Marshall Allman Talks About Getting Naked for True Blood

July 17, 2010 by  

In last year’s season finale of True Blood, shapeshifter Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) went in search of his birth parents, and in the new season it was revealed he’d got a lot more than he bargained for.

Part of that “a lot more” came in the form of a younger brother, Tommy Mickens, played by Marshall Allman.

Jarett Wieselman of the New York Post’s PopWrap chatted with Marshall about getting into Tommy’s skin, and getting under Sam’s. Marshall says,

Sam’s been propelled by his one desire is to have a real family. And he gets a real family – but not the one he wanted. His whole pursuit of us, and making me his brother, doesn’t quite work out the way he wanted. You might just pretend you’re adopted all over again.

And will Sam come to regret seeking out his birth parents?

Well, there’s only so much dysfunction he can take. I don’t know how long you can visit with your parents with, but for the majority of the country, Christmas and Thanksgiving is enough. You know?

Marshall tells how he wasn’t really into the show before his audition, which he says was actually a plus:

The naivete I had coming in definitely helped me because the show’s popularity wasn’t in the back of mind during the audition. It left me focus on playing the character.

But reality sunk in a bit when he met Alan Ball, the creative force behind the show.

In my first audition I stumbled over the same line twice. Afterwards I looked at Alan and said, “I think it’s because of you.” I feel like he has an Oscar hanging out of his pocket.

Marshall explains that having a brother himself initially helped him to relate to Tommy and that playing that sibling relationship with all its hang-ups or dysfunctions really allowed his talent to fly.

But of course the special thing about Tommy is not that he has a brother, but that he is a shapeshifter.

It was definitely weird to hear cut and then someone shout “send in Tommy-dog.” It was a trip. It was definitely one of those very cool moments — it’s one thing to think about being a part of a giant production but it’s quite another to actually be shifting into a dog. This is a whole other level.

It is pretty clear that Tommy is keeping a big secret, just what the secret is has yet to be revealed, but it was no secret to Marshall and he explains that it was crucial background information for his portrayal of Tommy.

The more information I can receive, the better. As an actor, you live in imaginary circumstances, so as much as you can give me, the better I can set the tone of the character. It gives me more to chew on.

Playing a shapeshifter meant that Marshall had to join the infamous True Blood Brotherhood of the Sock (that is, get naked).  He explains that preparing for that was kind of like cliff diving:

You stare down, look at the water and at some point have to jump.

As for Tommy’s journey in the show, Marshall hopes that there are positive things in his future and that fans are going to root for Tommy, but Marshall is hedging his bets.

He’s just such a complex character and I think the audience will want him to overcome his past… Or he could just shift into a pitbull and kick all their asses. Maybe he’ll just come across like a badass. If [fans] want to think that, I’m cool with it too.

SOURCE: PopWrap.

(Photo credit: HBO Inc.)