Anna Paquin: Life, Love And True Blood

October 31, 2009

Anna-Paquin-Mindfood-Cover-Pamela-HansonTrue Blood star Anna Paquin has worked hard to get where she is today, but she has balanced that with a personal philosophy of living in the moment. She is only 27-years old and already has a decade of successful work in film, television, and theatre, including an Academy Award at age 11 for The Piano, and a Golden Globe earlier this year for True Blood. Outside of her career, she has found love and happiness with her co-star and fiance Stephen Moyer. In a cover feature in the Australian magazine, MiNDFOOD, Anna talks about enjoying life, one day at a time.

A fan of Alan Ball’s previous television series, Six Feet Under, Anna pursued the role of Sookie Stackhouse when she heard that he was doing True Blood:

“He’s extraordinary, smart, funny and unpredictable in his humor, and he’s kind and approachable. The best boss you could possibly have.”

And then there was meeting Stephen and having their relationship grow as they worked alongside each other:

Steve and I had a certain instant connection. We read Bill and Sookie opposite each other for the very reason that there needed to be a strong connection between the two actors playing those characters. Then that’s the person you’re working with all the time. It doesn’t hurt when the relationship on screen, which you’re trying to create, is one of attraction and fascination. Somewhere the line gets a little blurred.”

True Blood fans can definitely see that chemistry between them! And, as a viewer, knowing that those feelings between Bill and Sookie are based on real love between Stephen and Anna makes the story come to life even more.

Prior to life on True Blood, Anna had already been working as an actor for 15 years. Even though she was catapulted into the spotlight at an early age because of her Oscar win, she has always been a grounded young woman, with a good upbringing and realistic outlook on life that she attributes to her family:

“I came up through the ranks before the tabloid media became what it is currently. It wasn’t as much of a feeding frenzy. I guess that’s more good luck than good management. There was very little time to be affected, and my family didn’t value [fame] and weren’t interested in it. It was more about doing well in school, getting an education and doing something with your life.”

Anna has also had the opportunity to work with great professional role models, with her favorite being the first, Holly Hunter:

“I’m still in awe of her. The Piano was my apprenticeship. I had no idea what I was doing and I absolutely adored her. So I just followed her lead. She can just walk on water talent-wise.”

Anna loved being part of the theatre community in New York City, where she lived since she was 18. She has since relocated to Venice Beach where she and Stephen have a house:

“It’s incredibly nice down here. It’s really relaxing; I can ride my bike everywhere and I like being by the ocean.”

In her spare time, one of her favorite hobbies is playing Scrabble. She also keeps her body fit through all different kinds of activities, from kickboxing to yoga. She loves playing a strong character like Sookie:

“She’s her own little action star. I get bloodied and vomited on and beaten up — everything that the girl doesn’t often get to do in a show or a film because they’re usually the girlfriend. Sookie’s the center of all the action or trauma.”

Another big interest of Anna’s is fashion, which you could guess by just looking at all of the fabulous dresses she has worn on red carpets:

“I love anyone who cuts for women’s bodies, not boys’ bodies — designers who actually take curves into account. I absolutely love beautiful clothes and dressing up for red carpet stuff. The whole Cinderella thing: the dress, the shoes, the hair, the makeup and the jewelry.”

Her true passions though, are about the bigger things in life. She’s looking forward to starting a family someday. She’s enjoyed her experiences maintaining the production company, Paquin Films, with her brother Andrew, and hopes to one day direct a film. She also wants to travel and see the world. But Anna doesn’t have a set plan in mind for all of that:

“I go one step at a time. I’ve never really thought too far ahead because then you’re never disappointed if it doesn’t happen the way you thought it would. There isn’t a lifestyle or job where there are any guarantees. I’m happy living in the right now.”

That’s certainly an admirable point of view to have and it has served her very well in life. Anna talks about having everything she could possibly want and about enjoying what she has. She is one of the few young actresses in Hollywood who seems worthy of all the success she has been blessed with.

SOURCE: MiNDFOOD.com

(Photo credit: Pamela Hanson / MiNDFOOD)

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Sam Trammell Talks True Blood at West Virginia Hometown Fundraising Event

October 31, 2009

SamMerlotteSeason2BeyondHereLiesNothingThis weekend, Sam Trammel returns to his hometown of Charleston, W.Va., to help support the town’s East End Main Street historic preservation program by participating in the city’s HallowEast fundraising festival.

