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Carrie Preston’s Many Talents: True Blood and more

carrie-preston

True Blood’s waitress, Arlene, better known as Carrie Preston in real life spoke to the Geek Exchange about her perceptions of True Blood and her other projects.  As far as Carrie is concerned, she’s starring in a show about a bar. Below is a portion of her interview that pertains to True Blood

Thinking of the show as beign about a bar may come as something of a surprise to the millions of people tuning in to HBO’s True Blood to check out the vampires, fairies, shapeshifters and other supernatural denizens of Bon Temps, Louisiana. “It’s an interesting position to be in,” offers the actress, who has played Merlotte’s bar and grill waitress Arlene Fowler since the start of the show, which is in its sixth season.

I barely interact with the supernaturals and when I do, they are in my environment. You certainly wouldn’t see Arlene go to Fangtasia. I think it was a couple of seasons before I, personally, even looked at that set. It was on a different stage, and I’d never had any occasion to go there, so I do feel like I’m sometimes in a different show. But nonetheless it’s exciting to be a part of it, because the humans are what contextualize all of the vampires. If we weren’t there, it could just be a show that took place in outer space and no one would know the difference.

One benefit of the situation is that there are unexpected moments when she watches completed episodes.

It’s terribly exciting for me, and I think for everyone on the show, because we’re all in these very specific storylines that sometimes don’t ever converge,” she says, “so when we see it all pieced together, it’s thrilling to see what your colleagues were up to at the same time you were serving drinks in the bar.

That person serving drinks — Arlene — is a four-time divorcee who can’t stand vampires and is usually offering up racial put downs, even if she doesn’t always realize it. Although she’s not really part of the vampire storylines, there is still plenty of darkness that surrounds Arlene in her seemingly isolated world. “You’re dealing with someone who is representing the more narrow-minded view of society to disenfranchised people,” she muses.

You start off with this character who is limited in her ability to tolerate people who are different, and as the story has progressed over the seasons, we’ve seen Arlene have to deal with those things, internalize them and figure out a way to accept and live with them. When we shot the scene where Arlene and Terry Bellefleur got married, and you only really saw it as a video flashback, we were watching the footage, [the character] Holly and I, they put the camera on us and needed a few reaction shots of us watching this wedding video. I realized that Jessica Hamby was at Arlene’s wedding — which is huge — a vampire being at her wedding — so I added a moment where I said, ‘Would you have ever believed that I had a vampire at my wedding?’ So I think that was a good indication of how far Arlene has come. She’s also had to grapple with the possibility that her son might be possessed — turns out he wasn’t — but his father is now a ghost that does come back to haunt her… These are very real things that she can’t run away from anymore.

 

To read the entire interview with Carrie where she discusses the challenges of being a director and producer these days, go to: geekexchange.com

3 comments
Rina
Rina

Carrie Preston is awesome. Love her as Arlene.

willkill4Bill
willkill4Bill

Carrie is so fabulous as Arlene. She delivers those lies straight-faced that have us rofl. I also enjoy her on The Good Wife and Person of Interest.

Rowena
Rowena

I often think of Arlene as the humans' Greek chorus in True Blood. I'd love to see her interact with the supes a bit more, but maintain her rock solid humanness. And she always has the best (and funniest) lines.