Michelle Forbes: An Introspective Look At True Blood

December 7, 2009

michelle-forbes_Albert L Ortega via Exposay_comMichelle Forbes, who plays Maryann in True Blood, was in Paris recently with Alexander Skarsgard, Sam Trammell and Rutina Wesley to promote HBO’s hit vampire series, True Blood.

Prior to her role on HBO’s True Blood, Michelle Forbes was already well known for her roles in, 24, Lost, Prison Break, as Admiral Helena Cain aka Razor in Battlestar Galactica, Dr. Julianna Cox in the cult TV series Homicide: Life on the Street and most famously as the Bajoran Lieutenant Ro on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

A versatile, thoughtful and highly talented actress, Michelle Forbes admits that she’s interested in roles that

“frightens me, annoys me, [and] make me question my certainties […] the humanity of the character is important.”

When asked about her character Maryann in True Blood, Michelle Forbes explains that Maryann is indeed a disturbing character,

“[…] Over time, you realize she likes to ‘collect’ people [who are] lost, alone, seeking solace […] Viewers will perhaps see a predator.”

However, having inhabited the character and played the role of Maryann for seventeen months, Forbes clearly believes that there is more to Maryann that meets the eye. As she explains it, love and faith are central themes to True Blood and Maryann is at the centre of this exploration:

True Blood [is about] destructive love, sincere love, parental love, but also about faith […] The series highlights […] our inability to think for ourselves, our tendency to follow the ideology of a group for fear of seeming an outsider. This is an important reflection especially in an America that comes eight years after President Bush.”

At the same time, Michelle Forbes also acknowledges that these themes, while complex, require a narrative and visual arc to allow for a deeper exploration. She compares it to the process of painting a work of art:

“Any complex series needs time […] It’s like a painting. First you need to draw the outline […] and reach the goal step by step. It is absurd to expect a work to be perfect […] from the beginning.”

When asked if True Blood is a series about vampires, she indicates:

“I do not think True Blood [is simply] a “series about vampires” […] It is much more than that. It’s about a telepath, a man who turns into a dog, a girl who becomes a woman, a traumatized ex-soldier, an alcoholic cop who seeks respect and love […] This is not a vampire story [it] is the story of a village, Bon Temps, and [the] emotional and existential quests of its inhabitants.”

Season 2 of True Blood premiered on French TV on December 2 on Orange Cinemax.

SOURCE: Translated from Telerama.fr

Picture credit: Albert L. Ortega / PR Photos via exposay.com

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Sam Trammell: “I Am Inspired By My Dog”

December 4, 2009

samtrammel_featuredThe cast of HBO’s True Blood, Sam Trammell, Michelle ForbesRutina Wesley and Alexander Skarsgard were in Paris recently attending the premiere of  True Blood at the Max Linder Cinema. Season two of True Blood premiered on French TV on Dec. 2 at 21.30 on Orange Cinemax. Meanwhile, Season three is due to start shooting on Dec. 3 in Los Angeles..

In a recent interview Sam Trammell, who plays the shape-shifting owner of Bon Temps’ favorite bar, met with 20 minutes. He talked about about working on True Blood and his role as True Blood’s favorite shifter, revealing at the same time his wit and charm.

Asked about his performance as a Sam Merlotte, a shape-shifter capable of shifting into a dog, Sam explained that while there were certain challenges, such as playing nude scenes, he was inspired by his own dog, particularly.

“His way of sniffing, of moving. I also played a lot of nude scenes, so the challenges were certainly not lacking.”

Sam also acknowledged while True Blood had its die-hard fans, certain themes of True Blood might not be some people’s cup of tea.

“[…] half the people I know in Louisiana, where part of my family are from, do not watch the series. They are too conservative and believe it gives a bad image of the South. The other half love it!”

He expanded on this, indicating that the geographical dimension is important in understanding the demographic variation in attitudes to True Blood.

“[…] First, because actually, people in the South are very different. They talk, dress differently. And then, there’s the whole historical dimension. The ghost of slavery still haunts and racism is still present at times […]”

At the same time, Sam cautioned against over-analyzing True Blood, particularly its portrayal of vampire-human relations, indicating that we should

“not conclude that True Blood is hyper metaphysics. Six Feet Under was […] Although I studied semiotics and, yes, we can interpret the series in sociological terms but also Marxist, feminist and linguistic [ways].”

Want to share your thoughts about this article with other True Blood fans click here to be taken to our forum area.

Source: Translate from 20 minutes

Picture credit: HBO Inc.

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True Blood Returns to the UK

December 4, 2009

true_blood_couple_mUK fans of HBO’s True Blood will be thrilled to learn that FX has picked up season two of the hit HBO vampire series.

Season one aired earlier this year on FX at 10 p.m. on Friday nights, ending its run with a respectable 172k (1.1 percent). In contrast, season one premiered on Channel 4 opened to 292k (1.8 percent) in July, averaging a reasonable 187k (1.2 percent) across its 12 episodes.

Season two of True Blood will premiere on FX in February 2010, following on from the current terrestrial screening of season one on Channel 4.

Meanwhile, Alan Ball is planning to shoot the first episode of season three before Christmas. The third season of True Blood is set to debut in June 2010 in the U.S.

UK True Blood fans are you excited about season 2 coming soon to your television screens?  Click here to be taken to the discussion area on our forum to discuss this article.

Source: Digital Spy

Picture credit: HBO Inc.

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True Blood Nominated For Producers Guild Award

December 1, 2009

True-Blood-BillOn 30th November, the Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced the nominations for the Television Series and Non-Fiction Television categories for its 21st Annual PGA Awards.

The PGA comprises over 4,000 members and represents, protects and promotes the interest of all its members. They include television producers, film producers and New Media producers in the United States. In 2008, for example, Christian Colson, the producer for Slumdog Millionaire, won a PGA Award for Best Theatrical Picture in the Film category, while Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, producers of Milk, won the Stanley Kramer Award.

This year, the PGA has recognized HBO’s hit television series True Blood which has been nominated for the Norman Felton Producer of the Year Award. Other nominees within this category include AMC’s Breaking Bad; Showtime’s Dexter; ABC’s Lost and AMC’s Mad Men.

The other PGA Awards television categories include: Danny Thomas Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Television, Comedy; Norman Felton Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Television, Drama; PGA Producer of the Year Award in Non-Fiction Television; and PGA Producer of the Year Award in Live Entertainment and Competition Television.

The nominees in the other categories include:

Danny Thomas Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Television – Comedy

NBC’s 30 Rock

Showtime’s Californication

HBO’s Entourage

NBC’s The Office

Showtime’s Weeds

PGA Producer of the Year Award in Non-Fiction Television

CBS’s 60 Minutes

Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch

A&E TV’s Intervention

Bravo TV’s Kathy Griffin: My Life on the ‘D’ List

Showtime’s This American Life

PGA Producer of the Year Award in Live Entertainment and Competition Television

CBS’s The Amazing Race

Fox’s American Idol

Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report

Lifetime’s Project Runway

Bravo TV’s Top Chef

Nominations for PGA Awards in the Theatrical Motion Picture and Longform Television categories will be announced on January 5, 2010 along with individual producers in all categories.

