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August 29, 2015

Carrie Preston Talks 'True Blood' Season 3 (Is Arlene Dead?!) and 'Good Wife'

by Kelly Woo, posted Apr 5th 2010 12:00PM
Carrie Preston'True Blood' star Carrie Preston doesn't have to go far to get scoop on one of her favorite shows, 'Lost.' All she has to do is turn over and ask Michael Emerson, who plays Ben Linus. Yes, these well-respected, fan-favorite actors on two of the most high-profile shows on television are married.

Now that's we call a Hollywood power couple.

But while Preston and Emerson may not be paparazzi targets like Brangelina, anything they say or do concerning their respective shows gets dissected and analyzed by fans on the Internet. Case in point: When it was announced that Preston would be guest starring on CBS' new hit legal drama 'The Good Wife,' fans of 'True Blood' instantly began to speculate whether this meant death for her character, waitress Arlene.

Hold your horses, though, she warned in an interview with AOL TV. "Let me put it this way, we've done half the season and I'm still there," she said. Preston spoke about the furor surrounding her 'Good Wife' guest stint, the upcoming third season of 'True Blood' and what she knows about the 'Lost' finale.

I've got to ask you about being on 'The Good Wife.' I don't know if you started filming yet ...
I did. I'm afraid the Internet has gone a little insane with this story [laughs].

Arlene, True BloodEveryone thinks this means that you're not going to be on 'True Blood.'
That's so funny. Well, obviously I can't comment on what's happening on 'True Blood,' but I will say that I go through stretches where they don't need me. We have a cast of about 1,000 on 'True Blood.' [Laughs] I'm not kidding, we've got 20 series regulars, or at least people who do more than half the episodes. Then we have at least another 20 guest stars and stuff, so the writers are servicing many, many people. We all end up -- even Anna [Paquin] and Stephen [Moyer] -- having a stretch of time where we're not working. 'The Good Wife' caught me during one of those times, so I did an episode and right now, we're in discussions with 'True Blood' for me to do more.

More episodes of 'The Good Wife'?
Yes, yes. But, I'm definitely not going to be with 'The Good Wife' full-time; it's recurring.

Fans pointed out that Arlene isn't in the third book that much ...
That's correct. Although, we're not really following the books at all.

Are you amazed that a little bit of casting news can cause such a furor on the Internet?
I know. It was very interesting because like I said, I had a couple of weeks away from the show. 'The Good Wife' called and asked if I could do this, and since I had already gotten clearance to go out of town, we just went ahead and accepted it. We didn't even really feel the need to tell anybody. It was a fun character on 'The Good Wife,' but there's never any guarantee that any part you do is going to recur, even if they say it is. It was only an offer for one episode with the hope that it would recur. We didn't want to make a big deal out of it. I don't know who leaked it or how it got leaked, but then everybody just took a hold of it. It was pretty funny. I've been happy to hear the fans get extremely upset about the idea that Arlene might not be a part of 'True Blood.' That made me feel very appreciated.

And 'True Blood' fans are really intense, right?
They are! I recently joined Twitter (@carrie_preston) and I just can't believe how excited people are about the show, it's great. It's really great for me because like I said, I don't really experience the fans out in the world, but I am starting to experience them cyberly through Twitter and through the Internet. Especially with this whole breaking news about me doing 'The Good Wife' -- just being able really see into the minds of the fans has been fun ... It was nice to hear that people were up-in-arms that I might be dying -- and I can't say whether or not I am -- but let me put it this way, we've done half the season and I'm still there. I guess I can say that.

So, you're liking Twitter so far?
I am! I'm having a very interesting and rather surreal experience on Twitter because I'm following @ArleneFowler.There is someone who is Twittering as my character ... There are a bunch of fans out there that Twitter as our characters and they have this whole kind of game that I guess they play ... I'm following some of the 'True Blood' fan sites and I saw there was an @ArleneFowler and there's a Lafayette, there's Sookie. I sent her a tweet that said, "I'm following you now, girl. You're doing me proud." Six minutes later, I had a tweet back that said, "Gulp, I think my wig just fell off." ... We just kind of have a fun little rapport going. She stays in character and I talk to her as if we are Arlene.

What can you tell us about this upcoming season of 'True Blood?
It's getting even bigger than the second season, and I didn't think that was possible what with the insanity and the town getting possessed, running around with black eyes and Maryann and all of her shenanigans. This season is even bigger. You have these small town people dealing with larger than life issues and you've got a whole new breed of supernatural introduced -- actually, a couple -- a couple of supernatural breeds are coming in that we haven't really seen before. There's a lot of blood. Yes, there will be a death, but it's later in the season and -- what else? Oh, it's just fraught, it's still funny. The writers have really found their stride, I think, and are having a great time. For us in the cast, it is so interesting because everybody will have time off and then you show back up and somebody is lying in a pool of blood [laughs]. It's pretty messy, but it's pretty exciting I have to say.

