Earlier this week I spoke with Mariana Klaveno over the phone about True Blood and Lorena. Unfortunately there was a little delay in the connection and she heard a big echo, so I had to talk slowly and clearly for her to understand me well.
You can listen to the recording of the interview.
Kudos to Mariana Klaveno portrayal of Lorena, Bill’s maker. I loved to hate her and couldn’t wait for her to get staked, but at the same time I will miss her and I hope she will be back in flashbacks in future episodes. She was a complete psycho, but as a Billsbabe I can most certainly understand her obsession with Bill.
We had great fun watching you, Mariana.
Mariana: Thank you. You know what? She was loyal; she was always loyal and never wavered on her love of Bill.
Is a role on a show like True Blood every actor’s dream?
Mariana: Yes, it really is. Because you don’t get to play parts like that normally in television, you don’t get to do storylines of the same scope in television. It is really a dream come true. When the scripts of season 2 were coming in I was literally pinching myself because I thought there is no way that this can be real; I get to do a 1920’s and a 1930’s flashback and the character arch that I got to go on alone was just incredible as an actor.
You had some of the most amazing scenes. Bill’s turning, the bloody bed scene, the twisted sex, the torture, the staking…. Which of these scenes are you most proud of?
Mariana: That’s a good question. I think actually the first of the torture scenes when Lorena opens up Bill’s chest and he talks to her about her human life. I think that when I watch it, and it’s still difficult for me to watch myself and I still cringe and think “I should have done this or that.” I love that scene because there are so many different changes, subtle changes, in Lorena and it was really fun and challenging to go from sad to scary to distraught to angry; it went all over the place in a very quick succession, it was not a very long scene. It was a beautifully written scene, I really loved it and Stephen [Moyer] was an amazing scene partner that day, he is always an amazing scene partner. I loved shooting it and looking back on it for the most part I am happy with how it turned out.
The staking of Lorena was a very impressive dying scene with all the blood coming out of your mouth. How do you top that?
Mariana: [laughs] Luckily the blood coming out of my mouth was all computer generated I didn’t have to spit out a fountain of blood, thankfully. But it looks great, it’s pretty cool.
Who suffered more in the torture scene… Bill or Lorena?
Mariana: I think Lorena did, but Stephen may disagree [laughs]. I think for sure she did. As long as she was alive and well she always had something to sort of to live for, in the vampire sense of living. There was always that hope that someday they would be together again and this was the end of the road, she no longer has that option and you see how much it pains her to know that all this came to an end and she has no choice. Yes, I think it was more painful for her.
How did you prepare for the role of Lorena, how did you become her?
Mariana: I did a bit of research into the general world history to get where she’s been and what she experienced. I also did some vampire research; I read the original Bram Stoker “Dracula” for the history and better understanding of the mythology of vampires. Honestly, when it came down to shooting I had the feeling I knew whom this girl was and once I had gone through hair and make-up that honestly did a lot of the work for me. If I would come in in jeans, a t-shirt and sneakers, no make-up and a ponytail: as myself. And then transform into a super glamorous woman with elaborate hair and make-up, with 6-inch stiletto heels and gorgeous gowns. Once you have all that going on it already does a lot of the work for you. Lorena had some gorgeous outfits and once you’re in those clothes I never had to worry about how does she walk or how does she hold herself: it just was, she came alive in that sense.
Did you bring any experiences from your own life into the character?
Mariana: No, I have never been that crazy ex-girlfriend, I don’t relate to Lorena in that way [laughs]. To me she is a very tragic character and she was in so much pain. When it came down to it, everybody has pain in their lives so if you can identify with that in some way then you can go from there, but I don’t have a lot of parallels in the back story between myself and Lorena. I don’t stalk any ex-boyfriends.
Lorena picked Bill because he was an honorable man, but she corrupted him and destroyed the values that she loved about him in the first place. As an actress how do you work with this contradiction in your character?