The winners in each category will be announced at the PGA Awards ceremony on Sunday, January 24, 2010 at the Hollywood Palladium. Let’s cross our fingers and hope that this is the beginning of several well-deserved awards for True Blood.

Wonderful news that True Blood has been nominated.  Click here to be taken to the discussion area on our forum to share your thoughts and feelings with other True Blood fans.

SOURCE:  Producers Guild of America

(Photo credit: HBO Inc., screencaps courtesy by James)

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And We Thought Vampires Were The Stuff Of Our Dreams

November 30, 2009

A_-Skarsgard1Do vampires really exist? The answer to this question depends on your definition of the word vampire. If you feel that vampires, such as those creatures depicted in movies such as Near Dark and in books such as Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries, Stoker’s Dracula and Anne Rice’s Interview With A Vampire exist, then I would have to say no.

And as much as we want to believe, nay fervently desire, that the Viking vampire Eric Northman and Bill Compton, both vampires from the hit HBO series True Blood, exist; as much as it disappoints me to admit to this, I’d certainly wager that these glamorous creatures do not in fact walk among us. In fact, to date, I have not met or even heard of a verifiable fact that such creature do in fact exist.

spike from buffyIf, on the other hand, you believe that vampires are people who are basically normal with the exception of one or two abnormalities such as hypersensitivity to light, heightened psychic abilities, and the physical need to consume blood, then my answer would be yes, albeit a hesitant yes.

Of course, as fictional or mythological characters, from Stoker’s Count Dracula to Spike to the bewitching Eric Northman, Pam and Bill Compton of True Blood, we have come to accept and celebrate the vampire. But for many people, vampirism isn’t just a literary genre. It’s an identity and a lifestyle. Yes, this even includes the blood-drinking.

And though it may sound incredulous, some experts say that there’s a little bit of a vampire in all of us. As Katherine Ramsland a forensic psychologist and author of Science of Vampires, explains,

“The vampire image is sexy because it’s a trespass […] It’s not just kissing, it’s biting […] the vampire has the ability to make you want it, even though you’re frightened of it.”

According to K. Ramsland, cultures all over the world retain some belief in their folklores that in a vampire like creature capable of sucking the life force. The ‘vampire metaphor’ common in the United States is derived from the Romanian Dracula, she said. But in other cultures, there are variations, for example, some cultures believe that vampires are only female or that they only go after children. Others believe that the vampire emerge only after a suicide, rather than after a vampire‘s bite. Despite the different ways the metaphor is manifested, certain elements remain, regardless of where it appears.

As Ramsland further clarifies,

“Whatever comes and depletes you is a vampiric image […] It’s not always blood. It’s a human metaphor, a representation of a human dread that’s both frightening and exciting.”

And it is hardly surprising, attracted to the powerful and sexy image of, for example, Lestat, Spike, Angel, Ericbill and sookie Northman or Vampire Bill, legions of people around the world have formed subcultures that reflect various parts of the vampire identity.

But according to Ramsland, there is a continuum of responses to the vampire metaphor that draws in members of this subculture. For some, it’s merely an outlet for creativity. For others, it manifests the belief, no matter how mistaken, that they need the blood or energy of another person or animal to subsist. Unfortunately, in very rare cases, Ramsland indicates, it gives structure to paranoia and delusion. Regardless of how it’s manifested, however, it’s a very powerful metaphor, Ramsland explains,

“People can participate in whatever ways they want to […] Some of us are more the blood drinkers or the victim or the hunter. All of us participate in the metaphor in some manner […] It allows for so much elasticity.”

Unsurprisingly, this diversity, of practice and belief systems, makes the exact size of the vampire community difficult to quantify. For starters, apparently, not all real-life vampires drink blood. While ‘sanguine’ vampires say they need to drink human or animal blood to revive themselves. Some sanguine vampires even draw blood from a vein, transfer it to a glass and then drink it. On the other hand, ‘pranic’ vampires claim they do not require blood, saying that they can simply feed off the energy of other humans. The word ‘pranic’ stems from the Hindu notion of prana, or energy. Well, I learn something new every day…

Belfazaar, who works as a spiritual consultant at a shop called Voodoo Authentica, is a ‘sanguine’ vampire, the blood drinking type of vampire. And if you’re wondering, he practices mouth-to-wound feeding. At his most hungry, Belfazza will ingest six ounces of blood but he acknowledges that this can make ‘mundanes’, normal humans in vampire lingo, sick. Whether you choose to believe him or not, Belfazaar maintains, however, that vampire feeding is crucial for him to stay healthy, claiming that it can also provide an erotic experience,

“Even though the vampires are taking from someone there is an energy that we give off […] For some people, they describe it as calming, other people describe it as sensually arousing.”

Belfazaar agrees to demonstrate what he refers to as “a safe blood feed”. In front of the cameras, Belfazaar removes his prosthetic fangs, rinses his mouth with mouthwash and sterilizes the skin of his willing donor, called Bo. Belfazaar used an exacto knife to make a small cut on Bo’s back. As blood flowed, Belfazaar drank it directly from the wound. Apparently, this isn’t Bo’s first time,

“It’s not comfortable, but it doesn’t hurt […] I mean, it’s not any worse than getting a piercing or a tattoo […] It’s a rush of energy. There’s a bond between the two individuals.”

Jade, a tarot card reader in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and considered an elder in the New Orleans vampire community agrees, claiming that she needs to feed on sex and blood. In fact, the more, the better,

“I can do it once a week and stay balanced. I can do it twice a week and stay happy. I can do it daily and just be really happy.”

Doctors, however, claim that there no medical value is derived from a ‘blood feed’. Apart from the obvious danger of ingesting blood tainted with HIV, hepatitis or other viruses, Dr. Jeffrey Hobden, an infectious disease expert at the LSU Health Sciences Centre, explains,

“To ingest the blood, biologically speaking, it has no value whatsoever in making any medical difference [but] The placebo effect can be very powerful […] Not only is the person who’s ingesting the blood at risk, but the person who is donating the blood who was cut is also at risk from infection. “

Belfazaar disagrees,

“I’ve been doing this since I was 13, so that’s 31 years of never being bothered by any of the other infections […] So if there’s something that bothers a normal — what we call a mundane — human, for some reason they don’t bother me.”

As Katherine Ramsland, author of The Science of Vampires, clarifies,

“It’s a worldwide phenomenon […] Some people are misfits […] Some people are just creative people who don’t feel they fit into normal society. Some people find the vampire a very empowering figure and they want to identify with that.”

william dafoe as vampireRamsland also acknowledges that, in some cases, people suffer from clinical vampirism, which is the psychotic delusion that one needs to ingest blood in order to survive. Convinced that they need to drink blood, some people cut their own arteries or have killed loved ones. But as Ramsland emphasizes, this condition is very different from forming a persona around a vampire and participating in a subculture that celebrates it.

