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Raffi Barsoumian: Exclusive interview with the Armenian star of «The Vampire Diaries»

11:02, July 9

Season 5 of the famous American TV show «The Vampire Diaries» was over in the end of May. Starting from the 17th episode of this season, the main characters of the show—Elena (Nina Dobrev), Stefan (Paul Wasley), and Damon (Ian Somerhalder)—have to struggle against a new monster, the wicked Traveler Markos, who was embodied by Armenian actor Raffi Barsoumian. This fact certainly interested us, and therefore we tried to reach Raffi for a request of an interview, which he accepted with greatest pleasure. We spoke about his Armenian origins, moving to US, his appearance in TVD, and a lot more.

- Raffi, please speak about yourself. Why did you decide to move to America?

- My parents were born and raised in the large Armenian community in Beirut. I was also born there. My father’s side of the family had, over the years, been emigrating to the states because of the continued conflicts in Beirut. As the civil war got worse, my parents decided it was time for them to leave, too and chose to join the family members who had settled in Los Angeles. I was 1, when they left, so I grew up in California. My parents have always been vigilant about making sure we grew up conscious of our ethnic and cultural roots. Armenian was the language in the house always. I've also grown up around lots and lots of other Armenians – so, I’m a fluent speaker of the western dialect.

 

-Have you ever been to Armenia? 

- I’ve only once had the chance to visit Armenia. As a family we made a trip in 2005. We visited friends in Yerevan and toured as much of the country as possible, mostly visiting old churches and historical sites.

-Do you have a preferred Armenian national dish?

 - I love it all. But nothing compares to a good chee kufta!

-How and where did you start acting?

- I was interested in acting very early on. I eventually started taking drama classes in high school, found acting courses outside of school, and began auditioning as a teenager in Los Angeles. When I left high school, I was admitted to Carnegie Mellon University and studied in the conservatory program there for theater. That opened me up to the stage, which was new for me and immediately interesting. I later studied at the Jacques Lecoq School for physical theater in Paris. Alongside the training, I have spent the last ten years actively pursuing a stage life, working for various classical theater companies around the US. I’ve always been interested in film and television though, so I am currently working to pursue more such projects.


-Are there any Armenian or foreign actors and actresses whom you like to watch?

-That would be a very long list. There are so many I love to learn from.

-Raffi, how did you land your part in “The Vampire Diaries?”

- I was lucky enough to get this part through an Audition.

- Were you interested in the show before appearing there?

- I had not seen the show before, though I knew of it.

- Have you already made friends with the TVD stars?

- All the TVD actors were so, so kind and welcoming. I performed most of my scenes with Marguerite Macintyre (Sheriff Forbes), Ian Somerhalder (Damon), and Michael Trevino (Tyler Lockwood), so I spent the most time with them while on set. They were such generous, funny people.

 -You have embodied an evil character in the show. Was it easy for you to be like Markos?

- Markos was a great character to discover over the course of the shoot. I was interested in the effortless power the writers worked to give him. That was the best part – someone who could cause so much trouble by doing so little!

 

-Do you have some common characteristics with Markos? 

-Like Markos, I am also 6’2” and can grow a fierce beard:)

-The cast of the TVD has already announced about shooting Season 6.  Can we expect to see Markos also in that part of the show?

-That will be purely up the writers and, of course… the fans!


- By the way, the fans of the show are very active; they like to discuss their favorite characters in different forums. What views have you received from the TVD fans concerning you and your character, Markos? 

-TVD fans are truly unique. I had no idea what a loyal following the show maintains. Coming into something like that, you want to be sure you don’t disappoint what the fans have come to love in the show. So far, so good – I’ve received lots of kind, kind letters.

- TVD has a lot of fans in Armenia, too. Is it possible that one day you will meet with them in Armenia?

- I can’t wait to visit Armenia again. I’m so thankful that TVD has created the opportunity for people there to connect with and take an interest in my work. It really is very humbling.

- Many TVD fans are already in love with Markos. I think it will be interesting for them to know whether Raffi is single.

-I don’t know about Raffi, but Markos is definitely single...:)

P.S. By the way, Raffi Barsoumian has also appeared in the movie called «Metzarents» by an Armenian director Hayk Hambartsum. He embodies an Armenian-American guy, who receives the opportunity to play the role of the famous Armenian writer Misaq Metzarents. 

 

 

Syune Arakelyan


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