Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lauren Bowles knows being on True Blood is so right on every level

As featured on The Vault -

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking to the wonderful Lauren Bowles who plays the wiccan waitress, Holly, on True Blood.

I found Lauren delightful to speak to and it was great to learn about her life and her experiences on the show. Just like all of the cast members I've previously spoken to, she too gushed about what a great experience it has been. I'm not sure what Alan Ball's magic is, but he must really and truly be a genius, because I have never heard anyone say anything but positive statements about their time on the show.
To quote Lauren, "When it’s kinda just right at every level, everyone feels it and is just so happy to be there."

Lauren also talks about how she loves the cast and particularly commented on those she has worked most with, Carrie Preston, Rutina Wesley and the great Fiona Shaw.

She talks about her first day on the set and says: "..stepping into Merlotte’s was, as a fan, you can guess that it is as iconic as it can get and was the most I ever felt like Dorothy stepping into Oz."

Be sure to see Lauren back to back on HBO, this Sunday, July 31, when she guest stars with her husband, Patrick Fischler on Curb your Enthusiasm right after True Blood. 

Below is my interview with Lauren.

Did you always want to be an actress? What made you want to be an actress?Basically, I grew up in Washington,DC and went to a great school, actually where the Obama girls are going now and they had a great, great drama program. In 7th grade I got cast in the play, “The Man Who Came To Dinner” as Lorraine Sheldon and I got my first laugh and it was like one of those epiphany moments and my fate was sealed, as it were. I got completely bit by the bug and knew from then on this is what I wanted to do. My parents were awesome about it and completely supportive and I, of course, wanted to do it professionally, but they jumped in and said, we will support any acting classes, training, etc., but until you’re 18 we want you to have a real home life experience. Much to my chagrin I obviously had to go along with them, but in retrospect I am grateful. Then I went on to NYU to be an undergraduate drama major and spent a couple of years doing New York Theater and then to LA.

I see that your half sister is Julie Louis Dryfus, did she get into acting before you or was it you who started first?  Was she an influence?
Yes, she’s my big sis. She is nine years older and she went to another school, but as a little kid we were always traipsing out to see her in all her plays. I was in 7th grade when she got hired to be on Saturday Night Live. Without her, I still think I would have found it [acting], but she absolutely influenced me and helped pave the way with my parents who already had one actor so it wasn’t necessarily a huge shock that they had another. So, it’s been nothing but a major bonus having her as a big older sister.

Tell us about your role on Seinfeld, and what was that like working with your sister and on such a popular show? Did she have anything to do with you getting the part?
Oh, 100%, if was pure nepotism. When I moved out to LA, she said, “you have to get your SAG card” and “I think Larry [David] needs a waitress in the coffee shop, let me talk to him about it.”

At this time you have to remember that Seinfeld wasn’t the monster “out of the gate” hit; this is very early on, and I was quite young and it didn’t feel like the biggest break ever. Obviously it was great to have help to get your SAG card and I ended doing about 8 episodes in the run of the series and again, that was 100% big sister nepotism.

You worked with your husband Patrick Fischler on Curb your Enthusiasm recently, right?
Yes, exactly. That was a dream job, getting to work with my husband and Larry [David] again and coincidentally, the studio is about 5 minutes from where we are and we got to hang out with our baby girl, shoot together and were home before dinner. I think that airs on this Sunday, July 31.

Was this the first time you worked with your husband? What was it like, did you enjoy it? Would you do it again?
We have worked together before. Actually, it’s a funny story. We met at NYU and we were best friends for nine years before we got together as a couple. Then, we were living together for about eight years before we got married. So, I really feel like, although we haven’t been married that long, that we’re like an old married couple because we knew each other for so long before we got together and we’ve been together so long, just not all of those years legally.

When we moved out here to LA, we had a theater company that my husband started and we’ve done tons of theater together. Then, oddly, we were in Ghostworld and were in an episode of Veronica Mars together. So, periodically, we’ve gotten to play together professionally.

You’ve done lots of TV and film, can you talk about your favorites?  Do you prefer TV over film?
Absolutely, yes!

