Anna Camp Discusses Her Role as Sarah Newlin

August 25, 2009 by  

the-beautiful-sarah-newlinForever ingrained in our memories seductively dancing to “Louisiana Hot Sauce,” will be Anna Camp who has been an interesting, and often amusing, addition to True Blood this season. Playing the wife of Michael McMillian’s Rev. Steve Newlin, she became a significant character in the Fellowship of the Sun storyline, especially for Jason Stackhouse.

Televisionary had an opportunity to speak with Anna about her role on True Blood, her possible future on the show, and acting in general.

Having auditioned originally for the part of Sookie, Anna was delighted when Alan Ball called her later and offered her the Sarah Newlin character:

“I just fell in love with the storyline and, being from the South originally, I had to be on this show at some point. It’s just so creative and not like anything else on TV right now and I was really glad that he gave me that call.”

When asked how she would describe her character, who seems to be full of contradictions, Anna responded:

“I think that she is discovering who she is all the time, too. She comes in very strong and knowing who she is and believing in God and following her husband. Then she faces all of these situations that he’s putting her through and surprising her. She’s definitely taken a journey that she didn’t expect to go down. She meets Jason Stackhouse and is thrown off guard by that relationship when she’s already doubting her husband and her faith. She’s faced with something that’s completely the opposite of what she was brought up to believe and seeing how her husband treated Sookie and seeing he wants to cross the line into killing the vampire sympathizers, that’s not something that Sarah wants to do. She’s lost and she’s confused.”

She also discussed the chemistry that developed between her, Ryan Kwanten, and Michael McMillian as they were working. They all had a lot of fun and were committed to playing their characters, so that translated into a great dynamic on screen. And even though what Steve and Sarah were doing was a little scary, they got to provide some comic relief because of how extreme they were. Anna said she enjoyed the comedy aspect of her role:

“I grew up acting since second grade and always watched these old movies and these dramatic scenes and wanted to be a very dramatic actor. But it’s just so refreshing to have fun, to truthfully have fun and play with the other actors in a really safe, fun environment where you all want the same goal and trust each other so that it’s really easy to be funny… I love to make people laugh and it’s also fun to balance that line because Sarah has some great scenes where she wasn’t funny and was incredibly distraught. To be able to go from scene to scene believably, hopefully, is great and it’s great that the writers gave me such diverse scenes to play.”

Anna became pretty tight-lipped when the questions turned to what the last three episodes and beyond hold for the Newlins. Not wanting to give anything away, all that she would say was that things go to a surprising place and that Sarah and Steve are left open-ended. She has heard rumors that she and Michael will return to the show in some capacity:

“I am hoping that they let us come back in and cause some more trouble or do something fun and exciting. We’ll see.”

Having grown up in South Carolina, Anna finds True Blood to be a pretty accurate depiction of Southern culture and relationships. In particular, she likes Bill Compton as “a very gentlemanly vampire and I think it’s just mysterious and sexy.”

The conversation turned to her stage experience, having appeared opposite Daniel Radcliffe last year in Equus:

“On stage you can be incredibly free because you can do so much physically and with your voice, because you’re trying to reach over 1000 people in a room … But theatre is hard work; there are weeks where you can’t sleep, you can’t eat, you walk into the same theatre every day.”

Working in television and film has provided Anna with a very different acting experience:

“When I got [in front of] the camera, I became a little more constrained because I was worried about not being too big or not being over the top. But then you realize it’s very freeing as well because you can say something just with a glint of your eye that you could never do in the theatre because the person in the back row could never see it. So it’s really rewarding how focused and how small you can be.”

Whatever happens, Anna just wants to continue doing roles that are challenging and  allow her to grow as an actor.

We last saw her True Blood character arguing with her husband on the news, so it will be interesting to see how Sarah and Steve come into play in the rest of Season 2. I’ve been enjoying Anna‘s portrayal of Sarah, but most of all, I’m glad that her story arc provided one of the best lines in True Blood history: “I reckon I’ve already been to Heaven. It was inside your wife.” *punch*


(Photo credit: HBO, Inc.)