Marcia de Rousse as Dr. Ludwig Returns to True Blood!

August 4, 2011

Marcia de Rousse as True Blood Dr. Ludwig

We all love the irrascible Dr. Ludwig, and this Sunday, August 7, 2011, Marcia de Rousse will reprise her role as doctor to the Supes! Dr. Ludwig will have a face off with our beloved Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) in “Cold Grey Light of Dawn“, the 7th episode of season 4.

That’s not all that happens in this episode, of course. According to IMDB:

With Marnie empowered by spirits of the dead, Bill issues an unpopular order to save vampires from the light. Eric embraces his amnesia; Luna discovers Sam is not the man she thought he was; Lafayette expands his consciousness; Pam gets a body peel; Andy’s date with Holly doesn’t go as planned; Jessica has doubts about her future with Hoyt; Alcide and Debbie join a new pack.

Check out the Buzzed video for the bloody sneak peek of Dr. Ludwig’s return. She’s in the very last moments of the clip so you’ll have to suffer through interviews with Kristin Bauer van Straten, Stephen Moyer, Anna Paquin and other fangtastic True Blood actors to see it. (I was being a bit snarky, you’ll enjoy the video!)

Video Credit: The Buzz
Photo Credit: HBO

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Exclusive Interview with “Franky, Frankly” Producer Kevin Slee

April 29, 2011

The Inside Scoop on Allan Hyde’s New Film:

Allan Hyde in “Franky, Frankly”Fans of Allan Hyde rejoice —  you can see the actor who plays Godric, Eric Northman‘s maker on HBO‘s True Blood, in a new movie titled Franky, Frankly.  We were fortunate enough to land an interview with producer Kevin Slee, so read on for the inside scoop!

TBN: When did you know you wanted to do this kind of work? Did you try other things first or have you always known?

I have known for some times that I loved storytelling. When I was young, around the age of five, my parents began taking me to the theater to see films and musicals. I saw Beauty & The Beast and was mesmerized. From that age on I would film myself and direct my dad in filming me as I told and acted out stories – it all grew from there. When I was about sixteen I began thinking about this whole filmmaking thing as a career, it just seemed natural.

TBN: How long have you been involved in The Biz? What is your experience prior to this?

I don’t know if I’d necessarily call myself someone in “the biz”, but I’ve definitely been working as a filmmaker for some time now and have had the privilege of collaborating with a vast array of talented individuals. I have produced and/or directed over twenty short films, and more recently some of them have gotten a great deal of acclaim and feedback. I associate produced my first feature, Dispatch, which was directed by Emmy nominated filmmaker Steven Sprung. Currently, I work with film producer David Foster (The Mask of Zorro, The Thing, etc.) as a Development Executive. In the short film arena I recently produced Election Day, which stars Jordan Jacinto, Lexi Sakowitz, and Ari Stidham of ABC’s Huge. Further, I produced and directed The Secret Life of Jonathan Sky and then, of course, produced Franky, Frankly, which stars Allan Hyde of True Blood and actor Mikandrew Perdaris.

TBN: Is this your first movie? If not, what was? What was it about? Did it get released?

The first film I ever did was a short entitled The Petals & the Thorns. It starred Steven Sprung (Emmy nominated editor on shows such as Entourage, Community, Arrested Development, etc.) and Elliot Olson. It was a short film, and did not get any sort of distribution, but was a great learning experience.

 

Allan Hyde in “Franky, Frankly” 2

TBN: Who wrote Franky, Frankly? Did you read it and decide to do the short or did you have an idea and find a writer?

Franky, Frankly was first a short story written by our director, Matthew Anderson. From there, it was adapted for the screen and then brought to me to produce.

TBN: What’s the story about?

Franky, Frankly is a moral tale, in an ambiguous sense, a throw-back to Eric Rohmer’s “Six Moral Tales”. The film takes place in a night, following a young man (Mikandrew Perdaris) caught between two places – lost in the city as he is lost in his own head. It’s an inspection of Franky’s close relationship with Madison (Allan Hyde), and a girl that might be his salvation (Bella Dayne).

TBN: What was the best moment for you while creating this movie?

Working with everyone involved. I am very, very fortunate to be able to work with an incredibly talented team and have been able to utilize that team on film after film. My composer, John W. Snyder (www.johnwsnyder.com), is my go to man. He did a wonderful job scoring and recording the soundtrack for the film and is signed on to the upcoming short, The Secret Life of Jonathan Sky. My sound designer, Eric Hoehn, adds a whole new dimension to how the film sounds, feels, etc. – it really does elevate the film into a whole new level. Lastly on the sound front, my score mixer, Grammy nominated Andy Hay (co-founder, Other Records), has been able to take what both Snyder and Hoehn have done and bring it all together.

Another wonderful aspect of working on this film was being able to collaborate with Matt. Matt is a confident filmmaker with a strong vision and a great attitude. Watching him work with Allan and Mikandrew was incredible, and the results show on the screen.

TBN: What was the worst moment?

Every film has its obstacles, but they are never moments that I would classify as “worst moment”… We know full well what we’re getting into when we set out to make a film – ups and downs are all apart of the process…

Allan Hyde in “Franky, Frankly”

TBN: What is the biggest thing you learned while doing this?

I learn something new on every film. I learn new ways of approaching the process, and by doing I better my craft, my team – It all just grows.

TBN: Where did you meet Allan?

I met Allan through Matt, our director. Allan came by and did a read with Mikandrew, and we went from there casting him in the film.

TBN: What’s it like to work with Allan?

Allan has been wonderful to work with and is a very talented actor. I have seen a few of Allan’s other shorts, and of course his work on True Blood. I am very pleased to have him on board for Franky, Frankly and very pleased to have him as a friend.

TBN: What’s Allan’s role in the movie?

Allan Hyde plays Madison, an affluent young man mourning the recent death of his brother. His desire to escape the situation is thwarted upon reuniting with Franky (Mikandrew Perdaris) where the two of them engage in a game that draws blood.

TBN: Will Franky, Frankly be making the art film circuit?

Yes indeed. We plan to begin with our LA and NY premiers and then go from there. We hope to seek DVD and online distribution as well as play the festival circuit. We will keep everyone updated on the film, and they can keep in the loop on Facebook and Twitter

NOTE: @AAFilmCo, @KevinMSlee, @Mikandrew, @MCAFilm, @AllanHyde
TBN: Do you have any other films in the works? What are your future plans?

I am currently in post on a film I directed and which was produced under Artistic Analogies Film Co. – it is entitled The Secret Life of Jonathan Sky. The film stars Amir Malaklou and Lexi Sakowitz (Election Day) and involves many of the same team behind the camera. We have a May release.

TrueBloodNet.com would like to thank Kevin for his time and this lovely interview. We hope you all have a chance to see Franky, Frankly!

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True Blood’s Kristin Bauer Coming to TrueBloodNet.com soon! (And Ad for Animal Legal Defense Fund)

April 20, 2011

Banner for Kristin Bauer Rants

True Blood’s Pam Coming Soon

Those of us that follow Kristin on Twitter (@BauervanStraten) know that she’s a tireless advocate for animals and generally building a more sane world. We here at TrueBloodNet.com share those views and want to help Kristin get the message out on things that can be made better if we all get involved. As those that follow us know, Kristin is a great artist and has contributed a drawing of Alexander Skarsgard in various forms to help The Amanda Foundation, an animal rescue organization based in LA. We will be reoffering that print in coming weeks but until then, you can also pick up items with the print on it at the Amanda Zazzle store.

Kristin Bauer Rants

In a matter of days, Kristin will begin posting stories that matter under the column heading titled, Kristin Bauer Rants. It will appear on the left hand side above the news in the Reader’s Corner section. We don’t know everything she’s going to cover, we’ve given her carte blanche to go where her heart and mind leads. We’re very much looking forward to seeing what she’s got to say and we’re thrilled that she’s going to say it here. Kristin is one of those rare thinking persons who’s bark is not worse than her bite. Follow us on Twitter (@TrueBloodNet) to see when a new article by Kristin appears. Until then, support Kristin and the Animal Legal Defense Fund in the story below.

Currently, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is running a campaign about Tony, a tiger kept in a tiny cage at a truck stop in Louisiana. When Kristin heard about the situation, she got involved and made a clip for them advocating to move Tony to a better suited home.  Read the article titled: Kristin Bauer Takes a Bite out of Animal Cruelty and then sign the petition.

Video Credits: Animal Legal Defense Fund on Facebook

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Walk-On Role on HBO’s Hit Series “True Blood” Benefits the Serenity Park Sanctuary

April 18, 2011

True Blood Poster HBO

Awesome few chances in a lifetime opportunity for a True Blood fan to buy a walk on role on HBO’s hit series True Blood. At the same time, you’ll be helping a good cause The Serenity Park Sanctuary. The Serenity Park Sanctuary is a parrot rescue organization. Many may not know it, but Alan Ball is a huge parrot fan! In fact, he owns several of the spirited birds — in Alan’s case, Macaws. He houses them in an outdoor enclosure. In sunny southern California the Macaws probably feel right at home. However, parrots are highly intelligent, long-lived birds and their owners often die before the bird does. (It’s all in the mitochondria if you wanted to know why these birds live so long).  The Serenity Park Sanctuary rescues and helps rehome these spectacular creatures. The auction is hosted by Charity Buzz.

Make a Bid to be on True Blood!

Includes: a non-speaking, featured “extra” walk-on role on HBO’s hit series, TRUE BLOOD. Valid for one person however, the winner may bring a guest on set.

Thanks to a Japanese scientist’s invention of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight. And while humans have been safely removed from the menu, many remain apprehensive about these creatures “coming out of the coffin.” Religious leaders and government officials around the world have chosen their sides, but in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps, the jury is still out.

Local waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), however, knows how it feels to be an outcast. “Cursed” with the ability to listen in on people’s thoughts, she’s also open-minded about the integration of vampires — particularly when it comes to Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), a handsome 173-year-old living up the road. But at the service of Bill’s less virtuous vampire associates, Sookie is drawn into a series of catastrophes that will put their love to the test.

The latest hit series from ‘Six Feet Under’ creator Alan Ball, ‘True Blood’ delves into the meticulously-crafted world of novelist Charlaine Harris. Described by the Emmy®-winning Ball as “popcorn for smart people,” the first season of ‘True Blood’ caused an overnight sensation — and the new installments only build on his colorful cast of supernatural misfits.

Be a part of this amazing show and bid now on a featured walk-on role!

The proceeds for this item benefit Serenity Park Sanctuary

Terms: This walk-on role is a nonspeaking role. The award is valid for one person, however the winner may bring a guest to the set. The winner must be 18 or older. Availability is based on our production schedule. The show films in LA. We cannot guarantee the scene in which you participate or your performance in that scene will make the final cut and be aired. While on the set, please follow any rules or guidelines communicated to you by our production staff. This is valid until the end of June 2011.

Donated by: Alan Ball & Peter Macdissi

Photo Credit: HBO

Source: Charity Buzz

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Joe Manganiello Answers Fan Questions at Eyecon 2010

February 23, 2011

Joe Manganiello, True Blood Alcide, at Eyecon 2010

While at Eyecon 2010, Joe Manganiello had a fan Q&A in which he discussed several topics, including his interest in True Blood, the process it took for him to become Alcide, and much, much more. Check out what went on in the Q&A below.

