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Interview with a vampire -- Stephen Moyer of True Blood

by Jane Boursaw, posted Jun 12th 2009 11:02AM

Stephen Moyer of True BloodVampires, shapeshifters, and a barmaid who can read peoples' minds ... HBO's True Blood returns on June 14, 9 PM.

I've been impatiently waiting for the white-hot series to come back since the toenail-painted black foot slumped out of Andy's car door at the end of season one. Is it Lafayette's foot? I asked Stephen Moyer, who plays vampire Bill Compton, but of course, he wouldn't tell me. No matter. I'll be glued to my TV next Sunday night.

Read on and find out what Moyer has to say about the new season, what it's like playing a 173-year-old vampire, and whether the love triangle between Sookie, Bill and Sam will continue. And I managed to keep my head, even as Moyer called me "Love" and "Darling" in his delightful British accent.

First of all, I love True Blood. I'm such a huge fan, and I tell everyone to watch it. I love Alan Ball and everything he's done.

He's amazing, isn't he? I think that what Alan has done so cleverly with our show is create something that's about blood and vampires, but he's found yet another forum to talk about human relationships. The fact that there's blood and sex and violence ... they're just a sideline to the fact that it's ultimately a show about individuals and how they relate to each other.

What can you tell us about the upcoming season?

Well, it's difficult to know where to begin, but if you went to book two in the series, you could get an idea of what the story is about. What Alan has done is create storylines for Sookie's brother, Jason, and her friend Tara. He's also created different storylines for my character and Sam. So we almost have four different storylines this year. Bill and Sookie go to Dallas to try and solve an issue over there while something very dark happens in Bon Temps.

At the end of the first season, we saw that Bill and Sookie were very close again. They kind of found each other after being apart. We start the season with them much more on a united front and going off to problem solve together. I can't really tell you what happens in Dallas or Bon Temps, but it's like nothing you've ever seen. It's so funny because every time the scripts arrive in their brown envelopes, everyone runs off to read them -- the grips, the DP, the camera operator, the guys who do all of the rigging ... they do it on their coffee breaks. These are guys that do 18-hour days.

Just looking at the trailer and the clips on the HBO site ... just awesome. I mean, that trailer is better than most trailers you'd see for a feature film.

Even the promo that we did, the one with the Bob Dylan music over the top ... he offered that track up from his new album for us. That's unbelievable.

Is Bob Dylan a fan of the show?

Apparently so. I mean, if you're going to have a fan, you might as well have Bob Dylan.

I know you can't tell me this, but I have to ask. Is Lafayette still alive?

I can't answer that. You don't want me to spoil it!

I really don't, but I had to ask. Will the love triangle with Sookie, Bill, and Sam continue?

I think it's safe to say that at the end of season one, we saw that Bill and Sookie had come back together. I think that's your answer.

Okay, let's move on to Jessica. At the end of last season, it seemed like she was going to be under the guidance of Eric. But in the promo for this season, it looks like she's back with you.

She's back with me, and Deborah [Ann Woll], who plays that part, is absolutely extraordinary. What they've done is brilliant, because Bill lost his children, obviously. I'm sure if Bill had dreamed of a way to get his children back, it wouldn't have been in the form of a bratty or virginal psychopathic daughter.

That's one of the great things about Alan. He doesn't give his characters what they want. He creates conflict. This year the love triangle will be there, but it'll be something else. Because who wants to watch two people being ridiculously happy?

So true. That's the thing with both Six Feet Under and True Blood. Alan never takes the easy way out, and as viewers, we love that.

Conflict is drama, and how people deal with conflict shows you the kind of people they are. We fall in love and then something happens that changes our opinion of somebody, for better or worse. You think, "Oh, I didn't think my love would have reacted like that." That's what Alan's writing is about, I think.

What's it like playing a vampire? People are always fascinated by them, but right now we're in a big vampire trend with Twilight and True Blood. Is it fun being on the wave of that trend?

It is! I know this sounds like a weird thing to say, but I don't think of our show as being a vampire show. It's about relationships. My character is 173 years old, and while his physicality hasn't changed, hopefully he's learned from all of the things that happened in his life and that have gone wrong. So I try to think about that kind of thing.

I must be weird for the person playing opposite you. Obviously, they know you're not a vampire, but if somebody is coming at your neck with fangs, it seems like it would be kind of freaky for them.