E. Mark Stern, an independent psychotherapist and professor emeritus at Iona College in New York, has published widely on psychotherapy. Although he has not studied the vampire subculture specifically, he has dealt with a number of people who have claimed vampire tendencies.

Stern acknowledges that currently, there are certainly manifestations of the phenomenon, noting that some cults have exploited the blood theme to perpetrate fatal crimes.

But aside from these examples, he said, using blood as a way to bond people to a community is not entirely beyond the mainstream.

He cites the example of taking communion in the Catholic tradition which carries the metaphor of receiving the flesh and blood of Christ. However, he acknowledges that the blood bond also exists outside religion,

“When I was 9, we were buddies forever – ‘blood brothers.’ We pricked our fingers, mixed them and sucked them […] In that sense, it’s a way of binding a community beyond the usual forms of understanding. On a rational basis, you can say ‘what the hell are they doing?’ But on an instinctive basis, then we’re bound much more.”

However, Stern cautions that vampirism comes with extremes. In fiction, we are now familiar with the vampire. From the classic novel Dracula to the hit HBO series True Blood, vampires are portrayed as immortal, bewitching predators with supernatural powers such as Eric Northman’s ability to fly or Dracula’s ability to shape shift. On the other hand, today’s self-described vampires do not claim to be immortal or have superpowers. And they say they don’t prey on strangers. They have willing donors, who are often friends or lovers. Now that I know vampires don’t merely belong to my dreams, I can only wish that the True Blood vampires walk among us too.

You can watch some of the clips from ABC’s “20/20” program’s look at real-life vampires here.

SOURCES:

Real-Life Vampires: abcnews.go.com

Coming Out of the Coffin: abcnews.go.news

Photo credit: HBO, Inc and abcnews.go.com

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Alexander Skarsgard: From Sweden to LA

November 27, 2009

alexander-skarsgard-as-vampire-eric-northman-on-hbos-true-bloodMention the name Alexander Skarsgard these days, most people would cite his roles in Generation Kill or True Blood. Now, after the success of the hit HBO series True Blood and Generation Kill, Alexander Skarsgard finds himself on the cusp of playing in an even bigger league. To date, these are his two largest roles; as ‘Iceman’ Brad Colbert in Generation Kill and as the Viking vampire Eric Northman in True Blood, these roles have garnered him respect among his peers and celebrity status among his growing fan base but in spite of this, Alexander Skarsgard remains low-key and unassuming.

But as fans of Alexander Skarsgard know, his career as an actor started in Sweden where Alexander delivered a string of impressive performances in European films and acted in several Swedish TV series.

For example, he wrote and directed Att döda ett barn (2003), played Leonardo in Lorcas’ Bloodwedding at Gothemburg State Theatre in 2003, appeared on stage in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at Södra Teatern, Stockholm, Sweden (2002), starred in Om Sara (2005), Never Be Mine (2006), Kill Your Darlings (2006), Cuppen (2006) and Exit (2006), Leende guldbruna ögon (2207) among others.In 2003, he was nominated for a Guldbagge for male supporting role in the movie Hundtricket – The Movie (The Dog Trick).

Currently, in addition to his role in True Blood, Alexander can also be seen in the recently released David L. William’s Beyond the Pole Rod, Tariq Saleh’s Metropia, and the upcoming Rod Lurie’s Straw Dogs. Lurie’s film is a remake of Sam Peckinpah’s 1972 cult classic of the same name. Straw Dogs was filmed in Shreveport. Only a couple of hours from New Orleans, it is a medium-sized town in the middle of the classic American South.

In Lurie’s re-make, Skarsgard works opposite Kate Bosworth, who plays his ex-girlfriend. During a break in shooting Straw Dogs, Skarsgard also recently returned to Visby [the largest city on the Swedish island of Gotland] where he completed complete filming Johan Kling’s new movie Trust Me aka Puss (‘Kiss’ in Swedish).

Of his role as Charlie in Lurie’s Straw Dogs, Alexander indicates that he plays an alpha-male,

“I play Charlie, a football player who’s the best in his team in college, a “jock” with a promising future. But he gets injured and has to stay in his small town as a carpenter. He’s bitter that he didn’t get to go. After a while his ex-girlfriend comes back with a new guy, an intellectual script writer from Hollywood. The movie is about how Charlie deals with his ex being with someone he sees as not a real man.”

Now back in LA, he is about to commence filming the third season of True Blood. Since moving to LA two years ago, his career as an actor is going very well, and he is now poised on the edge of moving among Hollywood’s elite.

As Martin Gelin observed recently of Alexander Skarsgard’s presumed glamorous life,

“[Alexander] claims, like actors usually do, that there isn’t such a life. […] But as usual in LA, reality tends to blend with fiction. Alexander is having a meeting with the agency Endeavor, founded by, among others, Ari Emanuel – who Ari Gold’s character in Entourage is based upon. Most of the scenes from the agency are recorded at their real office, located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.”

A couple of years ago, Endeavor would have been the perfect home for Alexander, but as we all know, since his career defining roles in Generation Kill and True Blood, a lot has happened in his career lately. And despite Endeavor having a respectable profile in Hollywood, partly due to its appearance in the TV series Entourage, it is a relatively new firm and has found its niche among the younger, hipper actors. But it isn’t the most prestigious agency around. Consequently, in addition to having meetings with Endeavor, Alexander also finds himself having half a dozen meetings at other agencies. As Gelin observes,

“[I]t’s a grateful ego-trip to go from office to office where everyone tries to convince him [Alexander] how good he is and why they must work together in the future […] Right now, Skarsgard is balancing on the edge of that exclusive group of actors whose names are, that’s right, brand names, and he’s aiming higher when it’s time to switch agent. He wants to end up in one of the largest agencies.”

As Alexander himself explains,

“They have always carried a lot of weight, they make things happen, make sure you meet the right directors and producers. At the same time you want an agency that makes you its priority. If you’re in the same agency as Tom Cruise there’s a risk of ending up at the bottom. I’m guess I’m not really interested in that side of the industry, I have to trust my manger and my gut feeling. Like, “Nah, that guy felt like too much of a flashy LA agent.”

Following a series of meetings with different agencies, it soon becomes clear to Alexander that he has to dump his old agent and as Gelin observes, Alexander is obviously nervous about the upcoming conversation he’ll be having with his agent admitting that it will be “as hard as breaking up”. However, following the meeting, it becomes immediately obvious that the conversation with his agent isn’t as bad as he feared it would be,

“She understood me. I mean… if I would have stayed at her agency it would have been like Zlatan [Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a Swedish football player] deciding to go to Brommapojkarna instead of Ajax after Malmö. [Brommapojkarna and Malmö are smaller Swedish football clubs, Ajax is a large celebrated football club in the Netherlands.]”