Joe Manganiello: Good morning. Do we have any questions? Guest Pictures? All right, then I guess I’ll talk a little bit. I was a huge, huge fan of True Blood. When the show came on the air, I watched it when it premiered. I had no idea it was based on this series of books. I got an email from one of my best friends, who said “You’ve gotta check this out!” I checked this little web link and it took me to a blog site and fans of Charlaine Harris’ books were blogging about their fantasy casts and who should play all of the characters when they show up in certain seasons and there were a bunch of fans who were posting pictures of me and saying I should play this werewolf when he shows up. I went wait a minute, there are werewolves in this story? I loved the werewolves in the old Lon Chaney Jr. horror movies since I was a kid. So I went to Amazon and ordered the books and started reading them. Sure enough, I read the description of the character where Sookie opens the door and looks up and has to look up again and there’s this giant, dark haired guy with long, untameable black hair and said if he’d shaved in the morning, he’d have to shave again. I thought, okay, I can do that. Then it said that Charlaine described him as having biceps the size of boulders that Sookie could do pull-ups on. I thought, “Oh great, thanks Charlaine.” So I started bugging my agency managers saying, “There’s this part of a werewolf coming up, you gotta get me in, you gotta get me in” and this is very Season One.

Two years later, I get this phone call from this guy that I’d met pretty randomly and he said he was best friends of the casting director and they were out at breakfast and he’d seen the blogs posted online that were posted of me. And the casting director said wow, that waiter would make a great werewolf, if only he was an actor.

This guy said, “No, you know who would make a great werewolf? This guy,” and he showed her a picture of me. And it was because of that that she agreed to see me for the part of Cooter. So I went in for the part of Cooter and my audition scene was the one in the back seat of the car where they’re all drinking blood and spitting blood into each others mouths and sucking blood off of Bill. I was literally about 12 inches in front of the casting director’s face snarling, growling and frothing at the mouth. You know this casting director was about 4’8”, this casting woman and she was sitting Indian style on her chair and she has this really Long Island accent and I’m snarling and growling and she says “Oh my gaawd, he’s an animal.” Alan Ball was in the room with Gregg Fienberg, who’s one of the other executive producers and a whole bunch of the other producers. There were about 12 people in the room. I had probably the best audition of my life and I left there feeling great. They called me back a couple of days later and said we want you to come back in again so I went in the second time for Cooter. I went in, had another great audition. They called me back a couple days later and said you’re not going to get that part—for a second I was kind of bummed out—but we want to you come back in and chemistry read with Anna Paquin for this other part, Alcide. That was the part I won. The one the fans are blogging about. So this was in December and they wanted me to come back in January and chemistry read with Anna. Actually, I’d gotten another offer for a project, so I called HBO and said I have this other offer, they want me to do it. What do I do? They called us back later that day and said come in in two days, here’s the Alcide audition, script and we’ll bypass the chemistry read because Anna’s not available so I went in two days later and read Alcide and they called me back two hours later and I got it.

Question: We were curious, what are you looking forward to most for Season 4?

Joe: What am I looking forward to most in Season 4? Well, obviously I think everyone’s curious to see what happens to Alcide and Sookie. But I’m interested in seeing what happens with the pack. You know what we’ve seen in Mexico where you knock off a drug lord and everyone goes crazy, you know the fact that Cooter got shot in the face. I’m kind of curious to see what happens with the pack and all the jockeying and then you know Colonel Flood is really ineffective.

Question: I don’t think Alcide’s relationship with his pack has been explored enough.

Joe: You know, hopefully Alan Ball thinks the same thing. So I’m curious to see what happens with the pack and obviously Debbie is still at large. You know like I said I was a huge fan of the show  before I got on it so I’m curious to see what happens to see with everyone else.

Question: What was the project that you turned down?

Joe: Actually, I had the option of doing another season of One Tree Hill. They wanted Owen back for one more season. I was in the middle of the True Blood deal and that process so Owen didn’t come back and Alcide was born.

Question:
You’ve done characters where you were happy and fun loving, and now you play a character who’s kind of depressed. What do you like better happy go lucky or depressed and tormented?

Joe: So the question is, what do I like better? Happy go lucky or depressed and tormented? You know I guess it depends on my mood I think. There was a time I shot this Navy Seal movie in Puerto Rico and it was just me and a bunch of dudes bench pressing, knife fighting and gun shooting for six weeks and no girls. When I was done with that one, I was ready to go do some One Tree Hill. I like working in comedy a lot and working with How I Met Your Mother. I love it, there’s nothing like it getting together with Jason Segal and Neil Patrick Harris and trying to crack each other up and laugh all day. But then you get done with that and you’re ready to go growl and run around and fight some people in bars.

Question: So everybody blogged to get you the part of Alcide. Now everyone’s blogging to get you the part of Superman.

Joe: I love my fans! I met with Warner Brothers. We’re talking about it. There’s a lot of factors obviously, but we’re talking about it. Thank you. What else do I want? Can we start blogging about a billion dollars, a private jet, my own island? I’d also like to be James Bond, if they let an American play Bond.

Question: If there’s one director you want to work with, who would that be?

Joe: That is so tough, I love Zack Snyder, I love Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, Scorscese…

Question: First, I wanted to ask what made you want to be an actor? Secondly, I want to thank you from the Fort Carson Army  Base, Army wives support group. Thank you, thank you for wholesome family entertainment. I also shared this comment with Sam Trammell because we appreciate that good wholesome family entertainment, especially while our husbands are deployed. I want to thank you very much for keeping us happy.

Joe: Thank you and thank you to your husbands for keeping us safe. I got to work really closely with Navy Seals a couple a years ago when I shot that movie and my cousin is also a Lt. Colonel with the 82nd Airborne in Fort Brag.

What made me want to become an actor? I was an athlete; I played football, basketball and volleyball. And it looked like I was going go on to college in either one of them. My father wanted me to be an athlete and I was certainly big enough but I always had an artistic side. A lot of the guys around me in high school were starting to do steroids and getting pretty big but we had a TV studio in high school and I took TV class and I would write, produce and act in movies with my friends and I would write parts for my friends. We made this giant, full length, feature mafia martial arts action movie in high school. We had squibs, we had gun shot effects, we’d fill condoms with fake blood and then put fire crackers underneath light them up on our knee caps and hearts, we were crazy. It was my first love. I’d wake up at 6am to go film it and I just loved it. I was returning a kick off against Joe Montana’s old high school and I was in the mud and I got hit in the knee and tore my MCL and had to sit out and rehab that knee. I had to think about what I really wanted to do. I didn’t play football again, that was my last game. I started taking acting classes and wound up getting a scholarship to Carnegie Melon University to study classical theatre. I went to study Shakespeare, ancient Greek, Checkoff and I got done with my four years. The week I got out of college I wound up getting an agent, getting a manager, I turned down a TV holding deal because I was gonna do film only and wound up screen testing for Spiderman, for Sam Raimi and got the part. From there, that was it. All of the high school coaches were telling me I was making a mistake, what was I doing? I was turning down colleges but somewhere in my gut I just knew. I get to go have my 15 year high school reunion over Thanksgiving and I get to go see everyone for the first time since, so that should be pretty fun.

Question: First off, I want to second her comment. My husband and I are in active duty and you definitely have kept us both occupied the last few months. The whole ship is now a huge fan of True Blood; all of the guys are hooked. My question is: what was it like working with the wolves?

Joe: What was it like working with the wolves? Nothing can prepare you for how big they are, some of them are over 150 lbs, which is huge. Their shoulders are pretty high off the ground, they look like lions.  They have these bright yellow eyes and the trainers take them out and walk them on thick chains; it’s really intimidating. But with that said, the wolves are trained from about six months old and they’re really a lot better at hitting their marks than a lot of actors I work with. They’ll stick a little rock out and say “go to your mark” and they’ll walk around in circles and go and sit right on the mark, they’re really smart.  They kind of give you the idiot’s guide to working with wolves when you get there. Don’t eat meat around them, don’t have food in your pockets, don’t make sudden moves and you’ll be ok. There was a scene in one episode where Debbie kicks down the door, when she’s going to fight Sookie. She kicks in the door and she has these two wolves behind her and one got excited when she kicked the door and jumped up to playfully nip her.  The trainer said ok, we’re done for the day and they took the wolves out. The trainers are on hand and really good and responsible. It was a little scary but you get used to them.

Question: I just wondered when you were watching the show, were you Team Eric or Team Bill and why?

Joe: I’m Team Alcide. I’m a fur-banger. I’m Team Sookie, if you really want to break it down.

Question: I was wondering who you have the most chemistry with off-screen?

Joe: I hang out Stephen [Moyer] a lot, he’s become a good friend of mine. Denis O’Hare, who plays King Russell is hilarious. He owns a building of apartments in New York so I stayed there when I was in New York. He’s become a really good friend. Anna [Paquin] and Stephen went to Disneyland and I jokingly said I based Alcide loosely on Eyore; he lives in a cave, he’s grumpy and doesn’t want to go out. So Anna brought me back this stuffed Eyore from Disneyland and it sits on my bed.

Question: I want to know that after you read the books. Did you feel that the TV show was giving the books justice?

Joe: Yes, and I’ve had lots of talks about it with Charlaine as well. Charlaine is actually working on the eleventh book right now. I think we both agreed that fans of the books can have a completely different experience watching the show and the show is different enough that it can surprise readers of the books to see what’s going to happen next. You know Alcide is similar to the character in the books but there are certain differences obviously, he kind of smells a little more of money in the books and is kind of “lumber-jacky” on the show. And of course, as the story goes on it will get further and further away from it. I always say Alan is kind of like dad and Charlaine is kind of like mom. It’s her creativity that birthed the whole thing and Alan kind of keeps it in line.

Question: Is there going to be any interaction where you’re side by side with Alexander. I heard you have about a half an inch over him.

Joe: I’m about half an inch taller than Alex. I heard when I auditioned for the part, not only was Alcide huge in the books but they were looking for someone his size that could square off against him. I haven’t heard that yet but am curious to see.

Question: We saw you in Coconut Creek and it was a pleasure to meet you. You’ve mentioned doing films on your own and such with friends. Do you see yourself directing in the future?

Joe: Yes, there’s actually a documentary that I’m getting off the ground as we speak. I really got into acting through the back door—writing and producing—so definitely and there are a couple of projects that I’m trying to set up around town. Right now, they’re more like actor/producer projects. But down the line, yes. My dad always thought I would wind up as a producer because I’m so bossy.

Question: Would you cast wolves in the film?

Joe: Could be, if we found the right story. But I’ve got my hands full with all the werewolves on True Blood right now. I’ve got enough were wolfing for the next six years at least.

Question: I know there’s a lot of alpha male syndrome between Bill, Alcide, and Eric during the show. Does that translate off screen when you’re off set?

Joe: No, there’s enough room for us all. Everyone is so cool and so welcoming and I did kind of fear that because I have worked on other projects where there was a set alpha male star of the project and didn’t take kindly to other big guys coming around, there was a little Napoleon complex going on. I won’t name names but I’ve definitely come in contact with some of that. But I have to say that True Blood was 100% nice and welcomed me in. I was only signed for six episodes and I didn’t have any idea how long I was going to be around. But everyone treated me like I was a regular, like I belonged there. I think that’s what makes the show so good.

The actors that I truly love and respect the most, I find that in their personal lives, they’re not dramatic. They’re not the tabloid fodder, they’re not getting in trouble every weekend and clubbing. They’re really normal, good family people. That’s really indicative of the cast. They’re really normal in their real lives and really crazy when you turn the camera on. I think that’s makes a really nice combination.

Question: Other than the role of Alcide, what is the ultimate dream role that you would like to play?

Joe: I want to play a super hero, definitely. You know I’d like to do a football movie for my dad, because he didn’t get the football player. So there’s something in me that wants to do something like that for him. Other than that, running up a wall in slow motion, killing aliens, beheading zombies but I also love romantic comedies, I like How I Met Your Mother. Something like that would be great.

Question: In the books, Alcide becomes the Pack Master. Would you like to do that on the show?

Joe: Yes, I’d love to. There’s also cage-fighting matches in the books, that would be a blast.

Question: Hi Joe, first I want to welcome you to Orlando and congratulate you on your engagement. I wish you many, many years of happiness together. I know you’re a big comic book fan. What comic is your favorite of all time and what type do you like to read or watch?