Theater is my roots and I’m really looking forward to getting back to it. Obviously, New York is a much more theater based community then we have out here, but I really love theater so I’m dying, dying, dying to get back on the stage because there is nothing like a live audience.
In terms of TV vs. film, it’s really hard to say. To work on an hour long show before a camera and in front of an audience is obviously a whole different beast. An hour long show is very cinematic and the experience is so different.

I’ve heard it said that True Blood is shot like a film, is that correct?
Completely. The average episode takes about 12 days to shoot which is much longer than most TV hour longs get, so it feels like we are making these sort of mini-movies each week.

I love film, I’m a huge movie buff. Old movies I adore, and until recently you’d say that the quality of film is so much better [than TV], but really today with cable now there’s some great television being made. For film, everything is so expensive, even Sundance is so “hollywoodised,” it’s so different now.  With the cable channels now, it’s the new place to be where you get left alone to do what you want.

Before you were cast as Holly, you were already a huge fan True Blood, right?.
Huge fan! Although, I’ve been schooled by all these fan sites that I’ve been talking to. I thought I was a fan until I met the true, true fans and everyone knows so much more than I ever did. I was completely glued and never missed an episode, but I didn’t have nearly the depth of knowledge that some of the really hard core fans have.

I’m a huge Alan Ball fan starting with American Beauty, one of my all time favorite movies, I kid you not.  And then Six Feet Under and True Blood.  If he’s written it, I’m there. So, I absolutely loved the series and continue to watch it.

Can you still watch the show as a fan now that you are part of the production?
It’s crazy, I forget sometimes, I’m so swept up. We are watching and there are tons of scenes I’m not in so I’m so swept up by it and obviously, I know what is going to happen, but then I see myself on the screen and I think, Oh my God, I forgot I’m on the show, this is so cool.

Did you audition for any other parts on the show, or just Holly?
Yes, I only auditioned for Holly. The audition came in and my goal was just do well enough that they will bring me back for a guest spot. Because it seemed like such a huge part to get, I thought, oh, they’re going to get a name or something so I was concentrating on hoping that they bring me back to read for something else. But, I auditioned, and by the time I got home, I received the call that I had gotten it and I was floored. So, I only had to audition once. The bonus of HBO is that they trust Alan, obviously he was in the room, and he gets to cast it. Normally, elsewhere, for a part of this size you’d go back a bunch of times, you read for the studio, you read for the network and all of that.

How did Holly get interested in being a wiccan?  Did it have anything to do with her history of rape?
I don’t think it was one isolated event. I see Holly as a true, true survivor and she’s a single mom and obviously a rape surviror. Her life has not been easy and she is forever searching for peace. The wiccan religion, the more I read about it, is a really beautiful religion, very nature based and it’s a feminine diety, it’s a goddess that they worship. It has a lot to offer in terms of comfort I think and so I that’s probably what attracted her to it.

Did you draw upon your personal experiences to play Holly?
She is very different from me, but I think what we have in common is that she has a real comfort of self that I think, I too possess. She is not someone who puts on airs or pretends to be anything other than what she is and I like to think I have that, although my friends could say I’m full of shit. Obviously, I’m not a wiccan myself, but I’m a big meditater and I read a lot of Buddhism and as in most great religions I think that there is a commonality. Also, I’m a big holistic gal. I never like taking medicine if there’s a herb to take for it, so there’s that amazing cross over. Obviously, I’m an east coaster, went to college and studied acting so there are some vast differences as well, but I like to think that at our core, there are some real similarities.

What is it like being on True Blood? Who do you work with best on the show so far?
It was really fun at the end of Season 3, most of my stuff was with Carrie Preston (Arlene) and that was just an absolute perfect indoctrination into the show because she is so beyond talented. Everyone associates her with Arlene, but I’ve seen her elsewhere, she was in a play I saw with a friend of mine in New York and she went to Julliard so we have things in common. She is so unbelievably talented as an actor and it was great fun to sort of jump in the deep end with her and she was just so welcoming.

