Phoebe Tonkin, Nathan Parsons

Will they give peace a chance? The CW's The Originals returns Tuesday, April 15 (8/7c) with steamy new werewolf Jackson — played by former Bunheads and General Hospital star Nathan Parsons — hoping to get the vampires and wolves to move past their decades-old beef and make nice. Or at the very least be frenemies. Parsons, who will also join the cast of HBO's True Blood in its final season, gave TV Guide Magazine the lowdown on his new supernatural life.

TV Guide Magazine: Jackson's kumbaya campaign can't go over well, can it?

Parsons: [Laughs] Well, Hayley gets pissed off and Elijah is very suspicious. Trying to broker peace with this bunch is a dangerous proposition! The grudge between the wolves and the vamps has gone on so long there's too much baggage, too much emotion and the wounds are still fresh. It's clouding everyone's judgment. But Jackson is all about the protection and safety of the pack. He is a smart, level-headed guy who wants the wolves to move back into their city. He wants them all to come home. I think there's something so poignant and sad and romantic about the werewolves. They must live and die like humans while the vampires go on for centuries.

TV Guide Magazine: Will Jackson come between Hayley and Elijah? Sure looks that way.

Parsons: We'll see! Hayley is a werewolf but she has no idea what that really means because she didn't grow up with the pack. She does not understand the traditions, and those traditions are very important to Jackson, so who knows if they could ever be together? She walks the line between the wolves and the vampires and both factions want her. As for Elijah, he's a pretty formidable opponent for Jackson but you'll start to see that the two guys are surprisingly similar. They both bear the responsibility of tending to a really messed-up family, and they share the pain and agony that goes with that.

TV Guide Magazine: Were you a fan of The Originals before being cast, or did you have to bone up?

Parsons: I was familiar with the world because I had auditioned for an earlier role on the show and I also read several times for Vampire Diaries. But I really had to study up on the Mikaelson family lore.

TV Guide Magazine: Sounds like the producers really wanted you. Were you confident you'd land a role sooner or later?

Parsons: Not really. I wouldn't say they were openly encouraging. [Laughs] They love torturing actors! And we live to be tortured. In L.A. you constantly go on auditions and you're usually not what they're looking for — you get used to going back and back to the same show and nothing happens.

TV Guide Magazine: Now you've got two gigs at once! You're taking over the role of vampire James on True Blood, the part previously played by Luke Grimes. That's shooting in Los Angeles at the same time you're working on The Originals in Atlanta. Sounds rough. Should we feel bad for you?

Parsons: [Laughs] I'm exhausted in the best way possible! I spend more time on planes and waiting around airports than I do at home these days, but it's exhilarating. I hate to fly. I'd rather take two or three days to drive somewhere than get on an airplane, but none of that matters because doing these two shows is such an extraordinary opportunity. As a kid I was obsessed with myths and legends and the haunting beauty of gothic stories. To do one show in the genre is unbelievable. Two is a dream.

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