It soon emerges that the agency that Alexander has chosen is Creative Artists Agency (CAA). He is now in the big league as CAA represents stars like George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Shakira, Sean Penn and Bob Dylan.

Alexander SkarsgardIn between meeting with prospective agencies and catching up with friends, Alexander Skarsgard took some time out to talk about his love for football, especially of his support for Hammarby (Swedish football team), reminisce about his early life in Sweden, reflect on his career trajectory to date, his roles in Generation Kill and True Blood, and how living in LA is very different to Sweden and takes some getting used to.

But behind the easy going demeanor of a söderkisen [a person from Södermalm, which is a neighborhood and island in central Sweden] in a Bajen hat [Bajen is a nickname for Swedish soccer team Hammarby IF] is an astute, well-read, contemplative European man who reveals himself through his speech which is liberally peppered with slang, curses and quotes from Tolstoy and Ibsen.

When asked about how shooting conditions during True Blood compared to Generation Kill, he explains,

“It’s a piece of cake compared to Generation Kill. Sure, we might work 16 hours straight sometimes, but then you’re off and can chill around for two days. Generation Kill was a 145 days shoot in Africa and we shot 142 of them, 12 hours a day. I lived like that for seven months.”

Alexander admits that his two HBO roles has helped lift him into the bigger league in Hollywood. He reveals,

“I actually got the part in True Blood before Generation Kill, but it took so long before we started recording that I did Generation Kill first. Then they called me again about True Blood when I was in Mozambique and did Generation Kill. Lucky for me, there was the script strike. Then True Blood was delayed and I could still make it. I was lucky.”

In terms of how his career in Hollywood commenced, Alexander explains,

“I was here on vacation ten years ago, when dad was filming. His manager heard I was an actor back in Sweden. She suggested I would try some auditions and got me some. The first one I did was for Zoolander – and I got that part. Then I got my own agent. After that I was in Sweden for two years and did theatre, but got no interesting movie scripts. In 2004, I started commuting between Stockholm and LA. I thought, if I already have representation here I might as well try.”

Alexander goes on to explain that it was Stellan Skarsgard (Alexander Skarsgard’s father) who introduced him to the acting and actor’s life,

“He [Stellan] used to bring the whole family to movie shoots, so we travelled a lot, but he hasn’t actually recorded that much here in LA. He shot in Holland, Scotland, Ireland, France, Greece, Cambodia, Hungary […] He wasn’t an international actor when I grew up. It wasn’t until Breaking the Waves that it happened, and then with Good Will Hunting after that, but at that point I’d already moved out. I have younger siblings that are almost 20 years younger than me, so they’ve lived an entirely different life with him, they’ve experienced the Hollywood glamour much more. When I was young he mostly worked at Dramaten [The Royal Theatre in Stockholm]. I never saw him because he had rehearsals at night. If you wanted to meet dad, you had to run around the catacombs of Dramaten.”

While Alexander is now appreciative of his early upbringing in a colourful bohemian household, he admits that it wasn’t always thus for him. He reveals that as a young boy, he was jealous of his friends because of the perceived normalcy of their lives. He admits that for a while he was tempted to avoid acting in the hope of pursuing a more conventional career,

“[…] I did a few jobs as a children’s actor, but never had any thought of it as a career. As I got older and started thinking of how my buddies and their parents were living, of status and those things, wearing the right jeans […] Then I thought, what the hell, a red-wine-drinking theatre-bohemian who’s naked in the kitchen smoking? The buddies who had dads with shiny suits and drove a Saab 9000 and were home at night were much more attractive. It was tough, with a dad always away at night […] But as I got older I saw the positive sides to it, that there were a lot of creative and interesting people in my life, thanks to the discharged punks my dad dragged home.”

But Alexander did quit acting for a period whereupon he spent the next eight years turning down every offer he received. Instead, he studied Political Science in the UK, completed his military service as a Sergeant in the Swedish marines and planned on studying architecture in Stockholm. However, his longing for the theatre and acting never left him; he moved to the United States in his early 20s to attend Marymount Theater School in NYC, but he soon dropped out after six months.

Of his period serving as a Marine, he admits that it was partly in reaction to the bohemian lifestyle of his background, saying,

“Sure, I actively sought that position. I was 19 and felt I could either go backpacking by train for 6 months, go to Bangkok to some cafe, or do this. But of course you ask yourself when you’re lying buried in a swamp for four days: Why am I doing this? Especially when you got postcards from buddies in Australia who were hanging out with kangaroos. But looking back, I haven’t regretted doing it for a second.”

Of his move to New York to enroll in the Marymount Theatre School to study acting and his subsequent dropping out, he explains,

“I was twenty and got into an acting school there. I had planned on living there for four years, studying. But then I met a girl in Sweden first summer break. So I dropped out of school and went home for love. She was 17 and I was 20. We didn’t even know each other, we had only hung out for four weeks and had just fallen in love. It ended after four days.”

Once he moved back to Sweden, Alexander Skarsgard had a string of roles in European films and on Swedish TV but LA beckoned, and he moved to LA permanently two years ago. However, he admits that living in LA takes some getting used to. Although he mostly hangs out with the gang from Generation Kill, among others, when asked if he can imagine staying in LA, he replies,

“No. I feel comfortable as long as I’m working, the whole town is made up around the movie industry. It’s a very creative environment. But I miss the intensity of regular cities. You don’t see any people here, just cars. There are 15 million people in LA but you see more people on the streets of Skövde [trans note: Swedish small town] than here. There are good restaurants, cozy cafes, all of that, but the spontaneity disappears a bit when you have to take your car everywhere. You have to park all the time. Then you have dinner and you’re like: shouldn’t we have another bottle of wine? But you can’t because you have to drive home.”

He continues to explain that he still finds it hard to adjust to living in LA, especially to the lifestyle and the mindset,

“People can be kind of fleeting. There’s a lot of “Great, we’ll have lunch tomorrow then!” and then you’re kind of Swedish saying “Okay, should we say 2pm?” But it never happens. A lot of stuff gets planned that never gets followed through, and you’re not that accustomed to that. At the same time there’s an awesome energy here. You’re allowed to dream and have visions of doing things that might not follow the norm 100%, which people have a harder time accepting in Sweden. Everything that sticks out is considered a little bit frightening back home.”

In addition, he observes that the people in LA have a very different fashion sense compared to the Swedes or to Scandinavians, for that matter. When asked about what he thinks about the dress sense or clothing style in LA, Alexander observes,

“There are hipsters at the rock clubs in Silverlake that look like those in New York or at (the rock club) Debaser in Stockholm. In Hollywood, there’s a lot of money. Preferably, it should be very visible, and they go a little overboard. Instead of a regular suit jacket, they buy one with skulls on the back and large fringes hanging from the sleeves […]They have to “toughen things up” a little, they want shirts that show that they aren’t boring agent guys that sit in their offices all day, so it’s important to have skulls on your back. There’s a lot of Ed Hardy-fashion here, but it’s not really my style. It gives me a headache.”