Born in Louisiana, True Blood’s Sam Trammell (Sam Merlotte) spent a large part of his childhood in Charleston, W.Va., and many of his friends and family, including his parents, still live there.

“I consider Charleston home. My mom and dad still live there. I really miss it, and I’m excited to see all my friends and family. It’s great to be coming home. …Downtown Charleston and the East End are just amazing. Today, when you look at the ballpark, the Clay Center and Capitol Street, you understand the revitalization has been great. I want to see it continue.

It’s [the fundraiser event] a good fit for Halloween. If you’ve read the Charlaine Harris books (on which the show is based), you know she introduces a whole host of fantastical creatures. For sure, it’s a Halloween sort of show.”

On Oct. 30, Charleston’s Cultural Center hosted two receptions with Sam. He then moved to Kanawha Players at 309 Beauregard Street, to sit down for an Inside the Actor’s Studio style interview, answering questions posed by David Wohl, dean of arts and sciences at West Virginia State University.

According to event organizers, money raised during the festival will be used to help neighborhood businesses in downtown Charleston to promote and preserve the historic district.

While in town, Sam spoke with Bill Lynch of The Charleston Gazette about his experience working on True Blood. According to Sam, the most difficult aspect of working on a show like HBO‘s True Blood isn’t the bloody effects.  It also isn’t the late nights, though he says that they start shooting around 5 p.m. for all night shoots that last until dawn and he is sometimes sleep deprived from the schedule.  Sam expected all of that since, after all, it is a show about vampires.  Sam says that the thing he has the hardest time adjusting to is:

“…the cold, believe it or not. I don’t like the cold.”

Trammell, a George Washington High School graduate, remembers one particular night this past season when they were shooting a scene involving an orgy and a bonfire. Some of the townspeople of Bon Temps (the fictional town where the show is set) were under the sway of an evil temptress. There was a lot of bare skin and everyone had to pretend it was a sweltering, summer night in Louisiana.

Of course, they’re not filming in Louisiana but in a canyon in Malibu, where it gets down into the 30s.

“I didn’t have to be naked or anything,” he said, “but I was in short sleeves. It was pretty cold.”

Sam, 38, is mindful of just how chilly it gets because of the nature of his character, Sam Merlotte. Merlotte is a shapeshifter who can turn from a man into a dog, a bull and who knows what else. The side effect is that he tends to lose his clothes in the transformation and gets to do scenes in the buff.

In addition to talking about last season, Sam also spoke a little bit about working on season three and what it is like to work with Alan Ball.  According to Sam, Alan tends to work in advance, so the scripts for next season are probably already finished.  This kind of advance preparation isn’t always the case, however, says Sam:

“Most TV shows, you get scripts a week before you shoot them.  You might get pages the day before you shoot.”

Often, a show begins its season with only some of the episodes completed. This especially happens with shows like Lost and Heroes, which have broad storylines but are open to making changes later in the season based on earlier rating successes or failures.Ball doesn’t work that way.

Alan likes to have everything done,” Sam said. “He wants to finish shooting the season before it airs — just in case he needs a re-shoot.”

So what’s coming up next for Sam Merlotte?  Sam didn’t give much away, but he did tell the Gazette:

“I think Sam is going to go toward the vein of trying to find his biological parents. That will definitely end in some bad stuff.”

I hate to think that we’ll have to see Sam crying once again.  The season finale, “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’,” was heart rending for his character from beginning to end.  Perhaps we will learn a little good news for Sam in season three from this Q & A event but more than likely, we will simply have to wait until June 2010 for the answers we want.

Jessica Ralston from WSAZ had the chance to catch up with Sam and discuss his homecoming and True Blood.

SOURCE: The Charleston Gazette

(Photo credit: HBO Inc.)

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True Blood Cast Have Howling Halloween at True Blood Hounds Fundraiser

October 31, 2009

TBhoundsLA291009-20aSeveral members of the True Blood cast attended the True Blood Hounds event in Los Angeles. The event was the first of the three day “Bow Wow Beverly Hills” dog adoption event from October 30 to November 1, and all proceeds go to support The Amanda Foundation animal rescue.

