In last Sunday night’s episode of True Blood we saw resolution to Terry’s suffering from his time in Iraq. In past seasons we had hints about his past, but in Season 5, flashbacks revealed that during his tour of duty, in the Iraq War he killed a civilian woman while high and under orders from his commanding officer, Sgt. Patrick Devins (Scott Foley). As this season progressed, the two former Marines continued to be haunted by the spirit of their Iraqi victim in the form of a mysterious smoke monster called the Ifrit. In last Sunday’s episode, Terry silenced his demons for good, at an enormous cost: he shot and killed the cowardly Patrick, effectively vanquishing the Ifrit and making his family safe again.
So, after spending much of True Blood on the periphery of the major plot lines, Todd Lowe has found himself at the center of his own dramatic story arc this season.
Texas native Lowe checked in with Rolling Stone recently to chat about playing a character with PTSD, his new honky-tonk band and his latest gig acting alongside Will Smith.
One of the defining aspects of Terry Bellefleur has always been the fact that he suffers from PTSD. Did you do any first-hand research on it? Lowe: I knew some people growing up – some family members, some friends of the family – who had done time over in Iraq and done a couple of tours, and I kind of based it on them. I didn’t do too much medical research into it – I’m leaving that up to the writers to determine what’s going to happen – but I didn’t know until the beginning of Season Five, when Alan [Ball] sent me an e-mail saying what was going to go on with my character, what had actually happened over there. I didn’t know in Season One that I had shot an innocent woman while high. So having that at the beginning of this season, like, “Ok, you did do something just terrible and nightmares are going to plague you forever.” That is the cause of why he’s been [the way he is], among other horrors I’m sure he saw over there. That’s the one that was the most personal.
In shooting that scene where Terry kills the Iraqi woman, you guys were outfitted in full-on Marine gear. Were you able to get in any training during rehearsals? Was it impossible to move around? Lowe: Well, what I was hoping for – but it wasn’t logistically possible – was that we could’ve timed it where I could’ve shaved my beard and cut my hair. But because we also had to shoot stuff that was happening in the present day, it just wasn’t logistically feasible. So we put pins in my hair and tucked it up under a headband. I had my chin strap kind of covering my beard, and they made the decision that, “Well, you guys have been out there for a long time, you haven’t had time to shave.” But everyone I know who’s a Marine said, “It doesn’t matter: We shaved every morning.” With a dry razor and using an Evian bottle or whatever – just with the little water that [they] had. It’s a very important thing. I hope I don’t catch too much flak from cousins I have who are actual Marines that we weren’t doing it right. Hopefully they’ll overlook that.
But they gave us a half-hour boot camp on how to walk and how to hold a rifle, and how it’s going to feel when we’re shooting, like, “This is the way it recoils, this is the way you hold it, the way you scan a perimeter.…” So we got a really quick, basic lesson on that.
Since the Ifrit was something that had to be added in post-production, what was your reaction when you saw the finished product? Lowe: I’m not a big fan of CGI, personally – I’d rather see old stop-animation that they used to do with monsters or even somebody in a monster suit – but that being said, I liked the way [the Ifrit] moved around and engulfed Private Eller. So all in all, I’m happy with it.
In previous seasons, Terry has had more of a comic-relief role, but now he’s got this major dramatic arc. Is that something you were hoping for? Or do you prefer doing comedy? Lowe: I guess I do prefer doing comic roles, but you have to play it truthful and the drama that I’ve been playing this year has been great. I haven’t been able to find, really, moments of levity. Even me having to grab Patrick’s hand and put it on the table for that ridiculous séance at Lafayette’s was, like, totally serious. So you play that in all seriousness, but it still kind of comes with a little bit of a chuckle.
Speaking of that séance scene in last week’s episode, Nelsan Ellis did such a fantastic job – how did you guys keep a straight face? Lowe: It’s really hard, especially when he had to memorize those few lines in Arabic, and he’s sitting there shouting and getting really into it – spit’s coming out, people getting hit in the face – but he’s so powerful, it’s hard not to flinch when he really turns it on like that. But, yeah, him rattling those bracelets – we got all that silly stuff out in the rehearsal. Once you do a scene 10 times, it’s not quite as funny anymore.
