Saturday, May 8, 2010

True Blood's Rutina Wesley stakes out Tara, Franklin Mott, and season three

That Alan Ball... lucky for us he knows how to write great characters, and even luckier for us young Rutina Wesley knows how to play a great character when it comes to Tara, the sassy African American BFF of Sookie Stackhouse. I chatted with Rutina about her character and the third season of True Blood for one of two articles on the series in the August issue of Sci Fi Magazine, which will be on the newsstands on June 1 or so. The other article is with Denis O'Hare, and you can check out my interview with him here.

Here's a small bit of my exclusive interview with Rutina, most of which did NOT make the magazine...

KATHIE: Why do you think Tara has managed to get herself into so much trouble in the past?

RUTINA: That darn vulnerability. She’s so vulnerable and naive at times, but I think that’s just ‘cause all she knows is Bon Temps. It's a small town. Even though she’s well read and self-educated, there’s still a lot of things about life experience that Tara just doesn't know. So she’s really getting some life experience (laughs). And she’s gonna go through a lot of different emotions. They’re giving me another incredible journey, and I just can’t wait.

KATHIE: Your character has such depth and isn't anything like the Tara in the book series. How do you feel about this role?

RUTINA: I mean it’s all coming together so beautifully, and I feel incredibly lucky and honored, to be a part of this cast and be a part of this show and working for Alan Ball and the rest of the writers and HBO is a dream. It’s like a dream job, and I had no idea it would be such a huge hit. I mean it just like went to the sky. We’re all over the world now. I have people writing to me from Hungary and Germany, and it’s just like… I’m just like amazed.

I get overwhelmed and I cry every now and now ‘cause I can’t believe it. I can’t believe I’m on TV. I can’t believe people are enjoying my work. I mean this is what I went to school for. This is what I wanted, and I’m actually getting to do what I love. And when you get to do your passion, what you want to do, it’s incredible because there are a lot of people who actually don’t get to do what they want to do. So I’m incredibly thankful and grateful and appreciative of this job and of the show. It’s really great.

KATHIE: Your character gets a new romantic interest this season with the vampire Franklin Mott, played by James Frain. How would you describe the character?

RUTINA: Yeah, I say tall, dark and handsome with an emphasis on dark. I’ll say that.

KATHIE: Tara's never been pro-vampire in the past.

RUTINA: No, not at all... You’re gonna see some crazy stuff between the two of them, and sometimes Tara is… it’s like sometimes it’s by choice and sometimes maybe it’s not so much by choice. So she gets wrapped up in him, and it’s gonna be crazy... I mean he’s very interesting kind of crazy psychotic at some times.

I absolutely love working with James Frain. I think he is wonderful. I mean he is so talented. He keeps me on my toes at all times, and he’s just so in the moment and real. It’s just like if it’s not working, it’s not working. We go back until it works, and we just… we have a great connection, and I just really enjoy it.

KATHIE: What's your biggest challenge in playing Tara?

RUTINA: I think the emotional struggle that she has inside of her. Tara is… she’s so emotional. She’s very strong, and yet, at the same time she’s a flower, and it’s really sometimes difficult to go from the big dramatic Tara to the comedic Tara to the telling off somebody, and then to try to come home with that and like take it all off and be the wife. It’s incredibly hard to find the balance, but that’s where all of my training, I would say, comes into play. I mean learning how to delve into a character and then learning how to let it go and be able to come home and breathe and then go back to work the next day... and then she’s back there.

I'll have more True Blood interviews in the weeks ahead.


  1. Wow. If this is the part that got cut from the magazine, the rest should be pretty awesome. I enjoyed this muchly (and you are now bookmarked!). Thanks!

  2. Thanks Cyn! One of the main reasons I decided to do this blog was because I had so much good interview stuff I never got to print and it's been forever left on the cutting room floor of my computer. I'll have some good True Blood tidbits coming up in the future. There will also be some goodies regarding The Gates and Haven, which may be of interest.