Bleeding into a highly anticipated second season, True Blood, Alan Ball’s dark and drawling Southern vamp drama returns, riddled with thinly veiled metaphors for LGBT rights. On and off-screen the show’s lead vampire lover, Sookie Stackhouse, played by X-Men‘s Anna Paquin, aches for the bite of her vampire lover, solves mysteries telepathically’and waits tables.
The Canadian-born, New Zealand raised Oscar winner (she won Best Supporting Actress at the ripe age of 11 for The Piano), recently chatted with Out about the new season, her uncanny ability to play metaphorically gay roles, her off-screen romance with co-star Stephen Moyer, and sweet Sookie’s newfound love of S&M.
Out: How did you get involved with True Blood?
Anna Paquin: Well, I read the pilot script and completely fell in love with it and then pursued it incredibly hard, auditioned 100 times — I mean four or five times — until they said yes.
Sookie initially comes across as a innocent and incredibly virtuous girl. What drew you to the role: was it that sweet nature or was it her darker moments?
Well, it’s the fact that she’s all of it [rolled into] one, because I feel like that’s real. You can be someone who’s gone through a lot of crap in your life and who has survived a lot of ups and downs and whatevers and still be someone with a positive outlook. You can be sweet and kind and treat people the way you want to be treated even if that’s not the way you’ve been treated. She’s not a victim. I love that about her, and she’s really tough — mostly she just kicks ass.
Both of your recent roles in X-Men and True Blood, have centered around storylines involving metaphors for minority rights. Is that a coincidence?
It is a coincidence, but kind of a nice coincidence. Cause when is it not a good time for those sorts of messages to be put out there into the world in a sort of non-threatening, non-beat-you-over-the-head with it kind of way?
In the last episode of the first season there is a scene featuring a state legalizing vampire-human marriages. Have you noticed Alan Ball pushing the current LGBT struggle through the show?
I mean pushed sort of sounds like it’s being forced. I think those ideas were in the books already. The metaphor that is used is coming out of the coffin; I don’t think it takes a genius to turn that into a pretty good metaphor for gay rights. Obviously the big issue now is legalizing marriages, that’s been in the works for a very long time. Yeah, I think it was a very good way to put it in there.
I think a major indicator of that is the character Lafayette who, obviously, is pretty interesting as an LGBT character.
Of course, does anyone not find him interesting?
That’s true, I think it’s also fascinating because there’s that overlying metaphor for vampire rights, and then there’s Lafayette who’s the literal interpretation of all that. What exactly would Sookie’s opinion of Lafayette be?
Sookie’s a little more prim when we first meet her so she’s more easily shocked but he’s family, you know, as Tara’s cousin and someone she’s brought up with — he’s an important part of her life. I don’t think it would occur to her to be in any way judgy — it’s just not in her nature. She really doesn’t judge. And, frankly, he’s the first person she goes to when she has crazy, kinky, vampire-biting sex. He’s the person she goes to and is like, ‘blah, blah, blah, blah, blah — I did this.’ Finally she cannot be the big old prude in his eyes, which I find very sweet.
Speaking of kinky sex, the first episode definitely heated up for Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Sookie. There’s been talk about the second season’s focus on their S & M. Does it feel like a major shift?
Well, part of vampire-human sex is biting, I mean that’s part of how they express their desire and it’s just part of the relationship. And, it’s exciting and dangerous and sort of scary at first for Sookie, but you know it’s part of how they make love. It becomes her normal. And, she likes it.