My first day at work, I showed up on set and the show, being an established hit, you just never know what you are going to get. And, I've learned that you can get the best scuttlebutt from the hair and makeup team and I said to them, so prep me; what’s everyone like really, who should I watch out for? And they were like, no one, there really are no bad apples. I’m like, come on, really who do I need to prep for and they said, no, really and I thought we’ll wait and see. I’ve now worked with most of the cast, not everyone since as you know it’s a big, big cast so there’s still a good quarter group I haven’t worked with yet, but they're all great and I’ve had so much fun.
I’ve worked lots with Rutina Wesley (Tara) who is a complete blast to work with. I think I’m the most surprised by just how versatile and good everyone is, even though I knew that, as a fan, I loved everyone’s acting. When you’re in the same room with them there’s no faking it, there’s no camera angles, there’s no editing to help you out there and you really see just how talented everyone is. It’s the truth, I’ve worked long enough now to know that this really just never ever happens. And I know that if I weren’t on the show and hearing this interview, I wouldn’t believe, it, I’d think oh, she’s lying, but I’m just telling you, it’s really true because everyone is just so happy to be there.  That’s because it all starts with Alan [Ball], everything is trickle down, and its who he assembles from the cinematographer to the directors to the writing staff. The writing staff I can’t go off enough about and all of the actors. When it’s kinda just right at every level, everyone feels it and is just so happy to be there.

Everyone said working with Fiona Shaw was great, did you have that experience, too? What was it like working with her or any of the others?
I’m going to sound like a gusher now. I can’t say enough about Fiona Shaw. I was so nervous to meet her because I am a huge Fiona Shaw fan starting with My Left Foot, and The Doctrine. I’ve seen her on stage, too. I mean this woman is mythic.

When I met her, I was very nervous. Obviously, I was going to be working with her a lot this year so I had to go up to her sheepishly, like a fan. She is everything you want her to be and more.  She is this huge, huge actress but, talk about unassuming, she is this “funky, idiosyncratic woman who is like, “Oh, I don’t know, yes, yes, what do you think, is it going to be good, are we going to have fun?”  And, I say, oh it’s totally going to be fun. She is just a hoot. I have seen them give her like last minute Latin rewrites to learn, I kid you not, and she has it memorized in like ten minutes and nails it. It’s like a master class working with her; it was a real treat of the season for me, working with her.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Seeing Stephen Moyer on Jimmy Kimmel Live

As featured on

On Thursday, July 21, 2011 I went to Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, CA for the sole purpose of seeing Stephen Moyer's appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. It was a great experience and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I left home early in order to avoid the inevitable Los Angeles insane traffic at rush hour since I had to be there for the taping at 5:30pm, PST. I met up with another billsbabe, Filmchick3, who had also reserved a ticket. We stood in line for about an hour and go into the studio after having to check our cameras. Luckily they didn't take my phone, which I expected them to do, because it was a life saver later on, as you will see.

We got seats, not at the best location, but we were right in the middle and could see the stage where Stephen was to be seated quite easily. It's great to go to these televised talk shows because it sure is a learning experience. The all are pretty much the same and here's what happens. About an hour before hand they tell you that you aren't allowed to get up at all, must turn off all cell phones, and there will be no bathroom breaks during the show. Then, a comedian comes out and "preps the audience". He tells jokes and says that we have to be a good audience and we learn when to applaud, laugh and just when to be just plain insane crazy.  The studio is smaller than you'd imagine, but we were glad of that because it makes for a more intimate experience. The "audience training session" was a lot of fun and by the time we were done, our coach had definitely done his job because we were all pumped and ready to go.

What I didn't know, since it hadn't been publicized, was that another guest was on the show. His name was Dax Shepard and he was on talking to Jimmy at length about his new film and about their vacation. It seemed like forever before Stephen came out, but when he finally did, he was great and you can see him wave to us in the video below.

Video of Stephen on Jimmy Kimmel Live..   

Stephen's performance was, as usual, funny and delightful, but way too short! He was on the show for just about 5 minutes, and we couldn't believe it when he left the stage that it was already over. Then, Jimmy announced that we were all to go outside to their summer concert stage and see the concert put on by the group, "Bush." When we got outside, we noticed Stephen and his son going to the back of the concert stage, so I decided that we should stay there to see if we might be able to say hello to him before he left. We watched the concert for what seemed like a really long time and then finally decided to just give up. However, a friend of mine had told me that there was a location in the alley behind the theater where paparazzi and autograph seekers stood, so we decided to go in that direction. I immediately saw flashes from cameras and I just knew he was there signing autographs for the fans, and I was right.

