Stephen Moyer Talks About Bill Compton With The UK Mirror

October 25, 2009 by  

stephen-moyer-2True Blood is picking up momentum with viewers in the UK as Season one continues to air on Channel 4. The Brits seem to be very proud of the show’s success because of the rise to stardom of their countryman, Stephen Moyer. It is only with his subtle but powerful portrayal of 173-year old vampire Bill Compton that fans across the world have fallen in love with Stephen. It is perhaps an understatement to say that his life has changed as a result of True Blood!

In an interview with the UK Mirror, Stephen discusses how Bill came to life. Going back to his childhood, he remembers being drawn to the art of performing:

“My aunt and uncle were holiday camp entertainers and one of my earliest memories is going to the Isle of Wight every summer and watching them perform. My uncle Tony was my absolute idol and he used to do these fantastic impressions – I can remember him doing Elvis. And they also did magic. I think a little bit of that stayed with me. And then I started doing plays at school and loved it.”

The role on True Blood happened after some disappointment for Stephen in his television work, which made him determined to stay in England. Luckily, he listened to his agent and read Alan Ball’s script for the pilot episode. Taping an audition, meeting with Alan and Anna, and being confirmed by HBO to play Vampire Bill all happened in the span of two days. The chemistry between him and Anna was instant. Professionally, he loved working with her, and that energy between them translated into the sizzling Sookie-Bill relationship onscreen, and romance with Anna off-screen:

“From the first moment I met her, the moment we sat together on the sofa doing a scene for Alan, I knew we’d get along brilliantly. I used to teach kids drama and I used to say, ‘There’s no failure, it doesn’t exist. You can do whatever you want and if it doesn’t work it doesn’t matter because you’ll be able to use something from it.’ And with Anna we both sat there and said, ‘Let’s play with this.’ So on the first day we met each other we were walking around working the scenes together. ‘What if I do this? Or how about this?’ It’s an absolute dream to work with someone like that.”

Stephen is so invested in the character of Bill because of his emotional back story and his complicated moral struggle:

“You’ve got this romantic, old-fashioned gentleman who also happens to be a vampire. And the audience has to wonder about that conflict within him and wonder what he is capable of.”

The existence of all of those qualities within Bill is also reflected in his appearance. Stephen appreciates the attention to detail on the show, like in the meaning behind his wardrobe:

“When you first see him he looks like your classic vampire – he’s dark, he’s moody, and he’s brooding. But in episode 2 (of Season one) we tried to show that he smartened himself up a bit – he changed his hair, the way he dresses – because he’s trying to make Sookie and her family feel more at ease with him. Actually, one of the reasons I love this job so much is because we are playing with so many ideas. Like his costumes–the costume designer will come to me and say, ‘How about we try this?’ And it will be a little thing like having his collars turned up on a certain jacket that gives a hint of the Confederate soldier, just a little echo of part of his past.”

And, of course, given that he is portraying a vampire, fangs are a staple of his job description. Stephen says that he has three sets of fangs. They shoot the scenes twice, once normally and once with the teeth in. The moment that the fangs pop out or retract is a CGI effect. They are, as one would expect, quite sharp, and awkward at first:

“There were times especially early on when we were still getting used to them, when the guys playing vampires would sit around between takes and we’d be talking about football and they’d say, ‘OK, camera’s rolling, everyone put your teeth in…’ “

After being asked the question so many times, Stephen laughs about the appeal of vampires to pop culture:

“You’ve got immortality, you’ve got blood and you’ve got sharp, pointed teeth making a hole and sucking from it–that’s sexy, man.”

Nobody really knows what it is about vampires that fans love so much, but whenever the trend starts to fade, I doubt that True Blood will lose its popularity. The story offers so much more meaningful stuff to care about. But the hot vampires certainly help!


(Photo credit: HBO Inc.)

  • antonio

    I’ve had Such a Great time with this thread! Thank You All!
    I wish that it could go on and on! Perhaps “Mine” is 1 of the best episodes of S1?

