Michael was recently interviewed by “The Nerdist” about his character, Rev. Steve Newlin’s demise and below is part of his interview.
Nerdist: Let’s dive right into True Blood. You recently wrapped a multiple season arc as Reverend Steve Newlin. Talk to us a bit about your feelings on how the character was handled. Were you satisfied with your final appearance?
Michael McMillian: Yeah, I mean, overall, I was really happy with what they did with the character. When I signed on in Season 2, I really didn’t expect to be around much longer after that season finale. Even though the character lives on in the books, the show was already taking a bit of a different direction. So I figured I was going to get killed off at the end of Season 2. And of course, after playing him for that full season, the thing I wanted more than anything in the world was for Steve to be turned into a vampire. I just thought that would be a really fun thing to explore, and it had nice parallels to many of the right-wing, christian, anti-homosexual leaders who turn out to be closeted gay men.
N: Becoming a vampire was something you always wanted to play, so you must’ve been thrilled when you were told how Steve would make his return to the show.
MM: Yeah, if only because I think one of the mysteries of Steve Newlin in that first season is where all that hate really comes from. A lot of it comes from the revenge agenda he had because vampires killed his father, but usually when there’s that much deep-seated hate inside someone there’s something that one hates about themselves. I think Steve’s always been attracted to power, and nobody has more power than vampires. Vampires are free from all the religious constraints he was brought up with, and when you couple that with him struggling with his sexuality, then, really, vampirism in his case was the ultimate freedom. I think that’s why when he was turned. I really thought to myself, “Well, if Season 2 Steve was the Ego, then Season 5 Steve – the vampire Steve – should be the Id. That should be the release of everything he’s been suppressing.”
N: Interesting, because one of the things we’ve noticed about your performance is a subtle flamboyance to your portrayal of Vampire Steve. Was it intentional?
MM: Well, most of it came from him actually coming out as a homosexual.
N: Did both those revelations give you more license to play him a littler broader?
MM: I think so. That’s not to say I was trying to play him stereotypically gay, but there has always been an air of flamboyance to Steve, even going back to the way he dresses when we meet him in Season 2. Once he became a vampire, he’s a baby-vamp, so he’s less in control of his impulses. I think he got more comfortable with himself, especially after his relationship with Russell Edgington in Season 5. I think he took a hint from Russell that with that sort of flair and confidence comes a kind of power.
N: Did you feel like all loose ends and any lingering questions you had about the character were wrapped up by your last episode? Was there anything left unexplored that you would have liked to spent more time with?
MM: I think there was definitely room for more stuff. The thing that I thought was really fitting about his end was that it was in a scene where everyone was behaving very much in character. So there was no way Erik was gonna let Steve go after what he did to Nora and after outing Pam as his progeny. There was plenty more material to explore between he and Sarah, a ton of different ways for that to go… Sometimes I think in TV, not just True Blood, there’s a lot of “why would that guy let him get away with that?” You know what I mean?
N: Yes. Sometimes they’ll sacrifice character for the sake of keeping a storyline running.
MM: Erik already had let Steve live once, when he probably should have killed him in Season 2. I think the writers just hit a point where they’re like, “there’s no way that Erik would let this guy live.” And so when it came to the loose ends it’s kind of like… oh, well, that’s life. I know that fans have been upset that we never learned who Steve’s maker was, and I don’t know that they’ll ever get to it on the show now, but I can tell you it was a subject I was off limits in addressing the topic in both the comics and the upcoming book (IDW’s True Blood comics and Steve Newlin’s Field Guide to Vampires). I get the sense that part of the mission this season was to condense the universe of this show, because I think we’re closer to the end point of the series than the beginning. I also liked that he basically died in a prison of his own design. There’s a fun irony there.
To read the entire interveiw, go to: nerdist.com