We quickly went over and attempted to get his attention. He was so generous with the fans, as he always is, singing for everyone.  Right before he left, I called to him, he looked up and came back to give me a big hug.  He also hugged Filmchick.  He said, "I'll see you tomorrow, right?" And I sadly, had to reply," no I'm not going to Comic Con this year." He also asked how I liked the show and what could I say, but he was awesome, which is no lie!

Since we hadn't been permitted to bring our cameras into the studio, as I said above, and there was no time to get them. I was forced to use my Iphone to take photos and video. Below is a very short video and since my camera has no flash included are the few photos that came out OK to post. Here is the extremely short video of Stephen signing for the fans.

And here are the few photos I was able to get.

Thanks to LifeIsNotEasy for the Kimmel video.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

True Blood & Music for The Amanda Foundation

As featured on The Vault - 

Thursday July 14, 2011, I went to Molly Malone’s in Los Angeles to join members of the cast of True Blood for a night of music, fun, door prizes all in support for the Amanda Foundation. The event was hosted by True Blood cast members Kristin Bauer van Straten (Pam), Tara Buck (Ginger) and Todd Lowe (Terry) with performances by Abri Van Straten, Chris Pierce and Todd Lowe’s “L.A Hootenanny.”

It was a great night, I had so much fun. I have said it before, but I’ll say it again the True Blood cast are the most generous and giving people I know. They love to raise funds for their favorite causes, and tonight it was the Amanda Foundation. The Amanda Foundation was founded in 1976, and has since placed thousands of homeless animals. It is a nonprofit organization that rescues dogs and cats who, through no fault of their own, are spending their last days at City and County Shelters. When I first arrived, the bar was fairly empty, but people were quickly arriving. I immediately saw Tara Buck who gave me a big hug and then her boyfriend and soon to be husband, Chris Pierce, who was one of the performers of the evening. I next saw Todd Lowe whom I had never met in person, so that was a thrill. I had brought a Season 3 DVD with me in order to get signatures of all the cast members attending so we could include it in a future charity auction. Todd and Tara were the first one to sign it.

Todd Lowe and Tara Buck

I sat down with some friends and we waited for the evening to begin, but I was so anxious, that I got up and walked around some more to see who else might arrive. I next saw Kristin Bauer van Straten and she immediately, said “Hi Lynn!”. She had just arrived and she and Abri were getting ready for the festivities. There was a silent auction set up and there was to be True Blood items among other great gifts raffled off during the night in-between each set of music. You could buy raffle tickets as you entered or during the evening. I then saw someone that I had met before, Ryan C. Burney. I had met him when I went to see Abri and Chris Pierce play at the Foundry a couple of months ago. Ryan a new cast member in Season 4 of True Blood and is first seen in Episode 4, which happens to air this week. We talked about his upcoming “debut” and how exciting it was. He had told me the night I met him that he is in one of the flashback scenes (I so love the flashback scenes). All I can tell you right now is that he plays a 16th Century Spanish Lord and is in two episodes, 4 and 6. I will be posting more about Ryan in a report on Monday, but I promised him I’d wait until after his first episode aired to post photos. Below is a photo I can share with you which is of Ryan with his girlfriend at the fundraiser on Thursday night:

I sat down with some friends and we waited for the evening to begin, but I was so anxious, that I got up and walked around some more to see who else might arrive. I next saw Kristin Bauer van Straten and she immediately, said "Hi Lynn!". She had just arrived and she and Abri were getting ready for the festivities. There was a silent auction set up and there was to be True Blood items among other great gifts raffled off during the night in-between each set of music. You could buy raffle tickets as you entered or during the evening. I then saw someone that I had met before, Ryan C. Burney.  I had met him when I went to see Abri and Chris Pierce play at the Foundry a couple of months ago. Ryan a new cast member in Season 4 of True Blood  and is first seen in Episode 4, which happens to air this week. We talked about his upcoming "debut" and how exciting it was.  He had told me the night I met him that he is in one of the flashback scenes (I so love the flashback scenes). All I can tell you right now is that he plays a 16th Century Spanish Lord and is in two episodes, 4 and 6. I will be posting more about Ryan in a report on Monday, but I promised him I'd wait until after his first episode aired to post photos. Below is a photo I can share with you which is of Ryan with his girlfriend at the fundraiser on Thursday night:

