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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Alan Ball sinks teeth into more 'True Blood'

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HBO this week renewed its fangtastic hit, "True Blood," for a third season, making Alan Ball look something like a fortune teller.

Ball, the show's creator and executive producer, talked during last week's San Diego Comic-Con like the third season was a sure bet, saying he was looking forward to bringing more characters from author Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels to the small screen. (Harris announced that she signed a contract for three more books, with the first out in 2010 and the third in 2014.)

"I'm looking forward to seeing werewolves for the first time," he told an enthusiastic crowd. "I'm definitely interested in getting into the world of Russell Edgington and the Mississippi vampires, and I'm really excited about the character of Debbie Pelt."

Ball and Harris were onstage for the "True Blood" panel, as were cast members Anna Paquin (Sookie), Stephen Moyer (Bill), Rutina Wesley (Tara), Michelle Forbes (Maryann), Alexander Skarsgard (Eric), Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette), Sam Trammell (Sam) and Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica).

Despite the large turnout, Skarsgard seemed to be the only actor a majority of the fans noticed. He's a great-looking guy, sure, but personally I was happy to see Forbes again, who (yes this is a tacky star-whore moment) I met and chatted with at "The Mighty Boosh" bash the night before.

She's awesome. She loves the Boosh. And we had fun.

Anyway, HBO showed the clip below at the beginning of the panel. It has some SPOILERS for upcoming events. So if you don't want to see them, don't watch. But yes, that is a feasting Evan Rachel Wood saying, "Wanna join me?" And was that a blond man in bed with Sookie? Hmm.

When asked if he planned to explore the Bill-Sookie-Eric love triangle in the same way Harris has in the novels, Ball gave a quick and simple, "Yes."

Moyer, who plays Bill and dates Paquin in real life, said he didn't think and Eric-Sookie hook-up would be so easy.

"I'm not sure Bill's just going to roll over and let that happen," he said. "He might not be as polite."

Skarsgard, who said Eric's fascination with the telepath won't dwindle, was asked why his character was so smitten with Sookie.

"Just look at her," he joked. "I'm sorry, Stephen."

Eric was kind of over humans until her met Sookie, Eric said, and that has changed him.

"Eric's been around for a very long time ...," he said. "Then she comes along and there's something different about her. For the first time in a long time, he's curious."

Skarsgard has been happy to prove that Eric isn't just a bad guy. He's gotten to show the vamp's vulnerable, loyal and sensitive sides this season.

"Eric was misunderstood ... and I had to defend him. He is a bad ass, but as an actor, you have to have layers," he said. "He doesn't care for a lot of people, or vampires either, but the ones he does, he's very loyal too."

FAKE FANGS
There was some debate over the fake fangs the actors wear during filming. Woll said she favors the hard fangs over rubber ones.

"The rubber ones tend to fly out of your mouth if you talk too quickly," she said, "which is very embarrassing when you're trying to be cool and immortal," she said.

Moyer seemed to prefer the rubber fangs. "For the first season, I had two tiny little indents because [the hard ones] are really sharp," he said, drawing a flirty "Yes, they are," from real-life girlfriend Paquin.

"I make no comment," he said, drawing laughter from the crowd.


DRINK UP
Ball announced that fangnatics soon will be able to by a new drink packaged like the True Blood in "True Blood." The blood orange soda will be available at trubeverage.com.


OTHER TIDBIT(E)S

* Rutina Wesley on her character, Tara: "[She's] a hard case on the outside, but she's a delicate Juliet on the inside. I definitely enjoy playing the softer side to her because it shows a lot more of her vulnerability."
* Michelle Forbes on why fantasy/sci fi genre offers so many strong women: "The genre gives the freedom to see things that could be possible," she said, adding that she has talked about the topic with "Battlestar Galactica" star Mary McDonnell at length. "She's a Goddess, by the way," Forbes said to loud applause.
* Deborah Ann Woll on how much more trouble her character, newbie vamp Jessica, will be for her maker, Bill (Moyer): "As much as they'll let me."
* Nelsan Ellis on the change in Lafayette since his run-in with the vamps: "I think Lafayette's hustle is supreme and he's figured out that it's not going to work for him to get him out of the situation," he said. "Now he's rethinking his hustle and maybe he's going to stop doing it." As soon as the crowd rumbled its disapproval, Ellis backtracked, "But we'll see."
* Alan Ball on the dynamic between Eric, Lafayette and Godric: "Obviously they're all gay lovers, and they spend summers together on Fire Island," he joked. Ball then said that Lafayette is rightly terrified of Eric, and Eric is intrigued by Lafayette and "may have plans for him in the future." If you're keeping up with the show, you've already had a hint of those plans.
* Ball on Godric and Eric: "[Godric] is the most important person in Eric's life, and there is tremendous, tremendous love there," he said. "I don't think it's romantic. But as somebody says in the show, the relationship between a vampire and his maker is something you can never understand."
* Ball on whether he planned to show Eric in pink spandex like the vamp apparently appears in one of the books: After Skarsgard got a round of applause for showing the pink socks he was wearing, Ball said, "I had panned not to, but maybe you changed my mind."
* Sam Trammell on Sam Merlotte's troubles: "Sam's a real magnet for abuse this year in a lot of ways. I'm just trying to survive this year," he said. "Sam's journey this year, and hopefully years to come, is really sort of sparked by [his love interest] Daphne and what she teaches him, and whether he grows from that or regrets it, we'll have to see."
* Wesley on Tara and Sam getting together again: "I'd be psyched about that. I like a little tan action."
* Alexander Skarsgard on the difference between working in the U.S. and his home country of Sweden: "If this was in Sweden, this would be in a barn without 35 people and about 25 of them would be named Skarsgard."
* Anna Paquin on what she doesn't like about Sookie: "If Charlaine [Harris] and the creators had written her as a nonnatural blond I would be spending a lot less time in the hair salon getting my roots retouched. And my hair would be a little bit longer because it's gradually getting shorter as the ends break off because I'm a fake, fake, fake blond."
* Forbes on accepting the role of Maryann Forrester: "When someone offers you an entrance where you're standing in the middle of the road, naked, holding a pig, you don't say no."
* Woll on being nervous on set--and at Comic-Con: "I'm currently nervous, so I'm picturing you all in your underwear," she told fans, who instantly cheered.
* Ball on whether there's going to be a half-vampire baby in "True Blood" like there must be in the "Twilight" books: "No, no. In our show, vampires are either full-out vampires or they're not vampires."



By Curt Wagner | Chicago Now | Link to article





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