Things You Might Not Know About True BloodPublished on September 6, 2017. Updated August 20, 2020
The dark fantasy horror television series True Blood ran for seven seasons from September 7, 2008 to August 24, 2014. The show received positive reviews from critics and was nominated for countless awards, winning the Golden Globe award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama for Anna Paquin’s performance and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series. It’s been four long years since the show went off the air, so check out these 10 things that most people don’t know about the popular series:
10. Development Deal
Series creator Alan Ball had previously worked on the HBO drama Six Feet Under. After Six Feet Under wrapped, Ball signed a two-year agreement with HBO to produce original programming for the network and True Blood was the first show to come out of that deal. He came upon Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mystery books and became interested in bringing Harris’ vision to television, but she already had two other adaption options for the books. In spite of this, she decided to work with Ball because he “really got [her].”
9. Title Sequence
The title sequence, which runs to “Bad Things”by Jace Everett, was constructed around the idea of “the whore in the house of prayer.” They combined images of sex, violence and religion, as well as redemption and forgiveness, and then displayed them from the point of view of “a supernatural, predatory creature observing human beings from the shadows.” The sequence moves from morning to night and ends with an eerie baptism. During editing, drops of blood were splattered on individual frames to give viewers a reminder of what the show was about.
8. Recasting Tara Thornton
Former Passions star Brooke Kerr was originally cast in the Tara Thornton role. She landed the role right after the soap ended. She only filmed two episodes before she was recast with Rutina Wesley, and all of Kerr’s scenes were reshot with Wesley. HBO never offered any explanation for recasting the Tara character, except that she was the only actress who was able to show the character’s “vulnerable side.”
7. Off-Screen Friendship
Rutina Wesley (who played Tara Thornton) and Nelsan Ellis (who played Lafayette Reynolds, Tara’s cousin) had been friends for a few years when before co-starred on True Blood. They became close friends when they were classmates at Juilliard.
6. Ian Somerhalder as Jason Stackhouse?
Ian Somerhalder auditioned for the role of Jason Stackhouse on True Blood, but he couldn’t convince Alan Ball that the part was his. “I am. I’m from New Orleans. There’s a lot of vampire mystique and mythology that resonates there, and I was fascinated by it. I always wanted to play one. I auditioned for True Blood. I just couldn’t convince Alan Ball that was my role. And then I didn’t get it, and I was very bummed. I couldn’t watch True Blood until now,” he said. Ryan Kwanten was the one who landed the role of Jason, but Somerhalder lucked out and landed the role of Damon on The Vampire Diaries.
5. Spike in True Blood?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s James Marsters auditioned for a role on True Blood, but wasn’t cast because of his height. The part he auditioned for required him to fight with Alexander Skarsgard who is significantly taller than him, which is ultimately what did him in. Marsters has always had to compensate for his height, so he didn’t really buy the excuse. “I wanted to go to the director and say, “Uh, Mr. [Alan] Ball, I kind of make my bread and butter by fighting tall guys. Ask Tom Welling [‘Smallville’], ask David Boreanaz [‘Angel’}, ask John Barrowman [‘Torchwood’], you know? That’s kind of what I do,” Masters said.
4. Vampire Makeup
The original concept for the vampire’s makeup was to make them look sexy so that people wouldn’t initially pick up on the fact that they were the undead. “When we first started the show, we wanted the vampires to be super sexy, but you weren’t supposed to be able to pick up that they were vampires right away. Part of the fun was not knowing. So we don’t use prosthetics. There are just some small details, like the rimming around their eyes and nails is red,” makeup department head Brigette Ellis told Allure. To achieve this, Ellis uses M.A.C. Cranberry Eye Shadow and Aged Blood Illustrator nail polish: “We use M.A.C. Cranberry Eye Shadow. For the nails, it’s Aged Blood Illustrator, which is like an alcohol-based paint. The funny thing is these poor vampires are stuck in it, because if they don’t get us to take it off, it’s there for days. You’re at the local Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and you see somebody with blood-rimmed nails – you’re like, Hey, do you work on True Blood?”
3. Nude Scenes
Filming nude scenes can be challenging when the actors are covered in body makeup and sweating, but they figured out a solution that prevents the makeup from smudging – spray tan! “There’s definitely been a learning curve with all the nudity. When you have an actor who’s in full tan body makeup and an actor who’s in full white body makeup for being a vampire, that’s not going to go over so well. So a lot of the time, for humans, they’re spray tanned, because you can at least cut down on one smudging transfer,” Ellis told Allure.
2. Joe Manganiello’s Contractual Obligations
Director Zack Snyder was a huge fan of True Blood and saw Joe Manganiello as a potential for Superman in Man of Steel; however, because of Manganiello’s contract with True Blood, he was unable to audition for the role. He got as far costume measurements. When Snyder’s people called True Blood for his measurements to build his suit, HBO nipped it in the bud. It took a long time for Manganiello to watch Man of Steel, but he eventually got to a place of gratitude and recognized his work on True Blood is why he was noticed in the first place.
1. Alexander Skarsguard’s Auditions
Alexander Skarsgard initially auditioned for the part of Bill, but Allen Ball felt that he wasn’t quite right for that particularly role. “Alex wasn’t quite right for Bill, but I remember that he was giant and also beautiful. So when it came time to cast Eric, I thought of him,” Ball told Details. Skarsgard did his audition for Eric on tape in a hotel room. “I thought, ‘Oh, vampires – I don’t know, but then they said Alan Ball was behind it, and I was a huge fan of Six Feet Under and American Beauty. I auditioned on tape from my hotel room in Mozambique,” Skarsgard said.