In contrast, in spite having lived in LA for several years now, Alexander Skarsgard retains the typical understated style of a Scandinavian man, preferring the classic styling provided by Whyred, Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, Acne, Raf Simons and Rick Owens. He does admit, however, that he went through a typical rebellious phase where

“[he] bought pink pants, a bunch of strings and, like, a kids’ hat saying “Alexander”. I wish I could say I was 14. But I was probably 21. Fuck, can we say 14?”

Later in the day, Alexander hangs out with his acting friends from Generation Kill. They are there to meet Evangeneration kill 2 Wright, the embedded reporter whose book was turned into the hit HBO series Generation Kill. Wright has just released Hella Nation and has a book event at the Farmer’s Market. Wright’s new book is about the darker underbelly of the USA. The book itself gives an account of his time spent with neo-nazis, crystal meth junkies, porn stars and those who spend their time spinning insane conspiracy theories. Wright, who continues to keep in touch with the Generation Kill actors, meets the actors at his Barnes & Noble book reading and they later decamp to a nearby restaurant for a catch-up. As Gelin observes the dinner conversation, he notes Wright making an observation of Alexander. Wright attempts to sum up Alexander by indicating that he,

“[Alexander] is trying to act like a “complicated Swede” by “coming alone to parties and talking self-pitying about his hard life as a single.” The level of truth of this is unclear. Alexander laughs, shrugs and says: “Sure…””

While he becomes used to being recognized in his native Sweden, following his HBO roles in True Blood and Generation Kill, Alexander does admit that there are advantages and disadvantages to being increasingly recognized in LA too. For example, of the recent paparazzi gossip and internet inspired spin regarding his dating Evan Rachel Wood (also in True Blood), Alexander states simply,

“We’re just friends from the show. It’s the kind of garbage you have to live with.”

Tariq Saleh, director of Metropia, further explains,

“On the outside he looks pretty free of sorrows – he has a fantastic job in Hollywood, he’s a tall guy all the girls want, a lot of guys envy him. But if there wasn’t anything underneath he wouldn’t get the parts he gets. He can play an ungrateful character, but you like him anyway, because it feels like there’s something inside him that could break. A mysterious vulnerability. Another thing I like about Alexander is that he really can really drink! If you try to keep up with him you end up with alcohol poisoning and embarrass yourself irrevocably.”

On the other hand, the advantages of getting increasingly recognized for his HBO roles has meant that he is now managed by CAA and along with that comes the possibility of even bigger roles. However, Alexander Skarsgard is not a man to rest on his laurels career-wise,

“But I still notice I have these thoughts about what will happen next. What do I do in six years? I guess you’ll have to live with that uncertainty as long as you freelance.”

He admits that it would be great to take a break from the alpha male roles he’s played so far, and that he would love to work with Gus van Sant,

Paranoid Park was so tremendously good, it hit me extremely hard. I’d love to play someone more insecure, someone less alpha male. It’s been a lot of that.”

Who knows what the future holds? But now that Alexander is with CAA, maybe he’ll get the chance to tackle those type of roles. Nonetheless, it is safe to say that the future does look bright for Alexander Skarsgard. And judging from his work to date, we can be assured that no matter what roles he takes on, he is bound to continue delivering fine performances, creating, at the same time complex, nuanced characters on both the big and small screen.

SOURCE: CAFE Magazine via a-skarsgard.net

Picture credit: HBO Inc., Albert L. Ortega / PR Photos via exposay.com

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A Nest of Vampires in Old San Juan

November 26, 2009

Stephen MoyerStephen Moyer, the actor, best known for his role as Vampire Bill Compton in the hit HBO series True Blood is currently in Puerto Rico working on his role in the The Caller. The film also stars Luis Guzman and Lorna Raver. Rachelle Lefevre, who plays Victoria in the Twilight saga, replaced Brittany Murphy, who stepped down from the role. It does seem that some of our favorite vampires are down in Puerto Rico at the moment and as local newspapers state Stephen is very charming and likeable. Puerto Rico also happened to be the island where both Pirates of the Caribbean and The Rum Diary were shot.

The cast met with the technical team on Thursday, November 19, where they had their first read through of the script and Friday, November 20 was the official start of filming, which took take place in San Juan. Some of the scenes will be filmed in an apartment located at Norzagaray street in Old San Juan, while others will be shot at the popular restaurant La Bombonera. Other locations include La Puntilla where Stephen and Rachelle are currently preparing for several night shoots including a steamy sex scene that Stephen and Rachelle‘s characters will share with each other.  According to local newspapers this is the only sex scene that will occur in the film to the dismay of perhaps many Stephen Moyer fans.

The Caller is about a divorcee, Mary Kee (Rachelle Lefevre), who begins to receive mysterious calls on her antique phone from an unknown caller named Rose. She quickly begins to feel haunted in her own home and her fears heighten when she discovers that Rose is calling from the past. When Mary threatens to end contact with Rose, the mysterious woman threatens to harm Mary in the past, forcing Mary to come to the dawning realization that she will have to kill this person in order to survive. But how does one kill someone in the past?

Stephen Moyer plays John Guidi, Mary’s new love interest and main support. Ed Quinn (also of True Blood) plays Mary’s abusive ex-husband. There are also several Puerto Rican actors who have been cast for this movie, namely, Alfedo de Quesada, Gladys Rodriguez, Cordelia Gonzalez, Grace Connelly and Aris Mejias.

Gladys Rodriguez, for example, has already filmed her first scene where she plays Concheta, the mother of John Guidi (Stephen Moyer). Rodriguez says of her experience with working with Stephen and Rachelle,

“I worked with both and they are charming. They are stars and yet are very simple. He is a sweetheart and as does my son, was very kind to me, giving me lots of kisses and hugs. It’s nice to work with them because they dominate the art of cinema…They are young people full of vitality and good actors. For me, it was an honor to work with them and with the director (Matthew Parkhill).”

The Caller is scheduled to be released sometime in 2010.

SOURCES:

elnuevodio.com

primerahora.com

Photo credit: Jose R. Madera / STAFF / El Nuevo Dia

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Bite Me! Please!! Why We Are Attracted to Vampires

November 25, 2009

bigger photo of vampires_on_true_blood-13751It looks like 2009 is emerging as the Year of the Vampire. Judging from the fan girls’ responses to the recent release of New Moon, the second installment of the Twilight saga, vampires seem to have no trouble sending heart rates racing. At the recent London premiere of New Moon, Robert Pattinson was greeted by hundreds of screaming girls. Twilight, the film, released in the UK last year, took £11 million in the UK and its soundtrack has sold more than 200, 000 copies.

