesley began directing, as well as starring in, the series in the fifth season.
Already successful, Wesley added to it when he released two films in 2014. He co-starred in “Amira & Sam,” a story about an army veteran’s unique romance with an Iraqi immigrant. He also produced, for the first time, and co-starred in “Before I Disappear,” which won the SXSW Film Festival Audience Award and was in the Venice Days section of the Venice Film Festival.
“I’ve always been interested behind the camera. With all due respect to The Vampire Diaries, doing the same thing, over and over again, becomes laborious and tedious, and it becomes a job,” Wesley said. “You find gratification in acting, but you’re playing the same character. No matter how compelling it is, it starts feeling pretty monotonous. I’ve always been trying to develop things, my whole career.”
In his early school years, Wesley was involved in theater studies, so it’s no surprise he has theater work on his resume. He made his debut in New York playing the character Flynt in “Cal in Camo,” accompanied by Katya Campbell, who played his sister and David Harbour, who played his sister’s husband. All of them feeling broken, they work to rediscover themselves.
Wesley has reflected on the differences between television, theater and film, saying that you have one shot that day in TV and film, but you have however long the run of the theater show is to find the character.