True Blood’s Denis O’Hare Talks about Being King Russell

August 1, 2010 by  

Recently, Denis O’Hare sat down with for an interview in which he talked about Russell Edgington, the possibility of Russell being in True Blood‘s forth season, and about his cast mates, among many other topics.

The interview began with Denis talking about what Comic-Con was like for him. He said that it was a lot of fun, and a reunion of sorts for the True Blood cast because they hadn’t really seen each other all together in almost a month. Denis also said that he luckily wasn’t mobbed by fans while at Comic-Con, but that if he stayed in one place for too long, a crowd would begin to gather around him.

Another thing that Denis discussed was the audition process for him to procure the role of King Russell. The lucky actor actually didn’t do anything; he got a call asking if he was interested in working on True Blood while he was in Budapest filming another project. Thanks to a time difference between Budapest and New York, as well as an inability to get his boyfriend on the phone, Denis had to wait until the day after he got the part to tell anyone.

Soon after that, Denis joined the cast of True Blood and transformed into the deliciously warped King Russell that we all can’t get enough of. And Denis has a lot to say about Russell, starting with his entrance onto True Blood in which Russell shows up on the back of a white horse to save Bill Compton from a pack of werewolves.

Of course, that opening appearance shows fans a Russell Edgington who we later find out is completely different from how he originally presented himself. Russell‘s motives are definitely not the purest, and they directly affect a lot of the main characters on True Blood in various ways. Russell is essential to a lot of Season 3‘s main story lines, and Denis commented on that and how even with the addition of his character, the lead characters are still the most important:

What is so smart about this season is that they have kept the focus very tightly on the main characters and in many cases, like my own, they have had the new characters intersect with more than one main character.  Also, this season explores more deeply the vampire power structure, which I think is always fascinating.  I think I would be more freaked out if I saw the whole plan laid out before me but we only see one script at a time and so only focus on one or two episodes at a time.

Denis contined, saying that Russell isn’t all bad:

Russell has a fairly large arc – meaning he has to go to many places and so it’s best to start from a place of calm and then progress to something else.  As the session progresses, he will definitely lose it more often and we will see other, more extreme parts of him as he is required to step it up.  He’s not “bad” – he, like all characters has a point of view and an agenda and from his point of view, he only does what is necessary for the survival of the things and people (vampires) he loves.

Denis also talked a little bit about how Russell is going to keep dealing with Bill and Sookie. He says that there is “definitely stuff coming up” between the Bill and Russell. When it comes to Sookie, though, Russell wants to find out what she is and have Sookie‘s skills at his side so that he can gain more power throughout the True Blood universe.

Russell doesn’t just have relationships with the main characters, though. He also has a friendship with vampire procurer Franklin Mott. The pair of vampires have been friends for a long time, and Russell sees Franklin as another son.

Thanks to all of Russell‘s interactions with other characters, Denis had the opportunity to work alongside a majority of the cast. He briefly described several of those cast members in a few words:

Anna Paquin (Sookie): Smart as a whip and funny as hell

Stephen Moyer (Bill): Wonderful, warm, witty.

Alexander Skarsgard (Eric):  Delightful, easy and fun.

James Frain (Franklin):  A leprechaun disguised as an Englishman.

Theo Alexander (Talbot): oh, so sweet, so rich, so dear.

It sounds like Denis quickly joined in on the camaraderie of the cast of True Blood. However, we still don’t know if Season 3 villain King Russell will be present in Season 4 of True Blood, and neither does Denis. Whichever way Alan Ball and the rest of the True Blood writers go, we’re very lucky to have Denis O’Hare to play the vampire king of Mississippi.


(Image Credit: HBO Inc, screenshot by Isis Nocturne)