The Vault’s Exclusive Interview with Jim Parrack

Posted by Shadaliza On May - 23 - 200931 COMMENTS


What is it with these men on True Blood? Alan Ball was so right when he talked about Sookie and the parade of hot guys. And they are all so talented as well!

Meet Jim Parrack, the young Texas born actor who portrays Hoyt Fortenberry on True Blood. Hoyt is the cute momma’s boy who is not allowed to drink more than one beer and who gladly accompanies his mother to baby showers.  But there is more to him than that and his world is about the change in the upcoming season. From episode synopsises we have learned that Hoyt is about to meet Jessica and that can only mean one thing: Trouble.

Before landing his recurring role on True Blood, Jim Parrack was seen in the movie Annapolis and made guest appearances on tv shows like Monk, ER, CSI, Grey’s Anatomy, Navy CSI, Criminal Minds and Supernatural.

I asked Jim about how he sees Hoyt, about his experiences on the True Blood set, his aspiration to direct and his view on the Fellowship of the Sun Church.

When did you decide to pursue a career in acting? Which actors did you look up to and influenced you?

“I always wanted to act. I don’t think I felt like that was something that could be admitted when I was growing up, so it took a little longer for me to say outright. But at the end of my junior year of high school I gave up golf and told my parents and a few friends that I wanted to be an actor. I think it surprised most everyone, and no one seemed to hold back much on what they thought of it. I don’t blame them for a second. Robert Duvall had my attention when I was eight. He did the classic Texas Western in a miniseries called “Lonesome Dove”, I was hooked. It’s as good as anything I’ve ever seen since. He’s a friend of mine now and is nice enough to give me advice when I ask. He is electrically into being alive on the earth. He and his wife are wonderful.
And then later when I was about nineteen I saw Brando in “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “On The Waterfront”, and it was like seeing a new primary color or something. He was that refreshing and powerful. I thought I was the only young guy who knew about him. I sat at a Starbucks in Allen and read “Songs My Mother Taught Me” (his autobiography) in one sitting and decided to come to Los Angeles and study acting. Those two guys are still my heroes.”

What was your first acting experience?

“I think a play I wrote in fourth grade that was a “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” rip-off.”

What was your first paid acting job?

“Keith and Margo’s Murder Mystery Dinner Theater at Pierre’s By the Lake in Dallas. My best friend and I would switch off playing Gene Simmons in a disco murder mystery, collect our fifty bucks and then blow at the bar as soon as we finished. We were underage and liked playing grown up with the professional actors. I thought we were living the life man.”

When did you move to Los Angeles? How does a boy from Allen, Texas adapt to life in LA?

“I moved out to Los Angeles in 2001 when I had just turned twenty. I moved in with my buddy’s girlfriend and lived on a pile of clothes on her floor. I started at an acting school out here and was too wayward, let’s say, to get much out of it, but I loved being there. The honest answer is I almost didn’t adjust. If I didn’t have some loving people around to keep me afloat and snap me out of myself, I don’t think I’d be around. My parents were constantly paying for things they hadn’t planned on and I owe them so very much. But I was led to a school, Playhouse West, where I still study twice a week and do plays there with Robert Carnegie, my teacher. And he and a few others helped me find my way. And they still do. Then by the grace of God I got out of a bad relationship and met my wife and now life is entirely adaptable. I miss the hell out of Texas though.”

When you first read the script of True Blood, did you like it immediately? What did you think of it?

“I wasn’t sure. Somehow, I read it without knowing Alan had written it. So I wasn’t thinking of the creative force behind it so much and without that it seemed interesting but maybe too far out. Alan takes the far out and gets you to see that it’s a lot closer to what we know and accept than you think and then anchors it into real, personal human experience. Without that I think this show would be missing the components that set it apart.”

Could you ever have anticipated that the show would be so successful?

