Turns out that death didn’t mean the end of Utahn Matt Davis’ character on “The Vampire Diaries.” It didn’t keep Alaric Saltzman from returning to that show or transitioning to the spinoff, “The Originals.”
And now Davis is at the center of yet another spinoff, “Legacies.” This time, Alaric is the headmaster of The Salvatore Boarding School for the Young and Gifted — where the student body includes witches, vampires and werewolves.
“Alaric, over the years, has been a vampire hunter, an original vampire, dead, reborn, a history teacher, mentor, guardian and father,” said creator/executive producer Julie Plec. “And so this seemed like the right job for him.”
“Yeah, I’m the man!” Davis said with a laugh.
The Woods Cross High grad caught the acting bug at the University of Utah, transferring to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City after his freshman year. He performed in some plays, got a role in a horror film (“Urban Legends: Final Cut” in 2000) and played Reese Witherspoon’s obnoxious boyfriend in “Legally Blonde” (2001). He first appeared on “The Vampire Diaries” in 2009.
This time around, Alaric — once again a mortal — is the man in charge at The Salvatore School.
“There’s going to be a new purpose to him, a new perspective with him,” Davis said. “And it’s going to be exciting to explore Alaric’s 40s and mine simultaneously.”
(He turned 40 in May.)
Alaric’s students include his twin daughters, Lizzie (Jenny Boyd) and Josie (Kaylee Bryant), and a raft of other supernatural beings. His goal is to raise them all to be good citizens, not wanton killers.
Yes, it sounds more than a bit like “X-Men,” with Alaric in the role of Professor X. Although Plec insisted that “the only thing X-Men-y about it is a little similarity in the school sign. And, I mean, the premise.”
(Yes, she really said that.)
Plec compared Alaric to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” mentor Giles, and Dumbledore in the “Harry Potter” books and films.
“We call him Hot Dumbledore,” she said.
(Yes, she really said that.)
What keeps bringing Davis back to these shows? To this world?
“Fate, fate, fate,” he said. “It’s funny. Every time I pray to God for a job, Julie Plec shows up.”
Davis joined “Vampire Diaries” for what was supposed to be a four-episode arc; he ended up doing 127. And then he guest starred in three episodes of “The Originals.”
“It’s been a fascinating journey” and a “profound experience,” Davis said. “It’s not just about playing the same part. When you are involved in a show like this, your life becomes intertwined with so many people and on such a deep level with the character and your personal life. … And it’s enriched my life greatly.
“So when Julie approached me to complete her opus, I was thrilled.”
It’s not like Alaric is his only role. He’s done a lot of TV, including starring or co-starring roles on “What About Brian,” “Cult,” “Damages” and “CSI.”
But “Vampire Diaries,” “Originals” and now “Legacies” have been a big part of his career and his life for going on a decade.
“When I showed up to do ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ I was 31 and the cast was 20 to 24. Now we’re doing ‘Legacies,’ and I’m 40 and they’re still 20 and 24,” Davis said.
And when Danielle Rose Russell, who’s transitioning over from “The Originals” as vampire-witch-werewolf “tribrid” Hope Mikaelson, said she “fell in love with ‘The Vampire Diaries’ when I was, like, 13 or 14,” Davis shook his head and cursed mildly.
(He was apparently unaware that on her next birthday — on Halloween — Russell will turn 19.)
Davis said he’s just taking the new show “one day at a time,” but Plec said she’s hoping “Legacies” runs for “17 years” — which took Davis aback a bit.
“I’ll be in hair and makeup, like, ‘Get the toupee going!’” he said.