Joe: I like X-Men, which is interesting because I work with Rogue everyday. I was a big fan of The Punisher, you know this big kick-ass Italian guy. I was a big fan of the old black and white Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Casey Jones especially. I was so nervous last weekend to watch, but so unbelievably stoked with The Walking Dead. I’ve been jonesing all week for another episode. Those are a few.

Question: I used to take care of Wayne Crevet of The Giants; they’re really good friends of mine from New Jersey. If you stood in for someone, what team would you want to play for?

Joe: Pittsburg Steelers. I’m a die-hard, bleed black and gold fan and we play you guys on the 19th and I’m going to be there, I’m going to be home.

Question: I was just wondering if you come from a big family and if you’re Italian? Your name sounds very Italian.

Joe: I come from a small family.  It’s just me and my brother, he’s bigger than I am at 6’7” so it’s a little family and my parents were both born in Boston. My father is Sicilian. I was recently in Italy and everyone there pronounced my name right, so that was very nice. And my mother’s side of the family is Austrian, German and Armenian, so it’s a very long story. That’s where I come from.

Question: Thank you for looking over here on the blind side. I would like to thank you for getting me through all my surgeries. My husband probably thanks you too. I just couldn’t remember if you’ve got a six pack or a twelve pack.

Joe: I’m not The Situation. He’s starts doing Shakespeare; I’ll start taking my shirt off. It’s probably like an 8.

Question: I was just wondering, I don’t want you to go anywhere from True Blood, but I wondered if you knew why they wanted Owen back on One Tree Hill?

Joe: Why? Hopefully they liked what I was doing acting wise. I don’t know but I will say that Mark Schwann, the creator, who’s become a great friend of mine over the years, he wanted to bring me back for one more farewell episode, where Millie goes to Alcoholics Anonymous and winds up meeting Owen there after his big crazy drinking, pill taking bout. It’s very dramatic. So I think that one episode had to do with an abbreviated version of a longer plot, but I’m not sure.

Joe really made the fans happy during his appearance at Eyecon. He was charming and funny and VERY wolfish.. I mean, look at that grin! He was also very nice to talk to anyone who wanted to spend a minute or two with him at the Vampire’s Ball. Can’t wait for next season to see what happens with the best werewolf on TV!

(Photo Credit: K S Rose)

Transcription Credit: Tammy Harris

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Now Open! Zazzle Store Featuring the Artwork of True Blood’s Kristin Bauer!

November 15, 2010

The Amanda Foundation

Kristin Bauer van Straten and TrueBloodNet.com have once again teamed up to help The Amanda Foundation. The Amanda Foundation is a pet rescue organization and veterinary clinic. Mrs. Bauer van Straten, who plays Pam on HBO’s hit series True Blood, with the endorsement and permission of Alexander Skarsgard, has very kindly donated her artwork to appear on mugs, T-shirts and other wearable and displayable items! Alexander Skarsgard brilliantly plays the tall blond Viking vampire Eric Northman on True Blood.

Get Alexander’s mug on a mug!

There are literally dozens of items available for purchase and all profits go directly to benefit The Amanda Foundation. Here are examples of just a few items!

Kristin Bauer's drawing of Alex on a Black MugKristin Bauer's drawing of Alex on a White T-shirtWant to have Alexander’s face around the office but don’t have a place for photos? Get a mug for work! In fact, why not get two? One for home and one for the office! That way you can cuddle up to a nice warm cup ‘o Alex whenever the mood hits you. OR Get Alex on your favorite T-shirt design and wear him out and about or to bed at night!

The Amanda Foundation

The Amanda Foundation was founded in 1976, and has since placed thousands of homeless animals into loving homes. A nonprofit organization, they not only rescue dogs and cats but they also sponsor a free web page for those that need to rehome their furry, feathered or scaled companions; sponsor spay and neuter education programs and operate a spay-mobile; and have their own veterinary hospital. They also run a feral cat spay/neuter and vaccination program that has treated over 1000 feral cats including 200 in one day! All profits from this store go directly to The Amanda Foundation to support their worthy work.

Black Tote with The Amanda Foundation LogoAt The Amanda Foundation Zazzle store you can also buy items with their logo! Imagine that! Of course, we didn’t stop with just a bag! You can buy mugs and T-shirts with The Amanda Foundation Logo too! Help keep plastics out of the oceans and make the Earth a better place and show your love and support of animals everywhere by carrying this great tote and lots of other great items.

Great Holiday Gifts!

Don’t forget that these items make great holiday gifts for that special True Blood fan!

Buy Now at http://www.zazzle.com/amanda_foundation

True Blood’s Kristin Bauer van Straten

Kristin Bauer van Straten, actor and artist, is best known for her portrayal of Vampire Pam on HBO’s hit TV series, “True Blood” but she, along with her musician husband Abri van Straten, is also a passionate advocate for the care and well-being of the animals with which we share this planet.

Kristin Bauer van Straten and Aubry van Straten at Eyecon 2010

To learn more about Kristen Bauer please visit her website at KristinBauer.com .

To read more about The Amanda Foundation and the many services offered to the community please go to: AmandaFoundation.org

To BUY merchandise go to: http://www.zazzle.com/amanda_foundation

Logo Courtesy of The Amanda Foundation

Artwork Courtesy of Kristin Bauer van Straten

Photo Credit: K. S. Rose

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Let’s Get Sam Trammell on Saturday Night Live

November 8, 2010

True Blood actor Sam Trammel at Eyecon

Sam Can Rock SNL

During his recent EyeCon appearance, Sam Trammell, who plays resident good guy Sam Merlotte on HBO‘s True Blood, admitted that he would love to host Saturday Night Live.  We here at Truebloodnet.com would also love to see that happen!  Fans of the show know what a talented actor Trammell is and we know he would do a fantastic job. His Eyecon appearance was exciting and hysterical. Not only would he, in our opinion, make a great SNL host but he would also rock as a late night host.  He just has ALL the right stuff for that kind of gig. He’s handsome, funny, quick on his feet and loves talking to people. So let’s start by getting him on SNL and see where it goes from there!

How You Can Help

Click here to contact NBC and recommend Sam for the show.  Be sure to choose Saturday Night Live from the drop down menu and in the Subject Line put Sam Trammell as Host.  In the Comment section put in a note as to why you think he would be a great host for the show!  You can also click here to post a comment on the NBC Forum indicating your support for Sam as a host.

Let’s show our support for Sam Trammell and help him get on the show!

(Photo Credit: K S Rose)

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A Taste of Last Year’s Eyecon-Nelsan Ellis

October 30, 2010

Last year at Eyecon we all got to mix and mingle with True Blood’s Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette), Sam Trammell (Sam Merlotte), Ashley Jones (Daphne) and Allan Hyde (Godric). It was incredible! The actors were really fun and friendly and accessible, mingling at the cocktail party and sitting down to breakfast and dinner. Well this year’s Eyecon 2010 is rapidly approaching and we thought if you were teetering on the edge of going .. this little article might help you make up your mind.

Nelsan

Question: University of Florida vs. University of Alabama in the NCAA Football championship, who wins?

Nelsan: ALABAMA! I’m from Alabama, ya’ll.

Question: What is the difference between you and Lafayette?

Nelsan: Well, me and Lafayette are one in the same. The difference is in what we do in life, but we’re the same person. Of course I’m not a prostitute and I don’t sell vampire blood and sleep with the same people he sleeps with, but you know, we’re from the same place in life. The street type; we have a little street smarts. I’m shyer than Lafayette but if I’m pushed, I can certainly be as bold as he is. I would like to clip some tail every now and then.

Question: How did you get into acting?

Nelsan: It was accidental. I went to Chicago to stay with my father’s side of the family. In Alabama, in my town, we don’t have any arts or acting or dance or anything like that. I went to high school in Chicago for three years and discovered acting, put it down to the military, then I picked it [acting] back up and honestly, it’s the only thing I think I know how to do. It’s the only thing that holds my attention for more than 30 seconds. So I guess they picked me because it’s something I know how to do. I discovered it in high school and I picked it up after the military.

Question: How about the fierceness that the character has? How do you prepare for that? You just seem so calm and poised but when the character comes out, who do you think of to become Lafayette?

Nelsan: My Mama. My Mama, yeah. I don’t think nobody’s as bold and fearless and as courageous as my mama, so all that stuff I get I mold from my mama. That stuff I get from Lafayette comes right from Ms. Peaches, the best in Alabama.

Question: You mentioned the military, what branch were you in?

Nelsan: Hoorah Marine Corp! The best branch of all. The others were a bunch of pussys! I’ll say it and I’ll say it to their faces.

Question: Nelsan, are there any other future plans for something we might be seeing you in other than just “True Blood?”

Nelsan: Well, there’s a movie coming out in June called “Secretariat.” It’s a Disney flick with John Malkovich and Diane Lane and Debra Ross. I play Eddie Sweat and hopefully it’s coming out in June. Hopefully, it’ll come out. ~laughs~

Question: Hoorah! Can you give us any funny stories about fans coming up to you thinking you are Lafayette?

Nelsan: Well, you know Lafayette is a sexually free individual and he certainly welcomes, for the right amount of money, he’ll welcome anything. I’ve gotten some weird propositions. I’ve also been groped at parties; I’ve been followed home. Those are funny, they are funny in retrospect but when you got like three following you home … But people think that I’m Lafayette so they sometimes deal with me as if I’ll excuse the things that Lafayette will excuse which nooo, no. ~laughs~ And they think I’m as fun as Lafayette. I’m actually boring.

Question: I’m from truebloodnet.com and we asked our readers what thesy would like to know from the actors here. They asked us to asked you guys, has “True Blood” changed your life and if so, how?

Nelsan: Well, I can pay rent now. And my father’s glad about it. I can pay rent; I gained weight because I eat consistently now. It hasn’t been a big change only in that I can pay my own bills. I’m not struggling as much as I did when I first started acting. And, you know, having to be careful with certain people because some fanatic fans get out of hand. But you know, I make more money and I can take care of my family now.

Question: That’s good. I wanted to talk to you about when you went to school with Rutina?

Nelsan: Yes, we’re good friends so it’s crazy then when three years out of school, we’re playing cousins on the show. Funny story about Rutina – I know I’m gonna get in trouble for telling this – but we’re very, very, very good friends. Her husband‘s school was also Julliard. We went to go see a play in New York and Rutina was stopped by the police because they thought she was a hooker. Because Rutina has a body out of this world and it was in the summer time so she had on some shorts and she had on this nice shirt and the police actually stopped her. I looked at them like, “What’s going on?” She’s a first-year student at the Julliard school; she is not on the corner trying to get rent money. Funny story. She’s gonna get upset that I told y’all that. She’s gonna read it somewhere and call me ~high pitched scream~ “NELSANNNN! Why’d you go and tell people that?” No, we’re very good friends. My sister was murdered my third year of Julliard and Rutina and I were supposed to go off and do a play together and I couldn’t do it. It was during the summer but she was sort of my representation there to be like, “Look, he can’t be here for obvious reasons.” She has sort of always been in my therapy process. When my sister was murdered, I sort of checked out of school and Michael Conna told me, “You’re not really doing anything in school,” and I said, “Yeah, because my mind’s somewhere else.” He gave me the option of either being kicked out or, he said, whatever you need to do, I’ll help you do it. So I said I would do a play and I did a play, a whole lot of readings about it, and Rutina was one of the main people involved all the way until the end. I’m still working with domestic violence stuff. People think I’m crazy but she’s always one of the main people who will come out and help me though it. Yes, she’s a very, very, very, very good friend.

On Being Chained

Question: Was it very difficult to film the scene where you’re chained in the first episode of season two?

Nelsan: At first it wasn’t difficult. I’m not one of those actors that have to come in and relive a bad experience. I just go in and do the work. But with that scene – also because it was graphic and violent – it just creeped me out. It was only difficult in that the body looked real and all the blood. It was cold and wet and stankin’ so it was only difficult in that respect.