“Yes. But it is one thing to reason out why something may be popular or of a certain quality and it is something else entirely to feel why it is when you speak to fans about it. The magnitude of what it does to the fans is impressive. I didn’t have any frame of reference to anticipate that.”

Did you have any interest in the vampire genre before True Blood?

“Ha! Yes. An unhealthy one. All I will say is my mother got a call my freshman year of college from my Dorm manager telling her that I was going to be asked to leave unless I could convince the kitchen staff, that had just quit, that I wasn’t really a vampire. I think my mama said something like, “Why don’t you tell them that Vampires aren’t real?” I was obnoxiously into vampires. There are still a few folks who are certain I am one.”

Can you tell us something about how you got the part of Hoyt. What was the audition process like?

“This is the truest answer and the shortest: God gave me this part as a blessing. The audition was just four or five lines and there wasn’t any real sense of who Hoyt was or what he had to do with all of this. We did it a few times and then I just enjoyed talking with Alan, who I was a huge admirer of, about life in Texas. And then I left with no inclination that I would ever see him again, but thinking, “Cool, you met another one of your heroes!” Then I got straight up and down blessed by God with this part.”


What do your family and friends think of your recurring role on True Blood? Do they all watch it?

“They are very proud. They are very enthusiastic and I’d be lying if I told you it doesn’t feel terrific. They don’t all watch. This show doesn’t make any apologies for not being for everyone and I don’t think it should. I think when shows do that they push people with different sensitivities away and leave them feeling deceived. Our show says “I am what I am, and we don’t need everyone to like us”.”

Was it hard to master the southern accent? Do you still think about it with every line you say or does it come naturally at some point?

“I doubt I have anything mastered. But I didn’t go for what a lot of people would call a southern accent. There is a guy back home named Brett Bichler who I always thought had an interesting way of talking and I mixed that with my little cousin Sam Parrack. I think the bookstores and bad acting teachers would love for us to think that there is such a thing as a “Southern” accent but there isn’t. I remember Duvall telling me that there were two hundred distinct and distinguishable dialects in his part of Virginia alone. So which one is the Southern accent then? I like coming up with a voice that fits what’s going on. Here part of what is going on is that we are in Louisiana. I try not to forget that but that’s not what this is about for this role.”

What is it like working with such an international cast? Have you picked up some Australian or English slang?

“Yeah. I find myself saying “mate” a lot around Stephen and Ryan. That and I start to say “isn’t it?” instead of “you know” when Stephen and I are talking. Australians remind me of Texans in a lot of ways and Moyer reminds me that the English language, does in fact belong to and is mastered by the peoples of England. I love hearing them talk.”

What does a typical day on the set look like?

“There is no such thing as a typical anything thank goodness.”

I’ve seen a fan describe Hoyt as a cute and sweet momma’s boy. How would you describe Hoyt?

“A younger man deeply interested in the goodness he can give away because of the cutting impressions hate and rejection have made on his heart. He admires virtue, gentleness, optimism, duty, and above all things is totally willing to set himself aside for the ones he loves. He loves as deeply and easily as any person I have ever encountered and continues to even at the expense of his place in society. Nothing would mean more than if someone were to love him and accept him the way he loves and accepts. Where a lot of folks around him have the rags of manmade and manipulated Religiosity, he has a faith that says, “you are more broken and rotten than you would ever want to admit, and in that very same moment more loved than the depths of your imagination could dare to conceive”, which is simply put the Gospel of Christ.”

Do you look like Hoyt? Are you anything like him?

“I am not sure. People always seemed surprised when they find out that I am the actor who plays Hoyt. They say, “Oh yeah, now I can see it”. I am like him on my better days. We operate out of the same desires, but he sure seems to live according to them with greater ease than I do. We are both tall.”

Do people recognize you in the street? What do they say?

“Rarely. People will say, ”Aren’t you on TV?”, and I’ll say, “Yes ma’Am.”, and they’ll say “I thought so”. That’s about it. Sometimes big fans of the show spot me and go on about how excited they are for what’s to come. I get a kick out of people’s enthusiasm for True Blood. I had a gal ask me if I had ever talked to Ryan Kwanten when the cameras weren’t rolling, and I told her, yeah, he’s a buddy of mine, and she just about evaporated!”

