Michelle Forbes Reflects on Maryann with Black Book Magazine

August 28, 2009 by  

michelleforbesWhen Maryann entered the scene on “True Blood” at the end of Season one, none of us could have predicted the chaos she would create. Played to chilling perfection by Michelle Forbes, Maryann is at once creative and destructive, poised and lunatic.

Anyone who has seen Forbes‘ previous work would probably be surprised by her turn as the hedonistic Maenad on “True Blood.” Whether she was portraying Lynne Kresge on “24,” Admiral Cain on “Battlestar Galactica,” or Kate on “In Treatment,” Michelle Forbes always brought great gravitas to her characters. But in “True Blood,” she plays someone who has no restraint and exhibits extreme emotions from every end of the spectrum.

That is probably why she accepted the role. As she tells Black Book Magazine in a recent interview, Maryann has been the most fun she’s ever had at work.

When asked how she adjusted to playing such a drastically different character, Michelle responded:

“[Maryann] tends to laugh at all the things that would fill the rest of us with terror. Initially it was suffocating to sit in her expansiveness. Most of us are led by fear or guilt or sorrow. She’s absolutely fearless. Then it became the most fun game in the world.”

She found Maryann to be so liberating; it was her job to go around causing mischief, while wearing evening dresses. Because it was such a departure from the intense work she usually does, she says that “it was nice to shake it off and get dirty and dance a little.”

Even though Alan Ball told her something of the Greek mythology that would come to explain who Maryann is, Michelle says that the character is still a mystery to her. What she does stand by is that Maryann is not evil:

“I do believe that she’s a character that’s all about perspective. If you think that this is an immortal being. She’s been around since the beginning of time. She’s lived in certain periods of our humanity, where there were people who would sit and watch other men tear each other apart for sport. Children were sacrificed. It’s not unheard of in history. In her mind, she’s seen it all. I think what’s great about the storyline is that it challenges our belief system. You and I can sit here in 2009 and say it’s outrageous that someone would sacrifice humans. My belief system, as a vegetarian, can’t believe that animals are being sacrificed. I stand by that in Maryann’s mind, there’s nothing malevolent. She has a different way of looking at the world.”

A different way of looking at the world that includes cutting up people’s hearts into a hunter’s souffle. Of that scene, Michelle says that her cooking skills are so bad that she had to take a flambe lesson to do it right. One of the things she loves about Maryann is her duality:

“That primal, feral wild-child side of her. Then this other side. That’s domestic and loves arranging flowers and fruit and the spread of food. And loves to dig in the dirt.”

When discussing the show in general, Michelle is effusive in praise of her fellow actors and of the writers for telling such complex, beautiful stories. She relates to all of the characters on different levels. The way she talks about “True Blood,” you can tell that she is a huge fan, just like the rest of us and she found it a joy to work on the show. That amazing experience she had is shared by us all in watching Maryann’s storyline evolve over the course of Season two. Here at the end, it has pulled every single character into it somehow. The resolution promises to blow us all away!

SOURCE: blackbookmag.com

(Photo credit: HBO, Inc.)

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