If you can think back to the first season of True Blood, you might remember believing that there was no way Gulf War veteran Terry Bellefleur, played by Todd Lowe, was going to survive very long in vampire-infested Bon Temps — at least not in human form. But here on the eve of Season 5 (the premiere is Sunday on HBO), Bellefleur is alive and kicking, and he hasn’t got fangs.

What he does have, however, shows that True Blood is not just pure fantasy — it’s about real problems that face everyday people. “I try to play things as normal as possible,” Lowe said in an exclusive interview with fans. “The supernatural does not bother Terry. He is not bigoted in that way. And all of his demons and monsters are actually inside him, so I think he fits into the show pretty well because he is not a supernatural, but he has some, let’s say, supernatural things going on in his head and it’s a constant fight for him to stay level and appear as normal as possible.”

Lowe has met the challenge of playing Bellefleur head-on, finding resources from his upbringing to help him ground a show that is sometimes criticized for wild swings into la-la land. “I’ve used pretty much my Southeast Texas accent and hope that it’s close enough to Louisiana in proximity and nobody is really going to pick it apart,” Lowe, a native of Humble, Texas, admitted. “As an actor, you go to finishing school, you learn how to speak proper American standard English, but you have these tools because I grew up there, I go back and I think of my family members and I can drop into a little Texas thing.”

Normalcy. Humility. Is this still True Blood we’re talking about? Lowe says there are still places for Bellefleur to go — it just may not be where you expect. “The storm that has been going on in Terry’s mind has subsided. Maybe we’re in the middle of the eye of the hurricane, because Arlene has brought stability to Terry’s life,” he explained, referring to actress Carrie Preston‘s character. He added that while the direction of the show is up to the writers, he has found good signs that Bellefleur is going to continue to hold down the normalcy fort. “When I got the part, I Googled Terry Bellefleur and I found out that he was in book nine [of the Charlaine Harris novels] and I kept my fingers crossed, saying, ‘Oh, I hope he stays around the series.’ And apparently he has, so it’s been great.”

Click here to watch the full video interview with Todd Lowe.

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