Interview with True Blood William Sanderson: Being Sheriff Bud Dearborne

May 28, 2009 by  

william-sanderson-sheriff-bud-dearborneR.J. Carter from had the opportunity to speak with William Sanderson recently and presents his interview here which you can read further on his website at

Interview: William Sanderson: Soft-Spoken Sheriff of True Blood‘s Bon Temps by R.J. Carter

William Sanderson is like the bell pepper in the gumbo. He may not be the crawfish or the crab or the andouille, but the mix is made all the better for his presence; he’s the familiar face from shows like “Lonesome Dove” and “Blade Runner” — not to mention his unforgettable role on Newhart and his trademarked line, “Hi. I’m Larry. This is my brother Daryl, and this is my other brother Daryl.”

These days Sanderson is enforcing the law in the HBO hit series, True Blood. As Sheriff Bud Dearborne, he’s a plainspoken, grounded southern gentleman — much like Sanderson himself. The catch: in the town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, the latest minority group is starting to make itself known: vampires.

True Blood is set, by author Charlaine Harris, in the deep south, and at it’s core is a tale of intolerance. There’s a new minority in the world, that being the vampires, and on one level the story is about violent discrimination against them. Speaking as an Arkansas boy to a Tennessee gentleman, why do those kind of stories have to be set in the south? Haven’t we grown past that?

That is a great question. The author lives in Arkansas, and she went to college in my home town. I think for years show business has depicted southerners as stupid or provincial — and I guess I’ve benefited a little, but… it’s a tough question: “Why?” I don’t think the south has any monopoly on narrow-mindedness. Maybe we’re easy targets. I’ve realized I’m not that smart, but I did get a law degree, and I think I have average intelligence for an actor — but it raises questions about it to even pursue a career as an actor, though, so…

Throughout the first season of True Blood, your character — though we didn’t see an awful lot of him — seemed to evolve from a character a bit like your “Larry” character in Newhart, to someone who’s a lot more wise and competent than we were first led to believe. Was there talk of developing the character as the season wore on?

I’m grateful for the time I got on it, and not to be arrogant but I’m keeping the money. I think the second season will even be better with some new vampires and more craziness, if you will.

But, no, that was all on a need to know basis, and I’m still learning. When I get to work with Alan Ball, the creator, I really try to be a sponge, but, for me it was a thrill to play what was — at least ostensibly — a normal person: I’m clean shaven and I don’t wear dirty clothes. But if you read the books, there’s not a lot on Sheriff Dearborne, but people have told me he’s a voice of reason (and that’s another irony with me). But it’s fun to play a normal person.

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