Thanks to a Japanese scientist's invention of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight.
And while humans have been safely removed from the menu, many remain apprehensive about these creatures "coming out of the coffin." Religious leaders and government officials around the world have chosen their sides, but in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps, the jury is still out.
Local waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), however, knows how it feels to be an outcast. "Cursed" with the ability to listen in on people's thoughts, she's also open-minded about the integration of vampires — particularly when it comes to Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), a handsome 173-year-old living up the road. But as Sookie is drawn into a series of mysteries surrounding Bill's arrival in Bon Temps, that tolerance will be put to the test.
A sexy, scary new drama from 'Six Feet Under' creator Alan Ball, 'True Blood' delves into the meticulously-crafted world of novelist Charlaine Harris. Described by the Emmy®-winning Ball as "popcorn for smart people" and featuring a colorful cast of local misfits, 'True Blood' promises an intense ride.
LOUISIANA is full of contradictions. This southern state is known for its conservative values and has many pages written in the history of slavery in America.
In 1803 the territory was purchased from Napoleon I by the United states for $15000000. And after centuries of mixing cultures and nations, now Louisiana is inhabited by a rich diversity of peoples including: the original Indian descendents, plus the descendants of a variety of settlers, among whom were the French, Spanish, English, German, Acadians, West Indians, Africans, Irish and Italians.
Still Louisiana's population has the second largest proportion of black Americans (32.5%) in the United States, behind neighboring Mississippi (36.3%).
Swampy and muggy Louisiana was severely devastated by Katrina in August of 2005 and even now suffers from the aftermath of this hurricane. It is estimated that more than two million people in the Gulf region were displaced by the hurricane, and more than 1,500 fatalities resulted in Louisiana alone. Public outcry criticized governments at the local, state, and federal levels, citing that preparation and response was neither fast nor adequate.
Still, in the world, Louisiana is mostly associated with black and white magic, voodoo practices, amazing Cajun cuisine and Jazz.
Cast & Crew
Sookie lost her parents as a child, not long after realizing she had the ability to hear others' thoughts. Though Sookie's grandmother took her in, the young woman's telepathy has been an ongoing curse. Hearing the intimate feelings of everyone in her small town has left her feeling impossibly alone. And those who haven't been scared off by her "talent" have disgusted her with their shady musings. After decades spent as the local oddball, Sookie has learned to serve up a combination of sexiness and sass that helps her deal with most situations, but she has yet to find out whether her bite can back up the bark.
With her work in films and theater, Academy-Award-winning actress Anna Paquin has displayed a range of emotions and a wealth of talent well beyond her years. Anna recently received an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Elaine Goodale Eastman in HBO's original movie 'Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,' opposite Adam Beach and Aidan Quinn. Directed by Yves Simoneau and produced by Dick Wolf, the film received a record 17 nominations.
In 2006, Paquin produced 'Blue State' with her brother, Andrew Paquin, under their banner Paquin Films. 'Blue State' is a political romantic comedy about a Democratic campaigner played by Breckin Meyer, who follows through on his promise to move to Canada if George "Dubya" Bush is re-elected. This is the first collaboration between Anna Paquin and her brother. 'Blue State' premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.
Next year she will appear in Michael Dougherty's 'Trick 'r Treat,' a thriller about four interwoven stories that occur on Halloween. Produced by Bryan Singer, Warner Bros. will release the film in the fall of 2008.
Paquin has also finished production on Kenneth Lonnergan's 'Margaret,' as the lead, opposite Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo and Matthew Broderick. Paquin plays Lisa, a girl who witnesses a bus accident and is caught up in the aftermath. 'Margaret' is produced by Scott Rudin and Sydney Pollack and executive-produced by Anthony Minghella and Dan Halsted. Fox Searchlight is set to release the film. In 2006, she reprised her role as Rogue in Brett Ratner's 'X-Men 3.' Twentieth Century Fox released the film worldwide on May 26th 2006, and it grossed over $130 million on opening weekend.
Additional film credits include Noah Baumbach's 'The Squid and The Whale,' winning Best Ensemble Cast at the 2005 IFP Gotham Awards; 'X-Men 2'; Spike Lee's '25th Hour' opposite Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Rosario Dawson; 'Buffalo Soldiers' opposite Joaquin Pheonix and Ed Harris; Gus Van Sant's 'Finding Forester' with F. Murray Abraham and Sean Connery for Columbia Pictures; Cameron Crowe's Academy-Award-winning 'Almost Famous'; 'X-Men' for director Bryan Singer; 'Hurlyburly'; Robert Iscove's 'She's All That'; 'A Walk on the Moon' for Dustin Hoffman's Punch Productions; Keith Stern's 'All the Rage'; Steven Spielberg's 'Amistad'; Carroll Ballard's 'Fly Away Home' with Jeff Daniels; and Franco Zeffirelli's 'Jane Eyre.'
On stage Paquin received a Drama Desk nomination as Best Lead Actress for her stage debut in Rebecca Gilman's 'The Glory of Living' for director Phillip Seymour Hoffman at New York's MCC Theater. She followed that critically acclaimed performance with the first West End production of Kenneth Lonergan's 'This is Our Youth,' co-staring Jake Gyllenhaal and Hayden Christensen in London. Other stage credits include 'After Ashley,' directed by Terry Kinney at The Vineyard Theatre and Neil Labute's dark drama 'The Distance from Here' (Drama Desk Award for "Best Play" and won for "Best Cast Ensemble").
Paquin stunned the world in 1993 with her film debut as the daughter of the bride of an arranged marriage in Jane Campion's 'The Piano.' Paquin's performance opposite cast members Holly Hunter (who won the Academy Award for Best Actress), Sam Neill, and Harvey Keitel led to her winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at the age of 11 years old. Paquin currently spends her time between Los Angeles and New York.
In his 173 years on the earth, this vampire has seen more than his share of cruelty and violence – from humans and vampires alike. While he holds no illusions about his own existence, Bill has returned to his family home of Bon Temps hoping to reconnect with whatever humanity he’s managed to retain. He never expected this attempt at mainstreaming to include romance, however; especially with a human girl just strange enough to accept him for what he is.