What was your favorite scene to shoot in the first season of True Blood?

“It’s tough to pick a favorite. Anything with Mikey [Michael Raymond James] and Ryan was a pleasure.”

Jim Parrack in a scene with Ryan Kwanten and Michael Raymond James

Jim Parrack in a scene with Ryan Kwanten and Michael Raymond James

Did you have any funny bloopers in the scenes that you shot?

“I also remember in episode six when Jason finds out Gran died, Alan had me break the news to him and then look into his eyes and sing “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” with a dead straight face. It threw him off for about a half second and then he joined right in. We also found ways to make anatomical replicas out of whatever was laying around. It’s amazing the idiocy I can come up with if you give me a couple of packets of Sweet and Low.”

In the last episodes if Season 1 it looks like Hoyt is finally manning up a bit, telling his mom off and expressing the wish to date a vampire girl. From the episode synopsis for Season 2 we learn that Hoyt and Jessica will meet at Merlotte’s. Can you tell us a little bit about what to expect from Hoyt in the upcoming episodes?

“I can’t say too much except that I am so in love with the story that they have given me this season that I began to develop premature post partum months ago when we began shooting. I could not ask for a better story to tell or better people to tell it with. Things change for ole Hoyt.”

Are you working on anything else other than True Blood? Is there anything in the pipeline for you as far as other TV projects / Films / Theatre?

“I am always doing plays. Either on my own, or through Playhouse West. We do a play there the first Saturday of every month called “Welcome Home Soldier”. It is the longest running drama in the history of the American Theater. We are going to have its nineteenth anniversary this June. I just directed my first play,” Waiting for Lefty”, in March and Michael Raymond James was in it with my wife and some of my close friends. There are a few movies I know we are tracking. In the not too distant future there is a movie I’ve written and will direct called, “In No Strange Land”. I want to shoot it on location in Madisonville, Texas.”

You are the president of 120 Productions Inc. What can you tell us about that?

“120 is a number that I have seen at least twice a day, every day since I was seventeen. With the exception of “Waiting for Lefty”, it is mostly a vehicle for a half dozen, “someday” projects”. I watch people who are so savvy at the business and technical aspects of telling stories on film or video and I study them. The play and the feedback I got from people I respect immensely gave me the beginning stages of confidence in my aptitude as a director. We will shoot our first feature within a year if all goes as planned.”

What are you personal interests, what do you do in your free time? Do you practice sports? Do you have any pets?

“Recently I have very much enjoyed being a husband. My wife Ciera and I can stand face to face in our kitchen and stare into each other’s eyes and talk for three hours without noticing that any time has passed. She is the kind of gal I spent a lifetime day dreaming about. She is an actor and a creative companion. She was given a double portion of talent and lately has coupled that with a work ethic that inspires the hell out of me. When she acts it feels like you’re watching something being poured out of some basin that was filled by God eons ago. She is mesmerizing. So we nerd it up with the acting stuff together.
I love to read and watch movies. I play golf. Not as often or as well as I used to.
We have two of the most incredible little dogs in the world. Jack and Stella are our sweet little Maltipoos. He’s named after Jack Kerouac because I got him in Oklahoma and he was so good on the road. And Stella is named after the Great Stella Adler. They add so much to our home.”

Jim Parrack and his lovely wife Ciera at the True Blood premiere last year

Jim Parrack and his lovely wife Ciera at the True Blood premiere last year

What place does religion have in your life?

“I am not sure how much of a place it has in my life but I am certain it has a place. Religion isn’t something I have been very clear about when it comes to Christianity because Christianity is a relationship. I feel like I have a faith and out of that faith comes a worldview, but as ignorant as it sounds I know very, very little about religion except that it is the place in the road where man takes the reins part of the way and needs to be careful not to steer away from the heart of the God he is hoping to share.”

