Tru Blood 2: A Second Bite Convention Review

August 11, 2012

Australia Gets a Second Taste of True Blood!

The long awaited Tru Blood 2: A Second Bite convention run by Hub Productions hit Australian shores recently. Originally this event was to be held last September, but due to work commitments, injuries and newborns, it was rescheduled. Here’s a run-down of the Melbourne event.

Lindsey Haun

Lindsey Haun who plays Hadley Hale on HBO's True BloodThe doors opened at 9.30am and after a welcome from the wonderful crew at Hub Productions and a photo session with your fave actors, the first True Blood guest started their Q & A time with the audience. The good thing about Australian conventions is that they are smaller in in size, so it becomes more personal.

Lindsey (who plays Hadley Hale, cousin of Sookie Stackhouse in HBO’s True Blood) was a newcomer to the convention scene. She opened the first session with a special treat – a song. I had no idea that Haun was musically inclined, but her voice is definitely worth checking out. While I was unable to record any of her original song (she also played the guitar), it is worth checking out her website where some video of her singing can be found.

Lindsey went on to discuss such diverse topics as as her childhood acting career (her most famous role being Mara Chaffee in Village of the Damned), her famous family (father Jimmy Haun is best known as the left-handed guitarist in Air Supply and her grandfather is is singer Rouvaun, better known as ‘The Vocal Veruvius’) and her new hair colour (she is now brunette). Haun was both entertaining and completely comfortable in front of the audience, even taking off her killer red heels and curling up in her chair while chatting to her fans.

Michael Raymond-James

Michael Raymond-James who played Rene Lenier in Season 1 of HBO's True BloodThis was  also Michael’s (Rene Lenier in Season 1) first convention, but you would never know it. We got to see a side of Michael that is completely unlike his role in True Blood.

His stories were hilarious and while he demonstrated his famous Cajun accent and how it evolved with the help of a dialect coach through the audition process, he also regaled the audience with funny onset stories, including one where he received a photo of naked crew members as his parting gift from the show. He also offered his regret at the tragic (on-screen) death of Sookie’s grandmother.

The poor man was suffering terribly from a hangover that resulted from too much partying after the Sydney Tru Blood 2 event, but he soldiered on gracefully after receiving a strong cup of coffee. He was happy to discuss his past acting credits, both on screen and stage. His future acting roles were also discussed, so make sure you keep your eye out for the movie entitled Road To Paloma, it sure sounds good. His short but definitely sweet role in The Walking Dead was also bought up as well as his penchant for bad-boy roles.

Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels that inspired HBO's True BloodThe Q & A sessions were finished up with Charlaine Harris, the author who penned the original Southern Vampire Mystery books that inspired the HBO show, True Blood. Being a fan of the books and a writer myself, I was really looking forward to Charlaine’s session – I am so glad she delivered a Q & A that was funny as well as informative!

There we many questions about her books (the Sookie Stackhouse novels, as well as her other series), her feelings towards Alan Ball’s version of the Sookieverse and her writing career in general. It was lovely to hear how much she appreciates Alan Ball’s vision as well as how much she enjoys seeing the actors on True Blood bring her characters to life. She loved how close Chris Bauer is to her version of Andy Bellefleur and hinted at the fact that if she were to be able to pick any actor to play Niall (a character from her books, but not yet confirmed as a character to be included in True Blood), she would chose David Bowie (can anyone remember his role of the Goblin King in the movie The Labyrinth?)

After the Q & A sessions, all three actors were bought back onto the stage and a combined session then commenced. It was great fun to see the three of them interacting with each other! Apparently Michael Raymond-James had pinched Charlaine Harris’s socks the previous day to keep as a memento of the Sydney event.

The event was concluded with the drawing of a raffle and an autograph session. I was lucky enough to get book number four, Dead To The World (my fave in the series), signed by Charlaine Harris. The very next day after this event, a surprise signing was announced by Dymocks bookstore, and I was able to get a second book signed by the author, so I was very happy indeed!

Did anyone else here attend either of these events. Or did you go to one of the events Charlaine Harris attended in other states? Let me know in the comments below. And for a bit of fun – who wants to caption the photo below taken at the combined Q & A session in Melbourne?

