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The Vampire Diaries Stars Reflect on Filming the Emotional Series Finale

Who cried reading the script?

Sadie Gennis

The Vampire Diaries wraps up its eight-season run on Friday with an epic finale that will be sure to leave many viewers in tears.

Why are we so confident TVD's final hour will be such a tear-jerker? Well, first of all because creators Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson know exactly what they're doing (not to mention Williamson is the man who killed off Jen in the Dawson's Creek finale), but also because even the show's stars aren't immune to the series finale feels!

"I read the script on the plane and it's just a culmination of so many emotions. OK, this is the last script I'm ever going to read for this show," Paul Wesley told reporters at a recent press screening. "So I got a bit teary-eyed. I'm kind of a cold-hearted bastard, so I took a selfie with just a little bit of red eyes and I sent it to Julie and Kevin. I was like, 'Good work, guys! Good work!'"

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However, while Wesley's co-star Ian Somerhalder didn't get teary reading the script, he was in awe of how neatly the writers were able to wrap up all of the show's hanging storylines in a single hour. "As you were going down it, you were sort of ticking boxes. You were looking at how all of this was going to sum up into one 44-minute episode of television," Somerhalder explained. "From a story standpoint, I was blown away. I thought, 'Wow. They actually summed it all up into one 44-minute piece.' I think people will be pretty satisfied."

Once it came time to filming his final scenes as Damon Salvatore, Somerhalder remained clear-eyed and thought of it as just another day at work. "Up until the second they yell cut, it's the same sh--. You're still on a schedule," Somerhalder said.

Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder, The Vampire Diaries
Annette Brown/The CW

That's exactly how Michael Malarkey intended for his last day to go as well, but the actor's emotions snuck up on him when it actually came time to film his final scene as Enzo St. John. "I didn't realize how affected I'd be," Malarkey explained. "I'm all business when I get to work. I care deeply about what I do. I just wanted to treat it like every other day. Just smash it and finish and give Julie a hug."

"And so the last scene I'm doing, I think there's another take so I'm kind of pacing around, doing my thing. And then I hear this voice, Julie coming in the doorway, saying, 'Michael, it's time,'" recalled Malarkey, who responded by thinking, "Oh shit. Not ready for this."

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When it came to Zach Roerig's final scene, the actor struggled to separate his real-life emotions from those of his character, Matt Donovan. "I had kind of an emotional scene to end on, so I was trying to keep myself well calibrated and make sure my emotion was based in the scene and not because it was my last scene in the show," Roerig said. "At the end, Julie knew. She could see my lip quivering and the snot bubbling and she was like, 'Zach, this is a free one. Just let it rip.' I just completely let it out."

Wesley, however, had a very different experience when he was saying goodbye to Stefan Salvatore. "I finished my [final] scene. I had my eyes closed and someone sprayed funfetti in my face. Literally, direct shot in my face," Wesley said. "I was doing this emotional scene, crying or whatever, and all the sudden I have funetti in my eyes and I was like, 'Wait, what?' It was really funny."

The Vampire Diaries' series finale airs Friday at 9/8c on the CW after a one-hour retrospective.

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of the CW's parent companies.)