Alan Ball Talks ‘True Blood’
Director Alan Ball spoke with Moviehole about the reaction to his adaptation of True Blood, now about halfway through its first season on HBO.
He was drawn to the book series because it “seems like such an original mix. There’s so much in there that I really enjoyed. There’s a gothic-romance element, and I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it if that’s all it had been about, but there was also sex, violence and this serial murderer, all set in this crazy world where vampires are struggling for equal rights. And then there’s this cliffhanger old Saturday-afternoon matinee feel. It’s just really, really fun to work on.”
The show, recently picked up for a second season, stars Anna Paquin as a telepath in a small southern town who develops a relationship with a vampire who recently moved in nearby.
“She’s good casting,” he said. “Thank god she wanted to do TV! When the casting director said ‘Are you interested in Anna Paquin?’ I shot back ‘Well, yeah, but is she interested in this?’ She says ‘Yeah, she is’. Anna pursued this role, and thank god she did because… she really gives the show heart… soul. It’s a great cast, lets not discount anyone else in the cast, but playing someone whose been hearing someone else’s thoughts their entire life isn’t easy – and she makes it look easy.”
His adaptation of Towelhead is currently in theaters, having received largely negative reviews and he’s now at work on the second season. “I’m working with the writers on Monday. And I have two screenplays that I’ve written over the years, both original, that I may do. I think I’d like to direct one and I think I’d like to produce one. I’m playing with the idea of becoming a production company. But there’s nothing definite on the horizon besides True Blood.”
He added that actors he’s worked with elsewhere will be found on the series including Towelhead’s Lena Collins and Six Feet Under’s Chris Messina. “I tend to do that – work with actors again, especially if I feel they’re really good and are a pleasure to work with. If something is right for them, I’ll look them up.”
As for the future, he said, “I’ve found that after Six Feet Under, and now Towelhead, that the things I’m not drawn to seem to be genre – which was never the case for me before. I certainly have ideas for films that seem to be more science-fiction – that’s the label that best describes them – even though these two new scripts I’ve written both take place in the real world, one being a period piece. In terms of what I’m reading, and are interested in though, I sort of feel like I’ve had my fill of angst.”