A bloody love story

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Pay-tv - ERICA THOMP­SON

THERE’S one ma­jor draw­back to be­ing a vam­pire in Los An­ge­les. ‘‘I wasn’t al­lowed to go into the sun be­cause my char­ac­ter’s white,’’ laments Bri­tish ac­tor Stephen Moyer, who plays a 173-year-old blood­sucker in the raunchy HBO drama True Blood.

‘‘Af­ter a while I was like ‘Come on guys. I’m in LA! I live by the beach. Let me play’.

‘‘Then, of course, I started get­ting the LA tan and got in big trou­ble.’’

Moyer, a fa­ther of two, will have to get used to spending time in dark places.

True Blood, based on the nov­els by Char­laine Har­ris and re­told for the small screen by Six Feet Un­der cre­ator Alan Ball, has grabbed TV audiences by the jugu­lar.

With its graphic mix of sex, gore and black hu­mour it’s not for the faint-hearted, but re­ceived crit­i­cal ku­dos at last month’s Golden Globes with star Anna Paquin col­lect­ing the award for best ac­tress and the se­ries nom­i­nated for best drama.

‘‘You can’t say it too many times that Alan is a clever man,’’ Moyer says of the Os­car-winning writer and di­rec­tor.

‘‘You have this clas­sic love story, which he gives a mod­ern twist . . . you have the funny, the sexy and the down­right dirty, but you also have the drama of it.’’

In True Blood vam­pires have come out of the cof­fin, so to speak. They live along­side hu­mans thanks to the in­ven­tion of syn­thetic blood called True Blood, which can be bought at the con­ve­nience store like a six-pack of beer and sup­pos­edly quenches the vamps’ thirst for mor­tals.

But their in­te­gra­tion into so­ci­ety is fraught with prej­u­dice and vi­o­lence.

Tele­pathic Louisiana waiter Sookie Stack­house (Paquin) is one of the few will­ing to give the un­dead a chance, par­tic­u­larly when the brood­ing Bill Comp­ton (Moyer) ar­rives.

‘‘Alan cre­ates this out­sider who comes into the town and is immed- iately looked at with sus­pi­cion,’’ Moyer says of his char­ac­ter.

‘‘So he’s kind of a metaphor for any mi­nor­ity group you can think of, whether it be the idea of blacks in the South or ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity or any out­sider group, re­ally.

‘‘That’s the sort of deeper level that I find very in­ter­est­ing. I couldn’t be­lieve it when I read it. I was just blown away by the idea of him.’’

As with New Zealand’s Paquin and Aus­tralia’s Ryan Kwan­ten, who plays Sookie’s sex-mad brother Ja­son, Moyer had to dis­guise his na­tive ac­cent with a con­vinc­ing South­ern di­alect.

He says the fact half the lead cast have for­eign pass­ports is a co­in­ci­dence.

‘‘I truly don’t be­lieve ac­tors in Amer­ica don’t ex­ist to have been able to play th­ese parts,’’ he says.

‘‘Alan just sees things in peo­ple and he’ll wait un­til he finds what he wants.

‘‘Anna, we all know, is a pale brunette and she’s play­ing this tanned blonde girl, but she had to go through the whole au­di­tion process. It wasn’t of­fered to her.

‘‘She ended up read­ing with five blonde ac­tors, with her still dark and pale, and Alan just be­lieved that she could do it.’’

THOUGH he is be­grudg­ingly avoid­ing UV rays ahead of film­ing True Blood’s sec­ond se­ries, Moyer says it’s nice to have fi­nally found a place in the sun ca­reer-wise.

‘‘A cou­ple of other of­fers have come in that I haven’t taken be­cause my kids live in Eng­land and I didn’t want to leave them un­less it was some­thing fan­tas­tic,’’ he says.

‘‘I’ve been in a very nice po­si­tion for the first time in my life to say, ‘You know what? I don’t need to do that at the mo­ment’.’’

Dead sexy:

Sookie (Paquin) and Bill (Moyer) vamp up the drama.

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