Mariana: That’s a really good question and I don’t know I can really articulate that. It’s one of those things that magically happens when you are an actor, the same reason why we can pretend that we’re someone we are not or to pretend that we are in a place we are not. People are very complex and it’s not always black and white: they want something, they get it and they feel good about it. I think people are a lot of times very complex and they don’t realize what they want, they think they know what they want, but that is not actually what they want. I think that Lorena is in the same way. She obviously was drawn to Bill for all the right reasons, but didn’t know how else to interact with what she saw as the companion and her soul mate. She didn’t know what else to do aside from turning him into someone horrible and evil and doing all these unspeakable things; to her that is how you live as lovers who are vampires. That is how I justified those contradictions; she doesn’t really realize that those were evil things. To her this is what we do, this is fun and entertaining, I want to be with you always and do everything with you; this is how we go through the world and obviously Bill has always struggled with his vampire existence, it really didn’t fit well with him.
I think one of Lorena’s biggest flaws was that she was incapable of change; she was rigid.
Mariana: She was. She is definitely a broken character, she is cracked and she could never really see the errors in her ways and how to fix them; she was incapable of that and because she was so broken as an individual and emotionally hurt and I think that also came from her human life. I think she lead a very tragic human life and that also informed how she lived her vampire life.
Kissing with fangs is risky business, how did that go with you and Stephen in the bloody bed scene in season 2?
Mariana: It is tricky especially when both of you are wearing fangs. I believe we were wearing our hard fangs. We each have two sets of fangs, soft fangs and hard fangs. Soft fangs for the scenes where we really bite into somebody, but the hard fangs look better on camera and Stephen always prefers to wear the hard fangs. I remember that I was so nervous for that scene, I hadn’t been wearing the fangs very long and this was our first love scene and I was just nervous and feeling awkward anyway and I was so terrified that I would literally bite into his lip. Somehow we managed to do it, we very carefully did it and I remember praying that it would come out ok. And I think it did, I don’t think anybody hurt anybody. But it’s a difficult thing; love scenes are weird anyway but adding those components makes it even more strange.
What was it like to work with such an experienced actor as Stephen Moyer?
Mariana: Oh my gosh, he is incredible. Not only is he a wonderful guy and a wonderful scene partner he is so generous and he is always making sure that you are being taken care of, whether it was me or whether it was an actor or actress that had just come on for the day with one or two lines. He is very conscientious of others and making sure their experience on the show is as good as it could be and that is the way a leader should be and I really admired him for that. I would literally sit back and watch and just try to learn as much as I can from him. He is the most technically skilled actor that I have ever worked with. He understands camera angles and lighting and all of the details better than anyone I have ever experienced. Most actors are like me and don’t even think about that stuff. I come from theatre so my first instinct is all about character and the acting of it, I don’t think through a camera lens. He does. He read the scene and thinks of it through the camera lens and how it would look the best. He would block all of our scenes, which I loved, [laughs] I wouldn’t have to worry about anything. I would literally look at him and say: “How are we going to do this?” And he would say: “I think it’s best if we start in a 2 shot, you move over here and I go over here.” He just would conduct the scenes a lot of the time, I don’t mean to say that he directed them, we have amazing directors that work on the show, but it was really impressive and astounding and I tried to learn as much as I could from him.
If you could write a flashback scene for Lorena what would that scene be about, which part of her would you like to show to the audience?
Mariana: I doubt that this will ever make it into the show since it wouldn’t involve Bill, but I would love to have a scene of Lorena’s human life, even if it was tiny and brief. I think that would be really interesting, obviously I would think it would be interesting [laughs]. Alan [Ball] planted a little seed in the torture scene about my maker, he barely mentioned it, but it was so fascinating that it made me want to see more and … who knows maybe he will, maybe he won’t. But I think it would be really interesting to see what she was like in her human life and get a glimpse of that.
I thought it was very interesting that Lorena’s maker Istvan was mentioned, that certainly opened the door for Lorena’s return in flashbacks further. The Truebies are already speculating who could play Istvan.