So, on 'The Good Wife,' you play a lawyer defending Chris Noth's character. Can you talk a little bit about your role and what you do on the show?
Yes. I am introduced at a moment of crisis in their apartment. He's under house arrest, so I'm introduced under some duress. Something has happened in the apartment and I come in at the last minute and sort of take over the situation and make it right. The thing that's fun about it is she's not a 'Law & Order' kind of talking head lawyer. The writers have really -- with all the lawyers on that show -- have given them interesting character twists and nuances that you don't normally get when you play those kind of roles.

Julianna MarguliesMy character is definitely a little off-kilter. She's definitely got one of those brains that works a million miles a minute, and she gets seduced by the next thought all the time and goes from A-to-Z in a second flat. I've only done the one episode. It was really fun and I'm longtime pals with Julianna Margulies, so it was fun to do a scene with her because I'm a friend. That made it a lot easier walking on the set as a guest with the responsibility to bring,all of a sudden out of nowhere a full character when you don't know anybody on the set. That happens a lot when you're a guest, but this time it was nice because I do know her and that made it a lot easier for me.

One of the great things about
'The Good Wife' is it has such strong female characters and you don't see that many network shows with a female lead.
You sure don't and that's why I'm so happy that it's doing so well, especially, because it's not a 20-year-old woman, it's somebody with history. It's somebody with a life and children and a past dealing with issues that are very topical. I just thought it was very exciting that the audience went for it. Not only did they go for it, but Julianna's winning all these awards and it seems to me that it's going to stay. Also, [the show tapes] in New York and Michael and I live in New York. That's our home base, even though we've both been working on the Pacific side of things. New York is our home base, so it's really fun to watch that show because every episode it's all of our friends that are on the show. New York keeps losing shows so it's nice that there's one there .

You also have some movie projects coming up -- 'What's Wrong with Virginia?' will be out later this year, right?
I shot that on the hiatus and they're in post [production] right now and I hear that it's looking really good. It was a really fun experience because Dustin Lance Black, who wrote 'Milk,' wrote and directed this one. He's a great, great guy. At he was a little wary about casting me because he thought I was too young and he wanted somebody who was a little more worn down and maybe not as -- I don't know -- who lived life a little harder than me. I said "Well, what do you need? I'll dye my hair, this is what I do. My hair color changes from role to role. We can create a makeup that gives you that look." Luckily, he was willing to take a shot ... I play rough around-the-edges Southern, but different Southern than Arlene Southern. I tend to play a lot of Southern characters because I'm from Georgia, but I like trying to honor all the different colors of the South.

Another film that I did over the hiatus is called 'A Bag of Hammers' and that's with Rebecca Hall and Jason Ritter, and again I play a Southern woman, but this is a very dark character and a very sad situation ... I had to go to some dark places, but I was happy to do that in contrast with doing a season of 'True Blood.' It was really nice, I definitely got to exercise all my muscles over the summer.

Carrie Preston and Michael EmersonThere was all this news about Michael getting injured on the set of 'Lost' -- is he OK now?
He is fine. It was an accident and the show is rough, there's a lot of combat and stuff and sometimes things just happen ... It's so hard for me to watch him on the show get beat up; it's always very difficult for me to watch, especially the few times I've been on set with him and they have him covered in all that blood, I sometimes get a little weak in the knees. It's so real, you know?

Any chance we might see you again on 'Lost'?
No, I wish. They're wrapping up an epic, epic six seasons of madness. I make Michael keep everything from me. I don't want to know.

Really? You don't read his scripts or anything?
No, I'm a fan. I really want it to be that I'm seeing it fresh. I mean, he'll say things. For example, [the episode] which was all about Richard Alpert -- I thought that was genius -- all he said to me was, "I think that this is going to be one of the best episodes they've ever shot on 'Lost.'" Then I was like, "Oh my god!" I get so excited. Of course it was, I thought it was extraordinary.

Does he avoid spoilers for 'True Blood'?
He's not as married to that as I am. I mean he loves 'True Blood' obviously, but it doesn't bother him. He doesn't mind looking at previews for movies -- I don't like watching previews for movies. We're just different that way, so he doesn't mind getting any kind of spoilers and stuff because when he sits down to watch something, he's just there to watch it. He will forget whatever information he had about it before. He's just there to watch it. I can't do that.

When are we going to see him on 'True Blood,' because that would be amazing.
Yeah, that would be cool. I don't know. I know he would like to try and veer away from the bad guy roles for a bit, just to change it up for himself. 'True Blood' is full of bad guys, so I don't know exactly what will go down there. But I know they're fans of his on 'True Blood,' so you never know.

Do you like working together, or do you try to avoid it?
No, we love working together. We haven't gotten to do it that much, but the times that we have -- I produced a movie that I starred in; I have a little production company -- and it was called 'Ready? OK!' like the cheerleading thing. My friend who wrote and directed it, he wrote a part for Michael as well. We had one of my favorite scenes in the whole movie, we got to play together and part of it was just because he and I, we have a shorthand. We were so comfortable with each other, we trust each other. There was no need to even really talk about the characters or the scenes because we trusted the writing, we trusted the director and we trust each other. We showed up and it was just a really wonderful experience and I think it shows in the film.

[Follow @kellyaoltv on Twitter]

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