Michael Raymond-James, Lindsey Haun and Charlaine Harris - True Blood convention

Sources: Hub Productions

(Photo Credits: Lenore Mills)




Why True Blood Fans Should Watch Terriers

October 26, 2010

Donal Logue, Michael Raymond-James, Terriers, True Blood, ReneIt’s been over a month since the Season 3 finale of True Blood, and by now I imagine most of you fans are suffering some serious withdrawal pangs. HBO summed up the feeling perfectly when it adopted the tagline, “Waiting sucks.” Many aspects of True Blood that are so addicting–colorful, engaging characters; sharp writing and an ability to evoke lots of different emotions; surprising plot twists that draw you into the story—they aren’t in abundance on television, which makes us love those shows that have them all the more. Terriers, which started airing its first season on FX this fall, is one such show.

Contrary to what the title suggests, this is not a show about dogs, though there is a dog in it (a bulldog named Winston). “Terriers” refers to the two main characters, Hank Dolworth and Britt Pollack–best friends who work as private investigators. They’re a bit rough around the edges, but they have a quality that can only be described as scrappy and tenacious. Hence, Terriers.

At least one, if not both, of the lead actors will be known to you–Britt is played by Michael Raymond-James (formerly Bon Temps‘ very own vampire-hating serial killer, Rene). His partner, Hank, is played by Donal Logue (Grounded for Life). Britt is a former thief, mischievous and charming, whereas Hank is more hardened, a former drunk and cop who lost his job and his wife. The chemistry between Michael and Donal is what gives the show its heart. Things can get pretty heavy for Hank and Britt, especially given some of the dark paths the story takes, but the light banter provides a nice tonal balance. They’re constantly teasing each other, but with an ease and familiarity that only comes from truly caring for someone and enjoying their company.

As I alluded to, there are some darker elements to the show. In the pilot episode, an old buddy of Hank’s gets mixed up in a situation we don’t even fully realize yet, involving a sex tape, a murder, and a shady land development. The guy ends up dead, and that has driven the continuing arc this season and several questionable acts by Hank and Britt. Yet, in spite of some of the bad things they do, they always seem wholly human—flawed, but relatable.

There is a grittiness to the show, not just in characters and content, but also the style in which it is filmed. San Diego is a beautiful city, but through the experiences of Hank and Britt, we see the good, the bad, and the ugly of the place. It feels unpolished, and that makes it all the more interesting. This is no surprise, given the creative minds that are driving Terriers. Ted Griffin (Ocean’s 11), Shawn Ryan (The Shield), and Tim Minear (Firefly, Angel, Dollhouse) all serve as writers and executive producers.

The show might be testosterone-overload, were it not for the presence of great female supporting characters. Their storylines may only go so far as their interactions with the guys, but they are well-developed and well-acted. Katie (Laura Allen) is Britt’s caring, beautiful girlfriend who is studying to be a veterinarian. She accepts him and what he has done in the past because of how much fun they have together (although a recent mistake of hers threatens to wreck their happy home). Hank’s ex-wife, Gretchen (Kimberly Quinn), is clearly the biggest regret of his life. It’s implied that his drinking (and the decisions he made as a result) caused their marriage to end. She’s moved on and preparing to marry someone else, but she hasn’t cut ties with him. It’s lovely and refreshing to see an ex-wife character who still cares for her ex and wants him to be part of her life. There is also Stephanie, Hank’s sister (played by Donal’s sister Karina Logue, who also happened to play Denise “No Good Backwoods Trash” Rattray on True Blood!). She lives in his attic for weeks without him knowing, having escaped from a mental institute. She’s crazy and hilarious. Karina and Donal are so brilliant together–it’s a real treat to watch them portray these characters built on a foundation of their own relationship.

I could go on, but I know it’s better for you all to just watch it yourselves. If you’re wondering about which episode to try to determine if you’ll like it, I would recommend one of the great standalone episodes: “Ring-A-Ding-Ding” is probably my favorite, followed by “Change Partners” and “Missing Persons.” Hulu currently has every episode available except for the pilot, so catching up would be really easy.

Terriers airs Wednesday nights at 10pm ET/PT on FX. Enjoy!

(Photo credit: FX)


True Blood’s Renee Stars in New FX Series

August 4, 2010

Most of us remember the character of Renee, Arlene’s psychotic, serial killer ex-fiance, who murdered Sookie and Jason’s grandmother and then went after Sookie before having his own life ended.  Well Michael Raymond-James is the actor who portrayed Renee on True Blood and he is back in the saddle again so to speak. This time with a new series premiering on FX, called “Terriers”.

The show is about two friends who run an unlicensed, low budget detective agency.  The show also stars Michael‘s long-time friend Donal Logue. The two actors worked together on the NBC show, “Life”. They have also been sharing an apartment in San Diego while filming the new series.

