TrueBloodNet Exclusive! Club Fangtasia Interview With Tara Buck and Marshall Allman

November 4, 2012

True Blood Stars at Autograph Signing for Aussie Fans:

Marshall Allman (Tommy Mickens) and Tara Buck (Ginger) with TrueBloodNet writer Rachel Tsoumbakos at Club FangtasiaRecently, I was given the opportunity to interview two stars of HBO’s True Blood: Tara Buck (Ginger) and Marshall Allman (Tommy Mickens). It was certainly an amazing experience and so much fun to catch up with the friendly and down to earth stars before they did their signing event at Club Fangtasia. If you didn’t get a chance to meet them at this event and you live in Melbourne, Australia, you also had the opportunity to meet up with them on Sunday 4th November during the First Contact Full Blood convention. Or, alternatively, see them at the Club Fangtasia Halloween party on Sunday night.

Even with their hectic schedule, the stars were happy to sit down and have a chat about True Blood with TrueBloodNet. Tara was straight into talking about her favourite True Blood moment: riding Pam’s coffin in Season 5. A moment that she didn’t know was to occur until she actually jumped on the coffin and it started to move. Which led to the first fan question, sent in by Lenore Mills, who asked if coffin riding was similar to horse riding? Tara was quick to declare that it wasn’t, but it was fairly close to mechanical bull riding!

Marshall then described his craziest True Blood moment, one which involved having to (while naked) jump and transform from a human into a bird. Besides the fact that he was jumping about naked, he kept making ad hoc transforming sound effects. As a result, they had to retake until he could jump without making any noises at all!

This was the opportune time to ask the question sent in by KL Joy: Since there are so much naked moments for shifters in True Blood, were there any awkward moments? Allman pointed out that being naked on set gets very old very quickly and it’s just a matter of getting on with the job.

It was also interesting to discover how the pair of them researched their roles. While Marshall plays a shifter and a character who is not in the Southern Vampire Mystery books by Charlaine Harris, he still found it easy enough to research:

Tommy had been basically raised as a dog fighter, so I watched ‘The Dog Whisperer’ and he did a whole episode on pitt bulls. He talked a lot about the nature of the pitt bull and how the breed has been trained. When pitt bulls experience pain, they don’t have a threshold for it and go crazier. They will attack until they die. So learning that, it was kind of like, wow, Tommy’s a lot like that, you know, he just doesn’t know when to stop.

Tara Buck rides Pam's coffin as Ginger in HBO's True BloodGinger, on the other hand, is a character in the books, so it is possible for her to draw on that. Although, Buck prefers to go with her own special version of her character. But, because Ginger dies in the books, there was a concern that the Ginger in the HBO series would suffer the same fate:

We shot a scene, that never made it to air, the very last scene of the last episode of Season 3, where Ginger runs into Fangtasia and her head is backwards and so you don’t know what has happened but clearly a spell has been cast and so, when I read that, I actually said to Alan Ball; “Oh my gosh, Alan, you killed me!” To which Alan replied; “No, no, no, Tara, don’t worry, your head’s just been turned around, but you’re still alive.”

Which is such a relief to hear, since so many people love Ginger. This bought me to the source of the most popular questions for Ginger: her scream. While it was never a part of the audition process for Tara Buck, when her character witnessed the death of Long Shadow in Season 1, it became an organic, ad lib process in the scene. Once she started wailing, everyone thought it was hilarious so they asked for more of it. Then, of course, she started throwing up, so they asked her to scream and throw up and then scream some more.

Truebie fan Eve Lynch, wanted to know how the the both of them got into acting? Tara announced that she fell in love with Michael J. Fox while watching him in the movie ‘Back To The Future’. Even though she was only 8, she decided that the only way to meet the celebrity, was to take up acting! Marshall, on the other hand, had originally planned to be a professional soccer player, but was, unfortunately, injured before he could live out that dream. On a whim, a friend suggested he try out on a talent search The rest, as they say, is history!

True Blood fan, Kate Rodaughan, wanted to ask Tara Buck if it was fun to play Ginger. To which the actress responded with a definite yes:

I don’t even know where to start. I love the costumes. They’re tiny – it’s like Halloween every day! Her hair is big and crazy and it’s just fun. I love it.

Marshall Allman who stars as Tommy Mickens in HBO's True BloodAnother fan, Cindy Burrows, wanted to ask Marshall Allman about his role in Sons Of Anarchy. In particular, what it was like to play such a gullible character in a scene (where Allman’s character, Devon, is propositioned by a transvestite hooker) that fans have declared as hilarious, in a show that is not often known for its humor:

Oh man, it wasn’t hard at all! I absolutely loved playing the role of Devon. That scene was so much fun to shoot.

And fans of both Sons of Anarchy and Marshall Allman will be pleased to know that the role should be reprised in Season 6.

