Alan Ball Interviewed by SX News

October 15, 2009 by  

2008-09-18_film_3779_4410From Lafayette on True Blood to David Fisher on Six Feet Under, Alan Ball’s work has been very inclusive in portraying gay characters. In an interview with SX News, Alan talked about how his sexuality has affected him in the entertainment business, and what it has been like adapting Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series into the television medium.

Before moving to Hollywood, Alan was writing for theatre in New York, a community in which homosexuality is a non-issue:

“I came from New York, where almost everyone is gay and everyone is politically correct, so my first job in LA was working on a sitcom, and in a sitcom writers’ room everyone is fair game. Everyone. Women, straight men, white people, gays. And those writers can be a little shocking! Words that we’re not supposed to use get used… and I was briefly like, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do?’ “

Since coming out, though, Alan says he doesn’t even think about all that. He just does his work. And the gay community can find stories in his work to relate to, like with the True Blood character of Lafayette Reynolds. The cross-dressing Merlotte’s cook by day and drug dealer/hooker by night was so colorful and funny that fans would have been truly saddened if he had succumbed to the fate written in Charlaine’s books. Luckily, he survived season one and is still alive and well–granted, after dealing with wounds inflicted while imprisoned by Eric, a case of PTSD, and being possessed by Maryann’s influence. Alan attributes his deviation from the books to actor Nelsan Ellis‘ valuable talent in the role of Lafayette:

“I knew the first day that we started shooting with Nelsan and he was improvising, I knew immediately this guy’s gold and I can’t kill him. He’s such a great character that we’ve got to figure out a way for him not to die.”

Lafayette is one of several peripheral characters on the show that have been fleshed out beyond their presence in the books. Rather than being simply from Sookie’s point of view, the world around her and the people in her life had to be developed. Otherwise, Alan says, Anna Paquin would “end up in the hospital” because she would have an unbearable amount of work to do! By this point, with two seasons completed, fans have gotten used to the differences and can hopefully appreciate that the show and the book series have directions of their own.

Alan wasn’t willing to disclose much about True Blood’s third season, which won’t come to our television screens until Summer 2010. He and the writers have already worked through the arc for Season three and begun scripting the first four episodes. All that he would say is that the story will include a boyfriend for Lafayette, werewolves, and the gay vampire king of Mississippi. The wait is agonizing, but we have so much to look forward to!


(Photo Credit: Metro Weekly)

  • Midge

    Sheesh, is it just me, or is anyone else sick and tired of people arguing about Bill and Eric? Why argue about who is better and insult them when they are both good characters? Just enjoy the show, teams are stupid when they bring such heated arguments. Anyway I agree, Alan Ball being gay has nothing to do with what characters he prefers. He has made a great show and I can’t wait for next season. I may have read the books, but I absolutely love what he has done with it. I know we are all in for some big surprises for the 3rd season.

  • antonio

    Mr. Ball’s private life does Not concern me! I think he is a wonderfully talented man! True Blood is the best show on TV~~Period! The writing is crisp and provacative.The Acting is Incredible! That IS ALL I CARE ABOUT!!

    • Nia

      You as usual have hit the nail on the head antonio. Thank you !

  • pbartteacher

    In the books, the relationship between Eric and Godric had started out that way but we are talking the show so who knows. I am happy to hear we are going to see more of Alan Hyde next season. Go Godric. I know all of us were saddened to see that character meet the sun. AB thanks for revisiting the Godric character next season. Lafayette is just a pawn in the Queen’s plan and Eric is just carrying out the V selling plot out as Sheriff of Area 5 and under her orders.

  • Fangbanger

    Alan Ball is gay?
    I had no idea, well, this explains why he’s so obsessed with Bill/Stephen Moyer, I thought all those jokes about him being in love with bill were just that … jokes! LOL

    Ok I still love the guy, he just needs to give eric the place and screen time he deserves!

    • Lisa

      He likes Bill’s character more because he sees him as a tragic figure which he finds more compelling. He sees a classic literature tormented hero in Bill. He also sees Bill/Sookie as an epic love story. I think he sees Eric as more of a one-dimensional bad guy which is kind of sad because there is a lot of room to move with his character if given the chance.

    • Vero

      Whoaa Now I get why TB’s Bill is nothing like Charlaine’s Bill.

    • pbartteacher

      Instead of all this ridiculous talk about Bill and Eric in bed. I vote for the King of Mississippi, Russell Edgington in bed with Bill Compton. Or perhaps a threesome with Bill, Lafayette and Russell. LOL

      • Lizzie 1701

        Lafayette needs a boyfriend – why not pair him off with Eric, who is in desperate need of a human!! Lay can dance for him, cook plus sell V! Can’t beat that! It would be a money saving venture!

        • pbartteacher

          Because the Viking Vampire G*d is interested in Sookie not Lafayette. Eric had the opportunity but decided not to tap that source. LOL

          • val

            I have to agree there-though I DO think Eric and Godric were more when they were hunting together! Maybe we will see more there when we see the flashbacks next season(if THAT EVER gets here!!!!

      • Nia

        Silly silly girl, Bill is all man, a one women man. As he has so aptly demonstrated many many times, but never enough!!!!
        What I am really interested in is finding out where Alan B. will take the Eric/Godric relationship in the future? So many centuries of LOVE and faith between them?!?!?! Father, Brother, Son and possibly LOVER? Erics love and devotion to Godric seems to exceed way beyond the normal.
        Cannot wait for that one.

        • pbartteacher

          After a relationship of 1000yrs, there have been many lifetimes of love and loyalty between Eric and Godric. “The bond between a vampire and his maker is stronger than you can imagine. Perhaps One day you will find out.” Perhaps that bond will keep Billy busy again with Russell,Lorena and the weres next season.

          Eric and Godric as lovers is not from the show.Well at least not yet. Would love to see that guy action. That relationship is from the books. Remember this is about the show. I am just happy to hear that we will get to see Godric again in flashbacks. Yahoo! You SSG.

          • Nia

            I have quoted nothing but the show. The possiblity of Godric/Eric as lovers is merely speculation from the statement, “centuries of love and faith between us”.
            In reality I agree with Isis about the gay issue and Alan B. It is none of our business and it only influences the show in a positive manner by Alan. This is something that should not be joked about lightly.
            I quipped earlier because of your statement about Bill in a threesome. I did not like it but tried to make light of it to keep things civil. It is quite obvious that those statements are offensive to many.

    • I understand that you’re trying to be funny, but what you wrote is highly offensive to me. Alan being gay has NOTHING to do with his preferring the character Bill over Eric. As Lisa said, Alan probably prefers Bill because Bill is more of the tragic hero like those of some of our favorite classic novels (Think stories like “Pride and Prejudice,” “Jane Eyre,” “Wuthering Heights,” etc.

      I also think he smells a rat in Eric like some of the SVM series fans do. In him, we see the dark, broody character willing to do anything to get his way (think Jafar in Aladdin). While that may be a turn on to some, to others it is disgusting and not a good trait to have.

      Alan has his preference, as do the fans. That has NOTHING to do with the actors, because all of them are amazing! So you saying that he is in “love” with Bill/Stephen Moyer comes off to me as something that has a darker subtext than what you probably intended, because I know if I said that to one of my friends who is openly gay, they’d probably never speak to me again because they’d be so offended.