With the sharp and explicit HBO series True Blood going into its fourth season, a trio of that show’s stars held court in the IGN Theater of the 2011 C2E2 in Chicago for a question and answer session. Sam Trammel who plays the coincidentally named “Sam,” Kristin Bauer “Pam”, and Brit Morgan “Debbie,” were hosted by IGN’s entertainment director Chris Carl who started the event by asking each actor about how they heard about True Blood and became part of the cast.
Sam had heard about the script when it was being tossed around Los Angeles during pilot season and fell in love with it. He met with the casting director, did a test and got the part. Kristin was also excited about the script and tried out for a different role than the one she eventually received. However, back then the time between audition and casting was so great that she went off to shoot a movie in the Philippines and completely forgot about True Blood when she got the news. Arriving back in LA almost right away she was shuttled off to have her teeth cast for vampire fangs. This caused Sam to laugh, and for Kristin to expose him of being a big fan of her costumes on the show, but perhaps only because she gets to wear clothes while Sam is frequently naked on screen. This caused a lot of laughter and hoots among the panel and the appreciative audience. Brit, who didn’t get cast until the third season, claimed that she was so nervous during her first audition she started to stutter, “but by some miracle” she said, she got a second chance and nailed it.
Along that same subject Chris Carl asked what they did while waiting for "the call." Brit said she couldn’t do anything, it was like waiting for a date to call or news from a doctor. Sam suggested lighting candles, but Kristin shot that down.
Carl then asked why they thought True Blood was a hit. Sam mused that it was because it was such a great blend of humor, scares, drama and nudity. Kristin complemented all the people who work so hard on the show to make it great, like the set designers and the costumers. Sam chimed in again to complement creator and producer Alan Ball.
Carl inquired about the competition they felt from other genre shows? Kristin's confident line of “what other shows?” drew big applause from the crowd, but she then softened it to say that it was neat that there are other shows like True Blood out there. Sam’s offering of as an example was met with a chorus of boos.
On the topic of if there was anything to envy about the vampire/supernatural lifestyle, Sam would like to be able to put glamours on people. Brit on the other hand would like to channel the raw, instinctual energy of animals as a werewolf, then backed off a bit while they all noted how cool it was one day where there was a black panther on set.
Carl then broached the subject if the actors get any chances to shape their character’s story arcs. Sam laughed and told a story that he had written a five page outline of what it means to be a shape-shifter (referring to his character’s ability to take on any animal‘s form), but he doubts Alan Ball ever read it. On where he thinks his character is going, Sam teased that in the new season they explore more about his people and he gets a lot of interaction with a new female character.
The moderator then asked how the bar Merlotte's, a central location in the series stays open with all the deaths and strangeness. Sam only says “Lafayette,” and the crowd approved enthusiastically.
On the topic of acting in makeup, Brit claimed it makes it easer when you are covered in gore or the like, and Sam tells a story how he has to pretend it’s like a ‘friendly date’ when he has to go in for full body makeup for another nude scene.
Finally Carl asked if working on the show has increased or decreased their beliefs in the supernatural. Kristin Bauer said that she understands now the allure of vampires; not aging, not suffering from disease or dying and wondered if she could bring herself to become one if it could ever be offered. She remains undecided, but thought she’d end up a lot like her character.
The panel was then opened to questions from the floor and the first was about Lafayette and his relationship with Eric. Kristin teased that she knows, but can’t tell. Sam reminded everyone that Lafayette was supposed to die in season one, but they just couldn’t get rid of such a great character. Brit complemented that character’s relationship with the vampires, and has had fun interacting with him. Asked who is their favorite character, Brit offered Jessica, Kristin remarked how actor Denis O’Hare as Russel has raised the bar for everyone on the show and Sam named Todd Lowe's Terry, complementing him on his sense of humor.
Sam was asked about a the bloody hands he had in Lafayette’s “vision,” and replied that it was more of a hallucination and the bloody hands were an aspect of Lafayette, not something Sam did or will do. Another inquiry to and into Sam was about his relationship with Tara and the peek at his dark side with the beating he laid down in Season 3. Sam, the actor, said Sam and Tara will always just ‘get it on’ once in a while out of nowhere, and about the beating, Sam had had a bad day, was drunk and sick of being walked over. He’ll be a ‘free-er’ person now, but still a good guy.
Members of the convention staff hijacked the teleprompter and asked about the return of “the King of Lousiana.” The panel said it was uncertain, but likely.
A fan asked about the depiction of female empowerment and exploitation on the show and how it is handled ‘backstage.’ Kristin said that at first there was a lot of dialogue between her, the writers, directors and staff to make sure everything worked and wasn’t basically explicit either way for it’s own sake, but now they are all really compatable. Brit wanted her character to be more likable, but knew she had to trust the material. The show’s creative talent are always one step ahead and a lot will get answered for Debbie this season.
Answering a question about filming locations and the show‘s relationship to the original book series, Sam revealed that they are entirely in Los Angeles this season, but it’s still cold for him running around naked in the forest at night, and that season 4 will follow the fourth book, but will go off at points.
On the explanation of how the vampire powers work after seeing a vampire flying last season, Brit wants to know (and fly) too, but reassures the audience that someone is keeping track of the continuity.
Last questions was about how their interactions with each other effect their performances, Sam noted that so much of the show’s story is segmented into smaller groups of characters, so there isn’t that much interaction between all the cast members. Kristin likes to know how other actors see the same moments in the same scenes that she appears in and Brit likes to get in the other actor’s heads, finding their individual processes interesting.