I can’t wait. You can go in so many different directions because he’s so wide-eyed and he has no idea what the culture is like.

I was also curious to know, besides True Blood, what is the strangest role either of them have ever had to play? Tara Buck is actually known for playing unique characters. So, for her, the weirdest ones, so far, are the roles of crazy Rhea Reynolds in Nip/Tuck and a character in her upcoming film ‘K-11′; who is a transgender inmate. She actually plays the role of a man playing a woman!

Allman has also had his share of interesting roles. Besides his stint as Devon in Sons of Anarchy, he has starred in the movie, ‘The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle’. In this movie he plays a janitor who gives birth to blue fish after becoming addicted to experimental cookies.

Now, if you want to see more of Tara Buck and Marshall Allman, they have plenty of stuff hitting the screens. Tara has a new movie coming out called ‘Tomorrow You’re Gone’ (also known as ‘Boot Tracks’), which stars Willem DaFoe, Stephen Dorff and Michelle Monaghan. It’s directed by David Jacobson and should hit the big screen early in 2013. The film, K-11 (which stars Goran Visnjic) is being released shortly.

Marshall Allman has just completed a movie called ‘Jane Mansfield’s Car’. It stars Billy Bob Thornton and Robert Duvall. You can also see Allman in the upcoming independent film, The Bounceback.

Thank you to Tara Buck, Marshall Allman, HBO, the crew at First Contact Conventions and Garth O’Hehir for making this interview possible.

(Photo Credits: Inc.)


Graham Shiels Gets “True” With SOS

December 24, 2008

We found another nice article interview with Graham Shiels who played the role of Liam in Season 1 of HBO True Blood. Thanks for Jennifer Synder at Soap Opera Source for allowing us to feature her interview with Graham Shiels.

Photo Credit Peter Randolph/HBO

Photo Credit Peter Randolph/HBO

Graham Shiels has appeared on film, stage and television with a career in acting spanning the last 8 years. His most recent role as Liam on HBO’s True Blood, has garnered fans from around the world. Graham was classically trained at the Yale School of Drama and significant credits in theater including the highlight of performances with Tony Award winner Brian Bedford, at The Mark Taper Forum in “The Moliere Comedies.” Also Graham is an accomplished improviser and alumni of Improv Olympic West.

Graham took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with Soap Opera Source about his role on HBO’s True Blood and his recurring role as Cody Paul on ABC’s General Hospital.

True Blood has garnered a lot of attention since its first season began. Why do you think it was a huge hit for HBO? What makes this vampire series stand out above the other original programming on HBO?

As for the success of TB I think it’s just plain different. Alan Ball has impeccable taste and the show mixes in a lot of humor into the world of a blood-thirsty, human-killing vampire. So it’s like no other vampire story ever told. I also think that’s where he differs from the books, by Charlaine Harris, because though there is humor in the books, there’s a LOT more in the TV show. Trying to tell the story by portraying these vampires as having real social conflict and feelings about fitting in is different–not just a horror/gore movie about vampires sucking people’s necks and speaking in bad generic eastern European accents.

True Blood pushed the envelope with the nudity and the language. Every episode there was somebody having sex. Liam’s sex scenes showed full backside nakedness. Was that something that was difficult for you to do? I mean some actors are not open to showing a lot of skin and True Blood is a series that shows a lot of skin every episode.

I was very nervous when we shot that. As, I’m sure, my co-star was, too. Had it not been Alan Ball, Oscar award-winning writer, and HBO, I never would have done it. And it was just my butt. It wasn’t full frontal. I’d never (never say never, Graham) do full frontal. I’ve done it onstage, though, in a Shakespeare play. But I knew in this case it served the story and that it would be handled with great taste seeing as it’s Alan Ball. Blood taste.

There was even an episode that you were in bed with Sookie’s brother, Jason (Ryan Kwanten) during one his love scenes with a girl who had had sex with Liam. Was it uncomfortable for the two of you doing that scene together?

Working with Ryan was not uncomfortable at all b/c we both knew this was a fun “bit,” so to speak. It was very fun to shoot. Ryan had this great idea he should be holding my foot and that’s how he notices it’s me and not the girl–and in retrospect, I think we should have gone the whole way and he could have been sucking my toes, too!

Was there a memorable event, moment, scene, episode from True Blood that maybe was intense or funny that didn’t make it on screen?

There was a funny moment in ep #7 when we’re coming into Merlott’s to get Bill. Ana/Sookie is chewing out Andrew/Malcolm. When we were rehearsing I laughed like I was enjoying that she was taking Malcolm down a peg and then Andrew gave me an evil glare, like, “shut-up.” That whole exchange cracked everyone up. But it couldn’t make it into the cut b/c it really wasn’t what was written in terms of the intensity of the conflict. But it was very real–and so, funny.