Duffy who plays Dean/Sam on True Blood was in attendance alongside his human counterparts pictured at right, including Mariana Klaveno (Lorena), Michelle Forbes (Maryann Forrester), Rutina Wesley (Tara Thornton), Tara Buck (Ginger), Kristin Bauer (Pam) and Patrick Gallagher (Chow).

true_bloodhounds_invite1-300x199The Amanda Foundation is a nonprofit rescue organization for dogs and cats, founded in 1976.  Their mission is to give a second chance to the over 200,000 animals who are brought into Los Angeles County’s 28 shelters either as strays or after being given up by their owners.

The Michelle Forbes Community Blog has some wonderful photos of the cast and some costumed pets at the event, as well as video from the local ABC News Affiliate coverage of the fundraiser.

Michelle Forbes and Rutina Wesley

Michelle Forbes

True Blood Hounds Event

944.com had some more photos of the cast at the event as well.

Rutina Wesley

Mariana Klaveno

SOURCE: Michelle Forbes Community Blog, The Amanda Foundation animal rescue, and KABC-TV Los Angeles

(Photo credit: Michelle Forbes Community Blog, The Amanda Foundation animal rescue, and 944dotcom)

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Kristin Bauer To Appear At The Boston Mega Superfest 2009

October 31, 2009

normal_Pam_trueblood_001Kristin Bauer, who portrays vampire Pam in Alan Ball’s hit HBO TV series True Blood, will be attending the Boston Mega Superfest 2009.

The Boston Mega Superfest is New England’s largest multimedia fanfest. The megafest features one the largest selections of DVDs, posters, autographs, comics, toys, videos and memorabilia from TV, movies, and rock and roll. Moreover, fans have the opportunity to mingle with their favorite creators of comics, TV and movies stars, and get the chance to pose questions to their favorite stars at a number of Q&A sessions. The event will be held at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel on November 21 – 22, 2009.

In addition to Kristin Bauer, other stars who will be appearing include James Marsters (Spike from Buffy); Bionic Woman Lindsay Wagner; Ray Park (Edgar from Heroes; and Darth Maul from Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace); and Brent Spiner (Data of Star Trek: The Next Generation).

When: November 21 – 22, 2009

Where: Sheraton Framington Hotel, Farmington, Mass.

For further details: Boston Mega Superfest

SOURCE: Swords.com

Photo credit: HBO Inc.

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What’s Cookin’ – Down South Oven Fried Chicken

October 31, 2009

What's-Cookin'-Safe

Lafayette comin’ atcha here. Youse know that I am an Entrepreneur!  I work on da road crew to keep myself lookin’ hot and SEXAY and line my pockets with a little jingle.  Then at nights I cook at Merlotte’s bar where all the local necks hang out.  So now I’m branchin’ out and I’m goin’ to be Bon Temps version of da BAM! man.  I mean no one has more Bam! Bam! Bam! than ‘lil ole me!  And I kin cook too! Every week or so I’m going to teach y’all to make food good enough to melt even Nan Flanagan’s heart. Bon Chika Wow Wow – Appetit!

Down South Oven Fried Chicken

Child, I’m gonna tell you all about a favorite here in Louisiana – fried chicken – only dis here recipe gonna be a healthy one.  Youse know we got some issues here with our people havin’ sugar and heart problems.

Just dis week, Lettie Mae went to da doctor for a checkup and low and behold, he told her she gots to get on a healthy diet.  Now I don’t know if all those years of drinking her liquor did her in or what, but I know she ain’t eat right like she need to.  I don’t always myself, but I gets my exercise when I be working it for da camera.  Tween’ church and lookin’ out for Tara, Lettie Mae don’t be getting’ no exercise and she ain’t really got time to eat like she need to.  I gots to take her next week for some tests and stuff – I hope she okay.  Tara done dealt with enough drama in da past couple of months – da last thang she need is for her mama to be sick.