Ryan C. Burney with his girlfriend, Shannon Steckloff

I then went back to my seat since the night of music was about to begin. First on the stage was Kristin Bauer van Straten's husband, Abri van Straten.  I know Abri's music so I was sure that we would be treated to beautiful sounds.  The last time I heard Abri play, he played solo, but on Thursday night he had accompaniment.  This made his music even more lovely and he truly blossomed the more he played.  I loved his set of lilting music and he was very friendly with the audience.  Great job, I thought!  Find out more about Abri and his music by going to his web site.

Abri van Straten

Once Abri had completed his set, we were all treated to Kristin and Tara getting up on stage to start the fun of picking the winners of the raffles. We had all bought our raffle tickets by then, and had them in hand hoping one of our numbers would be chosen.

Kristin Bauer van Straten, Tara Buck on left

During this break, I could see that several other True Blood cast members had arrived either during Abri's set or just after. They were, Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica), with her boyfriend EJ Scott, Mariana Klaveno (Lorena), and Jim Parrack (Hoyt). I quickly ran to each of them with my DVD in hand, in order to get further signatures on it and to also take photos of them mingling with the many other True Blood fans who had also arrived and were quickly filling the bar to capacity. In fact, the staff at the bar were so overwhelmed, that they closed the kitchen because there were just too many orders coming it from the large crowd. It was truly a successful event so far!

Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica) with True Blood fan, Mariana Klaveno (Lorena) and Jim Parrack (Hoyt)

Next up after the first group of raffle prizes were given out and everyone had a chance to mingle, was Chris Pierce. Chris's music, I would describe as very bluesy and he was just plain "amazing!" He rocked the house with his set. I am a huge fan. If you live in the New York area on Saturday September 17, 2011, Chris will release his new album show at Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2). 8pm.You won't regret it and IT'S FREE! rockwoodmusichall.c​om.

Chris also has samples of his music on his website which is here:

Chris Pierce
By the end of  Chris's performance the audience was really getting going and many were dancing in front of the stage. Just like Abri, the first time I heard Chris was when he played alone at the Foundry; having backup musicians this time really helped him to shine brightly and he sure "let it all hang out." Everyone loved it!!  I know I sure did. After Chris finished his performance it was again time for more raffling. When all the prizes were given out, I was not one of the winners; I never win, LOL!  However, again we were all having a great time and enjoying ourselves immensely, so that didn't bother me at all. For the final set of the night we heard Todd Lowe and his "LA Hootenanny" band play. They really to the house rockin and they truly showed that the night was a night of all different tastes in music. I loved the fun loving way that Todd and his band played and got into the music.  Loved it!

Todd Lowe with the LA Hootenanny

Below is a short video that will give you all a small taste of what each performance was like:

There are more photos in the Photo Gallery:

For me, in addition to the great music, the highlight of the night was getting to meet Todd Lowe for the first time, as well as Mariana Klaveno. I loved Mariana's performance of Lorena in True Blood and will miss her so, but I'm thrilled that she will be on Dexter this season, so to see her all I have to do is change the channel. Then to have Jim Parrack come over to sit with me, that was a thrill and it was great to talk to him again.  Jim has just released his new film POST, which you all should try to see when it get distributed.

Lynnpd with Mariana Klaveno and Jim Parrack

Certainly, the night was all about raising money for a worthy cause, The Amanda Foundation.  It seems it was a success because Tara Buck reported on Twitter the next day saying: "Thank you to all the fans who came out last night to support The Amanda Foundation. We raised almost $5000 & we had a great time of it!" 

