Alan Ball: A look at True Blood

April 12, 2009 by  

bsReporter Cara Van Miriah from the Straitstimes.com reports on Alan Ball‘s hit HBO TV series True Blood and examines what drew Mr. Ball to Charlaine HarrisSookie Stackhouse series.  In the report Mr. Ball discusses the premise of  True Blood and mentions briefly a theme that  season 2 of True Blood will focus on.  Here is the article in it s entirety.

Blood. Violence. Sex. That was what drew award-winning American screenwriter Alan Ball to The Southern Vampire Mysteries. He stumbled upon the bestselling series by American Charlaine Harris in a bookstore and it inspired his latest HBO television series.

True Blood, which premiered yesterday on Max (StarHub Channel 59), stars Anna Paquin in a Golden Globe-winning role as telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse who falls in love with a 173-year-old vampire named Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer). The screenwriter, who shot to fame with his Best Original Screenplay Oscar for American Beauty (1999), says the story was ‘just so much fun’.

“It’s scary, dark and funny,” he adds in an interview at The Lot studio in Farmosa Avenue, Los Angeles.

Vampires are sexy but they will do anything without constraint, without morals. Yet they are objects of fancy for a lot of women,” he muses, with a laugh.

In the world of the book and TV show, vampires are “coming out of the coffin” to live among humans, thanks to readily available synthetic blood called Tru Blood.

Vampire novels have been fodder for movies ever since 1922’s Nosferatu, an unofficial adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula novel. Since then, adaptations have ranged from Hollywood blockbusters such as Interview With The Vampire (1994) to the recent Swedish arthouse flick, Let The Right One In (2008).

But Ball never intended to make a film out of Harris’ books.

The 51-year-old writer-producer explains why he turned to television instead: “It’s more expensive to produce a film, which takes a longer time to get off the ground compared to a TV series. Plus, you are constantly making compromises to it.”

“Charlaine has created many interesting characters in a world so sexy and profound. It’s impossible to tell such a great story in two hours.”

Hence, the 12-episode series, which has been renewed for a second season.

Ball says: ‘I wanted the series to mirror the book because that was what attracted people to it in the first place.’

The length of the TV series also allowed him the luxury of fleshing out the other interesting characters. These include Sookie‘s testosterone-charged brother Jason (played by Australian actor Ryan Kwanten), who has sex appeal but not much brain power.

Season 2, which has begun production in the United States, will focus on the early years of Bill and Eric Northman, the oldest and most powerful vampire, played by Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgard.

Ball says True Blood is very different from Six Feet Under, the Emmy-winning show about a family of undertakers which ran for five seasons from 2001. Ball, who was its executive producer, says: “True Blood is far more liberating while the other was about subduing one’s emotions and being afraid of death.”

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, he admits he is drawn to darker themes having “come from the South where there is much repression and discrimination.”

Although the vampires represent the outcasts in True Blood, he says he did not draw any parallels to real life.

Instead, he adds: “True Blood is not just a story about fangs. The series explores the concept of being immortal and how they live their lives. The book and series are about that.”

SOURCE: Straitstimes.com: True Love, with Fangs

(Photo credit: HBO Inc.)

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