We wish this duo the best of luck as they begin this new show. Hopefully Micheal won’t run into any vamps, haha!


(Photo Credit: Patrick McElhenney – FX)


True Blood’s Michael Raymond James To Star In Terriers

August 6, 2009

rene-lenier-true-bloodMany will remember Michael Raymond James from season 1 of Alan Ball‘s hit HBO TV vampire series True Blood as Rene Lenier. Many were surprised to find out that Arlene’ sweet, Cajun fiance was really a psychopathic killer with a grunge against anyone who associated with vampires.  Unfortunately for Michael his character messed with the wrong person and found himself with a shovel driven into the back of his neck by telepathic waitress, Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin).

Fortunately we will be able to see Michael on the TV screen once again as he has recently been cast in FX’s hourlong comedy pilot, Terriers alongside Donal Logue. Kimberly Quinn, Laura Allen and Rockmond Dunbar are also cast for the pilot which was developed by “The Shield” creator Shawn Ryan and “Ocean’s Eleven” writer Ted Griffin.

Terriers is based upon an ex-cop, Hank (Logue) who partners with his best friend Britt (James) to launch an unlicensed P.I. business in which the duo, both with maturity issues, solve crimes while trying to avoid danger and responsibility.

Kimberly Quinn will play Hank’s ex-wife, who maintains a friendly relationship with him.  Laura Allen will play Britt’s girlfriend, who’s putting pressure on him to have kids.

The producers had been searching for a while for the right actor to play the role of Britt which ended after a chemistry read Tuesday between Logue and James, who was recommended for the role.

We will be looking forward to seeing Michael in his new series and we wish him the best of luck with his new show.


(Photo credit:  HBO Inc.)


True Blood Cast Featured in Various Projects

February 13, 2009

trueblood2_2-300x199Several “True Blood” cast members have been busy with various projects or roles during their hiatus from “True Blood” before coming back to shoot Season 2. Alexander Skarsgard had the opportunity to be involved in several productions including lending his voice to the character Stefan in the Swedish SciFi animation “Metropia” and as well as starring in “Beyond the Pole” which is currently in post-production.

Alexander Skarsgård as Eric Northman

Ryan Kwanten had also been keeping himself busy by starring in a movie entitled “Don’t Fade Away” co-starring with Mischa Barton, Beau Bridges and Ja Rule. Ryan also is the voice of Soren in the Australian animated feature entitled “Guardians of Ga’Hoole” in which he co-stars with fellow Aussie Hugh Jackman and Hugo Weaving.

Ryan Kwanten as Jason Stackhouse

Golden Globe winner Anna Paquin seems to constantly have many projects on the go and her ability to find time to play these many roles during “True Blood’s” off-season is impressive. Just recently Anna finished filming the “Hallmark Hall of Fame” presentation in Latvia entitled “The Courageous Heat of Irena Sandler” which will be airing on CBS on April 19, 2009.

Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse. (Photo Credit: HBO / John P. Johnson)

Nelsan Ellis recently was featured in the movie “The Express’ and will be seen in another upcoming movie “The Soloist’ co-starring Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx and Stephen Root (Lafayette’s vampire blood donor). Kristen Bauer was involved in the movie “Subject: I Love You” which was filmed in Manila prior to starting her shoot on “True Blood” season 1 and it is currently in post-production.

Nelsan Ellis as Lafayette Reynolds Photo Credit: HBO / Jaimie Trueblood

Sam Trammell, Jim Parrack and Michael Raymond-James have been busy guest starring on various TV series before the start of season 2. Sam Trammell appeared as a guest star on “Medium” starring Patricia Arquette, Jim Parrack was able to take a different approach then his usual Hoyt character as a guest star on “Supernatural” and Michael Raymond-James played an absent and irresponsible father in a guest spot on “ER”.

Sam Trammell as Sam Merlotte Photo Credit: HBO / John P. Johnson

(Photo credit: HBO Inc.)


Michael Raymond-James as Rene Lenier

January 3, 2009

Michael Raymond-James

Michael Raymond-James

Michael Raymond-James as Rene Lenier


Michael Raymond-James Interview

December 7, 2008

Michael Raymond-James plays the easy-going Cajun, Rene Lenier on True Blood. The lovely ladies at had the wonderful opportunity to interview Micheal and to discuss with him his role on True Blood and what is in store for him now that the season is over. To read the full interview following the link below.

SOURCE: Exclusive Audio Interview with Michael Raymond-James

(photo credit: