The Vault wishes Alan Ball, Executive Producer and creator of True Blood a Happy Birthday – May 13!
Neighbours Quentin Tarantino and Alan Ball are having a dispute over Ball’s birdies in the backyard. TMZ reports that Tarantino has filled a lawsuit against Ball in an attempt to silence the birds.
According to the lawsuit, Tarantino claims ever since Ball installed an “exotic bird menagerie,” he has been forced to endure the “obnoxious pterodactyl-like screams” of the macaw birds. He says that the noise has “seriously disrupted [his] ability to work as a writer in his home.”
When EOnline asked Alan Ball if he ever had weird True Blood dreams, he revealed, “I dreamed I was in Dexter, and Dexter wanted to kill me, and I wanted to say, ‘Wait a minute, Michael, it’s me. I know you.’ That was my dream, but I don’t really dream about True Blood.”
“True Blood” creator Alan Ball chats on the red carpet of PaleyFest 2011. He reveals that there will be more than witches and, as he said on the stage at PaleyFest, Denis O’Hare (The King of Mississippi) will return, he’s just not sure when.
The True Blood cast looked happy and absolutely fabulous tonight on the PaleyFest 2011 red carpet Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. It was a crowded panel with 17 members attending. Alan Ball, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgård, Carrie Preston, Chris Bauer, Deborah Ann Woll, Jim Parrack, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Alejandro, Kristin Bauer, Marschall Allman, Nelsan Ellis, Rutina Wesley, Ryan Kwanten, Sam Trammell and Todd Lowe.
First look at our True Blood cast and the best maker evah Alan Ball.
More photos in the Photo Gallery.
Back in October 2010 Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin donated items for auction on True Blood News in an effort to raise money for the Darnell family. The auction raised $2,280 for the Darnells.
The True Blood couple is at it again: Stephen and Anna have donated an autographed script for auction to help the family. The script, from episode 3.12, “Evil Is Going On,” is signed by Stephen, Anna, and Alan Ball.
As you may recall, the four remaining Darnell children lost a sibling and were left orphaned on August 30, 2010 when their mother, 43-year-old Missy Darnell and Genevieve Darnell, their 10-year-old sister, were struck and killed by a car while walking to a local convenience store. The children lost their father eight months prior. To learn more about the Darnell Family read Lynnpd’s article about the fundraiser attended by Anna and Stephen.
SimplyMoyer.com will host the auction on Ebay starting today February 14, Valentine’s Day. The auction will end on Wednesday, February 23.
For more information and to place your bid go to the auction page on eBay, click here.
Donations can be made on the Darnell Family Fund Facebook page:
In an interview with with top execs Richard Plepler and Michael Lombardo of HBO, entitled, “Life After Tony Soprano” By Ruta Kupfer, they discuss that it wasn’t an easy decision for them and that they lost some sleep by deciding to give the OK to the production of True Blood as a series.
Below are a few excerpts from that article:
Losing sleep – What was the hardest decision you’ve had to make in your current positions at HBO over the past four years?
Lombardo: “Honestly, the decision to pick up ‘True Blood’ as our first series. The pilot was interesting, not perfect. And it was a genre show. You know ‘True Blood’ is not ‘Sopranos’ and doesn’t aspire to be … you know, we knew we’d have people going on and saying ‘What’s going on in HBO?’ In retrospect I’m glad we made those decisions, but we lost some sleep.”
Plepler: “I would agree, and just want to add that ‘True Blood’ – we didn’t know that it would fit the vampire craze. We did know that we had Alan Ball as our partner, and what we really were betting on was his artistry, his talent and his vision and that was the right bet.”
Are you looking for the next “Sopranos”?
Lombardo: “No. Shows come in and you have to respond to them as they come. If you swing every time to make a home run – honestly, in my estimation, that’s why the networks sometime fail to produce the best shows. ‘Sopranos’ was a great show that worked on all levels, critically acclaimed and a great audience.”
