Nelsan Ellis Interviewed At London’s MCM Expo 16

October 28, 2009 by  

Nelsan EllisTrue Blood‘s Nelsan Ellis who portrays the always fabulous Lafayette Reynold attended London’s Movie Comic Media (MCM) Expo 16.  At a round table discussion with British press, Nelsan discussed his role as Lafayette and gave some great insight into his experience working on the show.

Nelsan spoke about meeting his fans, both in Britain and back in the United States:

It’s cool meeting the fans across the pond. They’re just like the fans over in America, and they say the same things about the show, so it’s like, wow, I guess the show makes the same impact….It makes you feel good that your work has translated across the screen and some person comes from Manchester just to go, “Wassup, I like your work.” You have to appreciate stuff like that.

When asked about his character, Lafayette, Nelsan gushed that he was attracted to the role because:

…he has so many colors! I mean, it’s just, it’s an actor’s wonderland when you can just play so many things and do so many things, and I love putting on lipstick and the eyeliner and the eye stuff and do all this crazy stuff!

While he loves the character, however, Nelsan insists that he is not really like the character he plays on True Blood:

Well, they [fans] think that I’m like Lafayette. I am kind of a shy dude, but I’m not Lafayette. The luxury with being an actor is that all the things you…all the courage you wish you had, you get it out in the character. Because I don’t have Lafayette‘s character, his courage, and certainly I don’t have his sexual prowess. Many people think I do, so I’ve had some strange situations happen to me. But I’m kind of a reserved dude. But Lafayette is kind of reserved. He’s big when he needs to be big, but he’s also pretty chill.

Episode 5 of Season 1 is Nelsan‘s favorite episode because of Lafayette‘s AIDS burger scene in Merlotte’s.  He said he was thrilled when he read the script, because he was going to get to do so much in that episode:

I get to do all this stuff in one episode and so I love that! I know it’s egotistical of me to love the episode that I dominated, but I like that episode. Normally I have two scenes, and I have four in that episode and I got to do some fun, fun, fun stuff.

On the show, Nelsan does all of his own stunts, and in the round table discussion, he talked and laughed about that experience:

Well, I tell you this, bro. The first day that I had to do a stunt, they brought up some stunt dude and stunt dude was gonna do my stunt, and I was like, “Y’all just wasted money ’cause he’s gonna sit there…. I’m doing all my stunts.” And I’d do all my stunts and then they stopped giving me a stunt double. So I do all my own stunts. It’s weird, though, when I’m in a fight scene and I’m fighting another stunt double instead of the actor, ’cause nobody else does their own. Rutina does her own stunts too.

HBO is good like that. They listen to you. You can say, “I wanna do my own stunts” and they’ll go, “Okay.” ‘Cause HBO is cheap, so that helps them save money if they don’t have to hire a stunt double. So they’re like, “Cool!”

…I punched a dude in the face before! And I thought he was gonna hit me back!…It was a stunt man. He was like 6’4″, 235. I was like, “Bro, I’m sorry. It was a accident.” And they were like, “Go on! Why’d you stop? That’s the tape we coulda used, ’cause it was real!” I was like, “But he’s bleeding!”

Nelsan also opened up about some of the more explicit elements of True Blood, the way his family has reacted to the show, and the nudity in some of the episodes:

I don’t have to…well, I’m glad I don’t have to bare all like some of my other cast members, but I am from a very religious background. My father hates the show. My mother hates the show. I don’t care. It doesn’t bother me except if I have to show my ding-dong. Then I’m like, “Really? Really?” It bothers my parents, you know what I’m saying, but they’re closed minded, Southern Baptist, kooky people. The only thing that bothers me is if I have to show my…piece…my bits and pieces. Then I want a stunt double. Show his bits and pieces. I don’t wanna show all my bits and pieces. I don’t want everyone knowing my measurements. It’s crazy. Ryan Kwanten, they have all these zoom in pictures, they throw them up on the internet. I don’t wanna go through all that business!

The one character Nelsan thinks would be the most fun to portray is Eric Northman.  Nelsan says:

He’s 2000 years old, he does not know fear, so he’s just chillin’ all the time. All the chicks want him. All the dudes want him. You know what I’m sayin’? He’s just in the middle just cool, suave, collected, got it together.

Nelsan spoke about his break into showbiz, some of his other work before True Blood, and then said that the important thing he’s learned from working on the show is:

Stay committed to your instincts. Keep listening to that small voice inside of you that tells you what to do. ‘Cause when you start listening too much to people, you can sabotage yourself. That small voice has guided you through life and it keeps you true to the character.

For British fans just now getting a taste of True Blood, Nelsan gave a few hints about what they could look forward to in Season 2, just enough to whet their appetites, but giving nothing away.

The folks at Geek Syndicate posted a link to the full fascinating and humorous ten minute interview. Click here to listen to Nelsan speak, which is fantastic and should not be missed.

SOURCE: Geek Syndicate

(Photo credit: Geek Syndicate)