Stephen Moyer first turned heads when he appeared on the hit series 'The Starter Wife' opposite Debra Messing. The series was recognized by critics and fans alike and was nominated for multiple Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG awards. On the big screen, Moyer appeared in '88 Minutes,' the drama staring Al Pacino and directed by Jon Avnet. He also starred in teen cult classic 'Undiscovered,' the Oscar-nominated film 'Quills' opposite Kate Winslet and Joaquin Phoenix, and 'Prince Valiant' with Katherine Heigl. Moyer's television credits include 'NY-LON' opposite Rashida Jones, 'The Final Quest,' 'Uprising,' 'Entrusted' and the BBC series 'Life Support.' Moyer currently resides in Los Angeles and London.
As owner and operator of the local watering hole that bears his name, Sam holds a front-row seat to all the small-town drama of Bon Temps, whether he wants it or not. As a private guy himself, he tends to stay out of his patrons' and staff's personal lives, but a protective streak,particularly when it comes to Sookie Stackhouse, occasionally places him in the midst of the strange events that are starting to unfold at his bar.
Sam Trammell studied at Brown University and the University of Paris and has worked in regional theater, on Broadway, off-Broadway and in film and television. Trammell performed at Lincoln Center in 'Ancestral Voices' and in 1998 'Ah, Wilderness,' for which he received a Tony nomination. He also starred in numerous plays on the New York stage including 'Kit Marlowe,' 'If Memory Serves' and 'My Night with Reg.'
Trammell was seen in Joan Chen's 'Autumn in New York,' opposite Richard Gere and Winona Ryder. His independent film credits include 'At the End of the Day,' 'Beat,' and 'Wrestling with Alligators.' On television, Trammell appeared in 'Without Warning,' CBS/Hallmark Hall of Fame's 'Harvest of Fire' and in the series 'Maximum Bob,' 'Trinity' and 'Sullivan Street.' He most recently starred in the Showtime series 'Going to California.
Though she won't win any congeniality awards, Tara has been Sookie's loyal best friend since childhood. She's built up a tough exterior, taking care of her alcoholic mother at home, but the stress can make her quick to anger – and hard to employ. She may have found her perfect job, after talking her way into a bartending job at Merlotte's where she can turn her temper to keep unruly customers in line. Still, she has a soft spot in her heart for Sookie... and her brother Jason.
Classically trained actress Rutina Wesley always brings a passion and intelligence to her work, whether it is on the stage or behind the camera. She has been likened by some to a young Angela Bassett, an actress with true range who can make an audience both laugh and cry at the same time. Rutina, a native of Las Vegas, made her film debut starring as the lead in the Paramount Vantage/MTV Films 'How She Move,' from British director Ian Rashid and produced by Canada's Sienna Films. She played the lead role of Raya Green, a young girl who returns home to the inner city after the traumatizing death of her sister. She hopes her talent as a step dancer can win her enough money to escape back to the suburban private school life. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival (World Competition) and received high praise. In the short amount of time following her graduation from Juillard, Rutina has amassed some high quality credits for her resume. She was a part of the pre-Broadway workshop of the Tony-nominated musical 'The Color Purple' and starred in 'In Darfur' at New York's esteemed Public Theatre. Rutina made her Broadway debut playing a role in the high profile production of 'The Vertical Hour,' by acclaimed playwright David Hare and co-starring two-time Academy Award Nominee Julianne Moore and Bill Nighy. The show was directed by Sam Mendes and produced by Scott Rudin and Robert Fox.
Rutina received her BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Evansville, and prior to that she attended the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts. She also attended the prestigious Juilliard School (Drama Division, Group 34) and spent a summer studying Shakespeare at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. While in the program, she was able to tackle the role of Juliet in a production of 'Romeo and Juliet' directed by Nona Sheppard. She currently splits her time between Los Angeles and New York.
Not your typical short-order grill cook, Lafayette flips his burgers in club clothes and eye makeup. But any good ol' boy customers at Merlotte's who mistake his fashion sense as an invitation for harassment have got another thing coming – Lafayette isn't afraid to throw down. With his many shady sideline businesses and personal connections, Lafayette has plenty to fall back on.
Nelsan Ellis recently wrapped 'The Soloist' opposite Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx and Catherine Keener. Last year, Ellis completed filming 'The Express' for Universal Pictures. Ellis' television credits include the Fox television series 'The Inside' produced by Brian Grazer and the HBO film 'Warm Springs,' opposite Kenneth Branagh, Cynthia Nixon and Kathy Bates. While studying at Julliard, Ellis wrote a semi-autobiographical play called 'Ugly,' which was not only performed at the school but received the Martin Segal Award by Lincoln Center. Further productions of 'Ugly' were performed at the Fringe Festival, Storm Theatre and the Santa Monica Playhouse. Nelsan Ellis was born in Alabama and later raised in Chicago. He currently resides in Los Angeles.
Jason works construction by day, but pursues his true calling at night, methodically working his way through every attractive woman in Bon Temps. Gossip travels fast in a small town – and his sister Sookie hears plenty of it at Merlotte's – but when it comes to Jason Stackhouse, not many ladies are willing to hold anything against him for long.
Nurturing an impressive body of work that encompasses film and television, Ryan Kwanten has positioned himself as one of Hollywood's most promising talents as his career continues to evolve with exciting and challenging projects. Ryan's television credits include the role of Jay Robertson in the critically acclaimed Warner Bros. series 'Summerland,' which ran for two seasons. He was also a lead in the ESPN original movie 'The Junction Boys.'
Segueing effortlessly between the big and small screen, Ryan recently finished working on the Luke Kasdan feature film 'Don't Fade Away' opposite Mischa Barton. His other feature film credits include 'Flicka,' a Twentieth Century Fox film in which he starred opposite Tim McGraw, Maria Bello and Alison Lohman; the title role in 'American Brown,' which received the Audience Award for Best Film at the Montreal Film Festival; 'Liquid Bridge,' nominated for Best Picture at the Australian Film Festival; and the newly released 'Dead Silence' directed by James Wan (writer/director of 'Saw').