Liam was a little more hardcore vampire than some of the other vamps on True Blood. Was there something that you drew from to flesh out the character?

Just from meeting Alan and he said these vampires live like they don’t know when they’ll ever feed again, so the moment they get the scent/feeling they’re about to feed, it’s absolute lusty/insane desire. And as far as sex goes, they treat these human fang bangers like lawn furniture.

You returned to GH a few months ago and your character of Cody Paul has become very much intertwined with the mob as Jason’s informant/body guard. Is this a position you like Cody to be in or would you like to see Cody branch out into other stories and with other characters?

I love working with Steve Burton (Jason). He’s incredibly talented and he’s just a fun guy to be around. He’s got such a level of ease in his work that I learn from him every day. So it’s wonderful to be there in the thick of the coffee importing business. I also think it plays to some of my strengths to be around situations that it may present, i.e., intimidating lesser men. And, yes, of course, I’d love to do more and more. More conflict introduced to Cody’s life (maybe the drug addiction stuff, maybe he’s an amateur MMA fighter?) would be wonderful, and, of course, a love interest would be dope because I’d get to show the freaky, yet soft and vulnerable, side of Cody Paul.

The writers touched upon Cody’s drug addiction when you returned, saying that he was in recovery. Is that something you’d like for the writers to build on and explore?
It’s something that the writers could touch back into because I think we all know how easy it is for an addict to slip. And, as I said earlier, that would be something interesting because it would add another layer of conflict to Cody Paul’s story. As an actor you always want more and more conflict. The more adversity the better–it’s kind of like the opposite of real life. Haha.

There are daytime actors who like the freedom of being on recurring, but there are many who like the security of being on contract. If GH offered a long term contract to you, would you take it? And why or why not?

Of course I would take it. I just want to act. On a daily basis. If I get the chance to do that in Port Charles, I’m living my dream.

Besides GH, you have other projects you are working on or have done that will be airing in the coming months. What are those upcoming appearances where fans can see you next?

Well the first thing coming up will be Jim Carrey’s “Yes Man” releasing December 19th. That should be pretty darn funny. Then I’m Guest Starring in the first episode of the new season of “Burn Notice” (the #1 scripted show on cable) in January. Matt Nix, the creator of the show, said that the USA network is VERY happy with the episode and made it a point to say the performances are great. So I’m looking forward to seeing that–I haven’t yet. Then I’ll be playing another vampire in the season finale of the upcoming season of “Nip/Tuck.” As for pet projects I am writing and I also worked on a trailer with Kent King (GH’s Lainey). All that and continuing to be brought in to Port Charles every now and then.

Fan support is important to any daytime actor. Do you feel Cody Paul has left an impression with GH fans? Good or bad? Has the returned sparked more interest in him from fans?

Fan support IS important. Unbelievably. I get tons of love from all over America and Canada for Cody Paul via my MySpace page and GrahamShielsOnline. It’s all good, yo! The number one comment, far and away, is “When will you get back with Lainey?!!!” So I think people are very interested in seeing where it’ll go with Cody because they already know he has a rich history to dive into that could explode at any moment.

Graham is currently on recurring as Cody Paul on ABC’s General Hospital. He debuted as Cody Paul, a drug addicted war veteran who served his country in Iraq and had been dishonorably discharged. Cody came to Port Charles when he followed two of his army buddies, Logan Hayes (Josh Duhon) and Cooper Barrett (Jason Gerhart). After appearing on General Hospital:Night Shift during the summer of 2007, Cody Paul was sent to jail for murdering Dr. Lainey Winters’ father. After a few months off screen, Cody Paul has returned and has kicked the drug habit, and was working on the docks as a forklift operator. Thinking he could help the local mobster Jason Morgan (Steve Burton) by keeping him informed of an activity down on the docks, Cody went to Jason with information regarding Russian mobster Karpov. He has gained the trust of Jason Morgan and is currently working as a bodyguard/informant for Morgan’s organization.

Keep up to date on what’s going with Graham by visiting his official MySpace page or stopping by Graham Shiels Online. You can check out all of Graham’s demo reels at Reel Access.

For Reprint of this Interview, please contact Jennifer Synder/Senior News Editor @ Soap Opera Source



Vampires and Slayers First Edition

December 8, 2008

Vampires and Slayers True Blood Cover

Vampires and Slayers True Blood Cover

Available Now! The first issue of Vampires & Slayers Magazine, printed in a trade paperback edition and offering interviews with actors and filmmakers working within the vampire genre on film and TV. Exclusive True Blood Interviews: Executive Producer Alan Ball, Author/Creator Charlaine Harris and Makeup Designer Dan Rebert. Plus, “True Blood Meets the Press” – Q&A session featuring Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer and Alan Ball.

For More information and ordering, please vist here