As a Christian, what do you think of the Fellowship of the Sun Church?

“It is a spot on depiction of what happens when a group of people want to make God a slave to their agenda or personal code. It is a terrifying reality and my faith is so plagued by this kind of sojourn away from the Gospel message of Christ that it is now hard for the modern world to get a clear view of what that message is. This kind of mentality pollutes a clear view of Christ’s love. How you can derive self righteousness, and self glorification and hatred for anyone who is not as you wish they were from the message and the God that commands you to love your neighbor without discretion and to extend the grace and mercy to others that Christ has extended you, and says in no uncertain terms, “whatever you do to the least of these you do unto Me”, and asks us to forgive no matter the degree of infliction doled out by our offender, I HAVE NO IDEA. It baffles me as much as anything. It pains me as much as anything. The Fellowship is not unrealistic. But it isn’t Christian either. Sookie gets that. Hoyt gets that. I have to wonder if secular America gets that. If they don’t it is by no fault of their own, but by the way people behave towards them in the name of Christianity.

Nelsan Ellis and I have talked about asking HBO if we can do a documentary on this very subject: The De-Christing of Christianity. I cannot think of a message that has been more inverted and twisted up as the Bible has. You would have to try to mess it up for it to get this out of control. That’s exactly what the Fellowship has done. A guy would prefer for God to hate Vampires; so he stuffs that into a faith that blatantly says the opposite, and sells it with a grin on his face. Not unlike what’s happening to homosexuals right now in this country. It breaks my heart.”

Do you check out the True Blood message boards or True Blood fan sites to read fan reactions?

“I have before. It made me nervous so I haven’t in a while. Should I??”

by Shadaliza for The Vault – Copyright The Vault –

Video property of HBO


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31 Responses to “The Vault’s Exclusive Interview with Jim Parrack”

  1. Sanna says:

    I like him, he very cute. And his wife is REALLY REALLY beautiful

    I love this part

    “I find myself saying “mate” a lot around Stephen and Ryan. That and I start to say “isn’t it?” instead of “you know” when Stephen and I are talking. Australians remind me of Texans in a lot of ways and Moyer reminds me that the English language, does in fact belong to and is mastered by the peoples of England. I love hearing them talk.”

    And this makes me hate even more that there’s no bloopers out

    ““I also remember in episode six when Jason finds out Gran died, Alan had me break the news to him and then look into his eyes and sing “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” with a dead straight face. It threw him off for about a half second and then he joined right in.”



    mizmode Reply:

    I know! I want bloopers!


  2. mizmode says:

    Great interview! And his wife is beautiful.


  3. miranda32 says:

    Really nice interview, Shad – so interesting to hear about the different kinds of people on this show!


  4. Shad has brought us another great interview. So many of us were hoping that Parrack (Hoyt) would have a larger role in season 2. He’s vulnerable and sweet. His thoughts, as Sookie hears them, are honest and good. We wanted him to rebel against his momma, and it seems we’ll get our wish. I was also interested in how cast members who were Christian, would react to the FOS plot line, and if they saw the parallels to exclusionary sects of Christianity and other religions. The special project mentioned by Parrack sounds interesting.

    Fans of The Vault always love to read all inside informtion on our favorite cast members (Stephen Moyer)…so thanks for giving us more fodder for our fantasies about out favorite Brit.

    Best of luck to Parrack, and I wish you a long run on True Blood. Watch out for Jessica, though … she’ll drive momma crazy!


  5. onlybill says:

    Another great interview SHAD. I was hoping Hoyt (Parrack) would have a larger role this season and it seems that he will!!! And with Jessica, can’t wait till June!!! Alan Ball really knows how to pick his actors!!


  6. cocoablossoms says:

    he’s adorable and talented. very busy man too. that’s awesome that so many of the cast members are pursuing there own things alongside true blood. can’t wait to see him in season two. and of course, i love what he said about stephen speaking.