  • antonio

    Thanks Nia I look forward to Your posts as well. I think that Sookie’s visit to Bill’s was the Best part! As for everything else, Well I’ve grown tired of Jason’s nude sex romps..Even though I thought it was funny when Dawn pulled a gun on him and told him to get out. did you see the look on his face when she shot the gun?? “Shit!” He screamed…He’s such a redneck such a bonehead! Just So funny! As for the Sam and Tara thing, Well it sure Aint Bill and Sookie thats for darn sure!
    And Laffy Well He is Something isnt He? And WTF by the way,
    Jason “prancing around” in his briefs for Laffy??
    Gross!! and what was with the mask?? “Dammit, I thought you said nobaddy would see thass!” What a Doof!! LOL
    Nobody Would See This?? You think there are Women in this country who Haven’t Seen You naked,Jason?? LOL
    I did like Sookie’s visit to Bill’s. I was just shocked to see Bill’s “darker side”. Usually its “Good” Bill “Bad” Eric.
    Another part Recall when Bill goes to see Malcolm,Liam and Diane
    He tries to tell them to “tone it down” and tries to suggest they “modify” their behavior? “They expect Us to live off that japanese synthetic stuff as if Any vampire can live off of that shit!” Weird but funny! What I thought was out of line for Billy was when he tried “threatening” them. I thought He Has NO such authority! When 1 of them said “Your NOT Eric!” I said out loud to the tv screen ” You Got THAT Right!” LOL
    Then 1 of them said back to him “Well Then I guess She will have to say something!” Referring to the Queen,Sophie-Ann!
    These seemed like a bunch of Real Low-lifes! vampire trash!
    I guess its like you said mainstreaming must be hard with all that negative influence! “Is Bill here?” She asked at the beginning. My first thought was Wait until He finds out He’s gonna kick their butts! But Him “rescuing” her yet again would have made it a bit too much like twilight. AB seemed to take us in a totally Different direction! Bill Was there..He was just “lurking” and “hungry” I guess
    You cant blame her for being angry,though. “What Was That..Sookie is Mine…What did You mean by that,Bill??
    She then says “I’m Not Your pet Or Your slave!” I said “Good For You,Honey!” LOL she also said ” I Never said You could feed off of Me!” Is That What I am to You? I was like Tell Him Sugar!! OK I know what you said before He would Never try to overpower her and he did respect her when she said No about the kiss! The thing here is that he genuinely cares for her.
    Its not just about the blood or sex. I’m sure if he wanted to he could have just taken it from her Even though it would be difficult to do since she cant be glamored! Plus i think Bill’s friends were kind of pissed at him when she said “Are you tryin to glamor me…well it doesnt work!” 1 of them said something like “How does She Know about That?”

  • antonio

    Another thing here…Not to get off the subject of Bill But
    Can You imagine finding out something horrible or strange about the person you like/love? It Must be Very Hard! Sookie Knew Bill was a Vampire from the beginning…She knew that didnt mean She wanted to See him In The Act of Vampirism! She was shocked,I guess and disillusioned. She had Every right to be upset and angry I feel..Although she didnt have to be mean to Bill! Now, I also feel bad for Sam..He’s such a nice guy…its a shame He ALSO is troubled by what He is! I Guess No Woman in her right mind would have Anything to Do with him if she knew what he was! The Only reason that Tara stood over Sam’s Little trailer was because She did Not want to go home because her mother was on a bender. She Did sleep with Sam BUT ONLY because she was Bored and Upset about her situation at home…I would HARDLY Call THAT LOVE!! Their “affair” was not what I’d call a Relationship! I Did Laugh My Butt Off,though when she got up and left in the middle of the night Because Sam “Barks” in his sleep…like a dog!! LOL
    Sam deserves someone who will truly love and value him!
    He needs a gal who is willing to stand by him No matter What!!
    Bill has found a great love Why Can’t Sam??
    Besides, I thought it was rude for Tara to ask Sam such personal questions! And sleeping with the boss is usually Not a good thing to do! “Are You lonely,Sam?” Does a bear crap in the woods?? What a stupid question! Why dont you ask Bill if he’s hungry?? LOL

  • OMG!! What’s up, with my season 2??!! Is it ever going to get here?!!!? Anyway’s…Well, Bill does drink true blood…except, now he has ..Sookie, to toss back a few on??! Bad Boys?? To a limit, they’re good….Depend’s on what bad things they are doing??!!
    I don’t think, I’ve ever had my heart broken over something on the show??!! I’ve laughed and been scared and excited…not heart broke…just me..Still lovin that crazy, hottie hot vampire Bill Compton!!