Plepler: “I think, with the greatest respect to the show, because it was a great show, that ‘True Blood’ with its numbers and the cultural phenomenon is every bit as huge for us. ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ which was not only critically heralded but the numbers – 10.5 million viewers for the first season is probably the same amount of numbers ‘The Sopranos’ had at the same time. I think ‘Boardwalk’ in its first season was an absolute phenomenon. And I think ‘Game of Thrones’ will also generate the same [interest].”
In hindsight, which of course, is 20/20, it appears to be a “no brainer”, and we’re so lucky that they took the chance on True Blood.
To read the entire interview, click here: haaretz.com
HBO has decided not to pick up Alan Ball‘s latest project “All Signs Of Death”. The Ball-directed pilot was based on Charlie Huston’s noir novel, The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death, about a slacker who joins a crime scene clean-up crew. HBO has decided to not opt for a series greenlight, which should also keep Ball focued on his hit True Blood.
Of course, HBO has Game of Thrones coming in April, and several other projects are waiting for a series verdict: The Hollywood blogger comedy Tilda; the Judd Apatow-produced comedy Girls (formerly Untitled Lena Dunham) about a group of young women; Justin Theroux and Steve Coogan’s comedy about the documentary business, Documental; the Julia Louis-Dreyfus comedy Veep (whose pilot being shot next year).
The interview below with Alan Ball by Fabio M. Barreto is a translation from Portuguese to English by Billsbabe Marta and, although she did a great job translating, it may not represent what Alan Ball and the author said “verbatim” thoughout. However, I thought it was a very interesting interview, so we are sharing it with you in English.
To see the original interview go to SOSHollywood.
“The ultimate is having a show in which if you lose, you die. As far as the reality shows are concerned, at least the ones I’ve been watching, it wouldn’t be that bad if some of those people could actually die. If Bachelorette picked someone to shoot every week, you bet I’d be the first to watch it! [Laughs]” – Allan Ball
Listening to Allan Ball is always something interesting for various reasons. He is confident about his creations, isn’t afraid of controversial issues and looks at his work in both a fun and serious way. A great mix in a world full of withdrawn directors and “empty stars”, controlled by the infamous media – the PR’s (public relations), the press and any others who relate to the public image- who can even “knock down” the studios and main networks when it’s time to guide their clients. Ball stands out and is able keep up a good conversation. He feels comfortable talking about almost every subject as long as it’s within the context of TV. He’s good, that’s the truth. And the ones who are good always stand out in Hollywood, which is already showing signs of fatigue. But he doesn’t care about that and neither do I because, after all, our job is to talk. And that’s why I had the opportunity to talk once more to the creator of True Blood in the name of SOS Hollywood and Sci-Fi News. The fourth season of the show is already being filmed and its premiere is scheduled for 2011. Get your bottle of True Blood ready and enjoy this conversation with the master of vampires for adults!
Are creating cliff hangers still a rule in TV shows? Was the season finale (season 3) something well planned or was it something that happened naturally?
It wasn’t intentional, it happened naturally. Every time we create stories, we try to look for what I like to call, a “what the fuck moment” where basically whoever is watching thinks “What the fuck?” I think that every episode needs at least one of those moments otherwise it’s not a worthy episode and it gets easy to let the viewer wonder whether he enjoyed the episode or not. That’s why I believe that as directors and writers, our job is to try to make a “WTF” episode with an emotional basis and within the story of that world. Now that the show keeps growing, I feel that when I work with scriptwriters is not enough to have an honest conversation about their opinions. I need to see some heads rolling.
Is it your main concern to reinvent the series at each new season?
I think we try not to repeat ourselves. We try hard not to. We use the books as the basis to the show but our story is different. The main contrast is between the vampires in the books and our vampires. The books are about Sookie, they tell her story. Whenever she leaves Bon Temps or does something else they only show her perspective. In the books we don’t see Jason or Sam…we need to get the story going and tell people who they are. I don’t have a plan, I just try to find the best story and hopefully, it’ll work.
