Once the first episode of the hit HBO series, True Blood, hit the airwaves in 2008, fans became instantly obsessed over Sookie Stackhouse and the entire crew in Bon Temps. It isn’t a secret that audiences have a thing for vampires since everything from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Selene in the Underworld film series has garnered a huge fanbase over the years. However, the True Blood series was more than just a vampire show with a love triangle storyline. Including everything from werewolves to fairies to shapeshifters, there seemed to be a little something for everyone on the show.
Based off of The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, the show actually helped to bring attention to the book series and created even more lovers of the written word. While the show ultimately deviated from the storyline set forth by the book series, it created its very own plot filled with complex characters and breakout stars. The series ran from 2008 to 2014, with seven seasons filled with more fake blood than you could ever imagine. While there were those that weren’t as invested in the series towards the end seasons, there were still millions of viewers that remained loyal to the very last episode. Whether you missed a season or two or you’re just intrigued over some behind-the-scenes info on the show, it’s interesting to take a look back at some of the favorite characters and background stories of the actors. Check out our list of the 15 crazy things you never knew about the HBO True Blood series and think back on how much the show has been missed since its last episode.
15. Book Was Implemented Into The Show
By now, everyone is probably aware that the HBO True Blood series was based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries, also known as the Sookie Stackhouse Series, by Charlaine Harris. In fact, one of the biggest criticisms of the series is that it chose to stray so far from the actual storyline from the book series. While audiences can forgive a brief diversion from the word-for-word plot from the books, True Blood famously went way beyond the book series to become almost completely unrecognizable by Season 2. Yet, showrunners didn’t leave the author completely out of the series and even liked to throw in a few cameo moments for Charlaine Harris in a few different episodes. Oftentimes, when a character was seen reading a book, a closer inspection would show that they were actually reading a Charlaine Harris novel. Perhaps this was a nod to the woman that made the show possible in the first place or perhaps it was a promotion attempt at getting fans hooked on some of the other book series Harris has published over the years.
14. Relation To Seinfeld Actress
True Blood had an ever-revolving cast of waitresses at Merlotte’s since it seemed that each new waitress Sam hired would inevitably meet her demise. So, when Lauren Bowles made her first appearance in Season 3, fans didn’t think she would last long. She was a self-proclaimed witch that wasn’t exactly the typical beauty Sam usually hired to wait tables at Merlotte’s. It seemed almost strange that she would even be cast at all but perhaps her famous family had something to do with that. Bowles is the half-sister to Emmy Award-winning actress, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The two even acted together on Seinfeld briefly. While Bowles has yet to achieve the same kind of success as her half-sister, it’s easy to see the resemblance. What seemed like only a small character in the True Blood series quickly turned into one of the more prominent characters for Bowles. In fact, she became an integral part of the witch plotline in the ending seasons and even became a stepmother of sorts to a broad of fairies.
13. Makeup Needed During Sex Scenes
Sex scenes are often thought of as one of the most uncomfortable parts of being an actor, simply because it’s not as intimate as one might think. From cast members sitting on the sidelines to the large amount of crew members needed to create the scene, actors often remark on how difficult and uncomfortable it can be to perform under those circumstances. While it’s easy to think that actresses would find themselves self-conscious during a revealing sex scene, the actor that played Alcide Herveaux put a new spin on it. Joe Manganiello had to partake in one particularly revealing sex scene on the series, where his entire buttock was visible to the camera. At the time, he had a massive pimple on his buttock that makeup artists had to try and cover up prior to filming. Manganiello was able to laugh about it during interviews but audiences couldn’t help but run back and take a closer look to see if it was still visible, even with all the stage makeup.
12. Not As Many Special Effects As You’d Think
In a TV show filled with mythical creatures like fairies, vampires, and werewolves, it is understandable that there would have to be an abundance of special effects needed to create the storyline. After all, you can only do so much with blood made out of corn syrup and a few fake fangs. By the end of Season 4, showrunners were running low on their budget for special effects and started to worry about how they would pull off some of the more intricate details of certain aspects of the series. One of which was featured on the episode, “Soul of Fire,” from Season 4. Pam, Jessica, Bill, and Eric were outside of the Emporium when Marnie unleashed a protection spell surrounding the building. It surrounded the building with the true nature of the sun and was impenetrable by vampires. While they stood in contemplation on how to enter, Marnie and her coven began unleashing a spell that would force the vampires to walk into the barrier. However, the budget didn’t allow for any special effects to help the actors in this scene. Instead, the actors had to improvise by contorting themselves in a way that made it seem like they were being dragged towards the barrier. Taking a look back at this particular scene is either astounding at how well the actors would improvise or a bit comical in seeing how they had to make it look so forced.
