Stephen Moyer from TRUE BLOOD Exclusive Interview

Stephen Moyer - True Blood

A few days ago, I got to interview the brilliant STEPHEN MOYER who plays Bill on True Blood.

In addition to being my favorite show on TV right now, True Blood also has a great cast, which of course includes Stephen Moyer, one of the Emmy hopefuls this year. I think we can agree when I say that I hope he gets some recognition this year, along with the show, for the amazing performance he has given us as Bill in the show’s first season.

Stephen Moyer was almost as excited as I am about season 2 of True Blood (which premieres on June 14 on HBO), and in addition to sharing his love for the show, he also talked about his process for creating Bill, as well as their highly anticipated return to Comic Con this year (which I teased about), and much more.

So even though the second season of True Blood might still be a few days away, you can at least enjoy his interview now.

Had you heard of the books before starring in the show?

Stephen Moyer: I had not ever heard of them. The closest I had ever gotten to the whole vampire genre was really Anne Rice. Once I had read the pilot I went and read the first couple of books very, very quickly. I loved Charlaine’s [Harris] world. I loved the world that Charlaine has created and I think it’s brilliant. She’s very clever. It’s funny, it’s dark, and it’s odd. It’s really sexy. If you think about funny, dark, and sexy that’s exactly what Alan Ball kind of created.

Have you read all of them now?

Stephen Moyer: No, no. I sort of made the decision not to, but I probably will read book three before we start season three. Sometimes she’ll say something that Bill does or gesture, or physical something that I find very interesting, and I hadn’t thought of. Occasionally I will slip back in and have a look at those things.

Where did you draw your inspiration to create Bill?

Stephen Moyer: I went back and looked at the Civil War and that’s something, as an Englishman, that’s not part of our history. I hadn’t really read much about the American Civil War. It was very interesting to me to do that. Then I thought about the men in that period of history. My granddad, my papa died when I was seven. And I loved him, he was a big hero of mine. When something like the iPhone comes out or mp3, I’ve often thought ‘What would my granddad think of the world we live in now?’ I try to do that with Bill. Obviously, he’s been around the whole time, so he’s seen the development, but it’s quite interesting sometimes to think of life like that, and it must be so perplexing to see all the new stuff that’s around and about. So that’s one idea. Another thing I did, it’s kind of in the script, but I really wanted to make him different from everybody else, I wanted to make him sound different, and I wanted his manners to be different. I like that fact that he hasn’t got a heart, so he hasn’t got a heartbeat, and so he has no ticks. He has no extraneous movement. He has no need for little scratches on his face because that just wouldn’t happen to him. That stuff comes from having a heart, from pumping blood around. That’s not how he exists. I wanted to make him very still. When he does need to move incredibly fast he really can. We tried to make him sound very different from everybody else, in terms of certain speech patterns. Instead of for instance “war” how it would be said in the South now, no he says “war”, and “more” [Editor’s note: Think of how Bill would pronounce “war” and “more,” that’s how Stephen Moyer did it]. It’s not a great example but it’s like ‘Gone with the Wind’ or something. Anything he doesn’t say which they would have said is “vampire,” [Editor’s note: He uses a Southern accent] he doesn’t say “vampire”, he says “vampire [Editor’s note: Again imagine Bill in True Blood saying “vampire”]. Which is the one thing that my character says the same as everybody else because Alan [Ball] wanted continuity on that one word.

I have to ask about the accent. How hard is it, does it get easier?

Stephen Moyer: It’s never been a struggle. Does it sound like it’s a struggle?

Not at all.

Stephen Moyer: To be honest with you I’ve always felt very, very comfortable with it. I love the accent, I think it’s a beautiful accent, it’s really fun to do. It’s one of those things where when we went to Louisiana last year I went ‘Oh God, yeah this is it. This is the South.’ As soon as you get there and see everybody just moving really slowly, once you are around that pace, and you see the South for what it’s for. With the heat, you sort of understand why people move so slowly. You see why there is no extraneous movement. That goes back to what I was saying earlier, which, is really interesting for playing that part. I really enjoy it, I get to work, and I get my voice on. I just feel like Bill straight away. It’s quite a beautiful voice to do, I have to say.

What’s coming up on season two? Is it based a lot on the books?

Stephen Moyer: We follow the skeleton of the books. We follow the same patterns and ideas of the book. But there’s a new character, Jessica. There are new things in the story. Yes, we follow the skeleton of the book, but Alan and this team of writers are taking it to a place that I certainly didn’t know existed. It is insane. I can’t describe it but I don’t think there has ever been anything like it before on television. I’m very proud of it.

