He talks about looking forward to attending the boxing in Vegas last Saturday, attending the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, and about his new film Spitfire, which turns out is being produced by his and Anna Paquin’s production company, Scamp.
He also talks about looking for a house in London and about becoming a father once again.
Where are you and what are you doing?
I’m in Venice Beach, California, looking out at a grey day. There are good waves out there but it’s too cold to go into the water, even for an Essex boy. My 12-year-old son’s been over for the Easter holidays and we did that classic British seaside thing of running in, screaming like wusses and running straight back out again.
The fourth series of True Blood sees your character Bill Compton become king of the vampires. What are the perks?
He gets access to the best blood in Louisiana. All the haemophiliacs step forward and offer themselves. As king, Bill also inherits a cellar full of quality blood, passed down the generations like vintage wine. I love that idea.
Episode two includes a flashback to the early 80s and Bill’s a punk in Camden. Was it filmed on location there?
Sadly not, it was shot in north London-ish Pasadena. But it was fun, reverting to my English accent and playing a punk. It’s what I would’ve been in 1982 had I been a little bit older. Our set decorator Billy is from London and used to play in a punk band. So in the pub scene, that’s his band, playing a song Billy wrote. That was a cool day.
Fiona Shaw joined the cast as queen witch Marnie. How was working with her?
Amazing. Fiona had an absolute ball and someone of that calibre raises the bar. She’s such a fantastic, professional presence to have on-set. And Anna [Paquin, Moyer's co-star and now wife] knew Fiona because they’d worked together 16 years ago on Zeffirelli’s Jane Eyre. (Laughs) There’s very few people who Anna hasn’t worked with actually, she’s been around that long. [Paquin won an Oscar aged 11 for The Piano].
Do you have a “no shoptalk at home” rule?
Well, we shoot eight months of the year and put in long hours. So we talk about work for the first bit, but by month six you’re crawling along on stumps and it’s the last thing you want to discuss. Although Sookie and Bill aren’t together now, so we don’t spend nearly as much time together on set as we used to. Often one’s at work and the other’s at home. We miss that camaraderie. Occasionally we do have a scene together, with all the crew who’ve been with us since day one, and it’s just like family. We get back to ribbing each other very quickly. It’s tit-for-tat banter.
You have two children from a previous marriage but yours and Anna’s first child is due this autumn. Are you out of practice with babies?
A bit. Anna’s brother’s got two wee ones, so we see them a lot and I keep my hand in, but it’s nice to give them back after a few hours. I can wave goodbye to that now. (Laughs) I’m kind of dreading it but excited as well.
You’ve been spotted house-hunting in Hampstead. Is a move back to Blighty imminent?
I’ve always had a little house in Highgate. I spend as much of the summer there as I can and come back for Christmas. But we need more space now. It’s funny how word spreads. Your friends see some story claiming you’re looking at £1.7m houses and ring up going, “Dude, how much?” I’m surprised I haven’t had Foxtons on the phone.
You’re from Brentwood originally. Ever stave off homesickness by watching The Only Way Is Essex?
I think I was the only person from Brentwood who read the Guardian and the Observer. I’ve never seen an episode of TOWIE. Very disloyal of me. I’ve still got lots of friends there. A bunch of boys from Brentwood are arriving today, in fact. We’re all going to the Mayweather fight in Vegas.
Do you feel like you’re letting your home town down by being so pale on television?
(Laughs) Funnily enough, me and Alan Ball [True Blood's creator] have talked about putting in a scene where the vampires go to spray-tan booths, so they can blend in and look normal. I’ve also been nagging him to write a scene with a bunch of us sat around reading magazines in a dentist’s waiting room.
Brit actors are all the rage on US TV. Do you have an ex-pat community?
Kind of. Jack Davenport’s a good friend of mine. He lives just round the corner but he’s off in New York now doing Smash! We met 15 years ago doing another vampire show, funnily enough.
Channel 4′s Ultraviolet? Something of a lost classic…
Yes! I completely agree. The only thing that isn’t lost and classic about that show is my hair. Man, there was a lot of it. I would’ve given Fenella Fielding a run for her money.
You dined at the White House recently, how was that?
Yes, for the Correspondents’ Dinner. We went last year as well and that was even crazier. Not only did we find out that President Obama’s a huge True Blood fan but the press secretary took us for a tour of the White House and it turned out the whole place was on lockdown. We later found out that while we were there Obama was downstairs in the situation room watching the attack on Bin Laden’s compound. You know that famous photo of them all watching the raid? Well, I was right above their heads looking at the Norman Rockwell paintings in the Oval Office. This year we sat with Daniel Day-Lewis and Dakota Fanning. The attorney general came over and asked to have his picture taken with me. Luckily he didn’t ask me to bite his neck for the pic, like a lot of True Blood fans. That would’ve been awkward.
You and Anna have a production company called Scamp. What are you working on?
We’re putting a film together which will hopefully shoot in London later this year. It’s called Spitfire. I’ll be starring in it. It’s a Pulp Fiction-esque story about assassins.
Are you going to miss the Olympics?
Hope not. True Blood season five finishes shooting next month and I’m desperately trying to get Spitfire together in time so that I’ll have an excuse to be over in London in late July. I’m hoping the stars align because I desperately want to be there when it’s all happening.