11. Jason Stackhouse Is Really Australian
It isn’t exactly a new concept for actors to portray characters that are dissimilar from them in a variety of ways. British actors are constantly winning awards in the U.S. for portraying American characters and some of the most acclaimed portrayals of homosexual characters on the big screen have been played by straight men and women. In fact, Stephen Moyer, the actor that played Bill Compton, is British and has a thick English accent when he’s not adopting the Southern accent that was heard on True Blood. Yet, the true surprise is that the actor that played Jason Stackhouse isn’t actually Southern. Ryan Kwanten was so convincing as the dimwitted boy from the South that fans were completely shocked when they heard him talk on the red carpet. His thick Australian accent is actually quite difficult to understand at times, so it seems amazing that he would be able to mask it so masterfully on the series. Not only does he mask his accent but he completely sold the Southern twang and dialect.
10. Real-Life Romance On Set
It isn’t unheard of for actors to fall in love while filming together and in a case like Bill and Sookie’s, it seems like it would have been impossible not to. The characters, played by Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin, were drawn to one another from the start. Also, the majority of the series was intrinsically entwined in their love story. As if the endless filming sessions weren’t enough, the two had to drastically change their looks to become even more attractive while filming. Moyer dyed his light hair to achieve the dark brooding vampire look and Paquin dyed her dark Rogue hair to become the blonde beauty from the series. Moyer gave an interview with Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live and said, “By day three or four – oh, this is going to sound so syrupy – but I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. It was within seconds, really, and it just became a thing.” The two were ultimately married in August of 2010 and went on to have twins.
9. Surprising Breakout Star In Hoyt
When it comes to breakout stars from television shows, it’s usually pretty easy to spot which actors will have their turn in the limelight. Eric, played by Alexander Skarsgard, was an obvious favorite and later went on to play Tarzan in the big screen adaptation and even Lafayette Reynolds, played by Nelsan Ellis, went on to become a rising star on the big screen. Yet, the biggest surprise breakout star out of the cast was the actor that played Hoyt Fortenberry, Jim Parrack. While he was a secondary character in many respects, he was able to transition to the big screen as a formidable supporting actor. He starred in some big budget films like Battle: Los Angeles in 2011 and Fury in 2014. His latest endeavor was in the 2016 smash hit, Suicide Squad. Playing The Joker’s right hand man, Parrack has been able to shed his Hoyt character with ease and has gained a large fanbase as a burgeoning film star.
8. Lafayette Isn’t Even Gay
One of the breakout characters on the True Blood series was Lafayette Reynolds, the flamboyant cook at Merlotte’s and cousin to Tara Thornton. While his character was killed off in the book series, he became a running favorite on the HBO adaptation. Played by Nelsan Ellis, showrunners often talked about how charismatic Ellis was in his character portrayal and fans seemed to love seeing him interact with the other characters on the series. The way Ellis played Reynolds was so convincing that it caused many to wonder whether or not he was, in fact, just playing a version of himself. Questions regarding his sexuality continued to come up because he was able to play the homosexual character so well. Even though Ellis went on to play some straight characters onscreen like Martin Luther King Jr. himself in The Butler, the questions continued. In actuality, Ellis is married to a woman and spoke out to Vibe magazine in 2010 about how annoying it can be when people can’t seem to differentiate between the real Nelsan and the Lafayette character. However, with the True Blood series being over, Ellis will undoubtedly be able to put this stereotyped character behind him.
7. Fans Took A Hand In Casting Alcide
When it comes to casting a beloved character for a film or television series, fans can be extremely critical. One wrong casting choice can cause fans to turn on a character and can become a watershed moment for a series. Prior to the Alcide Herveaux character being cast on the True Blood series, fans were taking to the Internet to try and convince showrunners to choose Joe Manganiello. In an interview with Hollywood Crush, Manganiello stated, “I made sure to order the books, read them, and it looked like Alcide was described as pretty similar to me physically. I made sure I watched every episode, started bugging my agents and managers about it and that’s how I wound up getting the part.” So, in part, Manganiello has his fans from his One Tree Hill days to thank for his role as the sexiest werewolf on TV. The Alcide character helped to land bigger and better opportunities in Hollywood, including his role in the Magic Mike film series and meeting his now-wife, Sofia Vergara.
6. Pam Has “Man Hands”
Not all of the actors in the True Blood cast had the privilege of previously acting in blockbuster hits like X-Men, like Anna Paquin. In fact, the majority of the cast were virtually unknown by mainstream audiences. This hit HBO series was a way for many of these actors to finally get a chance to be in the limelight and put their acting skills to the test. Kristin Bauer van Straten, the actress that portrayed Pam De Beaufort, definitely had her acting skills tested since she needed to convey a character that was truly complex. Pam went from being seen as utterly cold and unfeeling to being vulnerable and almost sweet. Straten was able to pull off these subtle nuances to the character and quickly became a fan favorite. While she may not have been a well-known film actress prior to her True Blood performance, audiences may have felt a twinge of recognition when they saw Straten on screen. However, the answer might surprise you. Straten had a brief role on the hit sitcom, Seinfeld, and starred in the episode where Jerry starts dating a woman with “man hands.” It’s pretty comical to think that the badass Fangtasia vampire once was known more for having “man hands.”