    • antonio

      What I meant to say was..I felt bad f”or Bill because it looked like Sookie was rejecting him BECAUSE He WAS a Vampire! He Was trying to explain to her That He’s NOT a “Monster” and That He wants Very Much to be a “Good Guy”! I’m Not denying the fact that she said some hurtful things to Bill. Bill is Still My Favorite Character! I just didnt like seeing his “bad” side!
      Sure,Im accustomed to seeing Eric be “bad” Because that is the kind of vamp he is,But NOT Bill! I guess You are right! Bill did NOT have ANY human friends Before Sookie Or Sam~~If you can call what They have an uneasy friendship?~~.
      I think that I Would be dis-illusioned if not disappointed
      “WHY Bill Why Arent You Who I thought You Were?”
      I guess what makes me feel sad is that Bill struggles with himself So Much He hates what hes become! And the wounded,hurt look in his eyes when He feels Sookie is rejecting him…its just hard for me to watch its Almost like He’s saying
      “Sookie,Please Dont Hate Me!”
      I guess its like they say the road to True Love Never runs smoothly!

      • Nia

        Oh antonio, I feel your pain!!!!!! I adore Bill but I guess we have to love all of him. Good and dark. I think the dark kind of defines him, and the good drives him. He is evolving and it will take time.


        I enjoy seeing his dark side and how he realizes (usually with Sookies help) that he needs to change and is willing to try. Bless him, most people, vamps, or otherwise NEVER change.

        As for Eric, we have seen mostly the “bad” side (except for his momentary lapse beause of Godric). I think there is some good in there too! With so many seasons ahead there will be so much revealed!! I am so looking forward to the fun ahead. But for now I am thinking of my wonderful tortured southern gent and all the sorrow that possibly lay ahead for him. He doesn’t deserve it. He needs us to stick by him!!

        As always, Team True BLood!!!!!!

        • antonio

          Sorry! Its Every Man for himself!! Bill is taken away and Sookie is Single and unattached once again! Sookie Whats your Phone number,Baby?? How bout a date,Sweet Stuff??
          I may Not be a Vampire But I Am Italian and you know what they say about us Fiery,Hot Blooded Italians!! LOL

          With Bill gone Somebody is bound to make a play for her!!
          Eric? Alcide? Maybe even Sophie-Ann?? LOL
          🙂 🙂

        • antonio

          I wouldnt give up on Billy. He’s Still My fave. I guess its hard to accept the whole deal with him as a vampire. I keep forgetting He IS Really a Vampire! And like some1 on this thread had written Thats What They Do! I guess when it comes to Other vamps like Eric,Pam,Chow Lorena They make no attempt to hide their “wicked intentions” You Know they are up to No good right from the get-go! Bill,can be quite fascetious if he wants to be I find that a bit Odd and unsettling! Its like OK Bill are You Good OR Bad?
          Whats the deal,here Billy?
          Another thing How come Bill Doesnt work for Eric?? Eric Is the sheriff right and Bill’s superior. I’m surprised Eric doesnt say something like “You work for ME,Compton!”
          “You May think that your a Big Shot here, But I’m The Boss..Not You!”

  • I didn’t feel bad for Sookie…Duh!! She know’s he is a Vampire, what does she think they do?? They are Dead and drink blood!! She needs to wise up…Maybe in season 2..(which I am still waiting for!!) Yeah, I know it’s just a show… But, Geez Sookie!? I want to hit ya in the pumpkin!! VAMPIRE!!!!!!!!!!! OH, Loved the interview…Stephen is always, great!!!

