True Blood’s Nelsan Ellis Interview with – Part 1

January 27, 2009 by had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Nelsan Ellis regarding his role on Alan Ball’s hit HBO TV series “True Blood” and discuss how he obtained the role on the show and how he developed the character of Lafayette Reynold. As an overview Lafayette is the flamboyantly gay short order cook at Merlotte’s Bar, however he engages in other activities to supplement his income including being a drug dealer, gay video porn website producer and male escort.

Since this was the first time Nelsan Ellis played a gay character, AfterElton asked if he had any concerns or was afraid of the reactions he may receive from straight or gay people or even Southerns. Nelsan explained that he didn’t care what straight people thought but was more concerned what gay people thought because he didn’t want to offend anyone. He states:

“I didn’t care what straight people thought. I cared what gay people thought, to be quite honest. Because Alan didn’t want a caricature. He said that quite early on, because I was a caricature the first audition. My concern was if I was going to offend anybody. I don’t want to offend nobody. So I had great concerns with black people and gay people. Black people are going to say this, gay people are going to say this …. My career is going to be over. People are going to hate my guts if I don’t do this right.”

Nelsan discusses how Lafayette is a complex individual neither too feminine nor masculine and at the same time neither good or bad. Regardless of the negative activities that he pursues Nelsan explains he basically is doing what he needs to do in order to survive.

There are 3 individual video clips that accompany this interview. In part 1 Nelsan discusses his Southern roots and how that helped him shape the character of Lafayette. In part 2 Nelsan mentions his sister’s reaction to his role of a gay man and the reaction of his gay fans in his portrayal of Lafayette, and finally in part 3 he discusses where he got the inspiration for Lafayette’s mannerisms.

Gay video from

To read the complete interview, click the link below.

SOURCE: Interview with Nelsan Ellis from “True Blood”

(Photo credit: HBO Inc. and

  • eddepp

    Nelsan Ellis is absolutely brilliant as Lafayette.He owns that role! I can’t imagine anyone else playing Lafayette.
    What a superb actor – I can’t believe he hasn’t been cleaning up at awards ceremonies!

  • Kathleen Pfeiffer

    I adore the character Lafayette and hope he stays as long as the series does. He grabbed me from the first with his complexity. He is so grey! Not feminine or masculine…he just IS. He is a MAN unique unto himself. He is a hurt little boy behind a bunch of shields he built with his lifestyle (even to holding people at a distance for the most part). He is brilliantly played by Mr. Ellis.

    I love the entire show and all the characters but there are favorites. BTW I am a straight, white, middle aged woman.

  • Shelby

    I am upset with with those involved in who decides to play these True Blood characters.
    Knowing Lafayette would be killed off – I believe they should have chose someone else to play the character. Nelsan Ellis was way too good for the role. He made the character addicting. He wasn’t that enticing in the book. If someone else portrayed Lafayette I don’t think I would care he is gone.