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.)

  • Leslie

    If I didn’t know better I would think Stephen is Irish because he has such a “gift of the gab” and do I love him for it! An interview with no interviewer questions, just him speaking his thoughts and he is so very thoughtful and intelligent. One thing that surprised me: He actually knows about the Twilight story and E and B’s love story! His daughter is too young to read it, so he must have decided that he should find out what the hoopla was about. Hard to believe he suffered through reading it. I am definitely in that 30% demographic he refers to (and how does he know that?) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Just one day, that’s all I wish, to live Anna Paquin’s life!

    • antonio

      Well I wouldn’t say “suffered” through reading it. Reading Twilight was Not unpleasant for Me. In fact,The 1st book,Twilight by Stephenie Meyer is 1 of my favorite books.
      Steph liked the idea that Edward treated Bella respectfully.
      In Fact, If You had read the books(I’ve read All 4) You’d know that Edward was “old-fashioned” and that he wanted to marry her before they consumated their love. The thing I liked about it was that Edward was Always there…Always watching in case she needed him. Then,In New Moon when he left her, Jacob Black became her friend/protector/love.
      What moved Me was what Jake said to her after EC left her alone
      “I Know What He Did to You,Bella I won’t Ever hurt You like That,I Promise!” And He Meant it,too!
      There’s just something about Young love…Such devotion such a rush of intense feelings. You just dont feel the same way about it in later life…i think.
      Remember that the vampire world created by Ms. Meyer and the one created by Ms. Harris are 2 different places!
      Both stories are about acceptance,fitting in and looking to redeem onself somehow.

  • Oh, I forgot..Yeah, I’m in the 30%…55 and older..56 here!!! Now that is “Nasty Talk!!!” Geez!! Oh, well…I am still so, totally crazy for that Vampire!! (or I could be just crazy??!) NO..NO…It’s Him!! Stephen, ya sexy guy, you….O.K. I’m done..

  • I love to listen to his interviews…I agree with his points of view’s on why women are into the whole vampire deal…Of course, the only one I’d want is “Bill”…Oh, and yeah!! I was showing my older son, part of the first episode of season 1..good, until a certain part showed up! Yup…turned it off!! Could not EVEN watch it with my boys!! Geez..Totally agree with Stephen on that one, too!! Little uncomfortable, there…Anyways…Love that crazy vampire…Still waiting for season 2??!! What’s up with that??

  • NanaVamp

    EXCELLENT!! interview. Stephan is a remakable actor, and I seriously believe he is the only one could play Vampire Bill. I have now invaded youtube, bbca, trying to find all of his other work. I found Lilies…….what an actor!!

    Well, I am well into “higher” 30%. My interest in vampire romances started in the 70’s with Anne Rice novels.

    Vampires seem to not only love, but they cherish the relationship, too.

    • Nia

      Hi NanaVamp!
      Stephen has done so many wonderful works. I have managed to see quite a few, but there is so much more. If you like Lillies, you would love “The Grand”. A BBC series. Stephen is in the first season and oh so wonderful.
      I also found him amazing in the movie “Uprising”. He is in fine comapany with many distinguished actors in that production and is in nearly very scene. He gave this sad movie about the Holocaust a rare humor and flavor. Recommened it highly.
      He is absolutely adoreable opposite Keira Knightly in “The Princess of Theives”.
      I could go on and on, he truly has an impressive resume! Keep looking for more! I promise you will never be dissapointed.

      • NanaVamp

        Thanks Nia.
        There is one movie called For Men Only, or, Men Only, I guess he plays a bad guy. Do you know of it? If he’s a serial bad guy, then I’m not sure I want to find it.

      • NanaVamp

        Hi Nia, just want to tell you that I found Princess of Thieves on YouTube………OMG! I think he was born gorgeous!

        • antonio

          He does have a certain look. I saw a photo of him taken about 10 years ago, He looked good. I bet he had a lot of girlfriends
          LOL Even though he said in an interview he was kind of shy.
          I’m sure that He and Keira Knightley looked well together!

