Deborah Ann Woll – A Teenage Vampire in a Story for Adults

July 6, 2010 by  

When Deborah Ann Woll auditioned for a guest spot on the HBO series True Blood, she was supposed to work on a couple episodes and be done. However, her performance as Jessica Hamby in the vampire tribunal scene blew away the producers, and Jessica became a regular character.

Deborah Ann spoke in a teleconference with Today and answered a series of questions about True Blood and her role as a teenage vampire.  One comment she made was about Jessica trying to determine what type of vampire she wants to be – true to her vampire nature or more compassionate, like Bill.

How does she feel about being 17 forever?  Deborah contrasted Twilight’s teen vamps, “young, attractive and you could hit on all these 17-year old girls forever”, with her own character.

“But for me, I think being 17 forever is the worst thing in the world!  I mean, eternal virgin, I cry all the time, everything is up and down – it’s taken the romanticism out of that idea.  So, to have a teenage vampire in a story for adults, that takes a whole new perspective on that idea.”

Her challenge on the show is playing a teenage vamp, which is a lot of high energy work. “…there’s never a sit-down-and-read-a-book scene with Jessica”.

In preparation for her role, Deborah said she actually studied animals.  She said that True Blood has its own storyline and legend (“mythos”), unlike the vampire worlds created by Anne Rice and Stephanie Meyer.  She wanted to stay true to the human nature rather than the animal part of vampires.

Additionally, she likes the taste of the synthetic blood.  Explaining that the bottled True Blood that fans can buy is a blood-orange carbonated soda, she added that there are other types of synthetic blood used on the set, and they’re thicker.  The biting blood “has a minty chocolate flavor to it”.  But the show’s own bottled blood is purple carrot juice.  There is even a sugar free version of that one.

Put on the spot about which of the show’s men is the hottest – Bill, Eric, or Jason – Deborah, with a laugh, settled on Jessica‘s boyfriend, Hoyt, played by Jim Parrack.  She said Stephen, Alex and Ryan are all really nice, warm and welcoming men. They’re not at all concerned about how good they look and that makes it easy to come to work.

When asked about working with Anna Paquin, Deborah had lots of praise for her.  She referred to Anna as a very hard worker and one who deserves all the credit she receives for her portrayal of lead character, Sookie Stackhouse.

“Watching her work, I sometimes get a little lost.  She’s so good that sometimes you forget that you’re working with her and you’re not an audience member.  She can take you out of it like that.  She’s beautiful in that way.”

Deborah really enjoys learning from her more experienced cast members and said she really, really loves her role.  Citing an example that had a major impact on her was having real wolves on the set for Season 3 .  While the interaction she had with them was minimal, she came away with the awe of their wildness and beauty. “They’re really good actors – puts the rest of us to shame!”

When asked for her opinion about why True Blood is so successful, Deborah Ann said it’s the storylines that Charlaine Harris laid out as the foundation.  Then the show’s writers ensure that the show has something important to say, while maintaining its fun and sexiness.

“They really put in a huge effort to make sure these are important stories.  I think the show has a lot to offer, but you have to remember not to take it too seriously.  It’s just a lot of fun and I hope you really enjoy it.”

It’s probably safe to say that the millions of fans are really enjoying it every Sunday night.


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