VIDEO: Stephen Moyer Talks About Vampire Mystique

October 16, 2009 by  

Anna Paquin Stephen MoyerA relaxed Stephen Moyer (True Blood‘s Bill Compton) sat down for a charming and insightful interview with Empire Magazine’s Helen O’Hara to talk about the appeal of vampires and the popularity of Alan Ball‘s hit HBO TV vampire series True Blood, now debuting Season One on UK Channel 4.

While most media outlets have been discussing the “vampire phenomenon” or the “resurgence” of vampires, Stephen disagrees that it’s anything new, saying:

For me, vampires never went away, did they? I mean, you know, these novels were being written in 2001…and certainly, eh, Stephenie Meyer’s books were 2003 I think they began, and they were already bestsellers before they came, and so I don’t think that the vampire idea ever disappeared.

Stephen also says that it’s possible that the current recession might have a hand in making True Blood such a popular television show:

But I’ve read lots of interesting things about how…in a recession, people really go for escapist drama as opposed to, as opposed to just, for want of a better word, kitchen sink drama, and I think they like to be taken away from their real lives.

What is it that he feels people are looking for in vampires? Stephen says that the vampire mystique is often about a specific kind of escapism:

Somebody just said to me in an interview, [speaking with a French accent] “Eh, don’t you think you could just take ‘vampire‘ away and just put ‘sex’? Don’t you think ‘vampire‘ just means ‘sex’?” And I go, “No! I do not!” and then I thought, “Well, actually, he’s not far wrong.” [laughs] And taking that point, I think that what’s interesting about it is that vampires are usually, from a cultural standpoint, a count or somebody…from the 18th, 17th, 19th century who has come from a…lordly background or that’s looking for eternal life, you know, so they’re well mannered and they’re…courtly virtue, and they treat women with a certain respect that perhaps is missing in today’s society. But, they have a power and a physicality and a darkness and a brooding kind of element that is, that could take any woman and ravish her on the spot, so it’s that kind of…yin and yang, that kind of push and pull, that, you know, ‘I’m going to be treated with respect, but you can take me as well.’  So, which might not be very PC, but I think that there’s a lot of truth in it.

True Blood, says Stephen, is not all just about “sex, sex, sex”, however. He sees in the show a metaphor for

“a minority, an outsider, coming into society and, and showing, trying to live a normal life, which can be a metaphor for homosexuality or the civil rights movement or whatever metaphor you want to bring to the table. So I think that there’s so many things that are interesting in relation to our society that, eh, that it seems very fashionable and vogueish.”

Contrasting the characters from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series with those of the Charlaine Harris‘ inspired HBO’s True Blood vampire series, Stephen says:

“If I had a teenage daughter, and she wanted to read Twilight, I’d be really pleased, because that is a relationship about chastity and about respect. And, and, and, Edward respects Bella, isn’t it? And he treats her with, with utmost care. And I think that’s a great, em, example to young people. True Blood ain’t like that. [laughs] True Blood‘s about, em, True Blood‘s about what it’s really like in the human world. And people, people fight and they argue and there’s sex and there’s drug addiction and there’s darkness and there is a lot of comedy, you know? I think it’s, if you like to think Twilight’s from, I don’t know, 13, 14, 15 to 25. True Blood goes on from there to every single eschelon of society.”

And it’s not just young viewers who are captivated by the vampire drama. Stephen says that “Something like 30 percent of our viewers are over 55. That is a very high statistic.”

However, while viewers his mother’s age might enjoy the show, Stephen laughingly says, “I wouldn’t want to watch it with my mum. I think it would be a bit, bit much. A few, em, a few lines crossed there that maybe don’t need to be crossed.”

You can watch Stephen in the video interview, which is always a delight to listen to him speak.

SOURCE: Empire

(Photo credit: HBO Inc.)