Carrie Preston Dishes on Emmys, Arlene, Season 3 and More

July 23, 2010 by  

During the summer all anyone wants to do is hang out on the beach all day and indulge in a great television drama at night. However, the summer usually mean reruns, unless you’re a True Blood fan.

Season 3 has already given fans lots to talk about with their seductive scenes, bloody wars, and funny yet endearing moments with the characters everyone loves. Carrie Preston, who has been playing Arlene Fowler from the very beginning of the show, talks to Adam Wright from about the show’s success, her character, the Emmy nomination, and so much more.

Carrie is very honored to be part of the True Blood experience and is astonished with the Emmy nomination True Blood has snagged for Best Drama. They have been acknowledged by the Golden Globes in the past, but the Emmys are usually hesitant about nominating fantasy/sci-fi genre television shows. The fact that True Blood has scored a nomination shows how much respect the show has gained in the industry.

When Carrie and her husband Michael Emerson found out that both their shows (True Blood and Lost) were nominated for Best Drama, they met up with friends for dinner and passed around the champagne bottle. Though they didn’t watch the morning announcement of the nominations, they did pour over the whole list online.

True Blood has become a fan favorite. Carrie has been in the Hollywood business for a long time and she notes,

“I did 7 pilots over the years before I did the True Blood pilot. You never know which of these pilots is going to hit, and you certainly can’t predict how successful it will be. So I don’t take any of this for granted at all. I honestly never imagined the show that would hit for me would be what I like to call a “drama-comedy-horror-vampire-porn-variety-show”. Nor did I think I’d be playing a buxom, red-headed, sassy, brassy, married a million times waitress with an attitude. But I’m thrilled to be doing it!”

So does she get stopped on the street by fans? Carrie insists that she doesn’t get noticed when she is out of character. Since she acts and looks significantly different from Arlene, she is able to travel around pretty anonymously. It so hard to make the connection that fans who do come up to her, for Carrie, are real and true fans. She is always honored to be recognized. Recently she went to Sushi Samba and the staff treated them with so much kindness. At first Carrie thought it was because they recognized Michael and loved Lost, but in reality they were big Truebies. They even wanted to pose for pictures with Arlene!

Carrie seemed destined to play Arlene, at least in Alan Ball‘s eyes. When it comes to joining the cast of True Blood Carrie remarks,

“…I was grateful that Alan was on my side and saw that even though I didn’t look like Arlene on the outside, I could create her from the inside. He understood that her look could be achieved with the amazing costume, hair and makeup crew that we have. “

The writers also have a hand at creating the Arlene fans know and love. However, they are open to any suggestions the cast may have about their character. Given that Carrie grew up in the South, natural phrases and sayings roll off her tongue and match Arlene‘s personality. Carrie also adds in little remarks or asides during a take, but honestly the writing is so well-done that she simply uses what the writers have already created.

One of the story-lines created for True Blood was the town possession by Maryann. Carrie says it was fun to shoot all those scenes because the cast was allowed to act like maniacs.The only problem Carrie could see was being unable to see; that is, the contact lenses they had to wear were uncomfortable and blurred any peripheral vision. Also, the contacts didn’t have full prescriptions, so cast members who normally wore contacts or glasses couldn’t see a thing. Though Carrie suggest that might have been a blessing in disguise.

She’s referring to the love fests in the forest that season 2 focused on. Sometimes it wasn’t a bad thing that the cast was unable to fully see each other naked at 4 am in February. However, they were all professional and they all bonded as they huddled together going over the crazy job descriptions they had for the day.

One thing that developed in Season 2 and is now being explored in Season 3 is the relationship between Arlene and Terry Bellefleur. However, Arlene is pregnant and the fans are given reason to believe the baby is Rene‘s. Terry is excited to be a father, and Carrie remarks,

“It’s safe to assume Rene is the father. What makes it interesting is how she copes with that knowledge…It’s a painful situation for both of them. But ultimately, I hope and trust that the audience will go along with the story line.”

Another relationship Arlene is coping with is her working relationship with vampire Jessica. It seems that the two of them aren’t on friendly terms. Carrie suggests,

Arlene expresses a much needed, and might I say valid, viewpoint on the show. And it’s this: Vampires have proven to be violent and murderous in the past, so perhaps we should be a little weary of them. Jessica is now working so close to Arlene, and so many crazy things have happened in the last couple of months. So that makes Arlene more than a little jittery. I don’t think she’s going to be hanging out at the Compton/Hamby house any time soon!”

It seems that season 3 is going to be an emotional roller-coaster for Arlene, but how does Carrie relax when she isn’t working on this hit show? What does she watch? Currently Carrie is watching Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, Modern Family, Glee, The Good Wife and, of course, Lost.

It’s good to know that the actors we admire on television are at the end of the day television fans just like the us.


(Photo Credit: The Hollywood Reporter)