A native of Australia, Ryan began his acting career while attending Sydney University, where he earned a degree in business. He starred in numerous feature films and television shows and gained international notoriety when he joined the cast of the long-running Australian series 'Home and Away.' A published writer, Ryan is currently working on a new book. Also an accomplished athlete, Ryan qualified for the world Biathlon in Sweden in 2006 and Italy 2007 after winning the LA Biathlon series two years running. He is a qualified yoga instructor and spends his free time bike riding, surfing and completing triathlons. Ryan currently resides in Los Angeles.
DETECTIVE ANDY BELLEFLEUR
Born into the faded lineage of Bon Temps gentry, Andy is aware that working as a police officer doesn’t help his standing in the town that already distrusts him. Then again, his personality doesn’t do him any favors either; he makes a habit of pushing people farther than he needs to and doesn’t mind using his authority to settle scores with the locals.
A native of Los Angeles, Chris Bauer honed his skills on the stage in Chicago performing with such noted ensembles as the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, as well as the famed Goodman Theatre there. Bauer went on to study at the Yale School of Drama and then moved to New York, where he became a member of the Atlantic Theatre Company founded by David Mamet. He returned to the Chicago stage and gained notice for his performance in Steppenwolf's production of 'Clockwork Orange,' which Bauer credits as a watershed moment in his career. He went on to appear in the Atlantic's productions of 'Mojo,' 'Hothouse' and 'The Night Heron.' He made his Broadway debut as Mitch in 'A Streetcar Named Desire' opposite Natasha Richardson, and he most recently appeared in John Patrick Shanley's 'Defiance' at the Manhattan Theatre Club.
Bauer's first feature film role in 'Snow White' was opposite Sigourney Weaver. Other film credits include 'Face Off,' 'Devil's Advocate,' 'Flawless,' '8mm,' 'Animal Factory,' 'High Fidelity,' 'Broken Flowers' and 'Flags Of Our Fathers,' directed by Clint Eastwood.
Chris Bauer appeared as Frank Sobotka in a critically acclaimed performance during season two of HBO's 'The Wire.' His other work for HBO includes co-starring roles in '61*,' and 'The Nororious Bettie Page' for HBO Films. He also recently appeared in the television movies 'The Lost Room' for Sci-Fi Channel, and 'Our Fathers' for Showtime. Chris played Fred Yokas for five years on NBC's 'Third Watch' and was a series regular on 'Tilt' and John Wells' 'Smith.' He has also appeared in a number of guest star roles in 'New Amsterdam,' 'Numb3rs,' 'CSI' and 'Criminal Minds.'
Divorced with kids at home, Arlene is pushing into her forties and in complete denial about it. Her boyfriend, Rene Lenier, helps keep her slightly grounded, but the stress of hustling between customers at Merlotte's while answering her children's constant phone calls has left her permanently frazzled.
Carrie Preston's breakout role as Miranda on the Broadway production of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' led to roles in major television series such as 'Lost' and 'Desperate Housewives,' along with acclaimed 2008 films such as Woody Allen's 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona,' the Oscar-nominated 'Transamerica' and the Daisy 3 Pictures (her production company) film 'Ready? Ok!'
Born and raised in Macon, Georgia, where her mother was an artist and art therapist while her dad was a geo-technical engineer, Carrie discovered her true calling in life lay in performing arts. At the age of 12 she became the impresario of her own front-yard theater company as producer, writer, casting director, costumer, director - and of course, actress. Preston later obtained a Bachelor's degree from the University of Evansville followed with an acting diploma from the prestigious Juilliard School.
Her first big break aft Julliard came when she starred as Miranda in the Broadway production of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest,' opposite Patrick Stewart. She soon ventured to Los Angeles to appear in such feature films as 'My Best Friend's Wedding' (as a sassy Southern bridesmaid to star Cameron Diaz) and 'Mercury Rising' (starring Bruce Willis and Alec Baldwin). She also appeared as Idalyn Greaves in the Robert Redford directed film 'The Legend Of Bagger Vance' with Will Smith and Charlize Theron. She played Barbara in 'The Stepford Wives' with Nicole Kidman and also appeared in 'Lovely By Surprise.' Next, Preston takes on the part of Ludie Choat, wife of a redneck patriarch who together have made their lives on leased farmland, but when the farm's estranged owner unexpectedly returns after many years, conflict arises as each believes they have the right to the land in the Southern dramatic film 'I Hate To See That Evening Sun Go Down.' She stars alongside Hal Holbrook who is the farm's stubborn and original owner, Abner Meecham, and Ray McKinnon as Lonzo Choat, the current inhabitant and husband of Ludie.
With her original roots in theatre, Preston completed a starring role as Honey in 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis (again with Patrick Stewart and Mercedes Ruehl) and in 'Chaucer in Rome' at New York's Lincoln Center. She rates her roles in 'My Best Friend's Wedding' and in 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' as two of her favorites to date. Preston's other stage credits include 'Antony & Cleopatra' with Vanessa Redgrave, 'She Stoops to Conquer,' and 'Hamlet.'
After forming the production company Daisy 3 Pictures with Mark Holmes and James Vasquez, Preston directed the films '29th And Gay,' 'Feet of Clay" and 2008's 'Ready? Ok!' which won Best US Feature, Best Actress (Carrie Preston) and Outstanding Emerging Talent (James Vasquez).
A crucial role playing Ophelia in 'Hamlet' 12 years ago at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival is where Preston met her husband, Emmy Award winning Michael Emerson, who was playing Guildenstern in the production. Since then, the two have both starred in the movies 'Straight Jacket,' 'Grace & Glori,' and 'The Journey.' In 2005, they both appeared in a production of 'Hamlet' at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ. The husband and wife team recently appeared together on ABC's Emmy winning series 'Lost.' Preston took on the role of Emerson's character, Ben's, mother in a series of flashbacks throughout the episodes. Preston has also guest starred on 'Arrested Development,' 'Sex and the City,' 'Spin City,' 'Hope and Faith,' 'Numb3rs,' and 'Law and Order: Criminal Intent.'
