True Blood’s Deborah Ann Woll Talks Vampires and Season 3

August 27, 2010 by  

Deborah Ann Woll, True Blood, Jessica HambyThough Jessica Hamby doesn’t appear in Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels, she has become an integral character to the television adaptation, True Blood. The actress who plays the red-headed baby vamp, Deborah Ann Woll talks about season 3, her fangs, and Jessica‘s changing attitudes.

If you’re not a fan, Jessica was turned as a punishment for Bill Compton killing a vampire to save Sookie in Season 1. She was taken away from her Christian roots and thrown into the blood flowing vampire society. Though Season 1 gave us a very bratty Jessica, Season 2 and 3 has given viewers a very vulnerable, but powerful vampire learning the ropes of the supernatural world as well as the adult world.

Deborah thinks Jessica is growing up fast and has already seen more than most 17 years old girls do. Viewers may have noticed a change in Jessica’s attitude, but they won’t notice how much she’s grown up until the end of the season.

It’s surprising to see how much Jessica has grown, given that her character was only supposed to have a two or three episode arc. Deborah becoming an integral part of the cast, for her, was a pleasant surprise.

In Season 2, Jessica confronts her family and, for Deborah, that was an important moment. Viewers were able to find out who Jessica was on a deeper level. Before this meeting, Jessica could be shrugged off as annoying or innocent, but upon meeting her family and the environment she grew up in, viewers gained a new respect and understanding to the character. Deborah notes,

“If you had been told every day of your life that you weren’t good enough, that you were ugly, that you weren’t worth anyone’s time, then the minute that you got any kind of freedom, wouldn’t anybody take a mile? And I think that was the moment, at least for me and I think for the character, that we were able to go in another direction.”

The most impressive image of the family meeting was when Jessica slammed her father against the wall. Being tall helped Deborah a lot; her height helps her match most boys or men on television.  Though they rehearsed a few times, the scene was only shot once or twice.

When viewers are seeing this scene, they get a glimpse of Jessica as a powerful vampire. Jessica herself is still learning who she is. In the HBO promos, there are scenes where Jessica looks into a mirror checking out how she looks with her fangs and without. For Deborah, the fangs do a lot of work for her; they can create a very intimidating look when in real life she doubts she can intimidate anyone. She reveals,

“You just have to show those pointy little dangerous knives in your mouth, and people listen.”

Though unknown to the audience, for the first five minutes Deborah puts on her fangs, she has a lisp. However, fangs seem to be a plus, as well as the goo and gore she’s covered in for every episode. Deborah loves getting dirty because for her it makes her a better actor. She’s also been strapped to a flying rig, where she entrusts her life to a big burly guy pulling on a rope. While Deborah finds it fun, Jessica’s time high flying have been negative ones, but Deborah hopes that Jessica will have a positive flying experience in the future.

Jessica tends to get thrown around quite a bit. Thankfully, Deborah did some stage combat training when she was younger, where actors are taught how to fall, and how to take a fake punch. In addition, Deborah goes into every fight scene with an open mind and find the experiences fun.

Aside from her fight scenes, Jessica has had a lot of scenes with different characters. Deborah as well as the writers have successfully created different chemistry between Jessica and the other characters. Deborah admits,

Jim Parrack [as Jessica’s human boyfriend Hoyt] is a terrific actor. I’m so glad he’s getting recognition in this part and I’m so glad that I get to be involved in that, because it’s just very easy to look him in the eye and have a feeling and he really brings that out in people. And then of course, with Stephen and Anna [Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse] – old pros. What else can you say? It’s so effortless for them and I look at that and I admire it and I hope one day to have that. For me, I still have to go home and work for twelve hours [laughs] before I can get a bit of what I need. I hope some day to be able to just transition that smoothly between life and extra-life [in character].

In between Season 2 and 3, Deborah has spent her time being involved in three feature projects as a supporting role. She’s a part of the horror film Mother’s Day, the detective story Little Murder, and the drama Highland Park. She’s also been involved in the True Blood webisodes.

After being involved with 3 different characters for three different movies, coming back to Jessica and True Blood felt like coming back home for Deborah. And now, her home has werewolves. She is loving working with the wolves and respects that although they’re trained, they’re still wild and do what they please.

Aside from her scenes with the wolves, Deborah’s favorite scene from the show would have to be Jessica’s first meeting with Hoyt. Deborah is proud to work with such a brilliant actor and considers him a dear friend. As for interacting with other vampires Deborah thinks,

“Jessica might be a little overwhelmed right now [laughs] and not worried too much about “cool.” That’s kind of what I like about Jessica – I like that she’s not cool. We’re trying to show that within the vampire world, there is a range and you can have ultra-cool Pam and Eric, and then you can have kind of fumbling around, doesn’t know what she’s doing, making a lot of mistakes Jessica. And it’s fun to try and represent that spectrum.”

This season Jessica has faced and will continue to face some challenging moments. She has to struggle with living in a society where some people dislike vampires. The 3rd season will show the darker side of Jessica… viewers will see the things that perhaps vampires must do, but feel shame in doing. From a scared human to a powerful vampire, Jessica has grown with every episode. Deborah is also growing as a new and graceful actress in Hollywood with many more years of exciting and thrilling work ahead of her.


(Photo Credit: HBO Inc)