Steven R. McQueen is the grandson of the late Steve McQueen and shares the legendary actor’s effortlessly cool persona. The 23-year-old Los Angeles native plays a troubled medium named Jeremy Gilbert alongside fellow Bullett heartbreaker Michael Trevino on the knockout supernatural drama The Vampire Diaries. He also starred in the 2010 remake of Piranha, is a big fan of the Rolling Stones, has a dog named Max and has a crush on Morgan Freeman. One of these things is not true.
What can we expect from Jeremy next season?
Well, we’re kind of figuring that out as we go. We just got our first script. At the end of last season, Jeremy failed to protect his sister and she died, so now I think he’s trying to become stronger to right his wrongs.
What I like about your character is that he’s gradually transitioned from weak to badass.
And hopefully this season, a little more.
That’s a mischievous smile. Something big is going to happen, isn’t it?
It’s going to be a good season. I’m pretty excited about it.
Do you share any personality traits with Jeremy?
He’s been through a lot. You just have to dig deep and try to relate to certain parts. But I don’t know, Jeremy’s a little darker than most.
Do you have a dark side?
[Laughs] We all do. How about yourself?
Definitely. Speaking of the dark side, have you ever had your heart broken?
What did it feel like?
You don’t want to go there, do you?
I don’t want to go there.
You’re in a happy place now?
Have you ever broken a heart?
I have. That wasn’t good either.
Do you consider yourself a romantic?
What’s your idea of a romantic day?
I would say that I enjoy having time away from everything. Putting down our phones and just kind of shutting off from the rest of the world. Having the day to us—whether it’s out of town or watching movies at home.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
When I’m back home in L.A., I hang out with friends. I just shot a short film with some of them. In Atlanta where The Vampire Diaries is filmed, there’s a kickboxing gym that I go to a bunch. Besides that, I hang out with my dog, Max.
Max! What breed?
He’s a mutt. He’s Golden, Shepard, and I don’t know what else.
How long have you had him?
I think three years now.
That’s love for you, isn’t it?
Does a girl have to be an animal lover for you to date them?
Oh, man. If a girl doesn’t get along with my dog, then we’ve got a problem.
Have you ever had that situation? What if she’s allergic to dogs?
Actually, I did date someone who was allergic to dogs. Let’s just say that she had to take a lot of Claritin…
Because the dog was not going to go away, right?
The dog is never going away. There’s no way on earth. I dated this girl for about a year and a half, so she had to take Claritin consistently every day.
That’s a lot of Claritin. I think you can pick up allergies from the dog’s hair…
We looked it up. It’s like in the skin particles or something.
Who’s your celebrity crush?
Probably Scarlett Johansson. I’m an Avengers fan.
You like a girl who can kick ass.
I’d say someone who can stand her ground is always attractive.
Do you listen to music?
I do. I listen to a lot of music, actually.
Have you heard anything cool recently?
What I’m listening to kind of changes with my mood. Sometimes I listen to classics, like the Rolling Stones or Jim Morrison. I like the new Maroon 5 album, too. I’m also a big Ray LaMontagne fan. I love music.
What’s the last song that you listened to?
Let me look on my iPod…
I’m sure it’s going to be something embarrassing.
It probably will. Okay, it’s a song called “Thin Line” by Honeyhoney. I went to see James Morrison in concert in New York and this band opened for them. They were great and I’d never heard them before.
What genre is that?
I’ll play it for you right now.
I like it. It has a folk, bluegrass feel. So, what would you say is the best love song of all time? Besides that Titanic song by Celine Dion—I know you want to say that.
[Laughs] Hmm. There are so many different kinds of love songs. I think it depends on the mood of what you’re going through at the time. How do you define a love song?
How about the first song that resonated with you when you were experiencing your first crush?
Oh, I don’t remember that.
Stevie Wonder always brings me back. Or even Lionel Richie. I’m a dork.
No, those are good. I feel like there are different emotions that come along with love, so, I can’t classify just one song.
What’s your favorite stage of love?
There’s the beginning—the infatuation stage—that’s always fun. Then there are the first fights. Then there’s knowing someone and being in that state of comfort. But that is a question that I think we all ask ourselves: What’s the best part of love? What is what we’re meant to have and what is what we’re looking for?