Mariana: Oh really? I hadn’t even thought about it. Because Lorena had her swan song, I did not let myself daydream too much. But that is truly interesting. What names have come up?
We are hoping for a certain actor, who is also interested in a part on True Blood: Michael Emerson.
Mariana: Oooooh that would be interesting! Then, he and Carrie [Preston] can both be on the show, that would be fun.
Carrie was on LOST of course, she played his mother and gave birth to him. We would like to bring Michael Emerson to True Blood.
Mariana: That would be fantastic because he is such an amazing actor, that would be fun.
In season 3 in the flashback with Caroline we see a different side of Lorena when she teaches Bill that he has to stay away from the humans he loves. Do you believe that a union between a vampire and a human could actually work?
Mariana: I don’t really know. It seems that it could last for a time, but inevitably it would come to an end. But all things do, also in a normal human couple somebody is going to die before someone else. That reality exist for everyone, but immortality I don’t know if you could actually get around that 30 or 40 years in. But I am a romantic at heart so I’ll say I’ll hold out hope that maybe it could.
How would you react if vampires really existed and came out of the coffin?
Mariana: I would hope that they liked my performance so that they wouldn’t take any revenge, that’s what I would hope [laughs] and I would try to make friends with the oldest, meanest one around so I would get protection Kind of like it is in prison.
Are you working on anything at the moment? Are there other projects in the near future?
Mariana: I’ve been looking at a lot of scripts and auditioning. I’ll tell you one thing, it’s really hard coming from such an amazing character and show and group of people. It’s been hard to pick up scripts that come close to it. I also want to do something very different, as an actor I always like to challenge myself and put myself in situations where I don’t feel comfortable, I would like to so something very anti Lorena, anti sexy vampire to keep myself fresh. So I am looking and hopefully the right thing will come along soon because I am eager to get back to work, but I want it to be the right project.
Part of being an actor is auditioning and rejection. How do you deal with rejection?
Mariana: I usually go drink a bunch of wine afterwards [laughs]. Sometimes it’s not that difficult to deal with and sometimes it is. I think it depends on if you really wanted to do the project because if you don’t really care about it the rejection doesn’t really hurt, but if it’s something that you read and really had a connection to and you could really see yourself doing it and you really gotten excited as an actor and as an artist, those are the ones that are hard to take when the door slams in your face. It is part of the life of an actor, for better and for worse; you just pick yourself up and get back out there again. Some days it’s easier then others. It never hurts to pick up the phone and talk to another actor and share horror stories, that always makes you feel better and a nice glass of red wine at the end of the day always saves the day.
Are you on Twitter or do you have a Facebook page?
Mariana: I am not on Twitter yet, people have been asking. Maybe I should, but I am so terrible with computers and technology. I do have an official Facebook fan page, so people can find me there. I’ve had some impostors too, I don’t have a personal page, I just have a fan page. In the past there have been people pretending to be me, which is very odd.
Do you visit the fan sites? Do you read about yourself?
Mariana: I don’t. Which is a shame in one sense because I don’t mean to ignore the fans in any way. Early on there was such a negative reaction to my character, understandably, but it was hard because people were attacking me personally. I think it can be poisonous to read all of the blogs and see all the comments, so I kind of stay away and let my friends guide me into the right things. If there is something really great, people will say that I should look because someone wrote a great article or said something really nice about you. I had to stop reading the blogs because there is a lot of negativity coming my way.
Not only your way, there are people who say bad things about everybody.
Mariana: Exactly they say it about everybody. I get it, it’s the world that we live in, but we have fragile egos. You can only read so many times how ugly people think you are.
Then let me close by saying that what I read on my websites is all very positive about you; we love to hate you and we think that you were amazing as Lorena…
Mariana: Oh thank you so much. I appreciate you saying that, I will go on your website now and connect with the fans.
You tortured our poor Bill, but we loved you for it.
Mariana: I did. But in her defense I think she took quite the beating this season before she tortured. Bill wasn’t innocent, he lit me on fire; he broke my neck; he punched me in the face… I think he deserved a little torture [laughs].