You know ya boy.  I minds my bidness, but I be wantin’ to help my friends and family, so I told myself I was gonna come up wid a recipe dat da folks round here would be wantin’ to eat.  I said, “What do dey be wantin’ at Merlotte’s dat seem so fattening, but could be healthier if it was cooked mo betta?”  Fried Chicken!  So I say, how can dat be made healthier?  By fryin’ it in da oven – dat’s how.  Hookahs, if you from ‘round here, you know people be droppin’ like flies from dat heart disease and if dey not having heart attacks and strokes, dey be going to da hospital for diabetes – sugar – dat’s what da ol’ folks call it.  Louisiana got da best food fa sho, but we got da worst health right along wid it.  I hopes you hookahs enjoy dis recipe – I worked real hard on dis one.

Ingredients:

¾ cup of buttermilk

Creole seasoning (season da breasts real good)

Boneless/skinless chicken

1 tablespoon of cooking oil

1 cup of Corn Flakes (child, you won’t believe how good dat be)

Preparation:

Put da oven on 350 degrees and get ready to get to work hookahs!  Pour da buttermilk in a bowl and add some Creole seasoning to it.  Put da Corn Flakes in a Ziploc bag and add some seasoning to it.  Smash da flakes real good until dey some crumbs.  Wash yo chicken and dip it in da milk and put in da bag wit da flakes and shake until da chicken’s good and coated.  Put da oil in da pan and add da chicken – make sure ya season it again after you put it in da pan.  Cover da pan and bake for 45 minutes – den take da cover off and bake another 30 minutes.

You can serve sweet potato fries or oven baked French fries wit dis or youse can even make a Sunday dinner out dis – add some mashed potatoes, green beans and yams.  Now dat’s whassup in a healthy way.

oven-baked-chicken

(Photo credit: http://www.webnesia.com/2008/05/saturday-dinner.html )

Graphics Creation Credits: Steven Easterly

To read more yummy Lafayette approved recipes go to the “What’s Cookin‘” archives!

Disclaimer: These recipes are provided for entertainment and culinary purposes only and should be made by ordinary humans only with ordinary ingredients.  This column is a parody of the Gothic fantasy series, True Blood, and as such, is presented here for your amusement.  What’s Cookin’ and the various writers that contribute to it, have no relationship/affiliation to HBO, True Blood, or any of the cast or crew of said nor any relation to Charlain Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels.

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VIDEO: Anna Paquin Winning At The 2009 SCREAM Awards

October 30, 2009

Anna-Paquin-SCREAM-2009Here it is finally.  Everybody has seen the videos of Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton), Alexander Skarsgard (Eric Northman) and Alan Ball and the entire cast of True Blood onstage  accepting their award except Anna Paquin.  Well, finally there is a video that has been posted of Anna Paquin (Sookie Stackhouse) accepting her award for Best Horror Actress at Spike TV’s 2009 SCREAM Awards for those who missed the telecast.  Enjoy!

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Charlaine Interviewed At The 2009 BoucherCon Convention

October 30, 2009

Charlaine-Harris-BoucherconRecently Charlaine Harris attended the Bouchercon 2009 World Mystery Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana that celebrates the mystery genre. It is the largest annual meeting in the world for mystery lovers and the convention program included panel discussions, lectures, and other presentations by mystery writers and experts on the genre, covering all aspects of mystery fiction, thrillers, detective stories, suspense novels, and more.  This year Charlaine was one of the panel members at the convention and was interviewed by Reel Deal to discuss the themes in her Sookie Stackhouse novels and about Alan Ball‘s True Blood.  Enjoy the video!

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Living with the Undead: From Dracula to True Blood

October 30, 2009

bigger photo of vampires_on_true_blood-13751Abraham van Helsing and his intrepid band of vampire hunters may have disposed of Bram Stoker’s creation Dracula more than a century ago, but these creatures of the night never really left us, preferring to stalk us in the shadows of our imagination, manifesting themselves in Gothic fiction, horror movies, and popular culture. Slowly but surely, they have emerged from their shadowy world and judging from responses to their most recent incarnations in Being Human, True Blood, The Southern Vampire Mysteries, Thirst, Let the Right One In and Twilight, for example, they have glamored audiences and readers alike. With Halloween round the corner, the vampire has even managed to enter the hallowed confines of the BBC.

On 28th October 2009, BBC Radio 4, with Mark Lawson at the helm, hosted a special edition of Front Row. Mark Lawson was joined by Dacre Stoker, great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker; cultural historian, Dr. Helen Wheatley; Kevin Jackson, author of Bite: A Vampire Handbook and Toby Whithouse, creator of Being Human. Together, their discussion focused on the last 200 years of the vampire’s various manifestations in Western culture, notably Gothic fiction, cinema, and contemporary TV.

