Exclusive Interview: Cougar Town’s Carolyn Hennesy Talks Barb’s Return, True Blood and Game Of Thrones

Carolyn Hennesy

Carolyn Hennesy! You may know her as the witty and incorrigible Barb on ABC’s Cougar Town or maybe as the book author of the series “Pandora” but soon you will know her as Rosalyn Harris, a new vampire in the True Blood family.

TV Equals had a chance to chat with the wonderfully charming Carolyn about all the above projects and more. Check out what she had to say below and don’t miss her in tonight’s episode of Cougar Town “Southern Accents” in which we find out something new about Barb.

_________________________________________________________________

You must be really excited to be in ‘True Blood.’ Congratulations.

Carolyn Hennesy: Yes. Thank you. I have to weight myself down to keep from floating away I’m so excited. I have to tell you, it’s really fun, really fun.

How did you get involved with the series?

Carolyn Hennesy: I just auditioned for it. I was just called for an audition. They had one particular audition. There wasn’t even a callback and I guess that Alan Ball said, ‘We’ll go with her.’ He must’ve seen something that he thought would fit in well.

Your character is Rosalyn Harris. What can you say about her?

Carolyn Hennesy: Rosalyn Harris has been a member of The Authority for centuries. She now hails from Texas, but she’s incredibly old as vampires go. So, where she came from before that remains to be seen, but Rosalyn is Texas through and through. She’s one of those women who just hopes to settle the old west and expand the country. She believes in everything Texas including big hair and a shot of whiskey and good cigar.

How do you like playing a vampire?

Carolyn Hennesy: It’s wonderful, are you kidding? My first fang fitting and I thought, ‘Well, I’ve arrived. I’ve simply arrived.’

Was it uncomfortable wearing the fangs?

Carolyn Hennesy: Well, clearly my mouth is rather large which nobody knew because my features are terribly delicate, you see, but apparently inside my mouth is just like the Carlsbad Caverns. So, they had to do it several times.

Did they?

Carolyn Hennesy: They did. My fang fitting, it was grueling, but still you’re having a fang fitting for ‘True Blood.’ Truly, how bad can it be?

Fans also know you from playing Barb on ‘Cougar Town.’ Will you be making another appearance this season?

Carolyn Hennesy: Barb will be making an appearance on season three, yes, she will, and fans are going to see her in a whole new light. I wonder what that means?

I do wonder what it means. What does it mean?

Carolyn Hennesy: I know you do. I can’t tell you. You have to wait for episode ten. You must wait.

Her one-liners are all so great. Is that all in the writing or are some of them your own?

Carolyn Hennesy: What will happen is that I will say what is written on the page and then every once in a while they’ll say, ‘Okay, show us what you got.’ We get to play. After what’s written is in the can then sometimes they’ll say, ‘Try this. Say this. Try this.’ So, we’ll spend an extra few minutes going over some alternative lines that we kind of collaborate on that we come up with, but usually it’s what’s in the can because what those writers do is comedy gold.

It’s great watching Barb come onscreen on that show.

Carolyn Hennesy: Well, instinctively you kind of tense up a bit and you wait for it and then it happens and then you relax and you go get a sandwich. But when you see Barb, everyone instantly sort of freezes, like, ‘What’s going to happen?’ Cast and audience alike are like, ‘What’s coming out of her mouth?’

Do you seek comedy in the roles that you take on?

Carolyn Hennesy: Listen, when it’s become a part of your DNA the comedy will find a way to the surface. I have had roles where there is absolutely no comedy allowed and those are a lot of fun. You get to mine a whole different vein, a whole different set of skills, but there’s nothing finer than making people laugh. So, I kind of look for that.

Nobody is humor-less unless you’re just dead like a vampire. People will respond to the joke. People will kind of clue in on it and you can make somebody smile. You can make somebody laugh. That’s a lot of fun, and then there are scenes in there, aspects of characters and then there are whole days where it’s just not funny. It’s really dead serious and you have to tap into that as well, but there’s nothing like comedy.

What kinds of elements do you look for in the roles that you consider?

Carolyn Hennesy: Well, if it’s well written, does the character have a great big secret? Does the character have a heart? Are there multi-layers to this character, and if not would you be allowed to bring layers to this character? Does the character appear to be one thing and then it turns out that they’ve been a double agent even to themselves? The twists and turns; You always look for something like that. That, and is it going to help me pay my mortgage.

Now, I’m not going to ask you what you can tease about ‘True Blood,’ but if you want to go there, by all means, please do –

Carolyn Hennesy: I have to keep my job, man. I have to keep my job.

What I will ask is if you can tease some of the cast that you got to work with?

Carolyn Hennesy: The series regulars. The two greatest plates on the ‘True Blood’ buffet, that would be Alexander Skarsgaard and Stephen Moyer. I know. I’m a lucky, lucky lady.

What would be your advice for someone getting into the business these days?

Carolyn Hennesy: Number one, learn to play well with others at all times. Number two, take nothing personally. Number three, you control five percent of your audition. Make sure that five percent is top notch, and otherwise, let it go.

That’s really good advice for anything.

Carolyn Hennesy: It is, but trust me, hard won. Hard knocks and hard won.

Do you have any other upcoming projects that you can talk about?

Carolyn Hennesy: I have the sixth book in my series for young adults. ‘Pandora.’ It’s published in June through Bloomsbury and it’s ‘Pandora Gets Greedy.’ I’m so proud of this book that I can’t even stand it. I will hype the book to Stephen Moyer and Christopher Meloni even over lunch. ‘I know you have kids. So, here you go. Check this out.’ That’s going to be published in June and I’m working on the seventh and final book in the series. So, that’s when I’m not sitting at The Authority table I’m writing. That’s what’s happening, very exciting.

If you could guest star on any other TV show, your pick of the litter, which one would it be?

Carolyn Hennesy: Game of Thrones. There is simply no debate. It’s spectacular. Each episode is a mini-feature film. The acting is phenomenal. The production values, the story, the writing. Please, please, just send me to Malta. Just send me to Malta. That’s all I ask.
_________________________________________________________________