Preston splits her residency between Los Angeles, New York and Hawaii to best accommodate her and her husband's shooting schedules. When not working, Carrie enjoys writing prose as well as hiking, jogging, yoga and almost anything outdoors. She also maintains an extensive music collection, including many vintage vinyl records.
One of Jason's buddies, Hoyt may be the most unremarkable guy in Bon Temps, though his general oafishness can be pretty endearing. He's every bit as enamored with drinking beer and chasing women as Jason - but he's not nearly as good at it.
Jim Parrack made his professional acting debut in 2006's 'Annapolis' as A.J. His portrayal of the rough and tumble, blue collar boxer led to a series of guest spots on television shows including 'Gray's Anatomy,' 'CSI,' 'ER,' 'Monk,' 'Standoff' and 'Close to Home.' In 2007 he showed audiences his depth and range in two consecutive guest-starring roles. First on 'Criminal Minds,' he played a deranged serial killer who hunted people in the wild with a bow and arrow, followed immediately by a sensitive look at a Colorado Sheriff's Deputy who has lost his mother on 'Raines' alongside Jeff Goldblum.
Jim grew up in the small Texas town of Allen. He moved to Los Angeles and studied acting for two years at The Stella Adler Academy. But it wasn't until studying under Robert Carnegie at Playhouse West that he began to find fulfillment and opportunity in his acting. A veteran of more than 20 plays in just seven years in Los Angeles, he is a current student at Playhouse West and can be seen there monthly in the critically acclaimed play 'Welcome Home Soldier.'
One of Jason's friends from the road crew, Rene has been shacked up with Arlene long enough that he's basically a member of the family. As a stand-up guy in love, he'd like to settle down and have some kids of his own, though Arlene feels taxed enough with the children from her previous relationship.
Originally from Michigan, Michael Raymond-James received his training at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York City, where he studied with esteemed acting coach George Loros. Following several stage appearances in New York, including 'The Petrified Forest' at the Pantheon Theater, he relocated to Los Angeles
Raymond-James was soon compiling a growing list of television credits in guest-starring roles for such shows as 'ER,' 'Boston Legal' and 'CSI' before he landed a regular role on Alan Ball's HBO series 'True Blood.' Most recently he booked the highly anticipated HBO pilot 'Last of the Ninth', created by David Milch.
In his feature debut Raymond-James played Justin Timberlake's best friend in 'Black Snake Moan' with Christina Ricci and Samuel Jackson. The actor also starred in Jonny Hirschbein's award-winning short film 'The Fix,' working alongside Robert Partick and David Paymer. His full-length feature film credits include 'Moonlight Serenade,' starring as a piano prodigy opposite Academy Award Nominee Amy Adams.
SHERIFF BUD DEARBORNE
Widely respected in a town where many residents remember him as a childhood authority figure, Bud tries to do right by everyone as much as possible. He doesn't understand people's sudden fascination with vampires, however, and his job was a lot easier before the creatures started showing up.
Early in his career William Sanderson seemed practically to specialize in his unique brand of what he calls "prairie scum." All that changed with two inspired castings that would reveal William's versatility and bring him national exposure. Director Ridley Scott cast him as the brilliant, gentle toy maker in the now classic science fiction film 'Blade Runner.' Shortly afterwards, a one-time guest role became a successful eight-year run with William's comedic talent on display as the quirky backwoodsman Larry in the popular sitcom 'Newhart.'
William grew up in Memphis, TN, with an elementary school teacher mother and a landscape designer father. As a youngster he already had a knack for assuming characters and used this talent to sneak into concerts and sporting events, and eventually into Graceland where he listened to his hero Elvis play a piano ballad. William spent two years in the Army, after which he attended Southern Methodist University and later earned a BBA degree and JD law degree from the University of Memphis. He opted out of the bar exam and instead went to New York to take his shot at acting. There he apprenticed with the renowned Herbert Berghof and William Hickey, quickly distinguishing himself in a number of off-Broadway productions and independent film roles. He soon set his sights on Hollywood.
William has played a host of distinct and diverse roles, routinely working opposite Hollywood's A-list talent. The 80s saw him in films like 'The Onion Field,' 'Lone Wolf Mcquade,' 'Coal Miner's Daughter,' and 'City Heat.' In the 90s his body of work grew in a broad range of features including 'Death Hunt,' 'The Rocketeer,' 'Wagon's East' (John Candy's final film), John Grisham's 'The Client' (which brought him home to Memphis), 'Last Man Standing' with Bruce Willis and more. In 'Stanley's Gig,' William revealed what was no surprise to those in the know - that he can just as easily carry the mantle of leading actor - with his poignant portrayal of the title character opposite Faye Dunaway. His recent film projects include the family film 'Treasure Of Painted Forest,' 'Disappearances' opposite Kris Kristofferson, and the dramedy 'Pretty Ugly People.'
William has consistently and deftly moved between film and television, appearing in such shows as 'ER,' 'Life,' 'The X-Files,' 'Monk' and 'Without a Trace.' His television movies and mini-series include the award-winning 'Lonesome Dove' and its sequel, 'Executioner's Song,' with Tommy Lee Jones; two MOW'S with John Frankenheimer, 'Wallace' and the Civil War epic 'Andersonville'; Stephen King's 'Sometimes They Come Back'; 'Babylon 5: Thirdspace'; Louis L'Amour's 'Crossfire Trail'; and 'Monte Walsh' with Tom Selleck.
Sharing the honor of American Film Institute's "Best Ensemble" award for 'Deadwood,' William was equally thrilled at being named one of Cracked Magazine's "15 Funniest People Of 2006," which cited his "comedic edge" in the series as "well worth an hour." Beloved by fans of fantasy & sci-fi, Westerns and comedies alike, William has a rare following that crosses generations and genres.
In between film and television work, William stays busy supplying the voice for numerous cartoon characters, radio commercials and books on tape. He and his wife split their time between homes in Burbank, CA and Harrisburg, PA.