However, there is never enough I'm sure to help these poor homeless animals, so please go to the Amanda Foundation web site and make a donation now: http://www.amandafoundatio​

Thanks to Shadaliza for putting the video together for me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Meet Aaron Perilo, the new vampire “Blackburn” in Season 4

As featured on The Vault:

The first time I saw Aaron Perilo was back in mid May when I went to downtown Los Angeles where True Blood was filming some of Season 4. I waited outside the hotel where a big scene was being shot in the ballroom, hoping that I might get a glimpse of some of the cast as they came and went.
It was great to see Alexander Skarsgård, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer and other members of the cast, but it was also intriguing to see the new cast members that were there.
I didn’t get to “officially” meet Aaron Perilo, on that day, as I only got the opportunity to say “hi” to him as he whisked by on his way back to the set (see photo below). I was interested in what character this new cast member would be playing and later found out he would be a vampire. I’m a big fan of the vampires, so when his publicist emailed last week asking if The Vault wanted to interview Aaron, I jumped at the chance.
Photo I took of Aaron Perilo outside the set of True Blood – May 16, 2011

When, I spoke to Aaron yesterday, he answered some questions about his new role in True Blood and his character of Blackburn. He also talked about how he got started as an actor, about his audition for the part, his other projects and his likes and dislikes.
Blackburn, the new vampire in Season 4 will be introduced to True Blood’s audience starting in episode 5. We’ll have to wait until then to find out what this new vampire is all about since Aaron is sworn to secrecy about his character. However, he did reveal that Blackburn is very old, saying “he’s an ancient.” I’m betting Blackburn is going to cause trouble in Bon Temps because from what I gather, he sounds like he’s not such a nice boy.
As I chatted with Aaron I learned that he is a big fan of True Blood, so much so that he told me he only read his scenes in the scripts they gave him for each episode because he didn’t want to know everything. He still wants to watch the show as a fan, and reading the full script would spoil his experience. I’m not sure I would have such discipline, but its nice to know that Aaron will be able to experience the show they way he wants to and get the full fan experience. He said that ”the fact that I’m in this fantasy world that I have been following for a few years. It’s the most surreal job I have ever had.”  He also talks about attending his first red carpet premiere and that Alan Ball is one of his favorite writers.

Below is my interview with Aaron Perilo:

You said in a recent interview that you got interested in acting while in junior year in high school. What was it that made you discover the interest at that time?I’d always been acting since I was in the first grade, doing plays and national tours and things like that. And, it wasn’t really until my junior year that I realized that I wanted to do it as a profession. I’d always had an amazing time doing it, just being able to explore different sides of humanity and that has always interested me. And, when it came time junior year to start thinking about what I wanted to do for my career, I really couldn’t think of anything else I could do and also be able to have fun. My motto has always been that I want to make money and have fun doing it. And, acting is definitely something I have a blast doing and it makes money if you’re lucky enough to actually be able to get work.

Did you go to School for acting?I applied to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. They have one in New York City and one in Los Angeles. I originally was set to go to the one in New York, because I love New York and it’s always been a dream of mine to live there and still is, but I’ve modified that because I now want to have a place in LA and a place in New York. I want it all! I ended up going to the one in Los Angeles because it just made more sense with all the work that’s out here.

Since two of your siblings are also actors, was it something your parents encouraged? Did you ever get resistance from them or others about going into a profession that is difficult in which to find success?My parents have always been very supportive. They know that I know the risks because I’m the youngest of three siblings that are in the entertainment industry and I’ve seen what my brother has had to endure. I was sort of a wild child growing up anyways and they actually didn’t think that I would stay out here as long as I did and have as much success. They told me that later though. I came here about six years ago and have been here ever since. I have done a lot of travelling during the six years, but I’m based out of LA.

I know you were a fan of True Blood before you auditioned, but had you watched the entire series and who was your favorite character?I really, really like all of the characters, but Russell Edgington might be my favorite on the show. He is unbelievable and such a vicious guy and I love his character.

Are you Team Bill or Team Eric?I think I’ve always been Team Bill and I don’t know why, but I really like Eric also though. Eric is so conniving and has such a great character and I’m starting to like him more now.

Has your view of the show changed now that you have been in several episodes?No, it still has the magical quality that it had before. It’s such an amazing fantasy world that Alan Ball has created; there’s no denying it. I actually didn’t read most of the scripts because I didn’t want to ruin it for myself. I read what I needed to for my story lines but as far as anything else, I wanted that to be a surprise.

So you will still be watching it as a fan?Yes, I’m going to be watching Season 4 as a fan.
I know a lot of what happens, there’s no getting around it because I was in those scenes and I know what happens, but there are certain story lines I don’t know, like I don’t know what happens with Lafayette or with Jason, there’s a lot I don’t know which I’m excited to find out.