    • antonio

      Ok Ok I Know! I can just hear you say “Drink blood? dead?”
      He’s a Freakin Vampire for Pete’s Sake! What the hell did She expect?? You’re Right,Of Course! But She was naive and ignorant of this vampire stuff! You know how it is arent most gals fascinated by “bad boy” types Until they find out how they really are?? LOL
      Sookie Give Me a Kiss I would have said “Piss Off!”
      Which reminds me.. How come Bill doesnt drink Tru Blood?
      Did he fall off the wagon (Hearse)? LOL 🙂

  • antonio

    Another Great Interview with Steph. This 1 is a keeper! I always enjoy reading or hearing an interview with him. He sounds So Intelligent So Well Spoken. He’s Also Very passionate about his work And his job ON TB! I liked the story about his first meeting with Anna. He gives her and the rest of the cast So much credit. Its NOT like He’s 1 of these actors who thinks Its All about Them!

    Now, Little side bar here, Last night i saw the 3rd episode of S1
    “Mine” I was Shocked And Surprised~~perhaps even a bit disappointed to see Bill’s “dark side” at the beginning of the episode! I KNOW that Bill IS A Vampire and Vampires have certain needs~~For Blood maybe Sex. But that whole brooding,ravenous libidinous act?? I wondered Where’s The Bill that I thought I came to know? He just seemed so like a typical bloodsucker! I thought it was kinda cool when he stated in his southern voice “Sookeh is Mahn!” Only after his “friends” tried to make a snack out of her! That guy Jerry almost strangled her! Not to mention, being in a room with blooodthirsty vampires who have strong “appetites” in Other areas as well! He did NOT seem like the Bill I knew!
    Who were these So-Called Friends? Why did He hang around them?
    WHY would he “feed” in front of Sookie?
    WHY the hell didnt He jump up to save her from the vamps who wanted to feed off of her?
    He seemed like a wanton,bloodthirsty,lustful bloodsucker!
    I’m Thinking is This Bill Compton OR Lestat?
    Of Course, I’m sure he Never intended for her to see him like that. I was pretty much on Sookie’s side later in the episode.
    He said he wasnt expecting a visit from her…And that He wasnt like That Anymore! Who’s He kidding! Makes me think “Once a Bloodsucker,Always a Bloodsucker!”
    After All That he had the nerve to ask her for a kiss goodnight??
    She had an argument with him and I was on Her side,I usually side with Bill but Not This time! Sookie: YOUR Friends tried to KILL Me!
    Bill: Sookie I’m Not like That,Anymore I mainstream Now I hang out around humans
    Sookie: You drink blood…You’re dead I dont think that we should see each other anymore!
    Bill: Sookie!
    Sookie choked up with emotion :WHY Cant I hear Your thoughts?
    Do You Even have ANY?
    Anyway Bill tries to explain to her Why he is the way he is
    I just was taken aback shocked maybe even appalled i guess
    To see Bill So “bad”?
    Sookie was hurt and I felt bad for her. She told him that she was Not his slave and that She would Not give him permission to feed off her…Go To Fangtasia and get some Tru Blood!!
    After she chews him out about the events at the house, he grabs her arm and wants a kiss or maybe even a bite? She tells him “Dont YOU Touch Me!”
    “Just GO AWAY Bill!” She says of course she’s upset about this.
    For a moment I thought “Maybe she Would be better off with Eric!”
    And Yet at NO Time did I hear him utter the words “Sookie I’m Sorry!” ” I Fouled Up, Forgive Me,Darlin’!” I Like Bill But WHY IS IT That He NEVER apologizes for Anything He says OR does!
    Its ONLY 2 Words “I’m Sorry”
    I was like “BILL C’Mon You Really dropped the ball,Dude!
    I also felt So bad when Sam was telling Tara that He was thinking of Asking Sookie Out on a date until right before Bill showed up.Poor Sam!