But lest we forget, the vampires of New Moon are merely the latest in the long line of vampires appearing on a screen near you. And the list is growing longer than my arm. We have, for example, the Korean film Thirst, a film Korean director Park Chan-Wook, which won the Jury Prize at Cannes (2009). We also have the Swedish film, Let The Right One In, directed by Thomas Alfredson, based on John Ajvide Lindqvist’s book of the same name. As N. Hayes indicate, not all of these

“are arthouse flicks either. Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire Assistant, which opened a couple of weeks ago, might have been a big box-office hit had it been anything other than vein-openingly tedious from start to finish.”

However, as vampire lovers all know, it being the Year of the Vampire, vampires are also appearing on our small screens too and stalking us across the pages of vampire fiction, a burgeoning field in itself. On the small screen in the UK, we have Being Human where the traditional comedic set-up of a flat-share is given a delightful spin by having a ghost, vampire and werewolf share a house in Bristol. The Vampire Diaries is another offering on the small screen. Based on L. J. Smith’s novels The Vampire Diaries, this TV series follows the love affair between a vampire and human girl.

And last, but not by the longest shot, least, we have the steamy Southern Gothic True Blood. This hit HBO series has set hearts alight, sent pulses racing and fans swooning in heated fantasies about what they would do to the True Blood vampires if and when they get their hands on them. Poor vampires. No longer the creatures to be feared these fanged creatures are now the subject of fans’ lustful responses and heated fantasies. Can you blame me for feeling some sympathy for our True Blood vampires?

N. Haynes isn’t the first one to wonder aloud about why we are so in love with the vampire. According to Haynes, she suggests that,

“First, they fulfill our need for monsters. People have always needed epic storytelling […] We want gods, heroes, and monsters, because fantasy takes us away from the pedestrian world in which we live. And when the economy is faltering and the news depressing, we look for escapism even more than usual.”

Haynes also continues to suggest that part of the allure of being with a vampire and becoming vampire is because

“You become immortal […] You don’t get ill, you don’t get old. In a culture that worships youth above all things, is it any wonder that we are falling for ever-young, ever-strong vampires? […] Vampires are also the acceptable face of fetish. The universal vampire characteristics are being pale, going out at night, wearing dark clothes and having nice manners […] and biting isn’t too deviant, on a sliding scale from nought to Max Mosley [A/N: UK readers will probably smile at this statement, appreciating the irony of this comparison of vampires to Moseley]”

But I heavily suspect there is more to this vampire mystique than merely the act of biting or having the fantasy of being forever youthful. Surely Botox could cover that need sufficiently? If message boards, chat rooms and fan clubs are any indication, the whole scenario of being seduced and surrendering control to a powerful dangerous immortal being is a huge part of the fantasy. In short, and not to mince one’s words, compared to sex with mere mortals, the potential of death via vampire sex gives the vampire a lot of their sexual edge. Indeed, Katherine Ramsland, Professor of psychology at DeSales University has even suggested that,

“It’s kind of autoerotic asphyxia […] In terms of fantasy, the vampire mystique is 90 per cent sexual. It’s a metaphor for dangerous sex. Because if it goes wrong, you’re gone […] I think it’s weird to be the impaled one, the seduced one […] There are so many women who want to lose control. And I thought women had come a little further than that.”

And the contemporary vampire, whether it’s Edward Cullen, Spike, Angel, Vampire Billbill and sookie Compton or Eric Northman allow those fantasies to be played out through them. They become our mirror on which we project the wide spectrum of our modern 21st century fantasies. Whether it’s a sweet old-fashioned vampire romance; dangerous sexuality; or steamy fantasies; our attraction to vampires boil down to the classic tormented relationship with forms of otherness.

As our mirror, the contemporary vampire, in his various incarnations on the small and big screen, appears as the glamorous outcast, sexual deviant, rebel, rogue and tortured soul. We only have to cast our minds back to Spike, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and remember how he updates several of these conventions associated with the image of the vampire as alluring, sensual outsider and, as such, is the latest contribution to the image of the sympathetic and charismatic vampire as anti-hero. Spike, as sympathetic vampire, reaches back to ideas about vampirism stemming from the Romantic Movement and indeed back to Lord Byron. The vampires of the hit HBO series True Blood are also firmly walking in that long-standing tradition. No longer the crazed, loathsome shambling outsider of the Nosferatu legend; these True Blood vampires are creatures who inhabit our contemporary cultural landscape. Judging from the heated responses to Vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer) and the Viking vampire Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard), we are head over heels in adoration with these fanged creatures of the night.

As we know by now, the introduction of the sympathetic vampire in the early years of the 20th century simultaneously generated a dedicated and large fan club which persists today. Similarly, Hollywood produced a number of sympathetic vampires, including Bela Lugosi’s lonely depiction of Dracula (Tod Browning, 1931). A decade later, Universal produced a second sympathetic version of Dracula in House of Dracula (Erle C. Kenton, 1945) in which the vampire was portrayed as genuinely longing for release from his vampiric ‘malady’.

Following firmly in the footsteps of the vampires preceding them, the sympathetic and ambiguous vampires of True Blood (rather than vampire-as-menace) who are intent on mainstreaming have similarly produced enormous fan cultures. And these vampires are more than capable of sating the fans’ appetite for vampires who embody the full spectrum of vampire allure and sexuality.

imageWhere Vampire Bill might epitomize the gentility of Southern charm and manners and Eric Northman unruly cool; within True Blood fandom, both characters conjure images of hidden suffering and enforced ‘outsider’ status. Just witness the fans’ responses to the back stories of both Bill Compton and Eric Northman. Where once Lord Byron, James Dean and Rochester were capable of making female readers and viewers swoon; it now appears that the True Blood vampires have assumed that much coveted status.

In short, our attraction to vampires is because they represent the otherness of vampires and dangerous sexuality, having become inexorably intertwined since Stoker’s iconic sexual predator Count Dracula took a little nip of Mina and Lucy back in 1897. Our modern vampires have come a long way since Count Dracula. While they have been humanized through their desire to mainstream, these vampires still embody a perverse yet attractive hypersexuality. Coupled with the potential for danger and death, Vampire Bill and Eric Northman share the dubious and envied ability of making some of the most unlikely of women yearn for the vampire embrace.

SOURCE: Timesonline

Photo credit: HBO Inc.

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The Changing Image of the Vampire

November 23, 2009

bela_lugosi_as_dracula_aboutmoviesMention the word ‘vampire’ a few years ago and no doubt an image of a sharply dressed aristocratic Dracula-type man comes to mind. He’ll probably have a thick Transylvanian accent, a long, flowing cape and dark features. We certainly owe a lot to Bela Lugosi for this image of the smooth talking, suave vampire.

Over the centuries, the image of the vampire has changed and evolved with the times, reflecting the specificities of the local cultures and belief systems. For example, in ancient times, the callicantzaros, a Greek vampire, had long fingernails and would attack only around Christmastime, using its long nails to tear people to pieces. The Sumerians had similar stories about vampire-like creatures and blood-sucking demons. Underlying all these stories is the belief that vampire-like creatures are soulless, and in some cases, mindless killers.

