True Blood’s emotional range and volatile mix of sex, humor, and terror have made its lead roles some of the best—and most difficult—acting jobs on television. And while True Blood’s loyal fan base attests to the strength and abilities of the current cast, I've met a lot of folks who love the show but don't particularly care for its actors. So let's imagine what Bon Temps might look like with a few different stars in its constellation, shall we?
I've taken the liberty of suggesting a few alternate actors for the three lead roles, along with the potential pros and cons of each. Submit your own ideas in the comments!
Playing Sookie Stackhouse would be a tough job for any actress. Portraying a sassy, yet vulnerable, telepath is hard enough when you’ve got your clothes on, and Sookie gets naked a lot.
Option #1: Thora Birch
Why she might make a good Sookie: I wonder if Alan Ball ever reached out to Birch, who starred in his film American Beauty and is exactly the right age to play Sookie. Plus, she's definitely got the moony telepath vibe, and I definitely believe she would make out with a vampire.
Drawback: I don’t see Birch channeling the kind of Southern grit that will wrap a chain around a drainer’s neck.
Option #2: Lizzy Caplan
Why she might make a good Sookie: Lizzy Caplan appeared briefly in True Blood's first season as Jason Stackhouse’s V-addict girlfriend, and made her not-written-as-likable character a slyly hilarious charmer. She’s got a really rare natural presence on camera and she handled her nude scenes like a champ.
Drawback: She seems way too hip to earnestly cry while eating a pecan pie after a funeral.
Option #3: Emily Blunt
Why she might make a good Sookie: Yes, she has a British accent, and yes, she's a brunette, but that's nothing bleach and a few viewings of the Dolly Parton Show can’t fix. She has the acting chops to go toe to toe with Anna Paquin and any number of supernatural dreamboats.
Drawback: Emily’s adorable real life husband, The Office’s John Krasinski, might turn to a life of man-stripping to try to compete with the sultry atmosphere of the True Blood set.
What an ambivalent weirdo Bill is! He loves Sookie, but he’s also an unfeeling villain. He gets weepy about his wife, and then spins his long time girlfriend’s head around—literally. He’s a sexy emotional rollercoaster... just the way I like ’em.
Option #1: Jon Hamm
Why he might make a good Bill: Hamm looks like he was hatched out of a Perfect Man Machine from 1945, but he has the soul of a comedy nerd and he is mind-bogglingly talented as Mad Men’s Don Draper.
Drawback: None that I can see. Can someone invent a computer program that super-imposes him onto the True Blood DVDs? Technology CAN be sexy.
Option #2: Jamie Bamber
Why he might make a good Bill: Battlestar Galactica fans have watched Jamie smoulder from afar like a pro, he can certainly lose himself in a character, and—as we know from his turn in a fat suit during Battlestar's third season—he doesn’t take himself too seriously.
Drawback: He may be too perky for a civil war vet? I’d still give him a thumb’s up, though.
Option #3: Henry Cavill
Why he might make a good Bill: It's well known that Twilight author Stephanie Meyer wrote Edward Cullen with Henry Cavill as her muse. By the time they were filming, he was too old to play a teen heartthrob. But he’s got serious acting chops—by which I mean his face.
Drawback: I’d have to hear him yell “SOOKIE!” to clinch it. Stephen Moyer nails that every time.
The current casting of Eric is perfect. There’s no one better for the sardonic Viking, and it's kind of crazy that Alexander Skarsgard initially auditioned for the part of Bill Compton. But in the interest of fairness, here are some good runners-up.
Option #1: Josh Holloway
Why he might make a good Eric: Kind of a fit! Holloway can hold up his end of a love triangle like nobody’s business. The characters of Sawyer and Eric are two of a kind: likable villains.
Drawback: Not Alexander Skarsgard.
Option #2: Jude Law
Why he might make a good Eric: Kind of skeezy, right? Hot but skeezy? I could see him owning a nightclub, sitting on a throne in that nightclub, and kicking people who walk by—for sure.
Drawback: Not Alexander Skarsgard.
Option #3: A magical manifestation of the character from the books
Why he might make a good Eric: So let's say we could hook Charlaine Harris’ brain up to some DNA from a viking skeleton, split it with some stem cells and have a voodoo priestess sing a chant, and then make the character of Eric Northman actually manifest in flesh as a human being. And then convince that being to depict himself on True Blood. Who better to play Eric than Eric himself?
Drawback: With all due respect, still not Alexander Skarsgard. Just saying.
If you could re-cast any of True Blood's stars, would you? And If so, who'd be in YOUR fantasy cast?