Dacre Stoker, who now lives in the US, discussed how he delved into his ancestor’s handwritten notes on the original Dracula novel to pen his sequel, Dracula: The Un-Dead, the original name of Dracula before an editor changed the title. The new book is the first Dracula story to be fully authorized by the Stoker family since the 1931 film starring Béla Lugosi. It has provoked a storm in the publishing world, selling for more than $1m (£575,000) to Dutton US, HarperCollins UK, and Penguin Canada. Dacre Stoker wrote the novel with the screenwriter Ian Holt, and a movie is also planned. In the new book, set in London in 1912, Quincey, the son of Stoker’s hero, Jonathan Harker, has become involved in a troubled theatre production of Dracula, directed and produced by Bram Stoker himself. The play plunges Quincey into the world of his parents’ terrible secrets.

We all know Dracula, or think we do, but there are many Draculas and still more vampires who refuse to be Dracula or to play him. An alien nocturnal species, sleeping in coffins, drinking blood, living in shadows, fearing garlic, crosses and daylight, vampires are too easy to stereotype, but it is their variety that makes them survivors. They may look marginal, feeding on human history from some limbo of their own, but they have actually always been central. What vampires are in any given generation is a reflection of the society at that given time. From the beginning of the 19th century to the present, vampires have been popular confederates of mortals. Since Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, the vampire has indeed traveled a long way, transforming himself from dreaded monster to our beloved albeit fanged anti-hero. Our fanged friend is now firmly part of our mainstream culture and popular imagination. The lion has truly decided to lie down with the lambs.

Klaus Kinski_Nosferatu.moviemaker.comjpgLiterary and film critics have long examined the attraction of the vampire, analyzing several common themes running through vampire literature and films, such as the role of women, taboos about sexuality, socio-political themes such as immigration and racial segregation. Undoubtedly, the vampire continues to serve as our mirror on which we project our fears, lusts and desires.

It seems that every decade has had some form of vampire rage, or is it more appropriate to use the term vampire-induced lust? However, 2009 seems to be the Year of the Vampire. Vampires, a seemingly highly adaptable species, can now be anything and everything. From the highly sexual bon vivant of the night in the Southern Gothic universe of True Blood, to the guilt ridden vampire John Mitchell in Being Human to the chaste sparkly creatures in the Pacific Northwest world of Twilight, the modern vampire has adapted with the changing times.

However, some things about the vampire remain constant, or it seems to. The modern true-blood-eric-postervampire embodies youth, romance, lust, vitality and strength. Our modern vampire almost always embodies dangerous love and forbidden lust, which is probably why every new generation of men and women want a taste of the vampire. The vampire story is as classic as the western, and like the western, it’s a genre whose pleasures lie in the minor variations. True Blood and its many imitations offer similar celebrations of love and lust with a pallid stranger. If we are to judge from Angel, Vampire Bill, Eric Northman, Lestat, and Edward Cullen, today’s vampires are modern day variations of the tortured Romantic anti-hero, a protagonist rather than an antagonist.

But was the vampire always this?

Legends of the nocturnal predator dates back several centuries, going back to the ancient world; these creatures underwrite our nightmares in both Western and non-Western folklores. Peter Dendle, an associate professor of early medieval demonology and folklore at Penn State Mont Alto, indicates that:

Vampire-like creatures are present in the earliest recorded writings […] In Greek literature, there isn’t a Dracula or Twilight character, but the idea of a soul-sapping, life-drawing creature in human or animal form exists in these writings.”