    • eva

      This scene in Mine bothered me the first time, until I thought about it a bit. I think Bill was holding off confronting the three because he knew he would be outnumbered and could not fight them off, but claiming Sookie as “mine” was also a major step that he would want to avoid, as she was not really his. He had to lie, at the last minute, as a last resort. As in almost every confrontation with vampires in True Blood, Bill is at a disadvantage due to his “youth” and low status. I think being willing to feed from Jerry in front of the others was partly possibly because he was hungry, and it was an overwhelming need, partly to show Sookie what vampires are like as she was clearly naive, but mostly again to keep face in front of the other three, because as he said Malcolm is very powerful, he cannot show weakness in front of him.
      As to the “I’m sorry”, sure he could have said it, but he did explain his actions to her and she went off on him anyway. I can feel for both of them in this situation.

    • eva

      Also, since you are watching the shows out of order, remember that Bill is new to trying a relationship with a human, rather than just glamouring one to feed from. He’s learning too.

    • eva

      Sorry for the multiple replies – Bill still did show remarkable control for a vampire. In his living room he calmly explained to Sookie the situation, even though she was (justifiably) angry and snarky with him. And he didn’t demand a kiss, or force himself on her, he asked her, politely, even a little shyly.
      If Eric had been there instead of Bill, the 3 would have fed on her and he would have probably have joined in. He had no special affinity for humans yet. Compared to the other vamps, Bill still seems like the safest to me.

      • antonio

        Thanx for sharing your thoughts about it with me! I appreciate it very much! I just started watching S1 of TB on HBO2. So far i have seen 2 episodes. Episode 2 The First taste which I thought was kind of ..Gross and Episode 3 “Mine” Which kind of bothered me…Sookie asks for Bill He’s sitting in a dark corner near a glamored victim and He looks as if he is ravenous for blood…like a wild animal.That disturbed Me! Is THIS Bill?
        I thought “Oh Shit, If They dont get her It looks like Bill Will!
        “What the hell is going On Here?” He looked as if he was drooling for blood! I KNOW He IS a Vampire But I didnt think that HE was like THAT! Maybe I’m Just as Naive as She was! LOL
        You explained everything in a clear manner,Thanx.
        Of Course he diidnt demand a kiss from her, But i thought it was in poor taste(No pun intended?) LOL That He would Even ASK Her!
        After what She witnessed there!
        It almost broke my heart to hear him say “Sookie,I’m dead…I have No heartbeat,No Pulse”. Perhaps you cant hear Me because I have no brainwaves No electrical impulses”
        “You cant Be that dead Your standing here talking to Me”
        I know How MY body works! I DID think that was kind of rude for her to talk to him like that!
        I wonder if he ever meant for her to see him like that?
        She yelled at him But she was justified in doing So I thought given that this was the 2nd time in 3 nights that she had almost been killed!
        When she said “Go AWAY BILL!” Just GO Away and Leave Me alone!
        I almost wanted to cry! I could see the hurt look in his face in his eyes. Of Course She KNEW he Was a Vampire but that didnt mean that she wanted to SEE him Do it!
        It was just a sad situation i guess.

        • eva

          You know, I’m not used to shows about vampires, so I still have to remind myself that Bill is one. He controls it so well in many episodes, so I actually like Mine now, for the contrast it offers, even though it bothered me at first. And we can see how he has progressed, from the flashback with Lorena in Chicago, to the scenes with Malcom, Dianne and Liam. He is moving past that life. Next season will show us more information about Bill, probably not good stuff either. But I think his feelings for Sookie are real, he has a real desire to change, even though it is a huge challange and he will continue to fail on occasion. It will be very interesting, and possibly heartbreaking (for me at least) to watch.

          • antonio

            Of Course, it stands to reason that it might break Bill’s heart if he finds out that Sookie has been with Eric..Someone whom he doesnt exactly see eye to eye with! It might upset him further…seeing that he asked her to marry him and he never saw her say Yes! What will happen I wonder? Will She think He walked out? Abandoned her? What If Eric is able to convince her that He never really cared for her if he could leave her like that? What If they are kept apart for a long time? Will they feel the same way about each other If and/or when they are re-united? Lot to think about for Next Season! Cant wait!
            It will be interesting to see if Eric can “move on’ past his wild vampire ways!

