James Frain on his Crazy Vampire Character

July 24, 2010 by  

Vampires, are undeniably, cool and sexy. What’s better than that? How about a demented vampire, whose antics make fans squirm and laugh out loud at the same time? James Frain has perfected the crazy vampire in his portrayal as Franklin Mott in the third season of True Blood.

This British actor is playing a British vampire and bounty hunter that has fallen in love with Tara Thornton. In a recent interview, he talks about Franklin’s possessive love, and what a British vampire is doing in Louisiana.

When he was first approached about playing Franklin, James wasn’t given much information about the character. In the audition he did a few scenes, including the one where he meets Tara in the bar and the scene where Franklin is broken up about Tara trying to run away. None of it seemed demented, but as they began filming, it dawned on James that Franklin was a psycho. For James, playing Franklin with a few screws loose was fun. He notes,

“I’d have a line like, “Look how fast I can text!” And I mean, that was just hilarious. I hoped that the audience would be onboard for the ride. It seems to be working, and I’m happy that the humor came out.”

For that specific scene, James reveals the magic. In order to do the vamp-speed scenes, it must be filmed in super slow motion and then they speed it up. James notes that the scene did cause him to crack up laughing and they simply kept filming until he stopped. The scene was supposed to have a weird humor in it and James’ amusement needed to come through.

Aside from his demented humor, there is something else that sets Franklin apart from the other vampires True Blood fans have experienced: his fangs are crazy long! James remarks,

“I don’t know why — that’s the design choice they made, but I don’t know where it came from. I went and got them fitted, and they handed them to me, and I didn’t know until I got to set that everyone else had smaller fangs than I did. I was like, Does this mean I get to go to the front of the lunch queue? And you sound really silly indeed when you talk with them. I think they were trying to make some comment about the character.”

Along with crazy fangs, Franklin has a a crazy love for Tara, which sometimes fans find endearing. For James if the fans like Franklin and Tara together, then he’s glad. Franklin‘s goal is to make Tara realize that their relationship is the one she’s been dreaming about.

Playing bad guys seems to be James’ specialty. He doesn’t think of Franklin as a vampire but more of an abusive boyfriend with strange sleeping habits. Soon, he will be playing another bad guy in the new superhero show The Cape on NBC.

James has a lot of experience with playing the bad guy but what about playing a bad guy with his own accent? For the show, James didn’t know he’d be using his British accent, but it seems to work. He explains,

“Normally, I like the idea of doing the American thing, and I was assuming that they’d want to go with the Louisiana accent. But I got this note saying, “Do it in my own accent,” and I thought, That’s kind of fun. But no one ever mentions it in the show, no one ever says, “Are you English or what? What the fuck’s going on with you? You sound weird!” But I like that no one mentions it; in this world of vampires, and werewolves, and heinous, incredible things, one of the strangest things to me is that there’s this British guy, and no one talks about how he’s a Brit! By virtue of its own simplicity, it becomes the weirdest thing about the show.”

On paper, Franklin sounds like the dreamiest vampire ever: has long fangs, has a British accent, is a doting boyfriend, and has a great sense of humor. Too bad he’s more than a little demented and has used all his duct tape on Tara.

SOURCE: nymag.com

(Photo Credit: HBO Inc.)