Question: Where is this going to lead between you and Eric? Is there something going on or…

Nelsan: You mean in real life or …

You know I honestly don’t know. Well Alex said his intention was that Eric is attracted to Lafayette’s character because of Lafayette’s entrepreneurship but there was never intended for anything funny between the two characters. It’s something to explore, I think. Maybe Alan will go there, have a dream or something, I don’t know.

Question: Do you think it would be funny to play a vampire? Do you like vampires?

Nelsan: Not now. I think one of the things that makes Lafayette, Lafayette is the fact that he’s human and he can do as much as he does in terms of his survivor skills. If he was a vampire, I think he would be evil and cruel. The power, I think, would go to his head. Eventually I think Alan can make him a vampire but not till the seventh or eighth season.

Question: We love those words.

Nelsan: Hopefully, y’all continue to watch and all that stuff and buy the DVDs. That’s Alan’s shameful, “Buy the DVDs” plug. ~laughs~

Question: I am very sorry for your loss with your sister that you mentioned. Do you work with charities for violence against women or violence against people? Do you have a charity that you work with?

Nelsan: I do. I do anything with domestic violence and child molestation. Halle Berry has an organization in Southern California called the Genesis Center and I always work worth them. Whenever we do something, the proceeds go to them and, more importantly, they come out with all their resources and make it the life of the event on behalf of the cause. Domestic violence is an epidemic worldwide and particularly in America but because it’s so taboo, we still don’t want to deal with the fact that some of us beat our women and children in secret and so it’s just a destructive secret to have. It’s called The Genesis Center. It’s a wonderful organization and its in Southern California they do great things. They will actually take a whole family and put them in a safety house. The statistic is, a woman is most likely to get murdered if she leaves, which is a horrible statistic. To me, it says something about our law system. The Genesis Center, what they do if a woman can call and says, “Listen, I need to get away form my husband,” they will actually sneak in and take the whole family out and out and put them in a safe house where the husband can have no contact and can’t get to the family. It’s a wonderful organization and Halle Berry brings a lot of money in because, of course, she’s been through it.

Question: Were you an Alan Ball fan before “True Blood” with “Six Feet Under?” Also when you sign up for an HBO show, obviously there’s going be a lot of nakedness going on. How uncomfortable is that?

Nelsan: I was a fan of Alan Ball’s with “American Beauty” and “Six Feet Under.” I think it was one of the best shows on TV. Especially the season finale and quite frankly, I don’t think I ever seen an episode of a show that was quite so perfect. It was just perfect. I’m queasy about my nakedness. I grew up in a strict Christian family that believed in covering it up, so that when we get to the points where I got to show my no no parts, it’s gonna be nerve wracking. – especially when you’re looking at 80 people. You have all these people and you have to strip down. Anna is used to it at this point so it’s easy for her and she just takes it well. Me on the other hand, I’ll be like, “Can we just have the director here? Do I have to take my drawers off too?” You just wear a little sock; the men just wear a sock. That’s it. Sometimes it comes off or sometimes something crazy happens and like Mehcad Brooks that plays Eggs? They could not find one to fit him. It was huge scandal on set, “We can’t find a sock to fit Mehcad. We gotta go out and get a special one for him.” And then it fell off. So it was awkward in the scene. I was trying to put it back on and Rutina’s trying to block me. She’s probably going to get upset with me for saying this.

Nelsan Ellis as Lafayette in Gold

Dressing the Part

Question: Do they let you keep the gold pants and the gold underwear?

Nelsan: They don’t let me keep nothing. HBO, bless their hearts, but no, they ain’t giving me none of that … I’ll have to steal it if I want to keep it and even then, I’ll probably get some phone calls. “Nelsan, did you see those pants because we can’t find them in inventory?” My father hates those pants.

Question: You have women falling everywhere …

What was it like working on “The Soloist?” Do they really work on a lot of the (can’t make her out)

Nelsan: Yes, they hired 15 homeless people from the homeless shelter, which was a good thing because they got paid as much as we did. It’s work experience and we got to actually see because we spent so much time in that district downtown where you actually come in face-to-face with how just egregious homelessness is in California. It should not be; it’s just out of control and it’s because of those of us who live there. We have 200,000 homeless people in California – it’s ridiculous. Many of them are piled up in one place in California. It just should not be and many of them are mentally ill. From what I understand, some of them were dumped there because their families could not pay for, or continue to keep them in a home, so they were dumped out there. That’s the one lesson many of the actors got, including Robert Downey Jr., is how much we now have to deal with this huge problem of homelessness in California. It’s just bad, it really is. But yeah it was good to work on.

Question: How old are you?

Nelsan: I’m 28.

Question: Do you have any kissing scenes this year on anything?

Nelsan: Well, I understand they’re going to give me a friend so I guess in having a friend there’ll be some kissing. We’ll see, we’ll see. I don’t like really kissing on screen. I’m like, eh. It’s hard to fake a kiss so you got to do it for real and I got to kiss men. ~laughs~! I mean, I have no with problem kissing men, but you know, it’s just hard for me.

Question: What is your favorite episode in each season?

Nelsan: First season my favorite episode is episode five, which is kind of egotistical because I have a lot of scenes in episode five. My favorite in the second season … Which one? I think I have a couple. Jason was so marvelous in the second season that I think the three episodes that he dominated are my favorite because he was so freaking good. He’s always good but the second season is he was funny – especially his Rambo-type and saving the world. He was hilarious. I don’t know which one but there were three that were my favorite because Jason sort of took them over and he was hilarious.

Question: The character that you play on “True Blood” – are you more tempted to play this sort of role in the future? I know you’re branching out. It’s great doing different kinds of roles, but is this something you’re thinking of even more than this kind of genre?

Nelsan: Oh the genre, or the character? Lafayette is so out there and I don’t know if I can play his kind of character again because I don’t know if I can find a character that would top his. So no more characters like Lafayette. The genre? No, probably not. I’m more of a dramatic dude so, I lucked out on getting “True Blood” because I don’t think there is any other circumstance that I would be in a vampire flick other than the show. So I think this is it on the genre and this is probably it on the character. Then we move on …

Question: I have a two-part question. First of all, have you read any of the novels Charlaine Harris has written and what the show is based on?

Nelsan: Yes I, read several of the books.

Question: And second, we know she did a cameo in the last episode of the show of the second season. Which part did she play?

Nelsan: She was at the bar. She just played a patron. You’d miss her if you blinked. The camera just slid right; you don’t even see her whole face, you just get sort of see this profile. If you actually didn’t see her how she looked, you would never even guess it was her. She has a line but it’s like, real quick.

Influences Past and Present

Question: Who has influenced you with your acting and who would you like to work with in the future?

Nelsan: Morgan Freeman, Jeffrey Wright, Denzel Washington, Lawrence Fishburne, Angela Bassett. I love me some Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie. I’m sort of eclectic in all the people that I like that influence me. My biggest influence is probably Jeffrey Wright. I think of all the actors he’s the only one I can see a style I’m the most relatable to. Who would I like to work with in the future? Lawrence Fishburne, Jeffrey Wright, Jaimee Fox again, who else? I’d like to work with whoever will hire me. Obviously if you gonna meet my (quote) ? , I wanna work with you. But you know if I were to work with Denzel Washington, I’d probably be pissing myself. I think there are kids in the room … sorry! ~laughs~

Question: If you were not acting, what job would you do? What’s your dream job?

Nelsan: I would be a bum. No, I’d like to say if I wasn’t acting, I would probably be a preacher or a lawyer but I don’t know. I sublimate though acting. I get out because I’m not an emotional dude; I don’t cry and all that stuff so I can get out all my emotions in acting. So if I didn’t sublimate, I would probably be like a criminal. I have all this stuff I want to get out – I would just want to beat a person up. So I don’t know. I would like to say a lawyer or a preacher. Then maybe I just might be like a criminal. Maybe I might be Lafayette.

Question: What would be your most memorable scene in the first and second seasons?

Nelsan: The Lafayette AIDS burger. That’s only because I like the physical stuff so yeah, the physical stuff in the scene just sort of worked well. All the acting and directing worked well. I got to kick some ass. It just worked well so that’s my most memorable scene in both seasons.

Question: Did your agent prepare you for the convention experience or did he just kind of send you off here to the wolves?

Nelsan: I didn’t even know this was a convention that focused mainly on “True Blood.” I thought I was going to come here and see some “Twilight” people, some “Supernatural” people, some “Buffy” people. All this attention’s sort of disconcerting. Is it just us? Really? Now where are Anna and Steve? They’re the lead faces. No I didn’t know they didn’t prepare me for it. They just sort of sent me out here. Yeah, I mean they made me come because they wanted their commission. They just sent me out here, didn’t give me no information. But I’m havin’ fun! Are y’all? ~applause~

Question: So how did you land the role of Lafayette?

Nelsan: Well, my agent called me and he was like, “There’s something I think you can get.” I said, “Really?” He goes, “Yeah, there’s like a drag queen part.” I was like, “Adam.” He was like, “Remember that monologue I saw you do at Julliard, Ms. Raze?” I said yeah so he sent me the script. I loved the script. I went to audition for it and Libby Goldstein, the casting director, is like, “You’re too masculine. You’re just so masculine. You know this is a drag queen part right?” I said, “Yeah.” She’s like I know you black people have a hard time in getting parts like this. I mean, it wasn’t offensive she was just being honest. She was like, “I think you’re cute so just show me what you can do.” So I did it and she said, “Well, I’m going to bring you back for Alan.” So I came back for Alan and it wasn’t a good second audition. I called my agency and it wasn’t working out; it just wasn’t. I came back for the third audition and it just wasn’t good. I came back for the fourth audition and I was like, I’m not going to get the part so I’m going to go up there and play off all of my instincts. At one point, I put my ass in Libby’s face. I had my legs crossed and Alan was sitting there and I’d be in his face. I was like, if I don’t get the job at least I’m going to play off all the instincts. I was getting up walking around and the person who was taping it she had to follow me. I walked out and I was like well, I know I didn’t get it, but at least I did everything that I wanted to do in the audition. Four days later, they said that I got it. I was like, you must be crazy. He was high. But he picked me. I don’t know why.

Question: Do they allow you to improvise on your character? Because you seem to own the part so well and I was just curious.

Nelsan: Well, no. I can get away with throwing in some phrases here and there so improvise is not quite the right word because you can’t really improvise. With Alan, when it’s his script and he’s directing, absolutely. And some other writers too, but some of the writers, I can’t even throw a phrase in. They’ll stop me like, “No, please stick with my words.” So I’ll have to go, “Okay.” So yeah, I throw in some phrases here and there but you can’t improvise on TV.

Question: You said you read seven of the books. They introduce a lot of new characters in each of the additional books. Are there any of the characters that you hope to see from the books come to “True Blood?”

Nelsan: I would want to see Russell. I’m interested in seeing Russell. The tall, bald-headed dude – Quinn? I’m interested in seeing him because I’m interested in who is going to play that dude. Because if he’s going to be as bad ass on the show as he is in the books, I want to see what I can play Quinn.

I don’t know about Vin Diesel.

Question: That’s who she based him on.

Nelsan: Well, then maybe. Who am I to say? Who else? You know what? The demons.
I’d really like to see the demons, like the old man and the two chicks. I mean, who will they get to play them and the old dude? Oh, the fairies? I’m not into the fairies. Fairies ain’t got no muscle on them. Especially the brother. I mean what did he do? He’s just pretty and he would show off And he thinks he’s pretty, he’s pretty, he’s pretty; we get it. He don’t do anything. It’s like, what’s your function dude? What do you do? Like he has no function other than being pretty. His sister – she’s the one that takes care of Sookie. She has a good function. She needs protection. The brother? I’m territorial with my pretty.

Question: I was wondering with the books was there any particular part you want to see?