In the 19th century, Bram Stoker’s Gothic novel Dracula used metaphors of sexuality in a century when it was difficult to write about it explicitly and through that process sexualized the vampire as a male predator stalking young maidens. Polidori’s The Vampyr, a short story published in 1819, was one of the first to take the folkloric vampire and turn him into a suave killer who preyed on aristocrats. Although hardly a great work of literature, Varney the Vampire, or The Feast of Blood, a serialized Victorian ‘penny dreadful’, published anonymously between 1845 and 1847, is equally responsible for introducing many tropes popular in later vampire fiction, representing an important link to the development of Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Two decades later, F.W. Murnau adapted Bram Stoker’s story in his film Nosferatu, einebela_lugosi_as_dracula_aboutmovies Symphonie des Grauens (1922). Better known to English-speaking audience as Nosferatu: a Symphony of Horror, Max Schreck’s portrayal of the bat-like, creepy vampire is unlikely to strike terror to the hearts of modern audiences. However, it is undeniable that, in Schreck’s performance, the vampire is decidedly gruesome and unglamorous, providing a stark contrast to the sexy, sensual vampires of today. We have only to pause for a moment here and contrast Schreck’s vampire with True Blood’s Vampire Bill or the Viking vampire, Eric Northman, to realize just how far our fanged companions have come in adapting themselves to modern society.

At the same time, as both Kevin Jackson and Dacre Stoker explain, a lot of what we take as the gospel truth within vampire mythology actually dates back to F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu. For example, the myth that the vampire crumbles to dust or bursts into flames when it comes into contact with sunlight or daylight was invented in Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922). In contrast, Bram Stoker’s Dracula does not burst into flames. In fact, daylight and sunlight does not harm him; instead, Dracula is said to merely lose his powers in daylight and is unable to shape-shift. To respond to modern myths of the vampire, Dacre Stoker consequently had to revise Bram Stoker’s original vision of the vampire mythology so that Dacre’s Dracula is now affected by sunlight.

At the same time, while certain aspects of the vampire mythology have been tweaked, an undercurrent remains where basic details of vampire lore remain unchanged. As Kevin Jackson and Helen Wheatley both clarify, the vampire has, in the last 200 years, become the repository of all our social fears, for example, fear of blood, sexuality, foreigners, and women, along with changing notions of masculinity. And one thing has remained constant with our fascination of the vampire. As Toby Whithouse indicates, one of the most enticing aspects of the vampire is that they are titillating, wild, untamed and ultimately un-tameable creatures:

“[Vampires are] uncensored creatures […] creatures of pure appetite and impulse […] It’s a Romantic idea of the troubled isolated mysterious stranger.”

In short, we can trace our modern day vampire back to the 19th century Romantictrue_blood_couple_m movement. In the hands of the 19th century Romantics, the vampire is transformed into the persecuted individual, an angst ridden James Dean of his day. The vampire, no longer the evil enemy, is now transformed in Romantic Gothic fiction into a sympathetic individual who struggles with himself, his identity and who is tormented by guilt. In short, he is transformed into an existential anti-hero, becoming a Byronic poster-boy for men and women who similarly struggle with their identity and therefore identify with the vampire’s search for identity. The Byronic Lord Ruthven in Polidori’s story therefore shares several common traits with Lestat. Both are enchanting companions.

In short, our modern vampire tales retain the basic features of the vampire mythology but as Helen Wheatley suggests:

“The most successful of vampires […] are those that are exceptions to the mythology”

From Dracula to the True Blood vampires, it seems that vampires have shifted from evil antagonists to sympathetic creatures. As Anne Rice explains in an interview during the BBC discussion, the vampire:

“is the perfect metaphor of a lost soul, creatures of the night, wandering in the darkness constantly being drawn to life and yet having to destroy that life. […] not being able to find any real redemptive possibilities in life.”

Now, unlike their odious ancestors, instead of emerging from the grave with hunks of flesh falling off them, our modern vampires are simply hunks. But apparently, they also have a story to tell us, or so we’re told.

grey suited eric 2As was discussed during the Front Row debate, it could be argued that the metaphor in Twilight is bourgeois respectability and chastity: the hero and his middle-class family in Forks, Wash., have forsaken their inhuman appetites and only occasionally feast on small animals – the vampire equivalent of turning vegetarian. In Twilight, chastity is applauded, sexuality feared. In contrast, we can safely say that the True Blood vampires are anything but chaste. Licentiousness abounds in glorious technicolour; and the potency of sexuality in its various manifestations is embraced wholeheartedly. Emerging from the coffins, our True Blood vamps can safely feed on a synthetic blood and are now a minority demanding passage of a Vampire Rights Amendment and equal rights. No longer dining out on human’s blood, they can stalk humans for other, shall we say, safer sources of entertainment.

