“True Blood” Actress Kristin Bauer van Straten on Saying Goodbye to Bon Temps
Pam de Beaufort – the feistiest vampire – returns for the HBO show’s final season.
Are you struggling to talk about the last season of True Blood without giving anything away?
I feel like it’s so much harder this year than ever. I’ve been talking about it on set, asking the other actors, “How do you talk about it at all?” I can definitely talk about where Pam was at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, which is looking for Eric [Alexander Skarsgård]. She’s in a desperate place. She’s made a decision to leave her progeny and once again put Eric before everything else.
Why do you think Eric, who changed her into a vampire, is the most important thing for her?
I think when they wrote how she was made, it just all fit for me because she didn’t have deep ties or connections as a human. She chose death. It was up to Eric to save her or not, and he did. It’s kind of the perfect relationship because we have complete trust and faith in each other. Pam is just very loyal. I only have a handful of best friends and Alex Skarsgård is now in that category. If I had that relationship for a hundred and some years and it transcended decades and endless love affairs and endless death, it would be exceedingly difficult to let it go.
What’s the main threat this season?
In the vampire world and now in the human world we have this problem with Hep V [a strain of Hepatitis D that affects the undead]. It was created last season and there’s the elimination of Tru Blood as a real food source for vampires, which was the only reason vampires could be allowed to live with people – if people weren’t seen as food. That’s been removed, so vampires are seen as an enemy. And Hep V makes vampires more desperate for food.
These characters have constantly been barraged by threat after threat on this show. Will they ever find peace?
Most fans don’t realize – we do because we have to deal with continuity – that most seasons take place over 10 days. This has been quite a year and a half for Sookie. There’s peace and then there’s the opposite of that. It’s really a condensed biosphere of what we all experience in our own lives. There are tragedies and there are wins and then there are more tragedies. When I think about the whole show I’m so involved in my storyline it’s almost hard for me to remember what everybody else is doing. You can be a fan of it and be on it. There probably will be some peace for some people and not as much for others.
Do you feel like Pam gets a satisfactory ending?
That’s a tough one to answer…. It made sense to me.
Are you starting to feel sad about the show coming to an end?
It’s very sad. Everything this year has been a last. Even the first table read was our last first table read. So many days where I realized, “Wow this is my last scene with blah blah blah.” It’s just like getting a paper cut every day for months and it never gets to heal. It’s surreal and so lucky and so sad because it’s so lucky. You’re never sad when something horrible goes away.
Is there anything you’re going to steal off the set after you finish shooting?
I’ve been thinking about that quite a bit lately. I’ve been thinking, “Well if I’m going to lift something I better start bringing a big bag.” I have no idea what I will want to cherish and stare at. They’ve asked all the vampires if we want to keep our fangs. Of course I said, “Yes,” but I have no idea if I’ll ever wear them again. Can you imagine? If I’m that person just in Starbucks in two years time with my fangs in?
I don’t want to cherish some shot glass for the rest of my life.
Do you have a sense of what True Blood’s legacy as a show will be?
I’ve been thinking about that because it’s the last season, but also because I’m just starting Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It’s interesting to look at that show, which aired 20 years ago, and its legacy. The reason I’m doing it is because for 20 years everybody has said it was a game-changer. When I look at it, I can’t but think of all the parallels to True Blood and what a game-changer True Blood was. When I started on it I don’t think there was one other vampire show. It’s a myth that’s been around for a long time. We’re not responsible for that archetype, but it certainly kicked in a genre and also took this way of storytelling to a new level. Alan Ball really tapped into something. You hope it lives on like the other HBO shows I’ve loved: Deadwood, The Sopranos, The Wire. Other people who didn’t work on the show will be able to have more perspective on why True Blood changed things. That’s how it feels for Buffy – people who teach classes at film school can tell you why it was important. I hope there’s a legacy.
It’s hard to know if people will remember what the landscape of TV was like before True Blood was there, but it was different.
The final season of “True Blood” premieres Sunday, June 22, on HBO.
Photos by Manfred Baumann