Nelsan: I want to be around for the war between the vampires and the werewolves. That’s my favorite part in the book. I think it’s the fifth book. I want to be and I want to fight in that war – on the vampires’ side because they gonna win. Yeah I want to fight. It would be interesting if Jason fights in there as a werewolfe. I’m sorry, did I just spoil that for someone?

Question: If you don’t see yourself in this specific kind of genre, where do you want to branch out? I noticed a lot of people that you mentioned also do a little more serious work. What is your favorite? What is your goal?

Nelsan: Wow. I haven’t figured all that out yet. I’d like to do more serious movies – not that “True Blood” isn’t serious. I’d like to do more in the way what Jeffrey and Lawrence Fishburn and Denzel, more on that road. In terms of a goal for myself … I don’t know. I still haven’t found out how completely evolved I am as an actor. To figure that out, ultimately. My goal is to work. That’s a big thing for the actor because our life span in terms of just working … It’s like most of the time we’re at home, chilling, auditioning but actually working? There’s very few of us, so my goal is to continue to consistently work. What jobs I get, only God can tell. Hopefully, I’ll work on something like good movies.

Question: I love the way you portray Lafayette. It’s exactly the way I thought it would be. And I have to ask you, what character in “True Blood” would you like your character to do bad things with?

Nelsan: You’re gonna have to clarify. You mean legal things or …

I would mostly like to do illegal things with Eric. Because I mean, plain and simple, there’s nobody more powerful. And I think he schemes as darkly as Lafayette. I would most likely do naughty things with Anna Paquin. Steven Moyer did good.

Question: What are some of your favorite films?

Nelsan: Oddly enough, “Interview with a Vampire” only because it’s a drama. “Interview with a Vampire,” “Shawshank Redemption.” Let me think now that I’m put on the spot. Let’s see, I don’t know. I have a lot of Asian movies that are my favorite films but they have gone out of my head.

Cast Tidbits

Question: The casting is amazing. What do you think of Evan Rachel Wood as the queen?

Nelsan: I was surprised by it, but I do like it. It’s hard because you have nothing to compare it to, to say, ah, Angelina Jolee would be better. But I think it’s a part that you can’t really mess up because the writing is so good. All you gotta do is talk. And she’s hot. She’s great to look at. What do you think? I have a question for you. What do you think about the casting of Evan Rachel Wood for the queen?

Question: I love her. Someone said a horrible thing is that 97 percent of the people are disappointed.

Nelsan: So who did they think should play the queen?

Question: I hear Michelle Pfeiffer. She was supposed to be young in the books.

Nelsan: I will say this, I thought they would get a woman with more age and ravenous. I’m not saying she’s ugly; I like her as the queen. I just thought they would get more Michelle Forbes and she could tear the frickin’ screen a new asshole. I mean she just drop kicks it hard because you have Michelle Forbes on the screen. But of course, Michelle Forbes had a whole season. Rachel had now many seasons? Give her a chance!

Question: Anybody who reads seven books just to prepare for a role is just amazing, but I’m interested to know, what do you think of (???)

Nelsan: Well, I read the books because my agent told me to. When I read the first two books, they’re so addictive I just read the other ones. But he told me you better read the books so you know what world this is. Vladimir Nabrokhof is one of my favorite authors. His prose is otherworldly. “Lolita” I can read nine times a year just because of his prose is just amazing, and every French writer, really. I typically lean towards European writers. For some reason, their language, their grasp of our language; they write it sometimes a little better than us.

Question: What’s it like working with Pam?

Nelsan: Oh, she’s wonderful! I love that chick. She’s wonderful. She is kind of like her character. She’s wonderful and funny. Her and Eric together, they’re a riot. In fact whenever I see him without her, I’m always looking for her to enter or come out and say a snazzy line. I love Pam.

Question: I think you would have liked the queen because people are so hot for him and all the blondes (not sure

Nelsan: They just want to kiss on him.

Question: What do you watch on TV besides “True Blood?”

Nelsan: “Dexter,” ~applause~ “Medium.” Is “Supernatural” back on? ~applause~ You know, I used to love “Heroes” but I’m phasing it out because I’m like, what are they doing? What is going on? No continuity. It’s like every episode is so different. Is “Smallville” still on because that’s my show. I just got into “Grey’s Anatomy.” I never watched TV but when you’re on a TV, show you go to all these functions with other actors and they come up and go, “I like ‘True Blood.’” And then you sit there going, what show are you on? And they’re like, “Supernatural.” I literally have to look at TV because of my peers now. It’s TV and you have to support them because they support you. A lot of shows I watch just because I want to know who I’m talking to. Because we are invited to the awards ceremonies like the Golden Globes and all that and you’re sitting at the table and it just looks pitiful when you have nothing else to say about anyone else’s show. Especially when they’ve been running for seven years.

Hello. You’re gorgeous. I’m going to get in trouble. Wow, this better not show up on YouTube.

Interviwer: It’s already there.

Nelsan: It’s already on YouTube? You got a live feed going? Oh my goodness. I am in so much trouble. I betcha McCaden and Tina is texting me right now. I’m sorry go ahead.

Question: Would you want to do any other show on HBO like “Curb Your Enthusiasm?”

Nelsan: I don’t do improv. “Curb your Enthusiasm” is improv.

Question: Is there any other show like, “Entourage?”

Nelsan: Every man wants to get on “Entourage.” On “Entourage,” they’re bastards and they’re fun. Honestly I don’t think there’s any other show on TV that’s as good as “True Blood.”

~APPLAUSE~

No other show can measure up.

Oh no, no, no, make no mistake, I am gangster in that. I will tell anybody to their face, “True Blood” is the best show on TV. I don’t care how much you love that show, how bad you may think you are because you ain’t gonna beat my ass. “True Blood” is the best show on TV.

Question: So, I’m just curious and I am sorry for anyone who hasn’t read the book because this is going to be a major spoiler. Lafayette’s character is very different in the books because he died. So I was wondering when you got the part, were you signed on to be in any more seasons?

Nelsan: No, it was only a one year contract. But Alan did tell me I was going to live beyond 12 episodes, and he was very cavalier about it. He was like, “You know you’re not going to die, right?” I said no I didn’t, but thanks for telling me. And is good to work in the middle of a recession so God bless him.

Yes M’am. Hello.

Question: Hello, how are you?

Nelsan: I’m good how are you?

Question: This is such a delight. We all want to thank you for being here.

Nelsan: Thank you for inviting me and all the people who invited me. It’s where he is the one who invited me is not here and thanks everybody and thanks everybody and Godric. ~laughs~

Question: One quick question. The girl who sang in the band, the Christian band … I understand that she’s a soap opera star. Would you happen to know her name?

Nelsan: I don’t know but I just know when I saw it, “she’s good” I don’t know who she is. She’s on “Days of our Lives.” Wow, I did not know that but she is good.

MC: Alright sorry to cut it off but we got to bring in this old guy.

Nelsan: Godric has to come up y’all!

Transcription: April Lollar

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Tanya Wright Talks About True Blood’s Kenya and Butterly Rising

October 15, 2010

Tanya Wright on Red Pillows

If you ever want to have a great, intelligent and fun conversation with an actor we highly recommend talking to Tanya Wright who plays True Blood‘s Sherriff’s Department Officer Kenya. Tanya has had a fascinating life and knows the entertainment business inside out from acting, to producing to writing-she’s done it all and best of all, she’s not afraid to color outside the box. So get out your Crayola’s guys… and enjoy our conversation with Ms. Wright!

Tanya’s Early Years

TBN: Reading your bio it states that you grew up in the Bronx, New York and then earned scholarships to George School in Pennsylvania, a Quaker boarding school. Then you completed an independent/writing major at Vassar College.
Can you tell us a little bit about those early years?  How did a girl from the Bronx end up at a Quaker Boarding school?

TW: First let me say that a lot of people get Quaker and Amish confused and they are not the same thing. In fact, I was on the subway the other day and some Amish people came on the subway. It could be like a scene out of a movie with New York and its gritty streets and then these people come in with bonnets and these mid 18th century garb and it was so funny. I was watching peoples’ reactions to the Amish people but for me it was like “OK, these people are Amish and I’m familiar with that world”. Quaker is very different. Quakers are very much a part of contemporary society and they are conscientious objectors. They are plain people and they are called plain people in that they are very simple living and they believe the light of God exists equally in everyone. It was a great way to grow up. It’s very different, obviously, from the Bronx, from the mean streets of the Bronx, to this Quaker boarding school existence with rolling lawns. We called our teachers by their first name. We wore Birkenstocks and it was all very crunchy granola. It is still the basis from which I live my life. I do sometimes have difficulty in Hollywood because there is no hierarchy in the Quaker religion and there is aggressive hierarchy in Hollywood and I just didn’t grow up that way.

TBN: How did you end up going there?

TW: I received a scholarship. My sister and I got a scholarship for academic achievement and we went there for 4 years. It was a wonderful, great experience.

TBN: So you got to go with your sister so it made it nicer.

TW: (laughing) The sibling rivalry was pretty hard core so we didn’t speak to each other in high school but we are really good friends now.

TBN: Growing up did you always dream of pursuing an acting career or was it secondary to writing? What was the driving force to make the transition from writing to acting?

TW: It was secondary to acting yes. Writing is what I always wanted to do. I think that I was, if I am honest with myself, scared to admit that I wanted to be an actor too, because that would require other things of me. It would require me speaking in public which is something that I really didn’t do much as a child. I was very shy and acting is just putting myself out there in a way that writing didn’t require of you. Acting was the thing that scared me a little bit more than writing and writing was the thing that sort of carried me on. There was no transition–, it was more like inclusion. from one to the other—from acting to writing I do both I included acting, writing in my acting. It was sort of both.
TBN: What was your very first performance and how did it go?

TW: Oh my God! My very first performance was as the little birch tree. I played the little birch tree. I had no lines. Not one line. I just stood on the stage and I remember it vividly! Looking down at people and I was just the birch tree standing on the stage from beginning to end. And I guess I was hooked.

TBN: That was a perfect beginning, especially if you are afraid to speak, a non speaking role.

TW: A non speaking role. That was a great question, no one has ever asked me that.

TBN: Did you start off on stage in New York or go directly to LA to start your acting career?

TW: Yes I did. I spent some time at the williamstown theatre festival in Massachusetts before I went to Los Angeles.

TBN: What were some of the plays that you did?

TW: We did a play called “Orestes” and “Twelfth Night”. We did some play with “Hanging Woman” and we work shopped “Othello”.

TBN: That doesn’t sound like a very upbeat play.

TW: What, “Othello”?

TBN: No, no, “Hanging Woman” .

TW: No it wasn’t. This man literally had women hanging off him. Not like hanging by a rope!

Tanya is a Multi-talented Force of Nature!

TBN: Your screenplays have been critically acclaimed! “A Turn to Grace,” was a semi-finalist in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ annual Nicholl’s Screenwriting Competition and “Prelude to a Revolution” accepted and performed by the Mark Taper Forum’s Blacksmyth’s Playwriting Program. Can you tell us what these plays were about?

TW: “A Turn to Grace” is a screenplay and it was one of my early screenplays. A friend of mine in Hollywood read it and she suggested I enter it into the Nicholl’s Screenwriting Competition. I had no idea what it was or who was doing it or how competitive it was. I was a semifinalist in that. “Prelude to a Revolution” is a play I wrote along the lines of a play called for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enough. It doesn’t have a conventional structure. It is music and dance and poetry, but it’s all a story.

TBN: Not only do you act, and are a successful screenwriter, but now you are also developing a children’s cartoon?  Can you tell us about it?

TW: Yes it’s one of the things that I have been working on, a children’s cartoon.

TBN: So has it been sold yet, or is it still in development?

TW: No it still is in development.

TBN: And do you want to tell us what it’s about? Or do you prefer not to?