As most of you will recall, before we had the movie star vampire of Bela Lugosi, for example, we had Polidori’s The Vampyre and Stoker’s Dracula. However, prior to these vampires of Gothic fiction, it is said that the character of Dracula is based on the historical figure of Vlad III, Prince Wallachia, otherwise known as Vlad the Impaler. According to Eric Nuzum, Vlad’s last name was ‘Dracula’, a reference to the religious order founded by his father. Roughly translated, this means ‘Son of the Devil’. However, it has also been said that both Polidori and Stoker probably based their vampire on Baring-Gould’s account of the ruthless female serial killer Countess Elisabeth Bathory, who was convicted in 1610 for murdering 80 young women so that she could bathe in their blood.

When Stoker’s Dracula was published in 1897, the Aristocratic Vampire made his appearance,

“His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose….The mouth…was…rather cruel-looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth….For the rest, his ears were pale, and at the tops extremely pointed….The general effect was one of extraordinary pallor….His hands were rather coarse, broad, with squat fingers. Strange to say, there were hairs in the centre of the palm. The nails were long and fine, and cut to a sharp point.”

Nuzum, author of The Dead Travel Fast: Stalking Vampires from Nosferatu to Count Dracula, has likened Stoker’s Dracula to Walt Whitman as they share the same appearances: thick mustache, large nose and profuse white hair. Stoker’s hero also happened to be Walt Whitman. On the other hand, Graf Orlock, was decidedly monstrous and odious. In F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, released in 1922, Max Schreck plays the vampire Graf Orlock.  Shreck as Orlock is a different vampire entirely. He is decidedly more loathsome. Far from aristocratic, he has talon-like fingernails, a mouthful of hideous teeth, long, pointed ears and glaring eyes.

While most vampires in Gothic fiction has been decidedly male, Sheridan le Fanu introduced us to the female vampire in Carmilla. However, the Aristocratic Vampire is one that is stuck firmly in our minds whenever we’re asked to summon up the image of the vampire. And according to Nuzum, with his cape, slicked back hair and thick accent, Bela Lugosi is the quintessential vampire. We can see how this image of the vampire and of Dracula has remained with us in, for example, Christopher Lee’s portrayal of the Dracula the vampire in countless Hammer Horror Films.

Further, Nuzum also introduces another category of vampire, namely The Cold War Vampire. As Nuzum indicates,

“His motives are unimportant and he was seen as pure evil. In fact, in the 1966 movie Dracula: Prince of Darkness, the character has no lines at all but rather just hisses throughout the entire thing.”

In the 1970s, as Nuzum asserts, we come to the era of the Disco Dracula where

“[The vampire] was updated with a ‘70s hairdo and an overtly sexual vibe […] He wasn’t so much evil as he was randy.”

To these categories, we could supplement these by adding another category, namely that of The Comedic Vampire. Cast your minds back to Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers, for example. Indeed, the act of turning a horror movie into a satire or a comedy is hardly new. Starting with Abbot and Costello in 1948, the gothic idea of vampires was spun into something of comedic genius. However, it was in 1967 that Roman Polanski released The Fearless Vampire Killers, now firmly a cult favourite. In Polanski’s film, his vampire emerges as a conundrum underscored by a paradoxical humor. The story arc follows Professor Abronsius and his apprentice as they hunt vampires in Transylvania. After witnessing a kidnapping, the Professor and his apprentice track down the culprit to a castle filled with dangerous seduction, sexuality and death. The viewer is confronted with all the familiar archetypes from vampire fiction. Nonetheless, through the vampire, this film introduces satirical comedy and irony. Through the act of subversion, humans are also hardly above reproach especially when they appear as hapless negligent hunters.

Fast forward to the 1990s and we encounter the Emo Vampire in Buffy the Vampire Killer. According to science fiction writer Charlie Jane Anders,

“Joss Whedon (Buffy creator) was a major pioneer of the ‘emo-vamp’ which are broody, stalky, ‘dangerous’ yet kittenish vamps […] Of the two vampires on the TV show, Angel had soul and spent most of his time repenting the sins of his past and Spike spent most of this time pining away after Buffy and helping the good guys.”

bigger photo of vampires_on_true_blood-13751Indeed, Angel emerges as a template of the contemporary vampire. As a once super-bad vampire, Angel spent the preceding decades spreading death, hatred and destruction across the world. But when the gypsy curse forced his human soul to return to his vampire body, Angel regains his conscience and spends most the Buffy series attempting to atone for his many sins. With the emergence of the Emo Vampire, our beloved monster seems have become truly defanged, appearing like a victim destined to do good. Perhaps, we could add the vampires Edward Cullen (of the Twilight series) and Mick St. John (of Moonlight) to this category? We should ask ourselves this question: are these reformed characters really vampires – the predatory creatures who have epitomized depravity, perverse sexuality and moral corruption for more than two millennia – the creatures we have come to fear, loath and love?

It could be argued that today’s new breed of virtuous vampires, as characterized by Angel, Edward Cullen and Mick St. John is a far cry from the anti-hero of the Romantic literary movement. The anti-hero, by contrast, is morally ambivalent who gets our sympathy precisely because we want to sympathize and empathize with his conflicts. Think Lord Byron, Heathcliff, James Dean or Mr. Rochester and we have an image of that brand of anti-hero.

Anne Rice uses this template masterfully in her Lestat novels. Taking a cue from real and fictional Romantic anti-heroes such as Faust and Lord Byron, Rice romanticizes vampires as dark, tortured anti-heroes who were ‘turned’ into monsters against their choice. Vampirism for them is a curse, an affliction; a state of being that separates them from humanity, which for them is a state of grace.

Flash forward to the present and we have the Lustful Vampire. Within this true_blood_couple_mcategory, we also find the vampire who has integrated himself into society. Think the sparkly day-walking vampires of Twilight and the vampires of HBO’s True Blood and we have our modern vampire who seeks to walk amongst us humans. However, apart from having vampires who want to integrate, I think it’s far more accurate to classify our present vampires as the Lustful Vampire. In Charlaine Harris Southern Vampire Mysteries and HBO’s True Blood, we encounter vampires who are alluring, charismatic, attractive and driven by sexual urges.

It seems that in the True Blood vampires, we now encounter a psychosexuality truly contemporary and of our times. The original qualities that made the traditional vampire in Stoker’s Dracula and le Fanu’s Carmilla a threat in the 19th century – particularly their eroticism and unconventional behavior and sexuality – now makes our 21st century vampires appealing and sexually provocative to contemporary viewers.

Once a monstrous Other in the last two centuries which saw vampires stealing our women, converting them into a threat in themselves, our contemporary 21st century vampires are now fully integrated. Within the fictional Southern Gothic world of the True Blood, our vampires are now sought out by fangbangers and others who seek to ingest their blood which is known for its aphrodisiac qualities. Oh, how times have changed! In Vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric Northman, Viking vampire (Alexander Skarsgard), we encounter the lustful vampire whose vampire sexuality has a strong bias toward a traditional masculine paradigm of sexuality. With changing times, the image of the vampire has truly undergone an upgrade.