ADELE HALE STACKHOUSE (GRAN)
After Sookie's parents died, Adele took the young girl in, raising her through some tough teenage years. Though Gran always knew about Sookie's "talent" and encouraged the girl to use it when appropriate, she often found herself comforting her granddaughter when other young women weren't as understanding.
Lois Smith made her film debut opposite James Dean in Elia Kazan's 'East of Eden.'
She had earlier begun studying with the legendary Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio and has since performed extensively in the stage, television and film mediums.
Ms. Smith has twice been a Tony Award nominee, for her performances in productions of 'The Grapes of Wrath' and 'Buried Child.' Both of these productions originated at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company, of which she is a company member. Most recently, she starred in Harris Yulin's off-Broadway staging of Horton Foote's 'The Trip to Bountiful.' The latter performance earned her the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Obie, and Lucille Lortel Awards.
Her television appearances range from 'The United States Steel Hour' (acting with John Cassavetes) and 'Naked City' (opposite George C. Scott) to 'Frasier' and 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent,' among others. Her telefilms include Katja von Garnier's 'Iron Jawed Angels' and Joseph Sargent's 'Skylark.'
Ms. Smith was cited as Best Supporting Actress by the National Society of Film Critics for her performance opposite Jack Nicholson in Bob Rafelson's 'Five Easy Pieces.' Her dozens of film credits also include Sean Penn's 'Dead Man Walking' and 'The Pledge'; Steven Spielberg's 'Minority Report' (opposite Tom Cruise); Jan De Bont's 'Twister'; Jocelyn Moorhouse's 'How to Make an American Quilt'; Paul Mazursky's 'Next Stop'; 'Greenwich Village'; Daniel Petrie's 'Resurrection'; Adrian Lyne's 'Foxes' and 'Fatal Attraction'; Bob Rafelson's 'Black Widow'; Peter Weir's 'Green Card'; Jon Avnet's 'Fried Green Tomatoes'; Joel Schumacher's 'Falling Down'; and, with 'Hollywoodland' costar Diane Lane, John Madden's soon-to-be-released 'Killshot.' Other upcoming films include George LaVoo's 'A Dog Year,' opposite Jeff Bridges and a yet to be titled film directed by Nicole Holofcener starring Katherine Keener.
An old and powerful vampire, Eric commands a strong physical presence as well as a well-connected position and a cunning personality. The same self-assurance that served him as a Viking now allows him to manipulate or just dominate humans and vampires alike. Owning and operating the vampire bar Fangtasia provides ample opportunity to do both.
Film: Metropia, Beyond the Pole, The Burrowers, Jarnets Anglar, Leende Guldbruna Ogon, Exit, Cuppen, Kill Your Darlings, Never Be Mine, Om Sara, The Last Drop, Som Man Baddar, Hjartslag, Hundtricket, Zoolander, Drakarna Over Helsingfors, Vingar Av Glas, Jarnganget, Dykaren, Hundtricket
TV: Generation Kill, D-dag, Revelations, Judith, Happy End
A strapping man when he was alive, this vampire's sexual appetite has only increased over the years: Men, women - whatever. Sharing a nest with Liam and Diane hasn't exactly warmed his attitude toward humans, either.
Andrew, a California native, moved to Chicago after college to work in theater. While in Chicago, Andrew acted for many years with the European Repertory Company and has also worked at such Chicago theaters as Steppenwolf, The Goodman, and Chicago Shakespeare. He has appeared in a few films while in Chicago, such as Save the Last Dance and The Poker House. Andrew guest starred on Prison Break in Chicago and also worked opposite Will Ferrell in Stranger Than Fiction. He's also appeared over the years on things like Criminal Minds, ER, and Judging Amy.
In 2007 Andrew decided to move back to Los Angeles with his family. True Blood was Andrew's first audition upon his return, and since then he has recurred on Weeds and guest starred on Numbers on CBS. You might catch him at his local karaoke dive bar in LA on Virgil if your lucky, he takes requests.
A sexy, sadistic vampire, Diane has allowed every shred of her human compassion to slip away. Despite the new trend of "mainstreaming," she still sees mortals as playthings to be enjoyed and summarily discarded.
Aunjanue Ellis first came to the public's attention appearing on the award-winning ABC television series The Practice. Since then Ellis has also appeared on such notable series as Third Watch, 100 Centre Street, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Numb3r. Jerry Bruckheimer has cast her in two separate series, NBC's E-Ring opposite Benjamin Bratt and Dennis Hopper and, more recently, FOX's Justice opposite Victor Garber.
Ellis's film credits include Nicole Holofcener's Lovely and Amazing, the Eddie Griffin comedy Undercover Brother, Freedomland opposite Julianne Moore and Samuel L. Jackson and Men of Honor opposite Robert DeNiro, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Charlize Theron among many other titles. Perhaps her most prominent cinematic role to date was appearing alongside Jamie Foxx in the Oscar-winning film Ray.
Last year, Aunjanue starred Bill Duke's film Cover at 20th Century Fox. She will be seen this Christmas in Universal's football drama The Express and in a cameo turn opposite Jim Carrey in his comedy I Love You Phillip Morris.
A tattooed vampire with a taste for rough sex, Liam knows where to find a willing fangbanger when he wants one. While many "mainstreaming" vamps try to blend into the human world, Liam looks positively terrifying - or positively gorgeous, depending on what kind of bars you patronize.
Classically trained at the Yale School of Drama, Graham has significant theatre credits from Shakespeare to Jerome Kern, but this has been the year to spread strongly into film and television. He will be seen menacing Jim Carrey in the upcoming Christmas comedy, 'Yes Man.' Television guest star roles have him playing another blood-sucker, Legend Chandler, in the season five finale of 'Nip/Tuck,' a skinhead biker in 'Saving Grace' and an illegal pharmaceutical drug dealer in 'Burn Notice.' Graham was raised in many cities throughout Canada with strong Scottish and Irish influences and is an avid ice hockey player and a contributing writer for www.theloveofsports.com.