More insane than season one? That’s going to be tough.

Stephen Moyer: You are in for a ride. We’ve seen up to episode three and I came out thoroughly moved by it, and shocked at how brilliant it is. It seems like every episode is getting better, better, and better. I really do think this season is going to be a very difficult one to beat.

What about Bill and Sookie?

Stephen Moyer: Well, I know what happens in book three. There is in book three and at the end of book two a triangle developing between Bill, Sookie, and Eric. That is definitely present on our show, and rightly so, because you can’t watch two people be incredibly happy for 12 episodes. You might as well be making a sitcom. That is not our show. There has to be conflict. I think the show works, Alan puts characters in conflict. He puts little obstacles in their way and sees how they deal with them, and their loved ones, to see how their partners react when they are given those. I think that is really interesting to watch as an audience.

I think Alan Ball mentioned at Comic Con last year that werewolves would or might appear in season two. Is that the case?

Stephen Moyer: I don’t think, I mean I haven’t seen the last couple of episodes but I don’t think that it’s going to happen this season. But I honestly can’t say for sure. You have to wait and find out.

Are you guys going to be at Comic Con this year?

Stephen Moyer: I believe we are, yes.

When did you realize that this show would become such a phenomenon?

Stephen Moyer: When you read something you know it has the ability to run as a series. You read it and you have to make a decision. Is this something that could become a series? Is this something that is going to be intriguing to the public? When I read that first episode I thought ‘Oh my fucking God. Where on earth? This could go anywhere. Alan could do anything with this.’ I just thought ‘This is something that I would love to be a part of.’ That’s what I thought. It was something intriguing and fascinating. This could be a huge hit. It’s like one of those diagrams that you do in mathematics when you’re a kid. Those circular diagrams where somebody is a right-wing and somebody is a left-wing, but they all like porridge. The thing that they all like is the thing that connects them. The thing that I thought about this show is that it had the opportunity to be lots of different things to lots of different people. People who like vampires will like it. People who like Alan Ball will like it. People who like really great drama will like it. People who subscribe to HBO will hopefully like it. There are also other aspects, the Sci-Fi element. It’s a love story. I think that a lot of people think try to find the romance in it and how that aspect of it. I think that a lot of people were very taken by the love story by Bill and Sookie. And then you have these crazed Eric fans. What I’m saying is that there an awful lot of people that are affected by it. I just think it’s going to grow and grow. I’m really pleased that it has become successful. But ultimately I was kind of not surprised that people were watching it. If I weren’t in it I would be watching it. That’s a dream. Sometimes we talk about this at work. We are just like ‘Oh my God. This is so great.’ [laughs] When the episodes turn up and I see something that happens to Rutina [Wesley], you know Tara’s character or something, and we all go to Rutina and go ‘Oh my fucking God. I can’t believe you’re going to do that.’ It’s genuinely exciting and thrilling. There is a lot of love in our group. And I think what this season does, which I think is just amazing and I don’t know how the writers have managed to do it, is every single character has fantastic stuff to do. Everybody has life changing, odd, funny moments. We have sexy shit to do. Really interesting oddball stuff. Every single character has some amazing shit to do. And that is hard work, as a writer, to keep that consistency up for everybody. There were a couple of moments last year where I didn’t think that was the case. But this year the consistency is just extraordinary. I’m very excited by it as you can probably tell.

What originally drew you to acting?

Stephen Moyer: I used to sing in a church choir when I was seven or eight. I used to really love singing. I still love getting together with a bunch of people. I’ve always been somebody who loved rehearsal. I always loved rehearsal kind of more than the week of the performance, in terms of plays and theatre. I loved getting together with a group of people and creating something. And that’s kind of extended really. When I go on set I’m fascinated by everybody else. I love watching the crew, I love watching the camera department, and I love watching other actors come up with stuff in their own way. I think it’s fascinating and I love it all. That’s actually grown and hasn’t diminished at all. If anything it’s gotten bigger and bigger. I’m sort of quite child-like in that way. I look forward to going to work, I’m excited by it, and I love what it is that we do. I consider myself very lucky to be able to be doing it. It still amazes me sometimes that I’m doing what I love.

I bet a lot of actors wish they were doing what you are doing.

Stephen Moyer: I do realize that and sometimes one forgets. When life gets difficult and there are things to be doing. Then sometimes you have to kind of sit back and pinch yourself and go ‘My God, look at what I’m doing. This is fantastic.’