Things That Make You Go OMG.
Ball was wrapping up his iconic HBO series Six Feet Under when he discovered Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels, the basis for True Blood. ”I bought the book on impulse because of the tagline on the cover, and it was so much fun,” says Ball. ”At that point there were three other books available, and I read them as quick as I could. Somewhere around the middle of the fourth book I thought, ‘This could sustain a TV show.”’
Ball, who wrote and directed Blood‘s 2007 pilot, remembers Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer having immediate interest in each other. ”When we were shooting the pilot, they had terrific chemistry. They were shooting episode 2 and they were in Shreveport; I wasn’t there, but I got a text from the line producer saying, ‘I think they’re hooking up.’ I thought, ‘Oh, boy.’ They kept it a secret a long time. But it’s never been a problem — it’s only been a good thing.”
Alexander Skarsgård’s Eric became a breakout character — after he ditched his long blond wig in season 2. ”In the books, they can’t cut their hair because it’s indestructible,” explains Ball. ”But I figured we’re not going to do that because that wig is really silly. I think it was season 2 where he really exploded because he’s so insanely handsome and charismatic, but with that wig you couldn’t see it as much.”
Season 2 villain Maryann, a maenad played by Michelle Forbes, constructed a meat tree as an offering to her deity; the prop had quite the entourage. ”On set, we called it Demetri. People were guarding it around the clock because there was real rotting meat on it, so they didn’t want animals to tear it apart!”
Blood is known for its outrageous sex scenes, but none was as shocking as season 3’s encounter between Bill (Moyer) and Lorena (Mariana Klaveno) in which he turned her neck 180 degrees. ”That was probably one of the most twisted,” admits Ball. ”But in the room we were thinking, ‘Okay, what is vampire hate-sex like? If you can recover from anything, then what would we do?”’
Ball, who is developing a movie about the history of the Chippendales dancers, moved on from showrunning duties at the end of season 5, but he’s still a presence on the Blood set. ”I’ve been on set a few times this year. My office is still on the Lot. But I said my goodbye two years ago. I’ve been so blessed to have two shows that were not only well received but such delightful places to work. It is sort of saying goodbye to a chapter in your life.”
Sookie, Bill, Eric, Lafayette, Sam and the other residents Bon Temps deal with vampires, werewolves, fairies, and shape-shifters—not to mention romance and drama