LETTIE MAE THORNTON
Tara's mother has become a mean drunk - through years of practice. Nowadays, she mostly just boozes herself into quiet oblivion on the couch, though the decrease in drama has done little to ease her daughter's burden.
Veteran actress, Adina Porter, has truly made her mark in all areas of entertainment: Television, film and in the theatre. Currently, she plays Lettie Mae Thornton in True Blood, her fourth venture with HBO, having already had memorable performances in Mind of the Married Man, as well as the highly acclaimed HBO films, Lackawanna Blues and Gia.
Counting True Blood, Porter has recurred on some of television's hottest shows: Prison Break, Saving Grace, N.Y.P.D. Blue, and Law and Order. She also worked two full seasons on nbc's american dreams. Porter was cast as a series regular in the pilot Katrina and as a series regular in the pilot second opinion for cbs. In addition, porter has worked as a guest star on over 20 tv series, including House, Without a Trace, The Shield, Law & Order: SVU, CSI: NY, and ER.
In the film world, Porter has been seen in Swoon, Trust, The Peacemaker, Body Shots, Pipe Dream and the Fluffer, to name a few. In 2001, Porter starred on Broadway in "The Women", directed by Scott Elliot. This was her second project with Elliot, having collaborated with him at the Williamstown theatre festival, in "Ride Down Mt. Morgan." In addition to Elliot, Porter has been fortunate to work with some of the best stage directors: George C. Wolfe, Lisa Peterson, Mark Wing-Davey, Richard Foreman, Michael Cristofer, Michael Grief, and Risa Bramon Garcia. Other theatre credits include "The Misanthrope," at classic stage company, numerous plays at the NY Shakespeare Festival, most notably her Obie-winning performance in "Venus," written by Suzan-Lori Parks.
Porter was born and raised in New York City. She attended S.U.N.Y. purchase, as well as the school for performing arts. Along with her husband, madison, porter enjoys running after 17-month-old son. The family splits their time between Los Angeles and New York.
A privileged upbringing, a Wellesley education - Amy has left it all behind to find a more "authentic" existence on the road. She's a firm believer in the philosophy of Gaia and has found the ultimate tool to commune with the earth: Vampire blood.
In just a short time, Lizzy Caplan has built a burgeoning career with a diverse body of work. From her breakout role as Janis Ian in the hit Paramount feature film, 'Mean Girls' to her standout performance in the hugely successful J.J. Abrams project, 'Cloverfield,' her work has certainly reflected her versatility as an actress, easily transitioning from television comedy to film drama.
Besides her role as Amy on 'True Blood,' she also stars in the Lionsgate feature film 'My Best Friend's Girl' opposite Kate Hudson, Alec Baldwin and Dane Cook. In addition, Caplan recently filmed Crossing Over' opposite Harrison Ford, Sean Penn and Ray Liotta. Caplan's other recent film credits include the independent film 'Love Is the Drug,' which premiered at the 2006 Slamdance Film Festival. She also starred in the indie film, 'Crashing' opposite Campbell Scott, which was directed by Gary Walkow. She is currently shooting a starring role in the Independent feature, 'The Last Rites of Ransom Pride,' which co-stars Jon Foster, Scott Speedman and Dwight Yoakum.
Caplan's other television work includes working with Mike Scully, Mike White, Seth MacFarlane and Judd Apatow, to name a few. Last year, Caplan starred in the CBS comedy series 'The Class' by David Crane and Jeffery Klarik. For that role, Caplan received critical acclaim being named as on of the "10 Actors to Watch," by Daily Variety, "So Five Minutes from Now" by Entertainment Weekly and the "Fresh Face of Fall" by 'The Insider.' Prior to 'The Class,' Caplan starred in Marta Kaufman's WB series, 'Related,' Fox's, 'Tru Calling' and 'Undeclared,' and NBC's 'Freaks and Geeks.'
Alan Ball is an Academy Award and Emmy Award winning writer and director. He is currently working on his new HBO series, "True Blood," which he directed and adapted from the novel Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. "True Blood" stars Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress in rural Louisiana. The series also features Stephen Moyer, Ryan Kwanten and Lois Smith. Ball is the Executive Producer and Creator of the series.
"Towelhead" is his feature film directorial debut, based on his screenplay adaptation of the novel Towelhead by Alicia Erian. The film stars Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, Toni Collette, Peter Macdissi and newcomer Summer Bishil.
In January 2007 Ball’s play "All That I Will Ever Be" premiered at the New York Theatre Workshop - his first return to theater in over a decade.
Ball was the creator and Executive Producer of "Six Feet Under," the critically acclaimed drama series on HBO. The series garnered many awards including three Golden Globes (including Best Drama Series), seven Emmy awards and a George Foster Peabody Award. Alan was awarded an Emmy and a DGA award for directing the pilot of "Six Feet Under", his directorial debut.
Alan’s first produced feature film screenplay was "American Beauty," for which he received the 1999 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, the Writers Guild of America award for Best Original Screenplay, and the Golden Globe award for Best Screenplay, among others.
His other television credits include "Oh Grow Up", "Cybill" and "Grace Under Fire."
Prior to moving to Hollywood, he was a noted comedic playwright in New York. Among his numerous credits are "Five Women Wearing the Same Dress," which premiered February 1993 at Manhattan Class Company, starring Thomas Gibson, Ally Walker and Allison Janney; 'The M Word," which premiered at the inaugural Lucille Ball Festival of New American Comedy in 1991; "Made For a Woman;" "Bachelor Holiday;" "The Amazing Adventures of Tense Guy;" and "Your Mother's Butt." He was one of the founding members of Alarm Dog Rep.
Born in Atlanta, Ball was raised in Marietta, Georgia. He attended Florida State University, where he majored in theater, with an emphasis in acting and playwriting. After college, he moved to New York, where he first worked as an art director for various trade publications.
Charlaine Harris: Southern Vampire Series Author
1 Strange Love
Across the country, vampires have “come out of the coffin” following the invention of mass-produced synthetic blood. In Louisiana, Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a waitress with telepathic abilities, falls under the spell of sexy, 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) – whose thoughts she can’t read.