        • Nia

          OMG I agree!!!!! The man is to beautiful for words. Some say that he had on a bad wig, but as far as Im concerned, I wouldn’t mind running my fingers through all that glorious long wavy hair!! OOPS, sorry got carried away!!! Wasn’t he just so fitting as a prince!
          Stephen started out playing mostly princes and lovers. Not hard to imagine that. He was also “Prince Valient”, opposite Catherine Heigle, when he was about 22 years old. Again, GORGEOUS. I have seen pics but the video is not available in the US, it was a German film. Maybe also on Youtube, I haven’t had time ot check out all the things I would like to.
          He also actually started out playing “Romeo” for several years with a theatre company when he was very young. OMG, how perfect! I would have loved to see him as Romeo in a production of Romeo and Juliet!

  • antonio

    It’s Always a pleasure hearing these very talented actors discuss their work on the show. I particularly enjoy interviews with Steph and Sam.
    Part of the Vampire mystique I believe is that it seems that the vampire can love without doubt without fear without consequence.He/She is free to love as they please. There is something erotic about them as well.Since they can get away with sexually ambigous behavior…They are I think the Only creatures who can. When they choose a victim Irreagardless of gender,It has more to do with quenching their thirst for blood and Not a sexually motivated act! However, At least Some of the erotic and/or sensual aspect remains. Part of it is also being with
    someone who can make us feel things we’ve never experienced.
    To Take us Away from ourselves To whisk us off somewhere even if Only for a brief time. No wonder there Is Such interest in this! Groupies or “Fangbangers” See Dating or fraternizing with Vampires as desirable because of their legendary romantic/sexual abilities! Of Course,it goes without saying that the “eternal devotion” aspect which vamps (at least males)
    offer can seem like a very fulfilling and tempting thing!
    In a World where marriages and relationships seldom last or are truly meaningful…It gives people hope and perhaps a bit of romanticized fantasy to think that Somewhere Out There there may be a troubled brooding vampire “sexpot” as 1 source from UK called him. What makes Mr.Compton desirable I think is Not So much his good looks or southern charm (that May Help) But the fact that He wants desperately to feel something! Acceptance,Love a sense of connection to himself to others around him. He tries So hard to retain a level of civility
    He wants to believe that he Can be Lovable and worthy of Constancy. When Bill told Sookie “Ah Caint luze U!” He was fiighting to hold onto the very best part of himself!!
    When I think about it,Its almost enough to bring me to tears!
    He Wants What We ALL Want! Mr. Alan Ball and the writers have done a Tremendous Job in making a “Vampire” More like 1 of US!
    Its Neat to see him “face-off” against Eric!
    Eric is accustomed to having his Own way…To being blindly obeyed But Bill challenges him His “Sookie IS Mine You will Not Take her from Me” stance is really cool and quite touching to see Such devotion from a “bloodsucker” for a human.
    I think what AB is trying to say here is this Are Bill And Eric The REAL Monsters OR is it The Humans with their Intolerance,Prejudice, Bigotry??
    Bill Compton may be perceived as a Monster because he happens to be a vampire But he can be most kind,caring and passionate about those whom he feels something for! He struggles to retain Respectability and a sense of being Noble. In My Book, That makes him a Real person Someone with whom I’d like to spend time with and perhaps learn a thing or two!

  • Nia

    Thank you Delia, for posting this wonderful interveiw with the incredibly talented Stephen Moyer. He is always such a pleasure to listen to and so passionate about his role as Bill Compton.
    He is the consumate professional and as antonio said, is so very well spoken and intelligent. We are so forunate to have him in this terrific show.
    Stephen is right when one asks why vampires are so popular today. That most come from an age when men treated women with more respect and in a more genteel manor, kid gloves so to say. That is how he approaches his character and I find it so endearing.
    He is also correct when discusing the age demographics of the show. It is so wide ranged. That this show has reached so many is quite telling. Although I must admit, I do not think I could watch it with my “mum” either, but then again, I believe she would be a closet fan!

  • antonio

    BTW That picture up there is Really Cool!! This Vampire stuff is a Huge Turn-On!! LOL

  • antonio

    What an Incredible interview! I admire and respect this guy So much! He is Very Intelligent and comes across as well spoken.
    Its difficult to Not like this guy! I think I have even more respect for him as an actor and his performance as Bill Compton is just Sensational!