Kristin Bauer Van Straten Video Interview On ‘True Blood’ Season 5
“[T]his year we get Pam’s backstory, so I got this other piece and I get to show this other side and I have the layers of the previous season,” Bauer van Straten told Uinverview. “So for me it just builds, it becomes this 3D sculpture as opposed to 2 dimensional, so it’s really fun.”
Now in its fifth season, True Blood has amassed more than just a cult following despite taking enormous risks in terms of storyline, character and fantasy-world logic (if there is such a thing). Also starring Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Ryan Kwanten, Todd Lowe and Carrie Preston, as well as many others, True Blood is created by Academy Award winner Alan Ball (American Beauty, Six Feet Under) and based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries (commonly called “The Sookie Stackhouse Novels”) by bestselling author Charlaine Harris. It takes place in the fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana — a world Bauer van Straten’s character almost never sees in the light of day, because it would kill her.
Bauer van Straten discusses Pam, the world of True Blood, her character’s future on Season 5 and much more in this video interview, brought to you in partnership with DailyMotion USA.
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I feel really great about how Pam has evolved. Every year I got a little more piece of the puzzle, and there's a couple reasons why I love that. One is that it's a challenge as an actor, but a great challenge and not too hard of a challenge because you have this incredible scaffold of the writing. The writing is so clear and so wonderful, and you have the directors there and the producers to guide you in what they saw. For example, when my face was rotting and Eric had lost his memory, I thought that Pam would crumble, that this would be too much of an Achilles heel, and the producers said oh no no, she's pissed. It's very character defining because we find out that when, you know the shit hits the fan, that she's a warrior, so she's gonna go down fighting. So every year I get another piece, and this year we get Pam's backstory, so I got this other piece and I get to show this other side and I have the layers of the previous seasons. So for me it just builds, it becomes a 3D sculpture as opposed to 2 dimensional, so it's really fun.
As far as Pam's relationship to Eric, we find out a lot more this season about how that does go beyond. It's a very sweet story. I can't give it away, but it explains so much of how, that where she came from as a human and her vulnerability and how she became a vampire has a lot to do with her choices. And it really informs us of who she is, what we've seen for four years, and also why Eric is her one person. So you'll see, this year I think that question should be answered a lot in the first four episodes.
I mean there's all sorts of things you go through in acting class on how to do that, but the basis of it for me is that because you know, what do I draw on as a human being immortal? You know, spiritually I believe I am, but as a physical body, where the heck do I get that, or that I eat people. But basically the script comes, and I go with my gut instinct on what will be the best way to deliver the lines, the surface of it. And then also, you do the hair and the makeup, you walk on the set, so there's all this structure built around you of believability. You start to believe it. If I had to right now in this interview be Pam, it would be harder for me. I don't have 2-3 hours of hair and makeup in a corset, and Alex sitting across from me. If I believe it, all that matters is that I'm feeling it. So if I'm feeling concern for Eric, it's easier for me, I can feel concerned for Alex, so it's really an internal thing. I'm not playing a “vampire,” I'm not playing a “mortal,” I'm playing the actual dialogue of that line, that I know what I'm saying, if that makes sense. It's internal.
The vampire blood, it's really funny, because my sister can't watch the show because it's too gory for her, but when you've been on the set it actually becomes slightly comical. There are dudes in construction clothing, flannel shirts and boots, carrying in gallons of things. There's twenty different kinds of blood. There's the thick kind, there's the thin kind, there's the drinking kind. The drinking kind is corn syrup, and I don't know if corn syrup is that thick, but some sort of mysterious thickening agent and food coloring. So it's incredibly, incredibly sweet.
So behind the scene moments...there are so many every day, we laugh so hard. That's one of my favorite things, laughing, but there's so many funny things that happen, but it's like anything. Something funny happens at work, someone trips or drops something or says something and you go home and I try to tell my husband at the end of the day, but it just never translates. But we just have so much fun, my vampire world, these people are so funny and so lovely. I heard that in the Ryan Kwanten world, Ryan's such a prankster, so that's lots of fun trading pranks back and forth. But in my world, it's really funny actually trying to be immortal and powerful when you're really not. It's 6 in the morning, anyone tripping is incredibly hysterical, but one of the biggest laughs that we've had at my expense, which is fine, was in season four when we were outside of Moon Goddess Emporium, we were being pulled into the force field by some force and we were fighting it, but we couldn't, but we were scared, so how do you do that? So the director said alright, let's start shooting that. And we go, 'Any idea how to do that?' He said, 'No, let's just try one.' Steven and Alex, who are like my bigger brothers, turn and look at me and are like, 'This will be good.' I'm like, 'Alright, alright, can we have a pact where we don't laugh at each other?' And they both went, 'Oh, no.' They were about this close to the camera, so they just had to do this spastic wacky walk for five feet. I was about a hundred yards back by myself. Deborah Ann Woll is probably the nicest person on Earth and she laughed so hard at me that her neck was wet with tears. Then they ran over to playback, there's a guy who can play back what we just shot, so they're like, 'Play it again, play it again!' And they all stood around there and laughed at me.
I've been wondering that exact question for a couple of reasons. It's interesting. I like actually that side of Pam, that she's different in that area as well. I guess it's not that different on True Blood, but I really like it. She has only had one interlude, and I was just thinking about my mother watching that scene, so if I have more of those scenes I hope that I don't think about that. But I suspect if we go long enough, and also because of the books, that we are going see this side of Pam, and I would also love to know who is this person who Pam would be with. I mean she really just only has a place in her heart for Eric at this time. So the answer to the question is, it's highly possible, as it is True Blood, and I'm looking forward to it as well, and my mother probably is not.