Ian Somerhalder first appeared in the Episode: "The Black Bag" of the television series ‘The Big Easy’ in 1997. He made his first silver screen appearance in the 1998 American comedy-drama film ‘Celebrity’ directed by Woody Allen. The film failed to impress the critics and was a box office bomb. In 2000, he starred as ‘Hamilton Fleming’ in the American drama television series ‘Young Americans’ created by Steven Antin. The series was canceled after one season. In 2002, he played the role of ‘Paul Denton’ in the Roger Avary-directed black comedy-drama film ‘The Rules of Attraction.’ The film opened to a mixed critical reception and received a 43% approval score on Rotten Tomatoes. However, it gained a cult following in subsequent years. He next starred as ‘Miller’ in the 2004 American submarine film ‘In Enemy Hands’ directed by Tony Giglio. The same year, he also became a part of the American science fiction drama television series ‘Lost’ created by Jeffrey Lieber, J. J. Abrams, and Damon Lindelof. He portrayed ‘Boone Carlyle’ and remained on the show until 2007. However, he made a later appearance in the series in 2010. He continued to appear in television series and films such as ‘Smallville’ (2004), ‘National Lampoon's TV: The Movie’ (2006), ‘Pulse’ (2006), ‘The Sensation of Sight’ (2006), ‘Marco Polo’ (2007), ‘Tell Me You Love Me’ (2007), ‘Lost City Raiders’ (2008), and ‘Fireball’ (2009).
In 2009, he joined the main cast of the American supernatural teen drama television series ‘The Vampire Diaries’ as ‘Damon Salvatore.’ The series ran for 8 seasons and aired its final episode in 2017. Somerhalder also won several awards, including 8 ‘Teen Choice Awards,’ for his performance in the series. He next starred in films like ‘The Tournament’ (2009), ‘How to Make Love to a Woman’ (2010), and ‘Caught On Tape’ (2013). In 2014, he played the role of ‘Agent Harkin Langham/Anomaly #X’ in the British science fiction action thriller film ‘The Anomaly’ directed by Noel Clarke. The film was largely panned by critics and currently holds a 0% approval score on Rotten Tomatoes. Somerhalder was last seen in the 2020 documentary film ‘Kiss the Ground’ directed by Joshua Tickell and Rebecca Harrell Tickell. The film holds an 88% approval score on Rotten Tomatoes.