  7. lynnpd99 says:

    Great Interview Shad. Congratulations. Playing Hoyt must be so much fun for him. I am looking forward to seeing how his character reacts to Jessica this season from the spoilers I’ve been reading. This is just great!


  8. MyBabyBill says:

    Great interview Shad. You are really batting a thousand with this stuff. I really enjoy Hoyt on the show. His day to day demeanor provides an ordinary person’s view into the show’s extraordinarily dysfunctional landscape. I love this part. “Recently I have very much enjoyed being a husband. My wife Ciera and I can stand face to face in our kitchen and stare into each other’s eyes and talk for three hours without noticing that any time has passed. She is the kind of gal I spent a lifetime day dreaming about. She is an actor and a creative companion”. What a mighty good man. That’s all I’ve got to say. Best of luck to Jim and his lovely wife.


  9. Sanna says:

    “My wife Ciera and I can stand face to face in our kitchen and stare into each other’s eyes and talk for three hours without noticing that any time has passed.”

    I can understand that. Look at her! LOL


  10. Lou says:

    I’m loving all of these exclusive interviews, Shad! Great job. I hadn’t seen the pics of Jim from the premiere, he is so cute. I’m really looking forward to the Jessica/Hoyt stuff in season 2.


  11. Jade (Jadenpeaches) says:

    A great interview, Shad! Parrack seems like a very down to earth individual. His wife is stunning too! I look forward to S2 and his expanded storyline. He deserves it. Also, I’m glad that he had good friends and parents to help him stay grounded when it look like things may have been bleak at one point in his life. I’m glad that he adjusted. I love the fact that he loves vampires, the story about college, was priceless. And his comments regarding De-Christing of Christianity. I would love to see Parrack and Ellis do a documentary on that subject. I wish him the best in all of his endeavors.


  12. Rowena says:

    Shad, this is a wonderful interview. What a sweet guy. And so well grounded. I’m looking forward to more screen time and an interesting story line for Hoyt. Sounds like we’re going to get it.

    Thanks so very much for this.


  13. Barbara (GlamourMebill67) says:

    Shad great interview i just love Jim as Hoyt and can’t wait to see what TB has in store for him in season 2.. He seems so grounded and it just makes me like him even more.. Congrats Jim on a great show


  14. lovetrueblood says:

    Shad thank you once again for a great interview. You always surprise us. Jim seems like a great guy I love the character Hoyt and I see that a lot of Jim is there. Jim seems so nice and down to earth. His wife is beautiful and I think he is a great actor. I am so glad we will be seeing more of him in season 2 he and Jessica will give us some great moments I am sure.


  15. I LOVE LOVE this kid ! Great Interview !!! I love how open, honest and at ease he is to the questions. There is nothing to hide there – everything is on the surface. He’s a good person, you can just tell. He seems as sweet as his charcater Hoyt. Parrack is a great actor, I love to watch him – whether it be in True Blood, ER or Supernatural.

    I am glad that we are going to get to see more of his character Hoyt next season. I really hope they spice it up and change things around for Hoyt. I cannot wait ! His wife is a GORGEOUS girl! God Bless them both – happy healthy life together!


  16. Marilyn says:

    Great job on the interview, I really enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about Hoyt/Jim. I hope the project Nelson Ellis and he are thinking of taking to HBO becomes a reality. It would no doubt be controversial and somewhat politically dangerous but I’m sure they would also find out that many people hold views similar to theirs. This is really a documentary that should be done.


  17. sweetwater says:

    Congratulations on another great interview, Shad. Very interesting!


  18. Kellmeister says:

    What a great interview Shad! I can’t wait to see what the Hoyt/Jessica dynamic may bring this season, and I get the impression it will be something else! I enjoyed hearing Mr. Parrack’s take on Hoyt, on the bloopers, the success of the show, and the potential project he could do with Nelsan Ellis. Thanks for sharing with us!!!