TW: It’s called “Mikey and the Fabulous Fear Fighters”. That’s all I’ll say right now.

TBN: What was your favorite role played in television or film, besides “True Blood”?

TW: There was a Mini Series I did years ago called “Mama Flora’s Family which was Alex Haley’s last book. It was shot on location in Atlanta with Cicely Tyson and Blair Underwood and Queen Latifah. I would say that would be my favorite role because I had to age from 15 to age 37.

TBN: What actor would you want to work with?

TW: Sean Penn. He’s divine. There is a scene in “Mystic River” that’s just like geez…. He is present as an actor. I would love to work with him.

Tanya Talks True Blood

Tanya Wright as True Blood KenyaTBN: What do you think about your character in the book vs. the show?

TW: I like that the TV show is sort of doing its own thing with Kenya. It’s different but the genesis of her is the same. What’s great about the show is that the writers and producers are good at scratching the surface of the actors that play the roles and letting them go a little bit.

TBN: I just have to tell you that Kenya is one of my favorite characters. I’m ex-military and so to see another woman being the strong arm character is great.

TW: She is way tougher than me.

TBN: She’s the toughest one in the whole Bon Temps Department, except for Jason who isn’t really….

TW: He’s a hot mess, the hottest….

TBN: So far, what’s been the most rewarding and the most challenging aspect of working on “True Blood?”

TW: Well what’s rewarding is that the people there are so enormously talented. I would say that constantly in interviews, the cast I think overwhelmingly is an extraordinary group of people. I think when a show is successful it has a lot to do with the people who work on it. The people: meaning the crew, and the producers, and writers, and actors. It’s like the stars have to align in some way. Everyone contributes to this show in an extraordinary way and they are the most talented group of individuals I’ve worked with and I have worked with some pretty big shows before. I think that they are talented, they are funny, and they’re kind. You can’t ask for a better work situation than that. And then you get to play in this heightened reality where people are biting and they are turning into werewolves. You get to say these firecracker lines and you are like, “they are actually gonna say this on television? Wonderful!” So it’s a lot of fun for an actor. A lot of fun.

TBN: What would you like to see develop for your character?

TW: I would love to see little Miss Kenya put in situations where she is forced to believe. You know where something is happening right before her eyes and she can’t be dismissive as she has been about some things. Where she’s really forced to deal with something that she has experienced in this world of vampires and we see her change because she has to.

TBN: When you said that I thought, “Yeah she has been in denial and is the salt of the earth.” That would be interesting. I’m sure in the 22 years that the show is going to run that they’ll have time to do that.

TW: (laughing) 22 years? From your lips……

TBN: See, I envision Kenya actually as forcing reality to meet her vision instead of….

TW: I love that! I love that.

TBN: Like Tara would still see the pig and the naked woman and Kenya will see the pig.

TW: That would be hysterical!

Butterfly Rising cover artwork

Doing Things the Wright Way

TBN: What inspired you to write “Butterfly Rising”?

TW: Well, I was listening to an Aretha Franklin song one day at the beach with a friend, and I was listening to the words of the song. Together they made the composite of a woman. Boy, it would be really interesting to tell the whole story of this woman with the lyrics of this song. So that was the jumping off point for me. Then I went in my brain and made the woman into two women. I was really inspired by her music. Music is definitely what inspired the movie and definitely the book. The book is written in a sort of lyrical fashion I think.

TBN: It’s interesting that by splitting her into two people you allowed her to have conversations with herself. Who or what did you base the characters Lilah Belle and Rose on?

TW: I think that they are composites of everyone and no one. They are composites of similarities of me and sort of opposites of me. I would say that Rose and Lilah, and I could have played either role, but I chose to play Rose because I was more interested in playing that role just as an actor. But they are opposites in many ways. Rose is a woman who is fiercely independent. She has a torrid reputation with other women’s’ husbands in this small town. She is fierce and sort of actually quite masculine characteristics and aggressively sexual. Lilah Belle is just the opposite. Her brother just dies which is something that I can definitely relate to. She is a singer that doesn’t actually sing anymore when we meet her in the movie because her grief is so overwhelming. She’s odd, she dances in the streets, and she dresses strange. She is just on a different rhythm in this small town. These two women are thrown together by circumstances. They have to make a hasty retreat out of town. And they set out on the open road to find a better life for themselves.

TBN: If they are like you and not like you, are you the one dancing in the street?

TW: Sure, there’s a part of me that would like to dance in the street. I don’t literally dance in the street. I would say that there’s a lot that goes on in my mind that I don’t necessarily live out in my life. My life is simple actually. But I have a very vivid imagination.

TBN: Did you have any challenges in writing the book or directing the film? What were they?

TW: No more challenges than are normal. I do well with challenges. I certainly don’t invite them but I don’t get all crazy about them. So I just, if it’s a challenge I just take it in bite size pieces and I don’t try and solve the whole problem in a second. I just have to take a step, deal with that step, and when that step is taken care of then I move on to the next step. Then ultimately I find myself on the other side of the problem. That’s a good thing.

TBN: What do you hope readers take away from the novel after reading the final page?

TW: I hope that this novel inspires people to live their dream. After my brother died about six years ago, his death inspired me to get on with the business of living my life in the way that I wanted to do it. That’s why I write the book, and made the movie. These were all things that were percolating in my mind and quite frankly I hadn’t cultivated the courage to do it. Then he died and you sit with yourself for a while and you try to figure out well if your time is over tomorrow what do you want to be doing? And then I got to writing.

TBN: How long did it take you to write the book?

TW: I write in a slightly obsessive fury. So the first draft of the book took me 30 days. I keep a very aggressive schedule, where I don’t talk to anyone, I do not eat, I do not see anyone, I do not talk on the phone, nothing. All I do is eat, sleep, breathe, think. I put myself on a schedule and I got through it. For me, it’s important as a writer to get through the first draft because you can make a lot of excuses not to. Now as far as the rewriting is concerned, it took several months, but I got my thoughts on the page in 30 days after I had an outline in my mind.

TBN: So you mentally outlined everything and then went back and wrote it? I know some people write everything down on cards or… everyone has their own method. Was it hard to get a publisher or since you are well known for certain things was it easier?

TW: I didn’t shop for a publisher. I self-published this book. I did not approach a publisher at any time. It wasn’t something that – I just didn’t see the point – I just wanted to get the book out. I had a vision for it, the film was shot, I knew what I wanted to say, I knew how I wanted to do it, and if I involved other people and publishers, it was going to take a lot of time and be more involved and be a lot more complicated than this process needed to be. So I am so glad I did self publish. Next time around I do have an idea for a book , I probably would like to do it in a more conventional way. But I did this one in the down and dirty way, exactly how I wanted to do it. And it is incredible how well it has been received. I just found out that the book has been listed as one of the top 5 debut novels of 2010 by the Brooklyn Book Festival.

TBN: Wow! Congratulations!

TW: I’m really excited about that. There’s a stigma about self-publishing. I was vaguely aware of it, I’m not in the publishing industry per say. It’s just something that people are going to have to get used to, that publishing doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘oh because you didn’t get a publisher’, because I didn’t approach one ever. I got the very best people, as far as my editor is concerned and the people on my book team, who are the best at what they do. Highly experienced people who took me to task on the book and I liked it. It kept me sharp and I feel like I did it right. I thought about it for a while before I did it. But I had no interest in shopping the book. It just felt like that was going to zap my energy. I was less interested in approval and more interested in getting the book out to the people and let them decide. And I am over the moon about it.

TBN: Considering that if you had gone to a publisher your vision in the book could have been changed around, correct?

TW: I’m sure it would have been. I’m used to dealing with that in Hollywood which is why I didn’t even approach a publisher because I know what that means. It is as if I was in Hollywood and was an actor that didn’t have an agent. My agent legitimizes me. I’m no different an actor than I would be if I had an agent or didn’t have an agent. The world views me more legitimately if I have an agent. Certainly the world views me more legitimate if I am on a show that is successful. I know I just wasn’t interested in that, on this project. I just didn’t feel like it.

TBN: Publishers often give good feedback, but I have often felt like with people I know that are in the book industry. Years ago I ran the science fiction fantasy Guild website and it seemed to me a lot of times it was watered down so it was acceptable to so many people that it didn’t say as much anymore as an individual story so I’m glad to hear that you can self -publish and that you are really breaking some boundaries. That’s wonderful!

TW: And I wanted to do that. I wanted to break the boundaries. I wanted to do things in a way that was sort of unorthodox and say this is what an artist can do because the conventional modes of distribution are changing – books and music and movies – the way all these things are being distributed. So many new and exciting ways for an artist to reach its audience without a whole lot of – you know cultivate a relationship with your audience and let it be that instead of spending a lot of your time, energy, and attention in getting people to approve of you. It is so draining. It just didn’t interest me.

TBN: But I could definitely see Kenya self publishing.

TW: Yeah, yeah if need be…. (laughing)

TBN: So you wrote this as a book and then you decided to film it and you had already filmed other things. So was this a fairly easy step for you to make?

TW: I actually shot the movie before I wrote and published the book. I had shot a couple of other things, some book trailers and commercials, but I had never directed a feature film before. It was very familiar territory because I have been in this world since I was 17 so it’s really all I know. I was heartened that I had more knowledge of it, that I had more of it inside of me than I thought I did.

More True Blood Tidbits from Tanya

TBN: What might True Blood fans be surprised to know about Tanya Wright outside of the show?

TW: First that Tanya is nice. Kenya is pretty hard core, you know, and Tanya is much softer and more accepting and she doesn’t drink herself into furies when she loses promotions. I’m a pretty balanced girl and I live a pretty simple life. I think people are surprised that I write and have been writing since the beginning, even before I was acting. I am similar to Kenya in that I like to get things done and I‘m a pretty straight shooter. But I am not nearly as rigid as she is.

TBN: If Kenya died what would you want on her headstone?

TW: This is so funny because I was really thinking about the answer to this question and so I wrote a little ditty:

Miss Kenya was not a believer.
Andy’s promotion was one that had grieved her.
So she took to the bar,
Getting drunk wasn’t far,
Oh Kenya, that you were a believer.

You know, Kenya needs to believe.

TBN: That’s so great! Thank you no one has ever written us a poem before!

TBN: Do you have a favorite charity?

TW: I am actually sifting through charities now to see which one I would like to work with. I am most interested in 2 things: mentoring projects that have to do with young women, self-esteem and artists and independents. I’m very concerned with fellow artists, musicians, and actors, writers, poets, and cultivating art. You don’t have to be – How you can get your message out to the world in useful ways that can help you.

TBN: So are there organizations already set up like that and are you picking one or thinking of starting your own?

TW: Well, I teach this class called BUA-its “business of the unique artist”. Ultimately, I really admire what Robert Redford has done with his institute so I kind of have the idea to do something similar for artists with the focus on finances. I think that is – you know we don’t learn in high school, financial literacy is not something that is taught in school, unfortunately. Artists in particular sort of go around and there are so many talented people I know that are struggling. A lot of them really divorce art and commerce and that is that thing over there and it has nothing to do with art. It’s great that you are talented but you still need to pay the rent. You still have to eat. So you have to figure out how to do the thing that you love and make money doing it.

TBN: So are you interested in teaching them those sorts of things or actually setting up grants to help them?

TW: Well I do I teach BUA.

TBN: Right but are you interested in setting up an organization that would reach out to more artists?

TW: Yes, eventually I will.

TBN: Well, when you do that keep us in mind because we love to do charity stuff.

TW: Ok, I definitely will.

TBN: Do you twitter and would you like your fans to know what your twitter name is?

TW: Yes I twitter! Whoo Hoo! And I would love for them to know what my twitter name is. Its @tanyaTTwright

TBN: You know the fans love to talk to people on True Blood and they love it when people respond back. One thing we’ve found with the True Blood fans is that they have your back, put it that way. We say that your character can’t even die and get out of the True Blood Realm.