The human population on True Blood is rapidly dwindling, especially now that Tara’s been made a vampire. So would you like to see Terry go supernatural? Or do you think he works best as a human? Lowe: I think we need humans in there for balance – to give supernatural characters more weight. If there are no humans left, it becomes like a Dungeons and Dragons game; there’s gotta be something that grounds it in reality. So I’m happy staying human; whatever the writers want to do with me is fine. If they want to at the end of the series reveal that I’m the Easter Bunny, I’ll take that and play it as straight as I can. But no, I prefer staying human. All of Terry’s monsters are on the inside.
True Blood’s Deborah Ann Woll stopped by Big Morning Buzz Live this morning where she discussed whether or not Jessica will heal Hoyt with her blood and fall in love with him again, now that he’s saved her life and she got all that wild-child stuff out of her system?
Deborah Ann says:
“We don’t know what Hoyt’s fate is as of last night, [episode 5.09]” she teased. (Wait, Deborah, we don’t know, but YOU do.) But pressed to speculate about her character’s future with her ex (played by Jim Parrack), she said, “I think it was pretty clear the other night: I think she has a lot of care for him but the love is gone. I really love that the writers allowed that to happen.”
That baby vamp is still so cruel! And yet, she wouldn’t rule out a reunion in the future. “Anything can happen, that is true,” she admitted. “We didn’t think that they’d be able to break up Hoyt and Jess, because it was such an epic story, but they did it. So maybe they’ll be able to bring them back together.”
Who doesn’t remember this classic Pam phrase? You can now have Pam and the fan-favorite expression on a t-shirt, all in support of Kristin Bauer’s documentary Out for Africa.
The Tees are sold on Kristin’s Kickstarter fundraiser page in a pledge package consisting off:
Project updates AND Your name listed on the Elephant Matriarch Status Sponsorship page on the project website www.OutForAfrica.com AND a digital download of the movie once the DVD is done AND a LIMITED EDITION T-SHIRT printed up only for this campaign with a PAM PHOTO and the phrase in pink “ARE YOU PICKING UP WHAT I’M PUTTING DOWN?” on the front (White V-neck cotton T in Unisex sizes S-M-L-XL-XXL).
I had been to see a panel on Friday at Comic Con titled Designing for the Undead which consisted of costume designers guild members Chrisi Karvonides (costume designer, American Horror Story, Carnivale), Audrey Fisher (costume designer, True Blood), and Alexander Welker (costume designer, Grimm) and costume illustrator Imogene Chayes (True Blood, American Horror Story) who talked about creating all those costumes for the great paranormal television characters we know and love.
At the Comic-Con Media, Culture and Design Panel- Friday, July 13, 2012.
Watch the video I took while attending the panel at Comic Con.
I had already contacted Audrey Fisher about doing an interview and after the panel, I went up to her to set a time to talk together. I met with her at her hotel on Sunday, July 15 in the morning and it was a delightful interview. I know I sound like a broken record when I say this, but I found her to be, just like everyone else on True Blood, extremely giving and kind. I enjoyed our talk together and was very flattered that she asked me to her room where I could meet her friends and where she could give me some photos to use for The Vault’s charity efforts.
Below is my interview with the lovely Audrey Fisher.
How did you get into the business? I was just sitting and talking with someone on Friday, at the signing before our panel and I realized that I have been doing this for 20 years. I designed my first show in NY in 1992.
Audrey with some of her True Blood designs on display.
Did you go to school for this or was it something you just fell into? I went to theater school and that’s why I was in New York. I went to NYU, Tisch in the department of performance studies which is this very esoteric major that sort of mixes sociology, theology, and performance, theater studies and everything all mixed together. It’s a very brainy program and a lot of theory and not a lot of theater making. So what happened is that I thought I wanted to be a dramaturge, a German term, or the Germans developed it. It’s sort of like the person in a theater production is kind of like the editor; that’s what I thought I wanted to be.
A dramaturge or dramaturg is a professional position within a theatre or opera company that deals mainly with research and development of plays or operas. Its modern-day function was originated by the innovations of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, an 18th-century German playwright, philosopher, and theorist about theatre.
Obviously it’s an even more specialized field and really, theater in America is very different from theater in Germany. So, I was going to this very erudite program but while I was there, I started needing to do things with my hands and I’ve always done costumes on the side. One of my colleagues was a German woman, and a director, and she did a production of Medea and she saw these crazy hats I was making in an art class and she asked me to do the costumes. It totally made sense because my mom and I used to make things in the garage and I was always sewing and making stuff for my dolls and we were always putting on little shows, so there was this tradition in my family of making things and making costumes, so it felt completely natural and I started doing it then and fell for it, hard.
