True Blood’s Carrie Preston Talks Broadway, Acting, and Arlene

March 8, 2010 by  

Carrie Preston, known to True Blood watchers as everyone’s favorite redhead, Arlene Fowler, has a lot to say about her acting career thus far. She’s been in numerous films and TV shows and even appeared on Broadway with Patrick Stewart in the Tempest. Recently, she sat down with Lance Carter of and spoke about how her career began.

Carrie started acting when she was very young, back in Georgia, after watching her older brother in plays. She loved it so much, she started her own theater company when she was in 7th grade, putting on performances with neighborhood kids in her front yard. And even at a young age, her talent was recognized by a local director.

The director who was running the community theater, he pulled my mom aside and he said, “Your child’s an actor”, and my mom said, “Oh thank you, she’s having a good time.”  And he said, “No, no, no, no. You’re not hearing me.  Your children are actors.  That’s what they are.”

After this encounter, Carrie’s parents supported her decision to pursue acting as a career. She attended Julliard for four years before landing a role with Patrick Stewart on Broadway.

Carrie discusses her current preference for working in television as apposed to theater and how she can chameleon herself into roles. And when asked who is the most influential actor in her life, her first answer is Michael Emerson… her husband.

Just watching him and watching his work.  He’s sort of similar in that he really does transform from role to role.  And he happens to be playing one role right now that he’s most recognizable for.  But he played Oscar Wilde off Broadway in one of the biggest New York hits in the 90s and couldn’t be more different than Benjamin Linus.

Finally, Carrie gets to talk some True Blood. She worked with Alan Ball in Towelhead, a film he directed. He already had Carrie in mind when casting for True Blood, even though Carrie didn’t see the role at first.

I called my agent, I was like “I don’t know which part he’s talking about.  There’s nothing for me in here.”  And he was like oh it’s Arlene.  And I was like okay.  Alright, I can try that.  So, I went in and I know that woman.  I grew up with that woman.

And as we all know, she landed the part.

Now into the 3rd season, Carrie knows Arlene Fowler in and out. And while she says the True Blood plot uses the Sookie Stackhouse novels as a blueprint, the writers always can come up with something a little different.

…we just started shooting the 5th episode of season 3, but we’ve gotten scripts through the 6th already.  So it is nice to have sort of the sense of where your character is going.  But you know we’ve got some great writers that we can trust are gonna take someplace.

Carrie also talks about her production company and how to get started as an actor. It’s amazing to see what these familiar faces do when they’re not telling the story in Bon Temps. So don’t let that red wig fool you. Carrie Preston is clearly a multi-talented actor who can hold her own against vampires and Broadway.


(Photo credit: HBO Inc.)