The BBC’s Being Human, in contrast, offers the Dracula myth in a different chord: it’s structured less as a love story than as a buddy film. Three young friends share a house in Bristol, England, as well as secrets. They also happen to be a vampire (Mitchell), a ghost (Annie), and a werewolf (George) who together forge a friendship that turns out to be thicker than blood. Being Human takes these predators’ anguished remorse and their consequent search for redemption and humanity seriously. But it still manages to find the humor in their predicament as these monsters in human form struggle to blend into normal life that includes work, going out on dates and having the tedious neighbors over for drinks. As in HBO’s True Blood, the vampires in Being Human have infiltrated every walk of society, even the police force. And similarly to Vampire Bill in True Blood, we also see how Mitchell, the dark-haired vampire in Being Human, struggles to tame his blood thirsty cravings in an effort to align himself with the human race. 

As in True Blood, all three characters in Being Human are highly appealing, but the charm of this British show lies in the delicate balance of engrossing drama and disarming humor; it’s witty in an offhand, understated British way. For example, in one scene, we see Mitchell, who has no trouble attracting women, encouraging George to find a girlfriend; but George is too full of self-doubts. When Mitchell asks, “Is that Jewish guilt, or werewolf guilt?” George glumly replies, “They’re pretty much the same thing.”

bill and sookieTrue Blood also puts vampires in a modern setting for comic effect, and in Seasons 1 and 2, it also showcases a romantic hero torn between human love and his inhuman cohorts, but the feel of the HBO show is quite different. It gleefully combines the vampire genre with murder mystery, high camp, droll humor and romantic fantasy. Based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, the HBO television adaptation is steeped in Spanish moss, unbounded sexuality and steamy Louisiana exoticism.

HBO’s True Blood sees our eponymous heroine, Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), the telepathic human barmaid and modern sleuth who lives in the fictional small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, amid an ever-expanding cast of vampires, shifters and other exotic supernatural creatures. The formula of a small-town life regularly disrupted by the supernatural world, and some mind-blowing sex with vampires, has propelled HBO into its planned Third Season and Charlaine Harris through nine Sookie Stackhouse novels. In HBO’s True Blood, part of the tension arises from the dynamic between the ‘good vampire’ versus the ‘bad vampire’. We see an example of this in Season 1 episode 3 when Sookie visits Vampire Bill only to discover to her horror that there are vampires who refuse to mainstream, unlike Bill Compton to whom she finds herself increasingly attracted.

Pale and lustful, the vampires of True Blood are not much more creepy than the small-town cranks, misfits and sexually deviant oddballs who gather at Merlotte’s, a dive bar in Bon Temps, Louisiana. But, unlike Max Schreck’s vampire, these Louisiana vamps are certainly more beautiful and charismatic. Vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer), for example, has a courtly reserve to him, one he has kept up at least since the Civil War. Helen Wheatley explains the attraction of Vampire Bill who, to date, represents the ‘good vampire:

“[Bill Compton] combines incredible strength with an old-fashioned courtliness. [He] is incredibly powerful and dangerous but this is contained in an old world charm.”

image

It seems that our fanged friend, the vampire, has truly been generous in allowing himself to be the never-ending source of stories, myths and drama down the centuries. Mutating from odious monster, misshapen hunchback to a modern 21st century heartthrob, our beloved vampire has remain with us through thick and thin down the centuries. In Louisiana, we see our current incarnation of our fanged friend in all his titillating power. Just witness True Blood fans’ heated responses to the Viking vampire Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) and we can say without a doubt that our fanged friend has succeeded in glamoring us. Again. But lest we forget, it is also the women of Bon Temps whose metabolisms run rapid with an equally insatiable appetite.

In True Blood, we seem to have come full circle and returned to the heady stories of those vampires of yore, whose insatiable carnal appetites are such that it cannot be refused. True Blood doesn’t give a hoot about bourgeoisie respectability or chastity. Judging from the last episodes of Season 2, it only cares whether we really are who we sleep with. The sex is served up in such lurid, technicolor voluptuousness that viewer satiation is guaranteed. With sexually permissive humans and vampires, True Blood certainly doesn’t feel like anything we have seen on television to date.

