True Blood Jessica Series 5 Interview
True Blood star Deborah Ann Woll took to the official HBO site to answer fans questions about her role as Jessica on the hit vampire series. Read the full interview transcript below, where Jess talks about fangs, blood, series five and much more…
How are you enjoying filming season 5 of True Blood?
I had a blast shooting the 5th season of True Blood and am so excited to see how the fans like it! I’ve always been fascinated with the vampire politics.
Your performance is fantastic and Jessica has grown so much, what would you like Jessica to do in the future?
Thank you! That means so much to me that you think so. I think Jess is a very compassionate vampire and I think she could have a strong voice in the vampire integration movement; I would love to see her as a social leader of some kind. Of course after she matures a bit more.
What’s the most rewarding experience you have had while filming true blood?
I have had many rewarding experiences. But my most recent one if kind of a spoiler so I can’t give you details. It is in episode 510 and I feel everything came together beautifully to create a moment we can all be proud of.
What does True Blood taste like?
We have many types of blood for different occasions. The actual Trublood has been a thick purple carrot juice, a carrot syrup with red food colouring (super sweet and it’s hard to drink very much of it) and sometimes a cranberry juice if you have to down it! Chug-a-lug!
Does your family watch the show and if so what do they think?
Most of my family dos watch the show. They are very happy for me and I think they genuinely enjoy the storylines. My mother is very good about following all the extra features and re-watching episodes. She’s probably following along now. HI MOM!!
Is there any special preparation you have to do to get into character as Jessica?
I do a ton of preparation. One of the most time consuming is before every season I take a month and watch every episode from 101 to the end to remind myself where we have all come from. Then I spend the last week, going over and over just Jessica’s storyline. Then even though it’s been 5 months since we shot the last episode it feels more like it happened recently which is how it happened for Jess. That’s one way I get back into it after our hiatus.
Will Jessica ever become a maker?
That’s up to the writers, but it thinks of Jessica and most vampires as being lonely solitary creatures and making a vampire is one way to have a companion. I think Jess would probably want to be a maker down the line and I think she’d be very good at it, because she understands how hard it can be.
We love Jessica’s video blogs, whose ideas were they?
Thank you! I love them too! We have such a great time shooting them. I’m not sure whose idea they were initially. I believe it was HBO.com. They had done similar vlogs on other shows. But Gianna Sobel writes and directs them and I think she does just the greatest job. One day towards the end of the season we shoot all of them in succession. So I go through hair and make up about ten times and we shoot about 25 pages of material. For comparison 4 pages a day is more the true blood average. It’s intense but really fun!
Do you get to do your own stunts?
Yes and No. We always do the into and out of the stunt, but the actual impacts and really anything where you might get hurt or requires skill is done by our fantastic team of stunt performers. They are magnificent at what they do and should be given the credit they deserve.
What kind of music do you like?
I like anything bluesy or funky. My favourite musician is Martin Sexton. His new album Sugar Coating is stellar. I also have always been an avid listener of Nina Simone and I love any classical piano.
How long does it take to film an episode?
We shoot long episodes. I think we had one or two this year that went up to 24 days!! Most hour long shows on network shoot 8-10 days, we always shoot round 15 and more involved episodes can be over 20. That means a lot of double up days where two episodes are shooting at once with two full crews. It takes a lot of very dedicated people to pull this show together. Not to mention, a typical day is 14-18 hours!
We have table reads do every episode where the entire cast and production team get together and read through the episode. Then the production crew goes to prep everything and when the actors and crew come to set e do a rehearsal where everyone gives their input on how the scene should be staged or played and then we practice a few times and shoot it for many hours. All for a few minutes of footage.
How does the vampire super speed work when you’re filming?
We move normally and then they speed up the movement in post. Actually it’s the non-vamps that have to move differently. They have to pause and when we start of move and then once we land whip around like we blew past them. It can be funny to watch. One thing I did think about was that as a young vamp being new to this kind of speed, I would be clumsier at it. So I flail my arms a bit so my blur is bigger. Whereas an older vamp might have a tighter more contained blue that looks almost more like a teleport.
Do you ever feel spooked out while on set?
Not usually. When we are shooting it there is always a crew of 40 people or more, plus light stands and cameras in your face, so the illusion that we are alone is just that, an illusion.
Do you have any say about Jessica’s Wardrobe and make-up?
Absolutely. The wardrobe and hair/makeup departments are very talented and they work with the writers and directors to get an idea of what they would like for the character and the they come up with ideas and present them to the actors and we all work together to figure out what we like best. If I have a specific idea that I think would be cool, I might email the department and throw it in there early in the days that can be prepare don the day should they like my idea, In the end the producers have final say but they have always been very cooperative.
What was the classic rock t-shirt Jessica wore when she went to Fangtasia?
That was a Slash T-Rex shirt. Pretty rad huh?! I like that Jess is experimenting with her style now. First her parents dressed her then Bill, then Hoyt and now she can finally figure out what she wants to look like. It’s been fun mixing it up his year.
Do any of the cast ever play pranks on set?
Ryan and our camera operator Simon had a pretty good battle going on for a while. I believe Ryan parked Simon’s smart car in the elevator and Simon retaliated by filling Ryan’s car with Styrofoam peanuts. And I mean filled it to the brim. No air left in that car. Pretty genius stuff.
What was your audition like for True Blood?
I auditioned with the turning scene at the vampire tribunal and then the scene after I’ve been turned running through the woods. I had to die and come to life in the audition and be attacked by an imaginary vampire. I remember lying on the floor and squirming about and eating my own tears. I’m surprised they didn’t toss me out as some crazy lady! But I’m so glad they gave me a chance.
Is it awkward when you’re pretending to drink someone’s blood?
There are many days when I shake someone’s hand then a few minutes later I’m sucking on their body somewhere. I usually try to be very open and friendly with the actors that come in to get fed on. I want them to feel comfortable to ask any question. We have soft fangs for feeding scenes if anyone would prefer that. But all acting requires you get intimate with strangers very quickly. We sort of know that’s part of the job.
How do you think Jessica has changed since the beginning?
I try to help show that Jess changes very season. I think she is constantly on a quest to find out who she is because she was never given that chance at home. But now being a vampire complicates that quest even further. So while I think she’s come a long way to discovering herself from a girl to woman, the vampire side is still impulsive and naïve.
What else are you working on outside of the show?
A film I worked on last year is just opening in theatres this month. It is called Ruby Sparks and it is such a good film, I have a very small part in it, but I am so proud to be involved at all. Zoe Kazan wrote and starred in it with Paul Dano, and the directors from Little Miss Sunshine directed it. I really recommend everyone go and see it if you can.
Who do you want Jessica to end up with romantically?
I don’t have a want for Jess in that regard. I want her to be happy and respected. I think it can’t possibly work with Hoyt. She can’t give him what he wants which is normalcy, and while Jason and Jess are clearly attracted to one another and care for each other neither of them seem to be in a place where they can be in a relationship. I’d like to see some growth from both of them, but I think there’s more potential there.
Finally how hard was it to get used to having fangs?
It did take a while. The trick is not to think about it. Just let your bottom lip hit. You end up with nasty little cuts on your lower lip by the end of an intense day but it’s worth it.