True Blood News from Australia

February 9, 2009 by  

tbep10Gabriel Wilder from the Sydney Morning Herald wrote a report on “True Blood” which is about to premiere in Australia on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 8:30pm on the Showcase channel. Mr. Wilder provides some background about “True Blood” to Australian readers so they know what to expect when the show premieres. Alan Ball’s hit HBO TV series “True Blood” is in no way like “Twilight” as the reporter states. “True Blood” has more violence and has swearing and sex scenes that you wouldn’t find in any Stephenie Meyer’s version of vampires. Alan Ball adapted onto the television screen Charlaine Harris’ world of Sookie Stackhouse and the supernatural happenings surrounding her town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. Season 1 is based upon Charlaine Harris’ first book, “Dead Until Dark”, where the main character, Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) meets a sexy, brooding 173 year old vampire, Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) who has returned to his hometown to mainstream among humans. Vampires have come “out of the coffin” since the discovery of synthetic blood by Japanese scientists which can quench their need to hunt humans. The attraction between the two of them is almost instantaneous and soon they develop a relationship that is frowned up by the rest of the town folk.

“I think Alan’s very clever like that,” says Stephen Moyer, who plays Bill. “He knows that it can’t just be [a romance]. I think that it ultimately is a love story [but] it doesn’t mean it can’t be 20 other things as well. When I read the script, I couldn’t believe how much he’d packed into it.”

Australian Ryan Kwanten was cast in “True Blood” in the role of Jason Stackhouse, Sookie‘s over sex-driven brother who tends to sleep with any woman he meets. When Ryan was asked how he got the role of Jason, Ryan states that “he’d (Alan) seen a film of mine and saw characteristics of Jason Stackhouse in the character that I was playing,” Kwanten says. “Next thing you know, I was hired.”
For “True Blood” Mr. Ball wanted to expand the role of Jason in the story and give him more to deal with then what was originally in book 1. Ryan states that in order to play the role of Jason he had to take a different approach from what he has used previously in his other works. With Jason he

“threw away the textbook on everything I thought I knew about acting and just flew by the seat of my pants because that’s exactly how this guy operates,” he says. “It’s really liberating to play a character like that because a lot of characters tend to be very brooding.”

In terms of brooding that term is perhaps best used to describe for Stephen Moyer’s character, Bill Compton, a 173 year old vampire who fought during the Civil War and was turned at the end of the war. Mr. Moyer describes his character as being “completely angst-ridden … your classic tortured hero”.

The casting time for the various characters varied in terms of finding the right person to play the roles. With the Jason character Ryan was cast right away for the part, however, the casting for the Bill character took longer to fulfill. Mr. Ball had a difficult time trying to find the right actor to portray the emotional complexity of vampire Bill Compton. It took Mr. Ball several months to find someone to play Bill until Mr. Ball received an audition tape from Mr. Moyer who had just recently completed shooting “The Starter’s Wife” with Debra Messing which was shot in Queensland, Australia. Mr. Moyer states that “Alan saw it in the afternoon and I flew [to LA] that night.”

“True Blood” may be shocking to some for the amount of blood that is shown in the series and the nudes scenes that both Mr. Kwanten and Mr. Moyer find themselves in. Mr. Kwanten does admit that :

“This is by far the most full-on sex and nudity I’ve ever done,” says Kwanten, who has been acting since he was 16. “I was warned but one can never quite be prepared. You sort of sign your life away and go, ‘Oh, nudity’, then you walk into your trailer and you see a modesty patch and that’s what you’re wearing for the day.”

“True Blood” deals with the underlying metaphor that by being different in anyway that one is looked upon with suspicion and relegated to outside the group never truly being allowed in or being accepted. “It can be any group that has been persecuted or felt like an outcast in society,” Kwanten explains. Although the show may make some people turn away because they may feel uncomfortable with the graphic nature of the show and the way the plot has been presented, but Mr. Kwanten states that “I think they’re the people that need to see it more than anyone, but we’ll get those people one person at a time.”

SOURCE: The Sydney Morning Herald, Gabriel Wilder: “It was love at first bite”

(Photo credit: HBO Inc.)