How did you get the job on True Blood? That was the most amazing situation. I had been working by then for over a dozen years in the industry, doing costuming. I started in New York in ‘92 and I did a bunch of small theater pieces there and then I went to Europe and did a couple of operas and some theater. Then, I came back to New York and did some bigger productions there and then I moved back to LA and became a resident design assistant at the Taper. I started doing various jobs there where I met Merlina Root, she was doing a show at the Taper. She is the designer of “That 70’s Show” and “Twenty Good Years” and “3rd Rock from the Sun.” So I assisted her in theater and she said what are you doing in theater, you should come and work in TV, and I said OK and I hadn’t even thought of it. She hired me on “That 80’s Show,” and I assistant designed with her. Then, she hired me onto “That 70’s Show” and during that show when we were wrapping, Danny Glicker came and wanted to buy the stock for the movie, “We Are Marshall.” He and I totally hit it off and he hired me to be his assistant designer on that movie, “We Are Marshall.” At that time, Danny’s career was taking off and Alan Ball asked him to do “Towelhead” and then asked him to do True Blood. So Danny was the first designer for True Blood,’ he designed the first two episodes. Then, we had the writer’s strike and Danny suggested I take over because he was going to go on to do the movie, “Milk” and no one knew what was going to happen. So, he basically said to Alan and the Producers, “Audrey loves the show, knows the show, I trust her implicitly, she’s great, so what if she took over.” I never thought of it, it’s like a dream when an assistant sort of gets kicked upstairs like that. Now, it’s my baby. The minute I got it I thought, Oh My God, this is my big moment.
Different Sookie Looks
What’s fun about your job?
Everything is fun about it. I am kind of hyper and love everything we have to handle every day. I love the multi-tasking, and I love the pace. Sometimes when I wake up and I’m really tired, and I say to myself, I just can’t, then I remember what I have to do today. Hmmm, I have a fitting with Alexander Skarsgård, I have to outfit a bunch of faeries and then, I have to deal with this huge blood rig and then, I have to see Anna for a fitting, so I say, OK, I’m getting up now. So, even on my worst day, I remember this incredible thing that I get to do and I get paid for it.
Suzuki Ingerslev, True Blood’s set designer, told me that she doesn’t have the incredible pace that you have to deal with; is this true?
It makes sense when you look at the amount of bodies and details on the bodies vs. the production design. They have a set and all the beautiful details, but they have one set and it’s a numbers game. I have to deal with physical people; underwear and socks, and rings, and earrings. And then there are ear allergies and wool allergies and, “I don’t like this neckline” and “I look terrible in this color” and “I like this brand of underwear.” There are just so many details and with production design it doesn’t have that element, so that just adds a lot of time to my docket.
I liked when you said Kristin was your Barbie Doll.
She is. She is physically a dream in terms of putting clothes on her body. That’s pretty extraordinary with the cast; they’re all so extraordinary, they are amazing.
Kristin Bauer van Straten as Audrey’s Barbie Doll
How much advance notice do you have to find items, like finding the Wal-Mart outfit and the onesies for Jason, etc?
The jammies were a total build; we made those from scratch since they just don’t exist.
And they were a huge hit.
Yes, and Angela Robinson wrote that, she wrote “he man onesie” and I was like OK, because I can’t like just call the “He man onesie store” and order it in a man size, we just made it up. Those are challenges that the writers sort of toss up that I’m happy to be able to satisfy.
It just depends, what I try to do is sort of hoard items and if I’m out shopping and I see things I like, I just buy it, I buy six of it. Then, I have it ready to go and a lot of times, that works out. Because I’m always thinking about the color palettes and the silhouettes and scanning out in the world. Even now,when I’m out in the world it’s so hard for me to shut off the shopping because I’m think, “oh, that will be great for this and that would be great for that,” so, I’m constantly thinking that way.
In the beginning of the season it’s best because we get like two scripts and then we get a bunch of synopsis so we try to front load and we see stuff that’s coming up and we can prep for it.
Kristin Bauer van Straten in Wal-Mart Sweatsuit
Ryan Kwanten in HeMan Onesie
Do you get synopsis for the whole season?