    • Nia

      Hi antoniao, and eva,
      Isn’t always great to discuss this show and deconstruct every detail of an episode? That is what is incredible about Alan B., he makes us think.
      Don’t give up on our southern gent after epi 3, “Mine”. Many have wondered why Bill waited so long when Malcom and gang were going after Sookie. Here is what I believe:
      First, Bill would have never let anyone feed off her or hurt her. He did jump in to save her by saying she is mine! Remember that he would have lost a fight if he attempted to just attack them to stop them, and Sookie would have been at their mercy. Perhaps he was a afraid if he showed too much enthusiasm for her they would consider it a game to go after her. He was being tactful and going in at the right moment.
      I also believe that maybe Bill wanted Sookie to see what his life has been about. What it has been like to be a vampire. He wanted her to see what she is getting into with him, to start understanding him. He is not perfect, he has a dark side, he is vampire!
      I applaud him for not trying to lie to her by sugar coating his life. If he was truly bad he would have taken her and drank from her, instead he asked her permission to kiss her, “may I kiss you goodnight?”. And respected her decesion when she said no. Face it, how many human guys would do that? Didn’t Sam kiss her without asking (just for the record, I love Sam, my 2nd choice after Bill)? Bill and Sookies first kiss was initiated by Sookie in epi 2. Bill has also never bitten her without her permission and would stop if she asked him to. Bill is still and always trying to be the gentleman that he was.
      As to hanging out with Malcom and gang. Bill is a vampire, he does not have human friends or lets say aquiantances. This is the closest he has to company. But idealy he is alone by choice. He prefers to live alone, refuses to live in their “nest”. Also he did not invite them to his home, “their visit was unexpected”.
      There is always so much more to discuss. These epsiodes are wonderful!
      As to Stephens interview, it is always great to hear him speak about his life, his career and his newfound fame with True Blood. He is such a professional and all around great guy. I can only wish him all the best in the future with all his professional endeavors as well as in his personal life with Anna and his children.
      We are fortunate to have him play Bill. Bill is such a many layered character and Stephen has pegged him smack on!
      You go Stephen! I am a fan for life!

    • Hi Antonio, Bill was protecting Sookie from the vampires. She is still very naive about vampires and their nature which sometimes they have a very hard time to control. Bill was protecting her and by saying “She’s mine” did not mean as you said being his slave is slave and feed off her. He wasn’t going to feed off of her, he just said that to protect her from the other vamps. Why was he with them? This was his existence with them a long time ago, not who he is now. Let’s not judge Bill too harshly as for I personally feel Sookie treated Bill poorly in this episode and put him down for what he is. He doesn’t need to be reminded, he hates what he is as it is.

    • Nia

      Hi antonio, love talking with you!
      Couple things I thought about concerning epi 3 of season 1.
      When Sookie walks into Bills house, if you notice, Bill is in the corner, not getting involved with Malcom, Diane, and Liam, trying to divorce himself from them and what they were doing with their humans.

      Malcom then mentions, with disdain, that Bill was just telling them that he was living mostly on synthetic blood, and thinks Bill is lying. As the vamps are starting to become more interested in Sookie you can see Bill getting angry by the way he is gripping the chair handles and his chest is heaving.
      Don’t forget, Bill said later that Malcom and co. visit was unexpected. Could it be perhaps that Bill was also embarassed that Sookie found them in his house? He never wanted themn there.

      Then Bill is tempted by Malcoms offer of Jerry. Perhaps Bill had not fed/eaten and was trying to resist. He was looking at Sookie and trying so hard to not feed on Jerry, maybe looking to her for inspiration (or a nip) but over 100 years of vampire conditioning was winning out. Mainstreaming is hard when you go it alone.

      There is so much there if you look closely.
      I guess I have seen it alot, what do you think??LOL