SOURCE: The Evolution of the Vampire

Picture credits: HBO Inc., aboutmovies.com

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Allan Hyde: Rising True Blood Star

November 20, 2009

“That was a fantastic experience when tiny little me stood in front of the camera

and my two meter tall cast mate Alexander Skarsgard fell to

his knees in front of me. I felt the magic of

being an actor then.”

allan_hyde

Allan Hyde, the twenty year old Danish actor, has made quite an impression on HBO’s True Blood fans. Allan plays the 2000 year old vampire Godric, Eric Northman’s (Alexander Skarsgard) maker in the hit HBO series. Although he appeared in only four episodes of True Blood’s second season, Allan Hyde’s Godric has become extremely popular with True Blood’s viewers.

He is a man of many talents. Besides his native Danish, he also speaks English, German and French. He has won the literary Robert Award for Best Short Story (2009) and amazingly, he also finds the time to play the guitar and sing. In Denmark, Allan Hyde has a string of appearances on both the Danish stage and screen. On stage, he has, for example, played Gavroche in Les Miserables but he is perhaps best known for his part in Denmark’s TV3’s 2900 Happiness. He has also provided the voice dubbing for Ron Weasley in the Danish release of the Harry Potter films. However in 2009, he was cast in the critically acclaimed HBO series True Blood as the 2000 year old Godric and the rest, as they say, is history.

In 2009, international acclaim came knocking on Allan Hyde’s door. Allan Ball happened to need a Scandinavian teenager for True Blood. Allan Hyde’s agent heard about it and convinced Hyde to send a tape to Alan Ball who was so impressed with it that there was no need for Hyde to undergo a formal audition. Hyde, at this point, was two months away from graduating from his high school in Zealand, Copenhagen, but he seized at the chance and moved to Los Angeles immediately. He explains his seemingly hasty decision,

“It was my dream. To be a professional (full-time) actor. To live off what I love. And it wasn’t the most important thing about high school to get a certificate with grades on. Most important were the knowledge and friends I’d already won through those three years.”

We are thankful for his decision because the character Godric has proved to be highly popular with viewers and with creator Alan Ball. Hyde’s performance of Godric has brought Hyde acclaim, catapulting him into the hearts of True Blood’s fans. In a recent interview, Allan Ball has also hinted at the possible return of Allan Hyde as Godric in flashbacks in Season 3.

Of his role as Godric in True Blood, Allan Hyde says,

“When I agreed to do it, I had no idea how big it (True Blood) was. I hadn’t heard about True Blood yet. And to be completely honest, I felt that a vampire series was a little boring. I only knew Buffy and that was a girl’s show.”

True Blood, set against a vivid Southern Gothic mise-en-scene, has captured viewers’Godric and Eric Northman imagination with its gloriously gory, fiendish, darkly funny script. Populated with charismatic vampires, small town kooks and other assorted supernatural beings, True Blood is hardly filled with the usual vampire clichés which were the initial responses of critics and naysayers who subjected True Blood to lukewarm reviews.

Instead, proving his critics wrong, Allan Ball, Academy Award-winning writer, has sprinkled his magic dust over the HBO series and bewitched critics and viewers alike. According to HBO, True Blood’s Season 2 averaged 10.8 million viewers per episode, up 39% from last season, proving to be an even bigger hit than HBO’s The Sopranos. Indeed, True Blood’s biggest strength lies in its ability to appeal across a wide demographic spectrum.

As Allan Hyde further explains,

“I realized at once that this would be a unique and intelligent series. Vampires are an allegory for the darkside of humanity. Their race is prone to a mixture of homophobia and racism, and that’s what the series deals with in a brilliant way, I think. That’s why I fell for True Blood – instantly and completely.”

Allan Hyde’s portrayal of Godric, an immortal being who also happened to be older than Jesus, was pitch perfect. But at the same time, Hyde acknowledges that, as the youngest cast member, he felt the least experienced,

“I was utterly inexperienced and everything was overwhelming. To be the show’s alpha among the vampires on top of all this felt like immense pressure on me. The directors wanted me to be exactly like I was on the videotape they fell for. But they had never seen me ‘live’. That’s why I had a certain insecurity in the beginning. Would I really be able to deliver or was the tape just a lucky coincidence? […] There I was, in a foreign country and was supposed to play a character who was as different to mine as may be. At the same time, everything took place in English which meant that I needed to repeat my lines many times before every take or I’d stumble over the words.”

But it is a testimony to the highly talented and mutually supportive ensemble cast of True Blood that Allan Hyde rapidly became comfortable in his role as Godric,

“[…] I felt I caught the character and people around me backed me with praise and recognition. That was a fantastic experience when tiny little me little me stood in front of the camera and my two meter tall cast mate Alexander Skarsgard fell to his knees in front of me. I felt the magic of being an actor then.”

Now that Season 2 of True Blood has finished its run in the US, Allan Hyde has been a very busy man. He has, for example, auditioned for a new Gus van Sant movie. Allan Hyde explains:

“It is as if all the big shots want to see what I am able to do now. I’m going to lots of auditions that aspiring actors who have lived in Hollywood for years don’t even get close to. There’s no doubt that I have to play my cards now. I have to try and get more parts as my name is hot over here because the clock is ticking in L.A. It’s all business.”

Meanwhile, a stage role awaits him in Denmark in 2010. However, when it comes to English language roles, Hyde feels that one of the hurdles he faces is the language. While he speaks the language fluently (he has a Danish mother and a British father), he feels that it’s difficult for him to hide both the British and Danish accents. He elaborates,

“That’s the biggest issue right now. I’m doing everything I can to change it. I practice all the time and work with a dialect coach on a daily basis. I almost got the accent now because at my last audition they didn’t even realize that I’m a foreigner.”

However, it is new found fame that Hyde admits take some getting used to. He admits:

“It needs some getting used to and one has to forget about Danish Jantelovn. Over here, people would be offended if you wouldn’t show your pride and appreciate the chance you got. To downplay your own results is a Danish thing and one you should avoid here […] At home, it’s not like everybody and anybody is writing to me that I’m ‘suerpcute’ and ‘superhot’ and therefore I’m immensely flattered. But on the flipside, I have no idea what kind of people they are. I’m not looking for praise on the internet but sometimes it’s unavoidable. And my mom’s reading it too. She’s my biggest fan and she’s sending me links whenever she finds something funny about me online.”

Judging from the recent interview with Allan Ball, fans of Allan Hyde can no doubt look forward to his appearances in Season 3 of True Blood. As to further appearances in his subsequent Hollywood career, we wish Allan Hyde all best wishes for his future roles.

SOURCE: www.fri.dk via alexanderskarsgardfans.com

Photo credit: HBO Inc.

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