True Blood at Comic-Con 2013: Showrunner Brian Buckner Wants to Get the Show Back to Its Roots
I was sitting pretty far back.
Oh hey there was a True Blood panel at Comic-Con today, and I was lucky enough to get into it. It's always kind of fun to attend panels for shows that are currently on the air, and this one was no exception. I took notes the whole way through; here's what happened!
– First up, a trailer for the second half of Season 6. Looks pretty awesome, actually! There's some stuff about Vamp Camp, obviously building toward the "premonition" Bill had about everybody burning, and lots of stuff with Ben/Warlow and Sookie. She says something along the lines of "I'd rather walk this earth as a corpse than spend another minute..." and all of a sudden it looks like he's biting her neck. Is he possibly going to turn her into a vamp by the time this season is over? Oh wait look here it is on YouTube, so you don't have to rely on me and my memory:
– Here come the panelists: Rob Kazinsky (Ben/Warlow), Michael McMillian (Steve Newlin), Anna Camp (Sarah Newlin), Joe Mangianello (Alcide), Kristin Bauer van Straten (Pam), Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica), Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette), Rutina Wesley (Tara), Sam Trammell (Sam Merlotte), Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse), executive producer Brian Bruckner, and Anna Paquin (Sookeh!).
– Question for Anna Paquin: What's your (real-life) husband (Stephen Moyer) like at home now that he's playing God on TV? Anna: "I'm agnostic, so I'm not really sure if I'm going to recognize his God-ness."
– Brian Buckner, who everybody calls Bucky, on making the transition from being a writer on the show to taking the helm: "I never knew how hard [Alan Ball] worked. The job doesn't stop. I've never had more respect for him."
– Ryan Kwanten on how far Jason will go to save Jessica: "With Jason, I think he started so low on the evolutionary totem pole that he can only really grow." He talks a little about Jason's growth over the years, and promises that "there's a lot more in store for jason. He gets real crazy real soon. He likes to think he's Rambo but he fails miserably."
– Rutina Wesley fields a question about whether Tara ans Will will ever meet again, and hints that it's a likely possibility. She also talks about how Tara is becoming a protector and a big sister of sorts to "certain" other characters, and when the moderator asks whether she's talking about Jessica, she responds, "Maaaaaaaaybe, maybe not!"
– Deborah Ann Woll addresses Jessica's current situation, being in the Vamp Camp, distraught over killing the fairy girls, and possibly wanting to die, or at least feeling like she deserves to. "I think Jessica's going to have to pay dearly with her own heart for what happened. it's going to take a long time for her to forgive herself, and we have Andy Bellefleur out there's who's very upset with her." She thinks one of the reasons Jessica is so torn-up is that of all the vampires on the show, she's the one who's closest to her humanity, at least in part because she was turned more recently than most of them.
– Pam, who's also been seeming way more human than usual, touches on last week's cliffhanger, which we'll come back to tomorrow night. Obviously she's not going to answer the question of "Does the fight end well?" but she says Pam is scrappy, then appeals to the crowd: "I can take him, right?" She only gets a moderate response.
– It's time to give Joe Mangianello some time in the spotlight, but before he can talk about Alcide's current storyline, someone in the crowd—a guy—yells "I love you, Joe!" and Mangianello responds in Alcide's werewolf voice with a growly "I love you, too!" He insists that Alcide is really still a nice guy deep down, but he has a shitty job and the people around him are driving him nuts right now. "Being Packmaster is pretty thankless," he points out. "Except for the three-ways."
– Will Sarah Newlin and Jason ever get back to gether again? "I don't know about together together, but their lives will cross again," says Ryan Kwanten. Bucky says they still have some "unfinished business" to deal with. Kwanten caps off the conversation with the oh-so-vague promise that "we will interact."
– Anna Paquin on Sookie finding out that her parents tried to kill her: "It's kind of a bummer, you know?" She goes on to talk about Sookie's tendency to trust people and the question of whether the character's finally starting to be a little more wary of her surroundings. "If at this point she hasn't figured out that people can lie, and can do it really well, then maybe she deserves what's coming to her."
– Without getting into specifics, Brian Buckner outlines his plan for Season 7: "I think you're going to feel like the show is going back to its roots. We're going to try to condense the number of stories we're telling, make you feel like you're coming home to Bon Temps." The gent sitting next to me is extremely happy about this, and responds with a hearty "YESSSSSSS."
– Ryan Kwanten and Anna Paquin share some behind-the share tidbits about Jason's recent post-V pull-up scene. When Kwanten is asked if he was on wires, he defers to answer but points out that "Anna was there, she'll tell you." So, no wires, that body is real, and it's spectacular. But apparently Paquin really made him work during that scene, because he was supposed to be doing pull-ups when she walked into the room, so he couldn't stop until she showed up. So she took her sweet time. Paquin: Is it ever not fun to watch him do pull-ups with his shirt off?"
– Rutina Wesley on what it's like to be a vampire when your mother is a pretty devout Christian: "Tara's getting so confortable being a vampire that she doesn't care what her mother would think of it. ... She loves the strength, she loves the power, she loves the blood."
– Nelsan Ellis talks about improvising on set when he's playing Lafayette and reveals his recipe for getting into character: "I listen to Rhianna. And once the makeup goes on, I sort of get into it. Rhianna and makeup gets me into lala land."
– Pam doesn't yet know that she has a new sister in Willa. How she's going to take the news? Kristin Bauer van Straten: "What do you think? She doesn't play well with others and she's never had to share Eric before." We should be seeing them clash very soon.
– Deborah Ann Woll and Kristin Bauer van Straten interrupt the proceedings to offer a quick shout-out to "our makers who aren't here," Stephen Moyer and Alexander Skarsgard. "We miss our daddies," says Bauer van Straten.
– Michael McMillian and Anna Camp are doing a cute little role-playing thing as Steve and Sarah Newlin, in response to a question about whether Sarah still has love for her now-a-gay-vampire ex-husband. "I want you to think back to our wedding night," McMillian says in character, "and what I asked you to wear for me and all the buckles it had on it." But is Steve still carrying a torch for Jason? "Oh yeah," McMillian says without hesitation. "That flame is never gonna go out."
– Now Kazinsky's talking about his big scene with Kwanten, where Jason gave Ben a straight-razor shave and then they kissed. He says he thought it he was being hazed when he first read the script, that they'd film the whole thing and then it wouldn't actually be in the show. But ultimately, "Ryan made me feel like a lady that day. He couldn't have been more gentle, not too much tongue, just the right amount, I fulfilled the ream of many ladies in this audience."
– Anna Paquin's favorite scene of the entire series, in response to a fan question: "Kicking Debbie Pelt's ass."
– And to close things out, one last fan question, which actually elicited one of the best answers of the hour: We've had vampires, werewolves, demons, witches, gods. Are you going to be bringing any more kinds of creatures?
Here's Brian Buckner's—in my opinion very welcome—response:
"I feel like this show is ultimately about the relationship between vampires and humans. And it's about that town. I actually want to bring [the show] in a little bit. My hope is to get all these people we love living under the umbrella of one story and one thread, and really make this a show about a small town that we've all come to know and love." Hear hear, I say! Vive la Bon Temps!
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