Alan Ball Discusses True Blood and Other Projects

November 11, 2009 by  

aball_252You might think that Alan Ball has been using his months off from production of True Blood to relax. As this recent interview from the Sydney Morning Herald tells, nothing could be further from the truth. Alan talks about what his vision has been for True Blood, and what other projects he has in progress.

HBO’s rising hit series is just weeks away from resuming filming for its highly anticipated third season. Alan and the writers have already got the story planned out and some of the scripts written.

As for why he was interested in making True Blood in the first place, Alan remarks that he imagined when reading Charlaine Harris’ books that it seemed like something he would enjoy watching:

“When I read the books I got sort of addicted to the story. Charlaine created this world that is constantly surprising and funny and terrifying and sometimes really heartbreaking, and I thought it would be a television show I would watch – that’s really all I can do.”

Plus, he was ready to work on something lighter after spending five years in the “existential abyss” of Six Feet Under. The fantastical aspects of True Blood allow Alan to explore so many things as a storyteller, and he is having lots of fun doing it.

He understands why vampires are so fascinating to watch. They have that alluring immortality thing going for them, and viewers are also drawn to their sexy, dark nature. Alan does, however, reject the notion that they are a new cultural phenomenon.

“I think vampires are a very potent symbol in our collective consciousness and they just return and recur.”

From the outset, he put some limits on how his show would portray vampires, compared to all the shows and movies that came before:

“There were certainly things that I wanted to avoid when we started. I didn’t want t give the [actors playing the] vampires crazy contact lenses or have the shapes of their heads change – that’s unnecessary. It’s also time-consuming. Give them fangs and let the act. And I tried to avoid that Underworld-Matrix-y blue light. We try to light the world as if it is taking place in the world that we live in. Of course it’s very stylized, but we’re trying to keep the sense that it’s a small town in the south.”

In addition to running the show on True Blood, Alan is also in the early stages of several other endeavors. He’s working on a few screenplays, although he says that movie production is a very slow process and takes years to happen. He is also reading scripts for his production company, Your Face Goes Here, and developing a pilot based on a Charlie Huston novel called The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death.

That may seem like a lot of work, but Alan seems to be taking advantage of all the creativity he’s feeling right now:

“For whatever reason, I’m in a sort of fertile place, imagination-wise, so I’m just churning it out and seeing where it’ll take me.”

We all know as fans of True Blood that Alan has a gift for storytelling, and we are lucky to have him in charge of this show that we love to watch. To think, it might not even exist if it weren’t for him! Thankfully, we have years more of True Blood to enjoy, and the promise of more great work from Alan.


(Photo credit: HBO Inc.)