No, usually we get 2 – 3 scripts and a couple of synopsis at a time. However, you can’t work too far ahead on a synopsis because things change, so you don’t put too much effort into it. But that’s when my relationship with the writer’s room comes in handy because I can say, “Is this going to stay?”
Have you had that happen where something has been changed radically at the last minute?
I can’t think of something where it’s been that radical, but things have fallen away that we’ve started to prep for, but we’ve sort of hit a balance now where we don’t ever go too far ahead because we don’t want to waste money and time; we don’t have it to waste, so we try to keep it tight.
What costumes in season 5 required the most from you?
Oh, the Faery Club because we had to dress all of them. The same thing with 1905, the whore house, but the faery club took a long time for us to get to the articulation of the design.
By the time we got it we only had two weeks to manufacture all the costumes before it was on camera, so it was really high pressure and went into overdrive. We hired a whole second team of seamstresses, assistant designers, shoppers. PA’s and costumers, so we had a whole secondary costume shop working. We had to fit a 100 people and we had to get two changes on most of them because we knew we wouldn’t have those resources again. We knew we needed to bang it out so we’d be ready for future scenes that we didn’t know about. We wanted to make sure that each faery had a closet that we could rely on so we would know for example, she has another bra, she has another crown, she already has another selection of jewelry so that for the next time around we could pull out something and wouldn’t be stuck.
The Faery Club
It’s amazing too because that scene wasn’t really that long even though a very important scenes.
I think for every department it’s a heartbreak when we don’t have the camera lovingly dwell on each thing, but of course there’s so much packed into each episode, they have to edit so tightly so, those long lingering shots, the wide shots, often end up on the cutting room floor because they have to get to the action. And, people want to see the actors close up and their reactions. I actually was very satisfied with how much we saw the faeries this season.
And Hadley looks so cute in that scene with the little crown on her head.
She’s so adorable and cute.
Hadley – Lindsey Haun
How’s the budget? Do you have to work with little or do you think you have enough to do what you need to do?
That’s one thing about having started from the beginning you can look back. I recently was sorting through some files and found my season 1 files and noticed that the budget has doubled. I was laughing. My first episode that I designed of Season 1, episode 3, the cast list wasn’t long and the budget is half of what it is now. I took it into my supervisor, who is sort of like the project manager, and we laughed so hard because now the cast list is like 20 principles and 20 day players, so we laughed about that.
I’m not interested in wasting money or spending a lot for doing something I could do for less. It’s always a balance between time and money; that’s it. It’s just a continuum. I simply can’t afford very expensive designs, for example, I can’t shop at Saks Fifth Avenue all the time. I can do so occasionally though, if I find something on sale for say, Pam.
But, also it is Bon Temps?
I do have that interesting split and I think that the reason I could be on budget is because half the people’s [costumes], I can get out of Good Will, out of Kohl’s or JC Penney’s which we have done over the years, but then, where I spend the money is on Chris Meloni and Anna. This season, Anna had to have a lot of different options as her pregnancy advanced. As she got bigger, there was a lot of work we had to do to make sure she was comfortable, a lot of different sizes of everything, a lot of different choices. I had to reserve my main funds for the top ten [cast members] and of course, the vampires. Especially this season their clothes were very high end so I had to make sure I had the money for that.
But, still I do a lot of tricks. A lot of the dresses that I find are knock offs of designer stuff, like the purple dress that Salome just wore. That beautiful curvy dress, that’s a knock off of a very expensive designer actually, Roland Mouret and then, Black Halo knocked him off and then, French Connection knocked Black Halo off. So, it looks like a very expensive designer dress, but it’s actually French Connection, which I think was maybe under $200. That’s how I can do it because things are knocked off so quickly now, allowing me to give the impression of a very luxurious costume when in fact it’s affordable for the budget.
We kind of thought that True Blood would go on for another year. I personally would like it to go on forever, but yesterday, at the True Blood Panel, Alan said that it could go on for many years, so I presume you’ll be there until the end. What would you like to do when it does end? I’m just starting to think about it and the future. Obviously season 6 is happening and I’m there, but for me the key is the interesting and amazing scripts. I’d love to travel, go on location, and do a film. The thing I think would be hard for me would be to do something that is really bare bones because that requires so much work on the designers part, it’s like sweat equity. I think that would be hard to do because I’m used to a really logical and efficient way of working. Therefore, I would have to find something that was logical and efficient because I don’t think I could go back to stuff that’s so poorly funded that you’re not really spending the money you really need to make it look right. And that doesn’t have to be a lot, but I feel like I want to work on productions that are smart, savvy and then have an incredible script.
