Saturday, May 15, 2010

True Blood's Denis O'Hare is the King... the Vampire King of Mississippi that is

To get you all whipped up into a frenzy over the August Sci Fi Magazine and my articles with Rutina Wesley, Alan Ball and Denis O'Hare of True Blood, here's a little treat.

I promised you an interview teaser with True Blood's big bad this season, Denis O'Hare, who is playing Russell Edgington, the Vampire King of Mississippi. He's a truly charming guy, and I could have talked to him all day long.

Most of the following quotes are not in the magazine. Nope, there's a whole bunch of different quotes for the article...

KATHIE: I understand you are going to be a regular on the show.

DENIS: I am. I don’t know what that means in terms how long I’ll be around [laughs]. But you know what, I’m around this year. I’m a regular this year.

KATHIE: Have you read the book series?

DENIS O'HARE: I’ve read a bunch of them. I think I’ve read three of them. Is that a bunch? The thing is I don’t think we shoot very closely to the books.

KATHIE: True Blood seems to be true to the books and Sookie's story, but it also goes off in its own direction?


KATHIE: I’ve never seen a series be able to do both so well.

DENIS: I agree with you. It feels like it’s true to the spirit of the books and it’s true to the kind of landscape that Charlaine Harris creates. But then it riffs on the characters and takes great liberties with them... My character, Russell Edgington, is not very fleshed out in the books. He’s one of the minor characters, I think, and he’s sprinkled here and there throughout it. But we’ve, I think, jumped off from what is in the books.

KATHIE: What is he like?

DENIS: [Laughs] I actually know a lot about him because Alan Ball kind of gave me free rein to create him. He gave me some very general outlines and then I would go off on my own and do research and come up with ideas. And then I would check back in with him and see if I was on the right path and he would say, "Yeah, that’s great. Except that’s not quite accurate," or "Don’t go down that road." So he was definitely guiding me and I was just taking liberties where I could.

But what we’ve come to, and Alan told me a little while ago, is that Russell is older than Godric. So actually he's the oldest vampire and we hadn’t quite settled on how old he was and I wasn’t quite sure what was in Alan’s mind until I was aiming for one thing at one point. I was aiming for him to been made a vampire about 900AD and then Alan said, "Oh, no, no, no, no. He’s definitely older Godric." I was thinking, oh maybe he’s like 2100 years old or 2200 years old, and then I got a script one day that one like that is, “I am nearly 3,000 years old,” and I was like, "Oh, okay. He’s older than I thought." So it is a push me/pull you kind of thing as the writers discover the character.

KATHIE: Where does he fit in when we meet him in this story?

DENIS: He is in his own world. He’s in Mississippi, for one thing, so he’s in a separate state, separate kingdom. And we haven’t really been in Mississippi. We’ve been in Louisiana the whole time, so now we’re in Mississippi. We kind of get into the vampire structure that each state has their own sheriff, their own dominion, and they’ve got their own king and or queen. The world of Russell is in Jackson, Mississippi and we are centered around his house, which is a mansion where he lives with Talbot, his lover... his real boyfriend of 700 years, [played by] Theo Alexander.

To find out what Denis said about Talbot and working with Alan Ball, check out the August issue of Sci Fi Magazine, which goes on sale on newsstands on June 1. You can check out the opening spread for the Rutina Wesley/Alan Ball interview here.

HBO premieres True Blood's third season on June 13.

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