5. Connection To Lost
Arlene Fowler was a character that had a major role in the book series. While she started off as Sookie’s co-worker and friend, she later went on to obtain murderous intent. Yet, that wasn’t how she was portrayed in the HBO series. Arlene stayed out of the storyline involving the Fellowship of the Sun and actually had more of a dwindling part on the TV show. However, she did manage to remain a prominent member of the cast. Played by actress, Carrie Preston, this red-haired character became one of the favorite regular human characters on the series. While it’s not unheard of for actors to have spouses also in the entertainment industry, it is pretty special when both can boast being on hit series at the same time. Married to Michael Emerson, this was the unknown power couple from both the HBO series and the ABC drama, Lost. Emerson played the highly controversial character, Ben Linus, and was also a favorite of sorts for his series.
4. Recipe Book For Fans
For a show about vampires that don’t eat or drink anything besides human blood, it seems strange to think that it would spawn a recipe book based on the series. Yet, anyone that’s actually seen an episode of True Blood knows that food and drinks are actually a huge part of the show. From Tara Thornton’s mother’s hoecakes to Adele Stackhouse’s pecan pie, it seemed that every episode had at least one mouthwatering dish that had fans wondering how to make it at home. Taking advantage of the interest in the show, creator and author, Alan Ball, came up with the book, True Blood: Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temps. The book includes menus from both Fangtasia and Merlotte’s, 85 recipes, and over 150 photos from the HBO series. While Bon Temps isn’t an actual city, it is based on the Louisiana city of Clifton. The recipes are authentically from the Bayou and offer a great way for fans to try and remake some of the dishes that they’ve seen on the series. Although, the recipe involving cooking up a human heart isn’t in the book and isn’t recommended for fans of the show.
3. Juilliard Connection Between Cousins
When two actors are supposed to have a close relationship on screen, it’s important that they have a chemistry that seems believable to audiences. For the actors, Nelsan Ellis and Rutina Wesley, this wasn’t difficult to achieve. Since the two were supposed to be cousins on True Blood, they had a large amount of acting time spent together on the series. It definitely helped that the two were already familiar with one another prior to being cast on the show. Both Wesley and Ellis attended the prestigious Juilliard School at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City; they had undoubtedly already had a bond going into the characters for the first time. Ellis had already created quite a name for himself while at Juilliard since he wrote the play, “Ugly,” which garnered critical acclaim and ultimately earned him the Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award. The play revolved around the real-life murder of his sister while she was pregnant and Ellis helped to bring attention to domestic violence through his work. It was definitely nice to see the two unite on the True Blood series, especially since they were able to work so closely with one another as cousins Lafayette Reynolds and Tara Thornton.
2. Anna Paquin Came Out As Bisexual
While Anna Paquin is currently married to the male actor, Stephen Moyer, she doesn’t actually consider herself to be heterosexual. In 2012, Paquin gave an interview with Zooey magazine, talking about her bisexuality after coming out of the closet in 2010. In the interview, Paquin stated, “It’s not made up. It’s not a lack of decision. It’s not being greedy or numerous other ignorant things I’ve heard at this point. For a bisexual, it’s not about gender. That’s not the deciding factor for who they’re attracted to.” This was seen as brave of Paquin and she became extremely vocal in speaking out for the LGBTQ community. This is pretty ironic for her appearance in the True Blood series since it seemed that each of the characters had their homosexual moments except for Sookie. Apart from a brief moment in the bathroom at Fangtasia when Pam pulled a piece of dead vampire from Sookie’s cleavage, she was one of the few characters that never dabbled to the other side onscreen.
1. Anna Paquin Likes Getting Naked
In a series filled with fantasy characters, it’s inevitable that there would be some sort of sexual element involved in telling the story. Yet, the amount of nudity and graphic sex scenes in True Blood was almost overwhelming at times. From the “fangbangers” getting their fix to the sexualized dreams that came after having a drop of vampire blood, every episode included at least one nude scene or another. However, it was Anna Paquin that had the most nude scenes out of all of the cast members. From her relationship with Bill to her brief time with Eric to the varied dreams and moments in fairy land, Paquin had to bare it all season after season. While this would probably be a daunting task for most actresses, Paquin has been open about how uncaring she was about having to strip off her clothes on screen. In fact, during a Comic Con panel, Paquin actually admitted that she liked doing nude scenes. Although, she did admit that she preferred to perform her nude scenes earlier in the day before lunch. Perhaps that was because she felt her body looked her best before scarfing down her midday meal.
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