Carrie Preston Of HBO’s True Blood Is A Triple Threat:
July 3, 2013 by Janean Sanders
The Talented Actress Also Produces and Directs
In addition to portraying waitress Arlene Fowler on HBO’s True Blood, Carrie Preston is proud to be a producer and director of independent films. As an actress, Ms. Preston’s storyline on True Blood rarely intersects with those of other actors on the show. Despite that isolation, Ms. Preston believes Arlene has evolved slightly, over six seasons. Ms. Preston’s evolution over six years has been as a producer/director of two independent films (Girl Talk, That’s What She Said). She is currently directing a web series (Darwin), and passionately embraces the technology currently used to produce content.
As far as Ms. Preston is concerned, True Blood is a show about a bar. Her character, Arlene Fowler, is a waitress in Merlott’s Bar and is rarely seen elsewhere. A few of the other sets, not used in Arlene’s storyline, are on different stages and it’s sometimes years before Ms. Preston even stops by to see them. She finds it exciting to watch a complete episode of True Blood, because she gets to see what her colleagues were working on while she was serving drinks. Despite Arlene’s isolation, which lends itself to her representation of the narrow-minded and disenfranchised, Ms. Preston believes her character has managed to evolve slightly. She points out that vampire Jessica Hamby (Deborah Ann Woll) attended Arlene’s wedding, which is a huge deal for her character.
In addition to True Blood, Ms. Preston has recurring roles on other shows such as The Good Wife and Person of Interest. However, her true passion is for independent film, which has grown out of her love for unique films:
“I definitely geek out over indie filmmaking,” she laughs. “I have a production company and I’ve directed and produced two features and starred in a third. Right now, I’m directing a Web series [Darwin] some friends have written. We’ve got the first three episodes edited together, and now we’re trying to figure out where we’re going to put them. That whole world of indie content making and the equipment people use, the types of cameras and the new technology around, plus getting that content out to the viewer — all of that stuff is endlessly fascinating to me.”
Ms. Preston is excited about being a filmmaker in the 21st century because the technology, particularly the internet, has allowed viewers to access a variety of movies and to select what they’re looking for. The downside of this, according to Ms. Preston, is that viewers have grown to believe they deserve to receive content for free. Modern indie filmmakers haven’t yet learned how to monetize the content they’re producing. Additionally, the competition from big-budged studio television and movies is intense:
“We’re competing with TV and film and the mall movies that are so spectacular, that sometimes our audience is not forgiving.”
Still, Ms. Preston loves the technology used make movies, so much so that she refers to herself as the ‘tech geek’ in her marriage. Ms. Preston’s husband is actor Michael Emerson (Lost), and they both appreciate the irony of his portraying a computer genius on his show, Person of Interest. Between the two of them, Ms. Preston says that she handles all things electronics, and that Mr. Emerson tackles the shopping, cooking and decorating. Ms. Preston finds it ‘adorable’ when Mr. Emerson calls to ask her questions about Java.