Vampires have never been more popular on-screen with 'The Twilight Saga' on the big screen, and "True Blood" on HBO. This fall, The CW enters the preternatural competition with "The Vampire Diaries," based on the eponymous series of books by author L.J. Smith.
So how do the two vampire leading men stack up against each other? ET asked Paul Wesley, who plays Stefan Salvatore in "The Vampire Diaries," if his character would win in a fight with 'Twilight''s Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson).
"I don't know enough about Edward Cullen, so I don't know what his abilities are," admits Wesley. "I think that is up to the viewer to decide once they start watching the show."
Wesley goes on to say that he purposely didn't watch the movie prior to shooting the pilot for his series, because he didn't want it to influence his performance in anyway considering the similarity in subject matter.
"And now, I've seen parts of it," he says. "I think if there are similarities to Robert Pattinson's character in 'Twilight,' so be it."
Exec producer Kevin Williamson also admits that "the premise is the same: you know, girl meets vampire. But what L.J. Smith did was once you get past that premise ... when you read the first book ... I was like, 'No way. This is 'Twilight.' But when I got to the second book, you start to realize, 'Oh, my God. Boy, this is a fork in the road. It really does separate.' So we're getting to that fork in the road really quick. And we're really sort of telling the story about a small town, all darkness that lies underneath this town and how this vampire comes to town and sort of stirs it all up."
One difference between 'Twilight' and "The Vampire Diaries" is the budget. Since the latter is a series, the producers had to come up with an inexpensive way of turning Wesley and Ian Somerhalder, who plays his brother Damon, into vampires.
"I hate cheap effects and I hate when it gets really cheesy and you don't really have really money or the time to do things to any sort of big budget scale -- and everybody who is watching this show has seen what you can do with $150 million on a feature film," Williamson says. "So it's kind of hard. We want to do something a little more subtle and just keep it to some sort of, like, biological sort of physiological response, so when they get excited we just sort of see the blood rush under the skin, pales their face out a little bit, but it all goes to the eye and they kind of have these bloody eyes. And then, of course, they have teeth."
"The Vampire Diaries" premieres Thursday, Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. on The CW.