Denis O’Hare on Being the King of Mississippi

July 12, 2011 by  

He’s Back for Season 5!

Denis O'Hare as Russell Edgington, King of MississippiRussell Edgington is one of HBO’s best villians, or so say the fans of True Blood. While Season 3 saw him being buried alive in concrete, we all know that that is not enough to keep a vampire down. There has been plenty of talk since on when he will reappear. Finally, we have confirmation from the man himself via a recent interview with Film School Rejects:

“They were definitely bringing me back, it was just a matter of if they wanted to bring me back the last couple episodes [of Season 4] or bring me back at the beginning [of Season 5]. So they decided to do it at the beginning of season 5.”

During this interview, his love for the unhinged character of Russell, was apparent. He had plenty to say on how Russell ended up the way he did. Some of it revolves around Russell’s boyfriend, Talbot, while other parts of the character remain true to his earlier identity, before Talbot.

While originally Russell was said to be over a thousand years old, it soon became apparent that he was older still. He was, in fact, closer to 3,000 years old. This would have made his origin to be either from Palestine or Europe. The writers of the show picked a European descent, and in particular, a pagan Celt. This has led to a possible reason for his ruthlessness, since the Celts from that era were basically uncivilized.

Of course, when Talbot appeared in 1300 AD, this changed somewhat. Talbot was a Greek prince, and was used to more civilized traditions. As a result, Russell turned into a refined savage. It’s reported that his sense of style improved somewhat from this time onwards also.

Another topic discussed by Jack Giroux from Film School Rejects, is the childlike quality that Russell has. While most vampires are required to be slick and not easily ruffled, Russell is quite different. O’Hare admires this, saying:

“I love that Russell has this intense passion for life; literally a passion for living and a passion for life. I think that actually forms his kind of childlike quality.”

The king shows this quality when he walks out into the sun for the first time since becoming a vampire. Although some of this amazement might also stem from his pagan background, since the Celtic pagans were worshippers of the sun god Lugh.

There is a suggestion that Russell reverts back to his uncivilized manner when Talbot dies. This is evident in the “Jar ’O Talbot” that he starts to carry around. Without Talbot, he no longer has the requirement to behave himself. With this occurring, we have the incident of a news broadcaster losing his life.

O’Hare defends Russell and all his craziness with quite a valid argument:

“No, that’s the thing about anytime you are playing a character, the characters always think they are right. They have no ability to be objective about themselves. If you are in a fight with the credit card company, you can’t see yourself and how shrill you’re getting. And you can’t see how crazy you are being over the $25 charge. You are simply right.”

They go on to discuss the actor’s latest work: Hoover, which is directed by Clint Eastwood, for whom he has a lot of respect. While O’Hare will always stick to a script implicitly, due to his stage upbringing, he is more relaxed about directors being able to change scripts as need be. He also loved the fact that Eastwood kept true to Hoover’s character, which was somewhat flawed, but still managed to convey the fact that Hoover had a story to tell.

Tell us Truebies, is this good news? Do we welcome the return of the king?

Source: Film School Rejects – Interview: Denis O’Hare Discusses Being The King Of Mississippi

(Photo Credit: HBO, Inc.)
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