True Blood’s Carrie Preston Talks About Arlene’s Evil Baby

August 22, 2010 by  

Carrie Preston, True Blood, Arlene FowlerThe past three seasons of True Blood have been almost three years (of bliss) for the viewer, but for Arlene Fowler, Merlotte’s favorite red-haired waitress, it only been a whirlwind six weeks or so.  In that time she has dated, been engaged to and lost a deranged, serial-killer boyfriend; been turned into a black-eyed zombie freak by a Maenad while gaining a new boyfriend: the sweet, but slightly not-so-stable, Iraq vet, Terry; and finally discovering she is pregnant with dead boyfriend one’s baby while letting boyfriend two think he is the father.  And now she has to work with a vampire!  How much more can happen?

Well, Carrie Preston, the talented actress that brings Arlene so vividly to life, discussed just that when interviewed by Jarett Wieselman of the NY Post’s PopWrap.

Carrie has always felt that, as a Southern woman, she wanted to avoid stereotyping Arlene as an “average Southern racist” and to ensure that her portrayal had real depth.  And this has been a particular challenge as Arlene gets relatively little screen time, meaning Carrie always has to make a lot out of a little.

That is the challenge of playing the role, but it’s also what makes me excited. I’ll be given very little text and I’ll have to make a whole life out of it. Arlene never gets a lot of scenes, so I have to make it seem like there’s more. It’s funny, I’ll do an episode and think, “ok, I only worked one day on it.” Then it’ll air and people will say, “wow, you had a lot to do this week!” I take that as a compliment because I think Arlene definitely makes an impression.

Arlene discovers she is pregnant

Carrie was very excited when Alan Ball outlined this year’s plot-line for Arlene, she told PopWrap, and was pleased that after two years of being mainly comic relief, she would get to play some real pathos with Arlene in Season 3.  The pathos she refers to revolves around Arlene’s ambivalence towards the baby she is carrying and guilt about her lie of omission to Terry about its true parentage.  In this week’s episode Arlene will ‘fess up to Terry – how will he take it?

The good news is that Terry is such a sweet character, I hope the audience is pleased with what happens. But it does go to a surprising place – very unexpected. Arlene starts walking down an avenue that I don’t think the audience would expect her to.

What Carrie is hinting at is what Arlene will do about her ambivalence, as she explains:

Arlene is kind of superstitious person. She’s someone who takes things at face value and to be pregnant with an evil person’s baby is not something she’s comfortable with [laughs]. You’ve now seen the dilemma she’s been presented with and that carries us though these last three episodes – she has some solutions presented to her and big choices to make.

Terry and Arlene, True Blood

One of the highlights of last Season was watching the developing relationship between Arlene and Terry (Todd Lowe).  This has continued in Season 3 with Terry moving in with Arlene and her kids.  Perhaps one of the stand-out scenes this Season was Terry joyfully explaining to Sam how great it was that he was finally doing normal things, like falling in love and moving in with his girlfriend.  For Carrie, working with Todd has also been a joy.

I love working with Todd Lowe, who plays Terry. We have the same work style. We approach things similarly, there’s an ease there, a trust there – it’s just nice to work with an actor who is operating at the same frequency. We don’t even need to do a lot of talking at this point, we just show up and being in the same room together is almost enough. … Obviously we got to know each other very well last season because we were, in some cases, out in the 38 degree darkness with black contact lenses, scantily clad on top of each other. That will bond you really quickly [laughs].

Another burgeoning relationship for Arlene this season is with Merlotte’s mysterious new waitress, Holly, in whom Arlene, as Carrie explains, finds a “kindred spirit” and counselor.

But the introduction of Holly, hinting at new plot lines in Season 4, combined Carrie’s other acting projects, have some fans worried that Arlene might not be on the show much longer.  While Carrie can’t be certain of what’s in Arlene’s future (this is True Blood after all), she hopes that continued fan support will mean Arlene will be around for the long-haul.

I think part of the concern came when I took a role on “The Good Wife” role. I did a couple of those, and I’ll be back for another one. It’s been fun to step aside and work on another show. Obviously I can’t say anything, but I am pleased to see that fans are concerned, which means they like my character. That’s always flattering and not a bad thing for your boss to hear.

And in any case, even if they kill Arlene, this being True Blood, there are almost infinite ways she can come back.  True?

Absolutely! I might get killed and turned into a vampire.

Source: PopWrap – Carrie Preston: Arlene isn’t comfortable being pregnant with an evil baby

(Picture Credit: HBO Inc.)