By: Melissa Girimonte
Waiting sucks. Particularly the long and arduous one following TRUE BLOOD’s second season finale which saw audience’s would-be-happily-ever-after cut surprisingly short following Bill Compton’s untimely abduction mere moments after proposing to Sookie Stackhouse!
And while many have admirably attempted to plug the gaping hole left by TRUE BLOOD’s nine month hiatus — including THE VAMPIRE DIARIES star Ian Somerhalder (close, but no cigar!) and HBO, which deserves some serious credit for taking on the gargantuan task that is quenching audience’s seemingly insatiable appetite for all things “Vampire” courtesy of a very clever “Waiting Sucks” poster campaign, minisodes, and last week’s “Ultimate Trubie” event — the fact of the matter is that Sunday June 13th can’t come soon enough.
Which is why we at theTVaddict.com decided to step up to the plate and do our part in the form of this exclusive one-on-one interview with Stephen Moyer. The talented and charming actor who was kind enough to take some time from shooting to discuss his small screen alter ego Bill Compton, the upcoming Emmy nominations, and what it’s like being part of the phenomenon that is TRUE BLOOD.
As an actor, you’ve made a successful career of segueing between stage and screen. Do you ever find it daunting to be a part of a series that’s not only a phenomenon, but has also turned you into a household name?
Stephen Moyer: The show is so amazing, it’s so much more than any of us ever thought it was, including Alan (Ball). I think Alan had this amazing vision for what it could be. I think it has out-crazied anything that we thought could be. I have never wanted to do a television series for seven years, it was not my idea of what it meant to create a character. I always wanted to do the character and leave it behind. The amazing thing about this is that it just keeps growing. You keep being given stuff that you haven’t done before, and our writers and creators kind of try and make the characters more and more complex at every turn. The bigger it gets, the more extraordinary it becomes, that’s the truth of it, and the more fun it becomes.
Looking at your resume, this is the longest that you’ve stayed with one role. Do you find it challenging at all to keep things interesting while playing the same character?
We do 12 episodes and it’s a 6 or 7 month gig, and that helps, because you do get 5 months off. I’ve never worked on a show before that feels so much like a family. When we get back, there’s always this wonderful surge of excitement and adrenaline and re-kinship with best friends.
In terms of the whole vampire and werewolf genre being everywhere lately, from TV to film, what do you think it is about this world that’s been created by Charlaine Harris, Alan Ball and the TRUE BLOOD team that sets it apart from the others?
I think it’s very difficult to do a show like this without there being metaphors. I think all science fiction is a framework to play out the metaphor that the writer is trying to bring to it, whether it’s space – by that I mean aliens – or werewolves, or vampires. They’re doing something that is outside this world, that gives you the opportunity to say things that you may not be able to say in a normal relationship because the stakes are bigger, the emotions run higher. It’s life and death at every turn, and therefore the reactions to those things become interesting. I never thought that I wanted to be on a vampire show necessarily. I had done one in fact, in 1998 in England, which had a new way of looking at vampires as a subspecies in the hierarchy of society. So I was kind of aware of how the genre could be. I don’t think any of us were aware of how far we’d be able to talk about sexuality, and about race, and social divisions, all of those interesting things that Alan touches upon.
If you were to play writer for a moment, is there anything you’d like to see for your character, and will we ever see Bill have some fun?
(Laughs) This is a tough year for Bill, obviously, just by the very nature of what’s happened. He’s been separated from his love, and even from his progeny, his kind of prodigal daughter, Jessica. He’s had to sort of work in isolation away from everybody else, so there’s not really much chance for a bit of stand-up for a change for Bill. I would never dare to tell anyone how to do their jobs, but I would hope that Bill can learn from some of the mistakes that he makes, and maybe, perhaps, just lighten up a bit. But it is good to have somebody at the centre of the show that takes things seriously, and it’s obviously a very different kind of anchor to what Eric is.
TRUE BLOOD has taken home some awards since its debut, but the Emmys have always been very slow to recognize genre television. With the Emmy nominations on the horizon, do you feel that awards and accolades matter?
I think if I were a viewer, if I had nothing to do with the show, I, as a fan of drama, probably wouldn’t have watched TRUE BLOOD purely because of my prejudices against what I would have thought a vampire show was. I think that what the awards do is bring it to a wider audience and make people realize that what our show is doing is not just run of the mill. It’s quite interesting from the outside looking in how different awards view different shows. The Emmys don’t seem to traditionally go for genre shows. I’m not sure that any of us expect anything from the Emmys, to be honest. It would be a lovely surprise if it happened, but I don’t think any of us are expecting anything.
Without a doubt, there is a huge fandom behind the show. What has been the strangest fan interaction that you’ve experienced so far?
The fans are incredibly respectful. They love the show, they love being a part of it, they love learning what’s going on. All of us, from myself, to Anna, to Ryan, to Alex, have all commented to each other about just how wonderful they are. You do get the odd weirdness, but it’s more the kind of stupefied silence, the universal thing that seems to come across people when they see us. They can’t believe that me and Alex are walking around during the day, with suntans.
Not to mention all the times you get asked to say Sookie…
I get asked to say Sookie rather a lot. And that’s all right! It’s so wonderful being in a show that you’re happy to talk about. Lord knows we’ve all been in things that we get paid to talk about that we would rather not. Being in something that you actually respect and love, it’s very different.
Anything more to share on Season 3?
It’s an unbelievable season!
TRUE BLOOD returns this Sunday, June 13th at 9PM on HBO (HBO CANADA)
Melissa is a Toronto-based TV blogger and music journalist. A TV fan since birth, it was only in recent years that she discovered her love for writing about what she was watching. After contributing to several online and print magazines as a freelance writer, she started her own TV blog, The Televixen, in 2008. She’s also founder and editor of Toonage.ca, an online music magazine.