How can you not read the scripts? Isn’t it tempting?When I first got it, I started reading the script and I was like, “Oh My God”; I was getting blown away. Then, I said, wait, I don’t know what built up to this because I started in episode 5, so I decided after I read ten pages of episode 5, it was just too good, oh man there’s some stuff that happens in episode 5, particularly at the beginning; I couldn’t do it to myself, I couldn’t ruin it.

Was Blackburn the only parts you auditioned for in True Blood or did you audition for other roles, too?Blackburn is the only part I auditioned for.

How did you get the audition and how many others were you up against?Through my agent, but I believe I got the audition, because I had just done a guest star on another HBO show that hasn’t aired yet, called “Luck”. It’s coming out in September, but that could change. And, I know that HBO likes to “keep it into the family”, so there really weren’t that many people who auditioned for this role. I don’t know the exact number, but not very many.

Did they have you in mind for it?Possibly, they pay attention to the actors that are on their other programs, so it could be.

As a new kid on the block, how were you welcomed by the TB cast? How was your first table read?I was brought in with “open fangs”; I was welcomed with open fangs. Everyone in the cast and crew are just really nice people. On my first day I worked was with Stephen [Moyer] and he’s hilarious; a really great guy and doesn’t take it too seriously, which is so great to see. If he did take it too seriously, it would be a little disappointing. It was a really long day of working but it was very pleasurable. No one really got into a crappy mood or anything and everybody loved doing their job. You can tell everybody like the makeup crew, the hair crew, etc., and all the actors, really enjoy doing it, which is very important.

We understand that you worked mostly with Stephen Moyer. How was that? What did you learn from him? Who else did you interact with?I worked with Alexander, Stephen and some other people. About what I learned, I have to go back to not taking it so seriously and being precise, but laid back about. It is important because it frees you up and lets you be more, improvisational, I guess. You’re not saying anything that’s not on the page, although actually, I did. I did add a couple things to certain lines and they were totally cool with it. I guess just not taking it too seriously and trusting that the work is good enough. That’s what those guys do best.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bloody Sunday, A True Blood Panel At IMATS

As featured on The Vault -

On Sunday, June 26, 2011, I went to Pasadena to attend the International Makeup Artists Trade Show (IMATS) Convention. True Blood was to have a panel there including the team that does all the special effects, and I wanted to learn more about how those crazy stunts and blood baths are done.

While walking around the Exhibit Hall at the convention center in Pasadena, I was fascinated by all that goes into the makeup for fashion shows and for TV and film, but I was at this convention, primarily to see the True Blood Panel which was presented by Make-Up Artist magazine and called BLOODY SUNDAY: A True Blood Panel Discussion.
The discussion featured  Andre Bustanoby, Lana Grossman, Todd Masters, Brigette Myre Ellis, Dan Rebert and Mark Viniello.  They are from Masters FX, the company that has done all of the True Blood special effects and makeup.
Moderated by Joe Nazzaro the panel was held in the Main Stage (the largest room at the Convention Center). The True Blood panel discussed their work from the show’s previous seasons—as well as teased us with what’s to come in Season Four! We got to witness never-before-seen test shots and got a detailed expose on their work, followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience.
Below are three videos I took at the event. I apologize for the camera movement; I was late to the event (someone guided us to the wrong location) and people were walking behind me resulting in lots of bumping and nudging leading to camera movement. I know it’s hard to watch because of that, but the information they provide is absolutely fascinating so I suggest you just go along for the ride, you won’t regret it.
The panelists showed us scenes and guided us through how they were done. Most are from Season 3, including when the King rips out the vertebrae of the newscaster, Lorena’s death scene, the twisted sex scene, just to name a few.  We also get to see how they did fairyland and the “goblins” for Season 4. You’ll learn some interesting insider info and they even show us a photo of Executive Producer, Alan Ball in full make up!  Look on the table in front of Todd Masters to see the “dead head” of Jessica’s first victim that was used in Season 3.  Oh, and you’ll be surprised to learn that the naked guy in the sink in Sookie’s kitchen,  from the end of Season 2, is a goblin in Season 4.

True Blood Panel - Part 1  

 True Blood Panel - Part 2  

 True Blood Panel - Part 3