Is TV something liberating or restricting?
I don’t know. I mean, we can pretty much tell whatever story we want as long as it’s not pornographic; that’s a boundary that has not been crossed yet. The limit is having a show in which if you lose, you die. As far as the reality shows are concerned, at least the ones I’ve been watching it wouldn’t be that bad if some of those people could actually die. If Bachelorette picked someone to shoot every week, you bet I’d be the first to watch it! [Laughs]
How do you separate pornography from sexual appeal on True Blood?
Pornography has to do with the exploitation of the human body. Art has to do with the soul. I’m not saying that True Blood is a work of art but I’m saying that it’s not about the bodies; it has to do with the connection that exists between people. Part of what I loved in the books was the great mix of horror, romance, drama, comedy and sex in Bon Temps. The vampires are pretty much a metaphor for sex: there’s penetration, body fluids…it’s a very erotic metaphor, in fact. And there’s lots of sex in Charlaine Harris’s books. I think that the sex life of the characters is something very interesting, we learn a lot about the mind and the soul of a person through sex. I felt that it was a very natural and important part of that world and it just had to be there. Jason is sexually compulsive because he is traumatized, this is a classic story. But in order to have a sexually compulsive character, we need to show the sex otherwise it doesn’t make sense, right? That’s what’s interesting about him, that’s his source of self-esteem.
Was balancing the sex scenes something difficult or did it occur naturally?
The sex is a part of the characters, of their lives and also a part of the show. Think, Sookie was a virgin when the show started and why couldn’t she have sex? Because she could hear the nasty thoughts of the men she was dating with. Then the sex between Bill and her become a major part of her story, an important part of her emotions; Again, Jason is sexually compulsive so the sex is a very important thing in his story. Basically, the vampires are the sex. Actually, what attracted me the most was the fact that this story was set in a small town in the south – and I’m from a small town in the south – when we have that puritanism which is a characteristic of small towns, the sex has much more emphasis. The Americans can’t feel relaxed when the subject is sex.
Is it because of that “explicit content” that True Blood has to be more visceral than, let’s say, Twilight?
Twilight fans are thirteen year old girls. I think that if thirteen year old girls who watch Twilight and the kind of sex scenes that are in Twilight, watched True Blood and the kind of sex scenes that are in True Blood, they would be traumatized. No, True Blood is for a different audience. True Blood is for adults. Period.
When did vampires stop being monstrous creatures and transformed themselves into romantic ones?
Well, a lot of people think that it started with “Dark Shadows” [gothic soap opera famous in the 60’s that is going to be transformed into a movie. Johnny Depp will be in the main role]. There were also Anne Rice’s books and the Broadway production of Dracula in the 70’s. I think there was a point in which they became romantic heroes.
How do you keep the suspense going when the story in the books is so advanced and well known in comparison to the show?
I try not to worry about it. I need to create a show and assume that the people who are watching it, are watching it for the first time. We also make some changes, so It’s not exactly the same story. It’s a lot easier, in many ways…The hard work has all been done. But It’s difficult because we can’t just follow any path, we have to remain faithful to the books to a certain extent because most of the fans of the books are also fans of the show.
Alan Ball seems to have found a good home with HBO. They let him breathe creatively and encourage him to take changes. Below Alan talks about an experience that stands out for him and explains why he likes working for them.
The experience that stands out to me the most is the first meeting about “Six Feet Under.” When I worked at the broadcast networks, all the notes I got could basically be distilled into two thoughts: Make everybody nicer and articulate the subtext. Both of which are just death to good storytelling. When I turned in the ‘Six Feet Under’ pilot, the note I got was, ‘We love it, but it feels a little safe. Can you make the whole thing just a little more fucked up?’ Seriously. And I just had this moment of like, ‘OK, I’m in the right place.’ Doing any show is so incredibly hard, and I feel so lucky in that I’ve done two with HBO that have been really functional and sane. I’m actually working with people who seem to be interested in making shows better, not just different because they need to justify their salaries.