We were just shooting a scene last night, where I bare my fangs at a young actress. And she was like, "Oh my god, they're like real. Oh god. I'm not going to have to act this!" But it's pretty full-on, some of our stuff. We don't muck about. It's pretty darn sexy.

I haven't read the books, so I don't have any preconceived notions. But I know people who've read the books and don't like the series because it's nothing like the books. What would you say to those people?

That's interesting. I haven't had that sentiment from anyone. My experience has been that those who've read the books are wise enough to realize that things have to be different. The books are specifically from Sookie's point of view, and the show isn't just about Sookie. Alan has very cleverly created six incredible characters to relate to. We're not doing CSI. This is a drama about how vampires being in our society affects everybody.

And really, books and TV shows are two different animals.

Right, I've never been somebody who wanted to read a book and then see it enacted in front of me. When I read "Harry Potter," I don't want to then go and see Harry Potter shot frame to frame. I don't understand the point of it. Honestly, I would much rather read the book. If somebody is going to put something in front of me, I want it to be different.

Is True Blood a fun show to work on?

It's a great show to work on! Honestly, I am having the most fun I've ever had on a TV show. It's funny. It's dark. It's twisted. It's odd and intelligent. And it's an extraordinary bunch of people. We're a very odd, sort of dysfunctional, weird, little family. We all love each other, and that goes for the crew, too. It's a blessed place to be.

One last question: What's better – a vampire or a shapeshifter?

Personally, if I could do either? Shapeshifter. Can you imagine being able to shift? And I'd miss the sunlight and being able to go out during the day.

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Oops, I meant "roles" of course, not "rolls". Damn that Pinot Noir!!

July 10 2009 at 8:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Three cheers for the actors who took relatively minor rolls (in the books, anyway) and absolutely RAN with them! Lafayette, Tara, Tara's mother, and Terry are absolutely fascinating to watch. I can't wait to see what happens to them as well as Bill and Sookie! (I can't help but root for Sam, too!) Usually I don't like the screen adaptations of a book that I've read, but this is definitely the exception. I'll keep watching as long as they keep making the series.

July 10 2009 at 8:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
True Blood

True Blood is any amazing show and Stephen Moyer does a fantastic job creating the emotional turmoil that his character has to deal with at times. I have read all the books but I must say I LOVE True Blood more because Alan Ball was able to flesh out the characters and bring them to life in a manner that you feel their torment and their joys! Bravo!

June 13 2009 at 9:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Strangely this is Stephen Moyer's second role as a vampire, he was also in the excellent British series Ultraviolet, which was another modern re-telling of the vampire myth.

June 12 2009 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've read the books and watched season 1 and I just believe the show is so much more interesting than the books are. I enjoy the books but it's so nice to have the other characters play bigger parts. I love also how the vampires represent bigotry and racism in todays world. Such a unique way to show a parrallel with what's going on in todays society.

June 12 2009 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love both the series and the books. Alan Ball took the basic structure of the books and added some interesting twists to it. If he had stuck closely to what was in the books we would never have seen so much of Lafayette, who I love. I cannot wait for Sunday.

June 12 2009 at 1:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Can't wait for Sunday night. I really love True Blood. It's gonna be great!

June 12 2009 at 1:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am a faithful follower of both the show and the books and let me tell you that the show needs extra plotlines to keep the story afloat. I love Alan Ball's adaption of Charlaine Harris's work and love the fact that even I have no idea what is going to happen. When you have a story with only one person's perspective, that does not make for great TV. Bottom line is that I love both the show and the books and Alan's changes will not deter me one bit.

I am super hyped for Sunday night!!!

June 12 2009 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One more comment; he stated he didn't know anyone who wanted a book shot frame to frame. He must not get around! Ask any Lord of the Rings fan! Ask any Anne Rice fan. And yes, ask those pesky Harry Potter fans.

June 12 2009 at 12:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm one of those who get irritated when a movie or tv show doesn't follow a book. I love the books, but was totally disappointed in the show. At least try to get characters that LOOK the part. Why change the plots? This is why I dread hearing about books to film/tv. Case in point: Parker's Jesse Stone books have Jesse at 35. So who plays him on tv? Tom Selleck. ??? Oh well. Just hope that no one ever does Stephanie Plum as a series or movie.

June 12 2009 at 12:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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