After saving Bill from the Rattrays (James Parks, Karina Logue), a pair of ruthless “vampire drainers,” Sookie tests the limits of Bill’s gratitude when the two are left alone in the dark.
Meanwhile, Sookie’s best friend Tara (Rutina Wesley) goes to work for Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) at his bar and grill, while Sookie’s roguish brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) finds himself in hot water when a “fangbanger” with whom he’s been intimate meets a tragic end.
Written and directed by Alan Ball.
2 The First Taste
Bill returns Sookie’s favor by rescuing her from the Rattrays’ revenge, healing the wounded waitress with his own blood and leaving her with temporarily heightened senses.
After being invited into Gran’s (Lois Smith) house for a “get-to-know-you” gathering with Jason and her family, Bill joins Sookie for a nocturnal sojourn. They end up at Bill’s dilapidated antebellum estate, where he fights off his primal vampire urges for the acquiescent Sookie.
Later, Sookie’s desires get the better of her as she returns to Bill’s – and is greeted by a gaggle of his bloodthirsty vampire friends.
Written by Alan Ball; directed by Scott Winant.
Foiled in their attempt to “glamour” Sookie, vampires Malcolm (Andrew Rothenberg), Liam (Graham Shiels) and Diane (Aunjanue Ellis) make a hasty retreat after Bill lays claim to the waitress.
At Merlotte’s, Sam seeks a short-term remedy to his longterm loneliness, while Tara seeks respite from her mother’s alcohol-fueled rage.
Spurned by Dawn (Lynn Collins) for lack of performance, Jason turns to Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis), Merlotte’s short-order cook, for help with his problem.
Written by Alan Ball; directed by John Dahl.
4 Escape from Dragon House
Another killing in Bon Temps finds Jason back in custody with officers Andy (Chris Bauer) and Bud (William Sanderson). Tara gets him off the hook, but neither she nor Lafayette has the antidote to his current ailment.
Urged by Gran to use her telepathic abilities to weed out the murderer and exonerate her brother, Sookie persuades Bill to take her to a Shreveport vampire bar called Fangtasia, where she impresses a dominant Nordic bloodsucker named Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) with her prescient powers.
Later, Bill demonstrates his own considerable powers when an abusive patrolman stops the couple on their way home.
Written by Brian Buckner; directed by Michael Lehmann.
5 Sparks Fly Out
Spurned by an exasperated Sookie (Anna Paquin), Bill (Stephen Moyer) ends up winning over Adele’s (Lois Smith) church audience with his vivid recollections from the Civil War, though Andy (Chris Bauer) and Bud (William Sanderson) remain suspicious.
Sam (Sam Trammell) tries to make the most of his opportunity with Sookie, though she’s clearly not ready to commit. Ignoring Tara’s (Rutina Wesley) rebuff, Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) convinces Jason (Ryan Kwanten) to give vampire blood, aka “V juice,” another shot. Alone at home, Bill remembers the painful wartime incident that changed his fate forever.
Written by Alexander Woo; directed by Daniel Minahan.
6 Cold Ground
Numbed by tragedy, Sookie looks for refuge from the cacophony of her friends’ and neighbors’ inner voices. After lashing out at his sister and decking Andy, Jason wrestles with withdrawal symptoms from his V juice habit.
Tara resists the overtures of her mother Lettie Mae (Adina Porter), who’s trying to rid herself of a demon and needs her daughter’s help. Sam and Tara make a connection in their mutual search for “something real.”
Written by Raelle Tucker; directed by Nick Gomez.
7 Burning House of Love
Sookie’s painful childhood revelation about her Uncle Bartlett spurs Bill into action. Despite her skepticism, Tara agrees to pay for an exorcism to purge Lettie Mae of a demon. In search of V juice, Jason travels to Fangtasia, where he bonds with an adventurous young woman named Amy (Lizzy Kaplan). A trio of rednecks decide to exact vigilante justice on a pack of vampires who crashed Merlotte’s in search of their wayward mate Bill.
Written by Chris Offutt; directed by Marcos Siega.
8 The Fourth Man in the Fire
Sookie tries to hold herself together in the wake of another possible tragedy. Tara is amazed by Lettie Mae’s turnaround, and considers similar therapy for herself after lashing out at Sookie and Sam. Jason’s new squeeze Amy charms the crowd at Merlotte’s, but shows a darker side to Jason when their V juice well runs dry.
Rene (Michael Raymond James) pops the question to Arlene (Carrie Preston) while Sookie is baby-sitting her kids. Later, at Bill’s request, Sookie agrees to use her gifts to help Eric (Alexander Skarsgård), a powerful vampire sheriff, root out a thief at Fangtasia.
Written by Alexander Woo; directed by Michael Lehmann.
9 Plaisir d’Amour
Bill (Stephen Moyer) breaks a vampire taboo in protecting Sookie (Anna Paquin) – and must pay a steep price as a result. Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and Amy (Lizzy Kaplan) break their own taboo by kidnapping a vampire named Eddie (Stephen Root) in order to harvest his blood.
With Lettie Mae (Adina Porter) apparently cured, a skeptical Tara (Rutina Wesley) consults with Miss Jeanette (Aisha Hinds) about exorcising her own inner demon. Sookie returns home to yet another horrific tragedy, prompting Bill to enlist an unlikely bodyguard – Sam (Sam Trammell) – to protect her while he’s away.
Written by Brian Buckner; directed by Anthony Hemingway.
10 I Don’t Wanna Know
Caught in a compromising position, Sam shares a secret with an incredulous Sookie. Thinking she’s been purged of her demon, Tara celebrates with Lettie Mae – but goes off the deep end when she uncovers Miss Jeanette’s true intentions.
Sookie has a disturbing revelation during Arlene (Carrie Preston) and Rene’s (Michael Raymond James) engagement party at Merlotte’s; Jason and Amy debate what to do with Eddie; and Tara speeds into a bizarre roadside encounter that lands her in jail.
At a vampire tribunal to decide his fate, Bill faces a harsh penalty for his offense, but the magister (Zelijko Ivanek) decides on a more creative sentence involving a young human named Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll).