Do you have any aspirations to go back to the stage?
You know the thing about the stage is that I haven’t been able to afford to go back because, at least the productions I used to do, the pay is really low.
Well, that’s fine because we like you in TV and, HBO specifically. It seems they are very supportive, is that true?
Yes, it’s an incredible company, especially when I’m here (Comic con), and I see the way that they support me as a designer representing the show vs. colleagues from other shows. For example, they produced this incredible handout with a sketch of Jessica. I hired a sketch artist, my sketch artist Imogene, and they tiled together some stills and it’s this beautiful 8-1/2 x 11″ and it has True Blood on it and I signed it and Deborah Ann also signed it.
Below is the photo Audrey talks about above. She gave me a small pile from her inventory for use in our fundraising. I so enjoyed talking with her and learning more about the costume designer’s job and the process. I have the utmost respect for the designers and those who work on this show making it even a better experience.
Lynnpd has an avid interest in the entertainment industry from classic movies to all things True Blood. With a background in art, she enjoys creating in Photoshop, running web sites and finds the internet an exciting place to be. Lynn lives in the LA area and attends as many Hollywood related events as she can. She has covered events for the both websites in the LA area; read all about it at http://lynnpdexclusives.com.
True Blood’s star Janina Gavankar travelled to Las Vegas yesterday to host Maxim Fridays for Maxim’s Summer Issue Release Party in Las Vegas. Janina, who plays shapeshifter Luna Garza on True Blood posed next to a sultry picture of herself and also walked the red carpet in the photos below.
True Blood’s Joe Manganiello attends the RIMOWA celebration for the arrival of the JU52 Aircraft at Westchester County Airport on August 1, 2012 in Armonk, New York. Seen in the photos with Joe below are: CEO Dieter Morszeck and Model Alessandra Ambrosio.
Sam Trammell’s character of Sam Merlotte is probably the most sane and sensible character on True Blood. If I was in Bon Temps, I’d want to have Sam to lean on as a friend. However, Sam is a bit distracted this year from helping out the humans in Bon Temps since he and Luna (Janina Gavankar) are fighting their own problems of being the target of a hate group that want to kill “shifters.”
Below are excerpts of an interview with Sam, where he discusses the deeper meanings behind True Blood, staying in shape for nude scenes, and the likelihood of vampires and shifters getting it on.
DETAILS: In last Sunday’s episode ["Somebody That I Used to Know"], your love interest, Luna [Janina Gavankar], shifted, into, well, you. How was it playing a woman trapped in a man’s body? SAM TRAMMELL: It was really challenging. I didn’t want to do a cliché and do a totally effeminate thing. I wanted to do Luna. I did Tommy [Marshall Allman] last year, and he had more of a hook, more of an accent. Janina was tough. There’s nothing really extreme about her, about how she does Luna. It was difficult, but she was great. She helped me out. I watched her, she read the scenes with me, and I went for it. It’s funny, because you always think you’re doing something extremely large, but when you see it on TV, it plays less big than you think it is.
DETAILS: Well, you did sway your hips at one point. SAM TRAMMELL: I did. That is one thing she does that’s very different from me, her walk. [Laughs] I remember my hips being sore the next day from that, believe it or not.
DETAILS: Stop. They were sore? SAM TRAMMELL: Yeah, I was doing it big, but it didn’t show up like that.
DETAILS:Sam is much more of a vigilante this season. Why is that? SAM TRAMMELL: Well, his two friends who were shape-shifters got shot. Then he got shot. Then Luna got shot. You get mad when you get shot. I say they shot us because of who we are, a hate crime, pretty much—at least to Sam. You can see the good ol’ boys that were doing it, that it wasn’t random, that it was specifically because of who I am.
DETAILS:It’s interesting the way this season is getting into the overarching theme of acceptance, whether it’s vampires or shifters, and the politics of being different. SAM TRAMMELL: I guess you could compare it to the original valid archetype? The non-mainstreaming vampires would say it’s them. The humans are saying that about the shifters—it’s not racist, but it’s an “ist.”