  19. cocoablossoms says:

    i love that you are seeing relationships between the actors develop off-screen. i mean we know about stephen and anna, but it’s cool that people are becoming friends and even working on projects together. they all have the best job ever.

    i wonder if we will see his wife take a part in the show in the future.


  20. Jeanne says:

    I love his approach to the show “Our show says “I am what I am, and we don’t need everyone to like us”.”
    And I’m glad Jim likes vampires. :)
    Great interview, Shad. Thanks for sharing with us.


  21. Jeanne says:

    And I hope the documentary project becomes a reality because the construct of FotS is very good metaphor for our world full of prejudices. There are reasons why so many people hate TB show. ;)
    I’d like to see a documentary on that subject. Not only Star Trek and Buffy are subjects deserving reflection – both academic (it needs more time, but don’t worry) ;) and popular (there is never enough high quality popularization).


  22. CAM64 says:

    Wonderful interview Shad. Hoyt is one of my favorite characters on True Blood. It will be interesting to see how he and Jessica’s relationship evolve. I was surprised to read that he wants to film a movie in Madisonville. My mother was born and raised just down the road in a small town called Midway, TX. During our visits there in the summer, we would go shopping in Madisonville. As children, we had so much fun down there in the country as we called it.


    Shadaliza Reply:

    You should audition then for a part in the movie, the accent should be easy for you.


  23. Selle says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing the expansion of Hoyt in Season 2. He’s such an endearing character and Jim plays him with such honesty and vulnerability. I’ll be curious to see the romance between Hoyt and Jessica and I also wonder what the outcome of the relationship will be. …..Great interview with a great actor, Shad!


  24. ABNegative says:

    Wow. What a great, wonderfully grounded, down-to-earth young man. He should be a role model for any wanna-be actor. He has values and is not afraid to let the sensitive and spiritual side come through. He is indeed a lucky man to have found such a great wife and great relationship. I wish him all the best life has to offer in his chosen profession. I truly look forward to seeing much more of him on down the road. And I am especially sprung over all the possibilities of Hoyt in season 2. Hoyt has such a sweet nature and I’m sure it’s not all acting. Jim’s true nature is shining through.

    Congratulations Hoyt! You’re gonna love Jessica!


  25. caleno says:

    Thanks, Shad, for another great interview. You always ask the most interesting questions!


  26. icanseerussia says:

    What a refreshing interview! Here is someone we have loved, but never got to find out anything about! I like the role as Hoyt played so much because as he said, he is real and giving, the kind of guy you want as your friend. I also enjoyed hearing about his relationship with his wife. One always hopes and dreams of finding someone that sails their ship like Ciera does his. I’m glad he followed his dreams despite not expressing them at first. The shows Jim has played on are all favorites of mine, and I will be searching for the episodes he was in to get a better grip on the vastness of his acting abilities. And I simply cannot wait to see him get some just desserts and bring Jess home to Momma! Woo Hoo! (or maybe HE is the dessert!) Shad, thank you so much, that was wonderful!


  27. nkdp says:

    I’m late commenting on this so please forgive me. Thank You Shad for this wonderful interview. He is such a down to earth person and I love that he is not ashamed to say he is a Christian. I would love it if he and Nelsan could do the project he talked about. How interesting that would be.

    I’m so happy we will be seeing more of Hoyt in S2. I really like his character and am glad it will be expanded. His wife is beautiful and they look so cute together!


  28. jule says:

    To all the people who responded with such lavish praise for this interview, please beware. People who go on and on about religion, God and bliss only raise more questions about themselves. Sorry Jim Parrack, I’m not buying what you are selling.


    Shadaliza Reply:

    A very surprising comment you leave, Jule. I asked Jim specifically about his believes and that’s why he spoke about it. If I hadn’t had asked there would have been no talk of religion in this interview. Your comment raises a lot of questions and you are answering none. I am not buying what you are selling.


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