SOURCE: BBC Radio 4 Front Row

Photo credit: HBO Inc., moviemaker.com

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Charlaine Harris Talks About her Sookie Stackhouse Series

October 30, 2009

Charlaine_Harris_caroline_greyshockTake one look at Charlaine Harris with her three teenagers, her three dogs, and her duck and you would never think that she was the creator of a series of novels about a dark, sexy, and mysterious world of vampires and humans. Yet Charlaine Harris is that woman. She is one of the leaders in a new genre that has taken the world by storm. Over her career Charlaine has written over 30 novels and numerous short stories. She is currently working on the tenth book in the Sookie Stackhouse series, “Dead in the Family”.

Now that Alan Ball has taken the spirit of Charlaine’s books and turned it into the phenomenon we all know as True Blood, Charlaine has really hit the big time. Recently Charlaine did an online interview talking about her Sookie Stackhouse series. Charlaine was asked if she ever felt like her characters took over her writing and took her to places she didn’t expect. Charlaine answered saying:

“The writer should always be in control. Those sudden moments when everything falls into place are the best reasons to be a writer. Of course it’s not the characters taking control; it’s another part of your brain, a part that knows the characters so well it’s suggested a plot twist.”

Charlaine was then asked if she consciously writes without taking into consideration current events. Charlaine said:

“Yes, because I didn’t want to pin the series down in time. However, with Hurricane Katrina, I simply couldn’t ignore its devastation out of respect to the people of the Gulf Coast, so I did incorporate it into the books.”

Charlaine was asked if she keeps track of plot arcs and character details for her novels in a database. Charlaine explained that a database had been created but as of yet was not finished. Charlaine doesn’t see herself as much of a plotter or outliner but admits that there are three main threads in each book. Charlaine was asked if she dresses up and works at it as a strict job or if she wears 3 day old pajamas while trying to make a deadline.

“Both. There’s a lot more to the business of writing than actually writing. Interviews, for example! I work at the job with regular hours, unless I have to do publicity stuff, which takes a huge amount of time. I never work in pajamas. I wear nightgowns.”

Charlaine was then asked what she thought of the television series inspired by her books, True Blood. Charlaine answered saying:

“It’s all good with me. I’m delighted with the show, and the time I’ve spent with the actors has been very interesting.”

Charlaine then discussed the fact that certain elements of True Blood differ from the storyline of her series and how she felt about that. “It’s more of an amplification of my story. In the books, we know Jason is promiscuous. On the screen, we see that, and it’s a very different experience. But of course a lot of plot developments were necessary to balance the screen time of the actors. Anna couldn’t carry the whole story.”

Well we all know that both Charlaine and Alan have done an amazing job with this series. At the heart True Blood would not be what it is without the inspirational series that Charlaine has so beautifully written.

SOURCE:  A Writer Goes on a Journey

Photo Credit:  Charlaine Harris

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Charlaine Harris and Her Dogs

October 30, 2009

harrisShapeshifter Sam Merlotte usually transforms into a collie because people like dogs, so it should be no surprise that Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse series, is a dog lover. In an interview with the blog, “Coffee with a Canine,” Charlaine shares stories about her dogs, Rocky, Scrunch, and Oscar.

All three are adopted. Rocky is an 8-year old boxer-spaniel mix who came from some lady’s car trunk. Scrunch, a 3-year old terrier, was kicked by a horse, crushing her hip. Charlaine adopted her when the former owner didn’t seem to want to deal with all the surgeries Scrunch needed. Oscar is a dachshund from a local animal shelter. Charlaine isn’t sure how old he is but says he’s “a grumpy old man.” One time, her kids tried to dress Oscar in a sweater and he wouldn’t take a step, just falling to the ground–“Passive resistance at its finest.”

Charlaine is very close to her dogs, and they are very loyal, always following her around at home:

“Every day is Take Your Dog to Work Day at my house. They’re my constant companions in my office, and the dogs and a cup of coffee are the way I start my day.”

She says that they influence her writing by being a “constant interruption.” On an ordinary day, they do the usual dog things, plus barking at the enemies that threaten Charlaine’s home, like the UPS guy and her goose. When asked what are the best qualities in her dogs, she responds:

“They can’t talk, and they love us. Oscar sticks close to home, Scrunch is very loving, and Rocky has a very soft coat.”

That’s all you could really want in your furry, four-legged friends.

SOURCE: coffeecanine.blogspot.com

(Photo credit:  coffeecanine.blogspot.com)

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