DETAILS:It seems to mirror a lot of real life: People hating on other people, shooting people with guns, all that stuff. SAM TRAMMELL: Yeah, you know what it is? It’s fear. The good ol’ boys afraid of what’s different, and one vampire group afraid of the different philosophies of another vampire group, and what way of life is better. If you’re not scared, if you’re not threatened, it’s not an issue. But if you are, you start shooting and killing.
DETAILS: This is purely unscientific, but I’m pretty sure that of all the cast members, you’ve done the most nude scenes. SAM TRAMMELL: You know what, I think you’re right. Ryan [Kwanten] was up there. But this year, I may be in the lead. The rest of the season, I’m naked a lot.
DETAILS: Do you have to watch what you eat? Do any butt exercises? SAM TRAMMELL: Oh my God. I’m going to have an eating disorder by the time this series is over. You’re not 20 anymore, and we all know: Think about having 10 pounds added. It takes a lot of effort in eating and exercising just to look passable on camera without your shirt on. Then you have people like Ryan and Joe [Manganiello], who are super-human and they’re very, very cut. The bar is pretty high on True Blood.
DETAILS: Are you a meat-and-potatoes guy? SAM TRAMMELL: I definitely like to eat. I like sugar, and I like to drink beer. Which you can’t even drink during the show. I drink wine. That’s part of the not-so-glamourous part of being an actor.
Read the entire interview with Sam, by going to: details.com
Ryan Kwanten’s True Blood character, Jason Stackhouse has undergone a makeover of sorts this year. In season five, Jason has become a fairly competent man of the law — one who still takes his shirt off at the drop of a hat, but now manages to do it with some soul. In light of his investigation into his parents’ deaths, we wonder what he and Sookie are going to find and if they will find it more upsetting to know the truth. Below is a portion of an interview with Ryan for “Vulture.”
I noticed that this season you have more scenes with Anna Paquin than in previous ones. Ryan: Anna and I have been petitioning for it for a little while. It really helps to keep the show grounded with that honest reality of seeing a brother-sister relationship. We were also cautious to make sure Anna [who is pregnant with her first child] was looked after all the time. We’ve been shooting this show for over five years, so we’re a very tight-knit crew who really adores Anna. And she was such a trooper.
Sookie and Jason’s big mission this season is to find out which vampire killed their parents. How will Bill and Eric figure into that story line? Ryan: Jason is going to try to track down who it was. The hardest thing is now is realizing, Does he blame all vampires, or does he just look for the one? I don’t think he suspects it’s someone they know. I’m sorry, I have to be rather vague with my answers — they get shorter and shorter every year.
How will Jason’s revelation that he’s too motivated by sex play out this season? Ryan: That’s a huge thing for Jason, to realize that’s not his be all, end all — that he has more to offer the world than just that. It’s sad to hear him say that, but at the same time at least he’s trying to get better. In terms of his learning curve, it’s been greater and will continue to be greater, ’cause he started lower than anyone else on the show. There’s so much more for him to know.
What are the challenges of playing someone that dumb? Ryan: That’s the thing: I see him more as simple than dumb. There’s an innocence to Jason. He can get away with some of the things he does because of that innocence. Whereas being dumb, you don’t really get sympathy for that. He was originally based on a couple of people I knew, but it’s turned into his own beast now.
Jason is in a bunch of story lines this season. Will he also play a sizable part in the Hoyt-Jessica-shifter story? Ryan: Jessica will definitely come up again, and it’ll have its obvious ramifications. I love that they have Jason drifting in and out of all these story lines. Bon Temps is never short of police activity, so there’s always something for him to do. And he’s taking his job very seriously — that is another way in which he’s evolved. He’s finally found something he may even be remotely good at.
The online synopsis for episode ten mentions that Jason finds a scroll. What can you tell me about it? Ryan: It’s the beginning of answers, and perhaps even more questions, for Jason. The scroll is sort of this ancient … from a long time ago. I’ve got to be careful. It’s from a long time ago, and they have to figure out its meaning, but also figure out if it has anything to do with … if he can connect it with his parents dying. I feel like an idiot saying it like that.
Read the rest of this interview by going to: vulture.com
True Blood’s Steve Newlin (Michael McMillian) has successfully planted himself in a place of power within the Vampire Authority. And, he has also been able to rouse the interest of none other than the former King of Mississippi, Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare). How will the formerly vampire-hating baby vamp survive in the impending battle between the mainstreamers and the Sanguinistas? TVGuide.com turned to McMillian to get the scoop, including the future for Steve and his human crush Jason (Ryan Kwanten), and Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric’s (Alexander Skarsgard) involvement with the Authority moving forward.