TW: That’s wonderful! That is great to hear!

TBN: They are very devoted and encouraging. Once they know your twitter they will be twittering to you. They want to know what are you doing, what is your next project, they really have your back basically. And associated with that, anything else you do, we are interested in promoting it. Your book, your movie, we are happy to promote anything you are doing. We put an article up last night on appearances, but any other appearances you are doing, any projects you are doing, anything else you are coming out with. Have your agent let us know or drop us a line or a tweet and we are happy to retweet it for you.

TW: I really appreciate that. We all really appreciate that. It’s the people who watch the show and are enthusiastic that have made it successful.

TBN: It’s kind of our thank you too because, for us, each of us were facing a lot of challenges at the time that True Blood came out. And we still are. It sort of helps us through the worst periods. It is very odd, it’s like all 3 of us were really, and I found that a lot of the other people that come to post on our website, some of them found that True Blood, how the acting, or it’s just something about the storyline, it really helped them through a lot of difficult times for some reason.

TW: That is so cool! In a way I’m not surprised about it because the person who helms this show, Alan Ball, has a very interesting quality about him that I don’t even know if he is aware of, that is really encompassing. And it shows in the cast and the crew and the actors that he has chosen to be part of this show. He really has a great, wonderful, generous spirit. I’m sure that it has to come through in the show.

TBN: It has really touched the fans hearts and really helped them through difficult times somehow.

TW: That is so cool. That I can be a part of that. That whole idea. That’s great!

Tanya Wright Looking Right At You

TBN: Has True Blood changed how you think about good and evil?

TW: No I would say it validates it in a way. I think that the show says that life is really grey. Life is lived in the grey. There is no good or bad, there is no dark or light, but that life is a lot more complicated than that. That dichotomy between positive and negative is really blurry. The judgment about things people, I don’t know like on what this country was founded, a lot of judgment happens. I think True Blood is a place that allows questions about judgment or differences about people. It helps get a dialogue going about it. I think the show has been useful in that way.

TBN: Are there any questions you would like to ask the fans?

TW: I would love to see what the fans would like to see of Kenya. I said I would love to see Kenya in a situation where she is forced to believe. I would also love to work with Nelsan Ellis. I think that would be an interesting dynamic between Kenya and Lafayette.

TBN: You are like the mother he needed to have.

TW: I know how he’d respond to that.

TBN: Not that his mother isn’t great. She is, but…

TW: But I would like to see what the fans would like to see for Kenya. What sort of situations they would like to see Kenya in and deal with.

TBN: Do you know when your film is being released yet?

TW: It is going to be released next year sometime. We are focusing on the book right now.

TBN: And do you think you are going to do the film festival route or wide release?

TW: I’m not sure yet.

Tanya’s “Butterfly Rising” Available for Auction!

TBN: Well thank you for the interview, it was very interesting listening to you talk and answering our questions. We really loved it.

TW: You guys had great questions.

TBN: I do have one more question, so I’m sorry, but would it be possible to do a giveaway of one of your books?

TW: Absolutely!

TBN: That would be great because right now we are working for the Amanda Foundation. They are an animal rescue in LA.

TW: Marcarena, my dog, is a rescue!

TBN: What kind of dog is Marcarena?

TW: She’s a black Labrador.

TBN: That would be perfect then. The money goes directly to the Amanda Foundation.

TW: Are you kidding? I would love to!!! Just send me the information where to send it to.

TBN: Well you have a great rest of the summer!

TW: Thank you I will. Thank you so much!

Talking to Tanya Wright was just a joy! We truly enjoyed the opportunity to speak with her. Before the interview even began, Tanya had many questions for us so that by the time we began the interview it felt more like a conversation than any other interview we’ve done. She’s a unique, inspiring and self-assured woman who walks the walk. We want to thank Tanya for taking the time to talk to us and for being so very, very patient while we prepared to auction her book. Please click HERE to bid on the autographed copy of Butterfly Rising. All proceeds go to benefit The Amanda Foundation!

Transcription credit: Jennifer Murillo

Photo Credits: Tanya Wright and HBO, Inc.

Screen Cap: James

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True Blood’s Lorena – Mariana Klaveno: The Last Bite-Exclusive Interview!

September 13, 2010

Mariana Klaveno True Blood Lorena in red

We’ve talked to a lot of True Blood actors and they are all intelligent and exciting and nice. But no one was less like their character than Mariana Klaveno. She’s sweet and fun and has a really nice laugh! We didn’t once think we were about to be bitten or tortured or anything! We did this interview in the start of the season but wanted to save her for the end because it was just that fun an interview. She’s

Mariana Talks About Her Beginnings:

TBN: Can you tell us how a farm girl from Washington decided to become an actress?  Did you plan on doing something else first and you fell into this?

MARIANA: Honestly, if the rational side of me, which is the majority of me, had its way, I would have been a computer programmer or something,  Not that I have any sort of knowledge or skills when it comes to computers, just something a little more secure and dependable because being an actress does not necessarily align itself with the rest of my personality.  But for some odd reason it’s the only thing that I’ve ever wanted to do.  Ever since I was a small child.  I was actually kind of embarrassed about it because nobody else from my area had that kind of aspiration and it was so outlandish.  I was rather shy about telling people and I kept it a secret. When I was in high school I leaked it out to my parents, letting them know that acting was something I might want to be interested in and then my very close friends knew.  But it wasn’t until I got into college that I came out, so to speak.

TBN: Wow that’s really different.  We know you studied acting at the University of Washington.  Can you tell us a little bit about that?

MARIANA: Yes, I had wanted to go there because it was in state and affordable and because I knew it had a really competitive and well respected drama program.  I had a wonderful experience there.  I started right off the bat auditioning for things and got into every class I could and did a play just about every quarter, sometimes several and did all kinds of theatre.  I did modern pieces, I did classical pieces, all different types of material really and I just fell in love.  There wasn’t hardly any emphasis on film and television so I had to wait until I came to Los Angeles to branch into that, but in terms of theatre it was a wonderful foundation and I loved it.

TBN; So, you’ve done a lot of theatre then and I know Seattle’s great for theatre performances.  Did you have a favorite roll you played?

MARIANA: Yes I played Helena in a production of “ A Midsummer Nights Dream” and it was unlike any production of Midsummer that I’ve ever seen.  It was a very dark version actually, not unlike True Blood. It was very sexy and very violent.  Not the typical version with colorful fairies, it was much darker and crazier. That’s funny, I never thought about that similarity! I guess there’s sort of a running pattern with me.  I don’t know what that says about me.

TBN: What was your very first performance?

MARIANA: My very first stage performance was at college, it was a little play, a short play called “What she found there.” I’m hitting myself because I can’t think of the playwright right now.  It’s a great little play, a dark take on “Alice in Wonderland” and it was a reflection story. When Alice goes in to the looking glass, the Alice of the Looking Glass world comes into our world.  I played this girl from Wonderland stuck in Brooklyn in some seedy hotel, but it was fun!

TBN: And how did that go?

MARIANA: It was fun; it went well.  It was a success as far as student plays go.  At least I thought it was.

TBN: Aside from True Blood, what has been your favorite acting experience up to now?

MARIANA: Gosh that’s tough.  I did a production here in town.  A small, small production that we basically put up ourselves at a theatre in Studio City.  It was the play “Three Days of Rain” by Richard Greenberg.  Most people know that play because it’s the play that Julia Roberts did when she went to Broadway. It’s a beautiful play and a very complex play. There are only 3 actors. Those are my favorite kinds of plays—the really intimate ones. Aside from True Blood, that was my favorite acting experience to date.  It was challenging and really very difficult and I still think about it sometimes.  I would give anything to go back and do it again.

TBN: In what ways was it challenging?

MARIANA: The parts are extremely challenging in a wonderful way, in the best way.  The kind of play where you can mine it for material for months and months and months and still, there’s always more to the text and more to explore.  Each actor gets to play 2 different parts.  It’s first set in the 90’s, the mid 90’s and it’s about 2 siblings and their friends. That’s the first act. Then in the second act you go back in time and play all of their parents.  You see how the children end up first, and then you go back and see how the parents lived and how that set up how the children would turn out. It’s a really beautiful play. If you ever get a chance to see it, I recommend it.

TBN: Interesting ..Also, you recently filmed “No God, No Mater”.  Can you tell us a little bit about what that film is about and your role and is that going to be on wide release?

MARIANA: That’s a good question. I’m not sure.  As far as I know they’re still working on it.  They have to do some re-shoots if I’m not mistaken.  And sometimes the life of independent movies, it’ll be out there for a few years before it actually makes it to the festivals and then hopefully gets picked up. I’m hoping. I’m crossing my fingers that it will at some point be somewhere that people can see it.  It’s a wonderful story. It’s actually based on a true story that I didn’t know anything about previously. It’s set in 1919 New York, and its about a government agent, played by David Strathairn, who has been put in charge of solving a series of crimes.  This group of Anarchists proceeded to set off a bunch of bombs around the city at different targets and David Strathairn’s character was put on the case to bring them down. And while attempting to do that, he discovers this whole conspiracy within the FBI to illegally deport immigrants. It’s a very interesting, complicated story and that it’s all based on true events, I found it all the more fascinating.  I play this very mysterious woman who is associated with the Anarchists but you’re not quite sure to what extent.  You don’t know where her loyalties lie.  I loved it, she’s sort of a deep throat character. She knows all of the information but she’s not giving anything away.  It was very unglamorous which is a nice departure from True Blood.  I got to be dirty and the opposite of a super glamorous vampire.  I like to switch that up.

Mariana Klaveno as True Blood's Lorena

Mariana Talks Lorena:

TBN: It sounds interesting, another complex individual that you’re playing.

MARIANA: Yes, I do tend to like the characters that have a certain level of duplicity to them.  You don’t quite know what they’re going do next or what’s in store for them.  I tend to be drawn to those.

TBN: Interesting! And which leads me to True Blood.  How did you prepare for the role or how do you prepare for the role and have you read any of the books to help you in creating your character?

MARIANA: I did read the books.  They don’t actually give a lot away about my character.  She doesn’t show up until I believe the third book and even then you hear a lot about her but you only really see her in one or 2 scenes because as the books go it’s always from Sookie’s point of view.  Of course, as you know, True Blood is from various points of view.  So it was nice just to get the context from the books but Alan and the writers really departed from the books and went out on their own in creating the back story of Bill and Lorena. I’m glad that they did, obviously, because it means I got more episodes.  I hadn’t read the books before I did the audition for the part.  I had read the first book around the time I started filming True Blood.  I mean, in the beginning I really wanted to focus on the fact that this was a real woman. When you first see her, I really wanted you to be struck by how lonely she was and her vulnerability and her sadness and to be drawn in by that. I wanted to focus on that. Of course, the pay off is that she reveals herself to be this evil vampire who turns Bill into a vampire.  Actually before every scene I always go back to the fact that her motivation for everything that she does is her love for Bill. She’s a very tragic character in that sense because she has this burning desire for him but what drives that desire is exactly the same thing that prevents him from ever returning her love.  It’s a very tragic cycle, and it’s also good writing that creates drama.  Also that’s how I justify what she does later. How do you prepare for doing horrible things?  You can’t judge your characters when you’re playing them, so I just try to focus on the fact that to her it’s not an evil act.  She’s always doing it for him and what motivates her is her love for Bill.

TBN: So more than any other character on the show, it seems like everything Lorena is in she feels, to the viewer, she feels very dangerous.  I mean you never see here sitting around, relaxing.  Yeah there’s no pink fuzzy slippers in her future. Is it difficult to project that kind of image on an on going basis?

MARIANA: Yeah, it is. I’m glad that you say that and thank you. I hope that I maintain that.  I always try before a scene to get myself to a place internally where I want to scream, literally scream at the top of my lungs. But I don’t.  I cover it and I smile and that’s kind of where Lorena lives.  Just on the edge of completely loosing it and ripping a door off its hinges, but she doesn’t. She strikes a pose and she smiles and the scene starts.  That’s kind of where she lives for me physically, how I physically find her and I hope that’s what viewers find.