Written by Chris Offutt; directed by Scott Winant.
11 To Love Is to Bury
Bill fulfills the conditions of the tribunal’s sentence, although he and Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) find that Jessica doesn’t quite turn (out) as expected. Trying to solve the mystery behind her most recent vision, Sookie heads to a pie shop with Sam and later puts the squeeze on a philandering police officer to get info.
Jason helps clean up Amy’s mess, worrying about their future, but unable to break away. Tara’s anger over Lettie Mae’s refusal to bail her out of jail is tempered when Maryann Forrester (Michelle Forbes), a wealthy “social worker,” comes to her rescue. Disgusted by the hypocrisy of a vamp-bashing state senator, Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) decides to pay him a visit on the campaign trail. In Bill’s absence, a vulnerable Sookie finds comfort in Sam. A distraught Jason finds himself in hot water with Bud (William Sanderson) and Andy (Chris Bauer), again.
Written and directed by Nancy Oliver.
12 You’ll Be the Death of Me (season finale)
Sookie finds a link to the string of killings in Bon Temps – and ends up in the murderer’s crosshairs. Tara decides to make the most of her second chance with Maryann; Jason finds a new calling after anti-vampire zealot Orry (Michael Bofshever) visits him in jail; Bill tempts fate during his latest attempt to save Sookie; Sam is perturbed by an encounter with an old acquaintance; Lafayette finds himself in the wrong place at the right time
Written by Raelle Tucker; directed by Alan Ball.
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TRUE BLOOD, NEW SERIES FROM “SIX FEET UNDER” CREATOR ALAN BALL,
STARRING ANNA PAQUIN AND STEPHEN MOYER,
DEBUTS FEBRUARY 15 ON HBO
In the not-too-distant future, vampires have come out of the coffin. Thanks to the invention of mass-produced synthetic blood, vampires no longer need humans for their fix and can walk freely, if not yet comfortably, among their living counterparts – though they can still come out only at night.
Meanwhile, in the backwoods Louisiana town of Bon Temps, Sookie Stackhouse works as a waitress at the down-home bar Merlotte’s. Though outwardly normal, she has unusual qualities of her own: Sookie can read minds, which complicates her world in endless ways. But Sookie’s life gets a lot more interesting when Merlotte’s gets its first vampire patron – the 173-year-old Bill Compton – and the two outsiders are immediately drawn to each other.
Mixing romance, suspense, mystery and humor, the new HBO series TRUE BLOOD kicks off its 12-episode first season SUNDAY, FEB…….
Starring Anna Paquin (the “X-Men” films; Academy Award®-winner for “The Piano”) as Sookie and Stephen Moyer (“The Starter Wife,” “88 Minutes”) as Bill, the series is created and executive produced by Alan Ball (creator of the Emmy®-winning HBO series “Six Feet Under”), who also wrote the first three episodes and directs two episodes of the show, which is based on the popular Sookie Stackhouse novels of Charlaine Harris.
Other cast regulars on TRUE BLOOD include Ryan Kwanten (“Summerland”) as Sookie’s brother Jason, whose womanizing makes him the prime suspect in a gruesome murder case; Rutina Wesley (“How She Move”) as Sookie’s best friend Tara Thornton, whose outspoken ways constantly get her into trouble; Sam Trammell (“Judging Amy”) as Sookie’s good-hearted boss Sam Merlotte, who carries a torch for her; Nelsan Ellis (“The Inside”) as Lafayette Reynolds, a cook at Merlotte’s, whose personal life is as colorful as his wardrobe; Chris Bauer (HBO’s “The Wire”) as Detective Andy Bellefleur; Jim Parrack (“Criminal Minds”) as Hoyt Fortenberry, one of Jason Stackhouse’s co-workers on a road construction crew; Carrie Preston (“Law & Order: Criminal Intent”) as Sookie’s fellow waitress Arlene Fowler; Michael Raymond James (“Black Snake Moan”) as Rene Lenier, another one of Jason’s co-workers; William Sanderson (HBO’s “Deadwood”) as Sheriff Bud Dearborne; and Alexander Skarsgård (HBO’s upcoming “Generation Kill”) as Eric, a Nordic vampire.
Also appearing in TRUE BLOOD are Lois Smith (“Hollywoodland”) as Sookie’s grandmother Adele, who shares her fascination with vampires; Lizzy Kaplan (“Cloverfield”) as Amy Burley, the new girl in town who falls for Jason; Lynn Collins (“The Number 23”) as Dawn Green, a waitress who has an on-again, off-again relationship with Sookie’s brother; Kristin Bauer (“Dirty Sexy Money”) as Eric’s cohort Pam, who helps run a vampire bar; and Stephen Root (“No Country for Old Men”) as Eddie, a neophyte vampire.
In addition to Alan Ball, directors on the series include John Dahl (“Rounders”), Nick Gomez (“The Shield”), Anthony Hemingway (HBO’s “The Wire”), Michael Lehmann (HBO’s “Big Love”), Daniel Minahan (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Nancy Oliver (writer, “Lars and the Real Girl”), Marcos Siega (“Veronica Mars”) and Scott Winant (“Hidden Palms”).
Created and executive produced by Alan Ball, “Six Feet Under” wrapped its fiveseason run on HBO in 2005. Overall, the series won nine Emmys®, including Directing for a Drama Series (Alan Ball) in 2002. In addition, “Six Feet Under” received three Golden Globe Awards. Ball also received the Best Original Screenplay Oscar® for “American Beauty.” He makes his feature-film directorial debut later this year with “Towelhead,” based on the critically acclaimed novel by Alicia Erian.
TRUE BLOOD is created and executive produced by Alan Ball; based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris; co-executive producer, Brian Buckner; supervising producer, Nancy Oliver; producers, Alexander Woo, Carol Dunn Trussell; coproducer, Raelle Tucker; casting by Junie Lowry Johnson, C.S.A. & Libby Goldstein; music by Nathan Barr; edited by Andy Keir and Michael Ruscio, A.C.E.; production designer, Suzuki Ingerslev.