Steve Newlin began cozying up to Russell Edgington in last Sunday’s episode. Michael McMillian: Well, it’s sort of a May-December romance. [Laughs] Russell’s a much older and more powerful vampire. It’s interesting because when Steve was human, Russell was somebody that Steve targeted as the example of an evil vampire, but I think Steve’s very attracted to power. He’s suffering a heartbreak from Jason Stackhouse. Here comes this distinguished gentleman into his life. I think he’s quite taken.
How does their new friendship compare to Russell and Talbot’s (Theo Alexander) relationship? McMillian: I think that there’s a spirit in common with Russell and Talbot’s relationship, but Russell and Steve kind of have their own thing, which is fun. You’ll see there’s some great stuff coming up between the two of them. But ultimately, as with Steve coming out and being with Jason, he’s a really funny character. I always try to ground him in reality and always try to keep the emotional truth alive underneath the humor.
With the war between the Sanguinistas and the mainstreamers ramping up, is it a good idea for Steve to be hanging around the ultimate enemy right now? McMillian: That would depend on whether or not Russell really is the ultimate enemy. I think the two of them are both acting in their personal best interests. You’ll see that as the season plays out. I think Steve is really happy that he’s not being killed off and is allowed into the Authority. I think he just can’t believe his luck. He’s a survivalist. He is going to go wherever he thinks he’s going to do best.
Is he completely over Jason or will we see more interaction between the two of them? McMillian: There’s more Jason and Steve. Whatever happens, I think Jason will always be that first love in Steve’s eyes. I don’t think you ever really get over that person.
Since Steve is the new Nan Flanagan (Jessica Tuck), how will he spin the Authority’s killing spree in New Orleans? McMillian: That’s a really good question. That’s where his mastery of spin comes into play. He’s definitely going to be called upon to do that in the next few weeks as things heat up between vampires and humans. It’s really fun how that plays out and how that goes down.
Because the Authority is going public in saying they’re no longer trying to mainstream, will more vampires who were following the rules start to fall in line? McMillian: Possibly. We’ll see how this authoritarian influence plays out because basically Roman has been the letter of the law for the past how many centuries. Roman was dictating how vampires should behave. It was really his movement to mainstream. We’ve seen over the past few seasons that mainstreaming itself has been very ambiguous. There are characters that have cut the corners with it. Vampires who were mainstreaming because they’re following the letter of the law are now going to go, “OK, they’re saying this is OK now so I’m free to do whatever I want, I guess.” That’s really what the second half of the season is about.
At the same time, we also know from the established mythology that vampires who get together and form in nests can really start to behave in really terrible ways. That’s kind of what’s happening already within the Authority.
Yes, and Eric is already trying to turn against it. McMillian: Well, I think Eric actually has more in common with Russell and Steve in the sense that I think he’s definitely a survivalist and he’s always acted in his best interests. Really what that moment when he sees Godric is about is less about killing all these humans in this bar is wrong and more about saving Nora, his vampire sister, and getting her out of that situation. I think that’s really what Eric cares the most about. We’ve seen Eric tear humans limb from limb in seasons past, but I think that Eric falling into a nest and Eric being dictated to is something that he’s never really gelled with. I think his interests really lie in getting Nora out of this cult mindset.
Do you think Bill will fall into it? McMillian: It’s interesting because I think that Bill has always clearly been a mainstreamer at heart. As far as we know, the only people he’s really fed on are people that he’s been in a relationship with. I think everyone’s playing a game at this point. I think he keeps his cards close to his chest. Obviously, he was keeping a secret from Sookie for three seasons that he had been sent there by Sophie to spy on her originally. Whether or not Bill is falling into step with the Authority and the new agenda is a bit of a mystery in the second half of the season.
But Steve has definitely fallen into it. McMillian: Yeah. Steve’s a baby vamp. All he wants to do is eat, kill and sleep around. His hormones are going crazy right now as a vampire. He has absolutely really no control over his own impulses. He’s been invited to sit at the big kids’ table and they’re telling him he can do whatever he wants. He’s thrilled. But he’ll have to juggle that with this sort of public persona and this responsibility that he has as the head of the AVL. Whether or not he can juggle those two worlds will come to a head.