TBN: As we have seen in the spoiler clips, Lorena is somehow still involved in Bill’s undead life.  How would you describe Lorena’s relationship with Bill, beyond the fact that she loves him?

MARIANA: Beyond the fact that she loves him, the other wonderful thing that Alan and the writers have woven into it is the fact that she’s his maker. That relationship is also reflected in the Bill and Jessica relationship. You can see the differences between the two because, aside from being lovers for decades, the bond between a maker, between a vampire and his or her maker, is a strong, strong thing in True Blood Mythology.  So that type of parental relationship is also something that we explore and it’s actually being explored even deeper in Season 3.  The things that you teach them, the lessons that you teach them: how to become Vampires. The strain in the Bill and Lorena relationship is that Bill doesn’t want to be a vampire.  He always wants to be human.  He tries desperately to maintain his humanity and it’s very frustrating always to Lorena because to her, her humanity is something long gone and she’s done with it.   That’s why it’s not horrible to her to do the violent things she does because to her it’s not horrible.  That’s what we do, we’re vampires.  She’s always trying to pull him into the vampire way of life and he’s always rejecting that and trying to get back to humanity.

TBN: We see components of Lorena that make us want to hate her and at the same time there are other parts of her that make us feel very compassionate for her, you’ve talked about the loneliness.  Is there any special relationship that you feel with her? How do you relate to Lorena?

MARIANA: I think she’s an absolutely fantastic character, I mean aside from me being an actress and playing such an outrageous character.  I do have a lot of affection for her because of the tragic side of her that I described before.  Yes, she is this monstrous, strong, dangerous creature but she’s also so fragile and very vulnerable. It’s funny, in the stand off scene between Lorena and Sookie at the party in Godric’s house, I was having the hardest time blocking it because I didn’t understand, you know blocking the scene, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t just run up and kill her, because was saying such horrible things to me.  It was really hard to try to find out where that performance lived because it just didn’t make sense to me. I kept looking at the director asking, “Wouldn’t I just kill her, wouldn’t I just kill her…I’m right next to her. I had to kill her. And then I realized, no, it’s because the words that Sookie is saying are just so hurtful to me, that’s like Lorena’s Kryptonite.  She’s so fragile at the same time that she is so dangerous and powerful and I think that’s what is so endearing. And also she’s a little crazy and a little broken.  Somebody like Eric, not that Eric doesn’t have his complexity as well, but he has this “Joe Cool” quality, Eric and Pam have this very aloof, wonderful energy about them and I wanted it to be different with Lorena. She’s cracked, and those are the qualities that make her endearing to me.

TBN: How has Lorena developed from last season to this season in your eyes?

MARIANA: This season, without giving too much away, I am hoping that you see different sides to her.  You’ll definitely see some different sides to Bill and their interactions with each other.  I think you’ll see more vulnerability and I think you’ll see more of those cracks that I am describing.  Yeah, both on flash back and in present day you’ll see some new sides to her and it will explain more of the relationship I was describing between Bill and Lorena as it pertains to the maker-vampire relationship.

TBN: Okay great because that leads to my next question which is how many episodes will we be seeing Lorena this season and will we be seeing more of her back story.

MARIANA: I am in 6 episodes this season and yes, you do see a little bit more of the Bill and Lorena back-story. You don’t get to see too much, but you get to find out more about her own past separate from Bill. That was news to me and I was eager to find out about it.  It’s just a tiny taste.

TBN: I think the fans will love that

MARIANA: Yeah! I hope so because it’s a big question mark.  It’s a hard thing playing a character like this because you never know what the writers are going to do so you can’t make up this whole back story on your own.  It might just have to get scrapped. So you have to stay in this very flexible place as far as that goes.

Mariana Klaveno as True Blood Lorena in Plum

Behind the Scenes of True Blood:

TBN: Who have you had the chance to act with besides Stephen for season 3 of True Blood and can you share your experience?

MARIANA: I have the pleasure of working again with Anna.  We exchange a few words –laughs- that’s all I’ll say.  I work a lot in this season with Denis O’Hare who comes in to play the King of Mississippi this year and I have been a fan of Denis’s a long time now and it’s such a pleasure to get to work with him.  He’s just a fantastic actor and it’s so much fun to just watch him and learn from him as an actor.  We had a lot of fun.

TBN: Now this is a question that a lot of fans wonder.  Have there been any funny bloopers on set moments while filming your scenes on True Blood?

MARIANA: Yes, I feel like every time I work with Stephen. Stephens a bit of a jokester and he’s so funny and witty, I feel like there’s always bloopers and we’re always trying to one up each other. Whether it’s the director and me or Steve, the camera guy, everybody’s always poking fun at each other.  It makes for a very fun atmosphere to work in.  I have a scene this season where I’m wearing my fangs and I have to get into Anna’s face and I’m very angry with her and I said to her right off the bat, I said, “Anna I’m terrified because I’m pretty sure I’m going to accidentally spit on you.” When I mentioned it she said “its fine don’t worry about it.”  I made it through though every take until the last one and then a big old drop of spit landed square on her face.  I was so horrified that I’d just spit on Anna Paquin! Right when they called cut I ran over and of course was falling all over myself apologizing and she’s so lovely and such a pro she laughed it off.

TBN: Too funny! You said that you try to keep Lorena kind of angry.  Does it make it hard to get Lorena back in that angry space if everybody’s having a lot of fun or do they manage to suspend that during filming?

MARIANA: If it’s a really crazy emotional scene where you have to be crying or a really raw emotional place I tend to not be casual with how I interact.  But if it’s just normal, every day Lorena, it’s not hard for me to do that. I don’t know if I can explain how that is.  It could be that it’s season 3 and I know where she lives and it’s easier to go from laughing one second and right into that scream place the next.  I think it’s just gotten easier for me to get to that place.

Mariana Talks About Fans and Ways to Follow Her Career:

TBN: True Blood is a phenomenal success as I am sure you are aware and the fans are very active.  Are you at all prepared to meet the True Blood Fans?  Have you run in to any of them yet?

MARIANA: There are some I might be a little afraid to meet because they may try to stake me or something, believing me to be as evil as my character is! Which I’m not I swear.  Everyone that I’ve met has been completely lovely so I welcome meeting people. It’s not every day that I get recognized because I’m quite done up on the show with costumes and wigs. In my every day life I certainly don’t look that glamorous, so I think that I fly a little low under the radar but it does happen and so far everyone’s been lovely.

TBN: Are you going to one of the conventions this year?

MARIANA: I’m not sure but I would like to though.  Yeah, I think it would be fun and hopefully I don’t get too overwhelmed by the circus. I’ve heard comic con is actually crazy.  But it is so wonderful to be part of a show that’s so loved by people, that they are so passionate about it.  It’s really wonderful.

TBN: We always offer the actors the opportunity to ask the fans any questions?

If you could see Lorena do any kind of flashback what would it be?

Since most of her scenes are with Bill, if you could choose any other character from the show, with whom would you most like to see Lorena interact?

TBN: Has True Blood reshaped of how you think of good and evil?

MARIANA: It has actually in a way.  Working on my character, it’s not always so black and white.  Whether it’s my character or whether it’s Bill’s character, when you’re doing something for someone you love, the line of good and evil is a blur. A lot of great shows do that, for example Breaking Bad.  He’s breaking the law and making a really nasty and horrible illegal drug but it’s to save his family. Yeah, that’s one of my favorite things about the show, the shades of gray.

TBN: It’s interesting, the first year we asked this question, pretty much everybody said oh no not really but for the second year almost everybody has started saying, yeah, well yeah it has.

MARIANA: I think that means the shows been more of a success this year.

TBN: I think the actors, the first year it was more of an external role and now they’re internalizing it a little more,

MARIANA: I think you’re right…

TBN: What do you imagine is on Lorena’s head stone.

MARIANA: Oooo that’s a good question.  I don’t think, in my very loosely drawn together back story, I don’t think she was married. I think that she lost whoever she loved and suffered a great deal in her human life.  I think her head stone is actually pretty sparse.  It may just be a date and enough said.

TBN: It would be sad but fit the character…

TBN: During TB’s hiatus, do you have any projects coming up?

MARIANA: Oh I hope to very soon.  I just finished my work on True Blood so I’m back out there looking for stuff.  So hopefully I’ll have something to report back very soon.

TBN: What do you like to do during your spare time?  During your down time?

MARIANA: I’m pretty spoiled as far as actors go, I really am.  I stay in most nights.  I’m really boring, I love reading, I love going to the movies, I love going and hanging out at my brother’s restaurant, he’s a chef at a restaurant here in town.  My boyfriend and I love to go wine tasting.  We love to go up at the Central Coast wine taste from time to time.  Nothing too crazy.

TBN: What kind of books are you reading?

MARIANA: I just finished “The Remains of the Day” which I’ve never read before and it has now become one of my all time favorites.

TBN: And what kind of restaurant is it your brother has?

MARIANA: He is the chef of Yamashiro, which is a Japanese restaurant but the cuisine is American/Asian

TBN: What are your favorite types of movies?

MARIANA: I actually love everything except romantic comedies.  I’m not a big romantic comedy lover.

TBN: How very Lorena of you –laughs-

MARIANA: Yes, unless they’re old black and whites, the old screw ball comedy ones. “His Girl Friday” is maybe my all time favorite one.  Yeah but I love dramas. I love westerns.  I love all of it, even a great action movie. Everything if it’s well made and well acted and well produced. I try not to discriminate too much.  And yeah. I love going back and watching the old classics.

TBN: Do you have any charities and any causes that are important to you?

MARIANA: Yes, for a number of years I have donated to St. Judes Children’s Hospital and it’s such a wonderful organization. I’m sure everyone does but knowing how difficult it is for young people that are just starting out their lives, fighting for their lives.  I can’t even imagine how hard that is, so I try to do what I can to help.

TBN: Do you twitter?

MARIANA: I just opened a Twitter account.  You can find me @KlavenoFarmGirl

I don’t think I’m very good at it yet.  I take too much time thinking about what to say.  I suppose because I’m not sure anyone will find it that interesting!

TBN: Oh I can assure you of that. We Twitter heavily…

MARIANA: I’m a little private. But I have a Facebook fan page.  I have stepped out of the dark ages and got one of those! That’s officially mine.  It’s just my name. I had fake Facebook pages claiming to be me. I think they’re all down but there is a fan page that I am associated with, a friend of mine is running with me so it’s an official fan page.

TBN: Do you visit fan sites to read about yourself or True Blood ever?

MARIANA: You know, I don’t do that very often and I feel very conflicted about that because on the one hand I don’t want to be ignoring the fans.  I know there are so many fans out there and not being a part of that, not sharing that I am missing something. But on the other hand I have experienced the dark side of people saying really horrible things about me. I know they’re talking about the character and they’re just really excited and passionate about the show. But it’s not always the nicest thing to hear or to read things said about you that are very negative and not in the way of,  “I don’t like her acting.” They don’t seem to make the distinction between myself and my character.  Some of those early experiences were a little overwhelming so now unless I know a website or somebody recommends for me to go to this website, which I have done from time to time, I don’t go. Sometimes somebody has said, “They’ve written XY&Z about you, you should really see it.” But mostly I try and not read everything because our egos can be rather fragile sometimes.

We here at TrueBloodNet.com want to thank Mariana for taking the time to talk to us and HBO for arranging it. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of Lorena in flashbacks.. as we say, not even death can save you from True Blood! We’ll be keeping track of Mariana’s career and give everyone the 411 on anything she’s going to appear it. We have to, or she might send Lorena after us!

(Photo credit: HBO and Paul Johnson, and Mariana Klaveno)

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