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15 Things You Didn’t Know About True Blood8

By Rebecca Leib

15 Things You Didn’t Know About True Blood

The HBO series “True Blood” examines the hypothetical: what if creatures like Maneads, shape-shifters, mindreaders and most importantly, vampires, were real? The show, created by Six Feet Under’s Alan Ball, is based on a series of books by Charlaine Harris. So far, the show’s three seasons have been a major success – pushing the boundaries of sex, debauchery and violence in entertainment. This is no surprise since modern society seems fascinated with everything supernatural – from vampires to zombies to ghosts. Show’s like KoldCast TV’s zombie comedy series American Heart, for instance, sets zombies as the backdrop for an impromptu reality show about a group of human survivors trapped in a hospital. Shows like these allow you to discover that there is a whole lot of drama going on behind the blood-drinking, brain-eating and chain-rattling. For those die-hard fans of bloodsuckers who can’t get enough, here’s a deeper look at secrets and little-known facts surrounding the actors and the production of HBO’s “True Blood.”

American Heart, Episode 1: The Hospital

1. Bill Compton isn’t a wondervampire

In Episode 2, titled “The First Taste,” Bill Compton tells Sookie he can’t turn into an animal, although many vampires can. There’s no deficit of strength or charm in Bill’s bag of tricks, but in changing forms, he falls short. Though it is unclear exactly why Bill can’t be turned, the introduction shortly thereafter of Sam Merlotte (a shape shifter), may be a sign that the writers wanted to make their leading men distinct.

2. Tara looks different in the pilot

Like Tara Thornton? Hate her? Turns out, critics felt pretty strongly against actress Brook Kerr’s performance as best friend Tara Thornton after the pilot was screened for critics. After the feedback, actress Rutina Wesley was re-cast as Tara. It was probably a good thing, as Wesley was nominated for both a Screen Actor’s Guild Award and a Scream Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Tara.

3. Vampire can get Hep D

In the world of “True Blood,” Hepatitis D is the only blood-born pathogen vampires are susceptible to. It will make a vampire weak for approximately a month. Though the infected vampire won’t die, they are much more vulnerable to attack during this time.

4. Eric is multi-lingual

Though you may know Eric Northman speaks Swedish (actor Alexander Skarsgard’s native language) when he talks with his vampire brethren, you may not know that his character also speaks German and is known to speak a plethora of other languages. The older the vampire, the more languages they are fluent in.

5. Not so “True”

Though “True Blood” is based on The Southern Vampire Mystery Series by Charlaine Harris, there’s another “True Blood” out in the entertainment world. It’s a 1989 action flick written and directed by Frank Kerr. The main character’s last name is Trueblood, and though there’s a lot of blood in the film, there aren’t any vampires… just Chad Lowe.

6. Title sequence isn’t vintage

“True Blood” has an unforgettable title sequence, though it isn’t as southern gothic-y or vintage as it might look. Alan Ball commissioned Digital Kitchen (who also did the sequence to “Six Feet Under” and “Dexter”) to do the opener. They digitized signs and filmed the rest of the footage themselves in LA, Seattle, Louisiana and Chicago.

7. Taste is everything

The synthetic blood featured on “True Blood” is supposed to taste like the type of blood type on the label, but the synthetic blood on the show is actually made of raspberries. Additionally, the show’s promotional drink that was sold in stores, “Tru Blood,” is a sweet, carbonated beverage.

8. True Bling

There is a “True Blood” jewelry line, commissioned by the studio and created by jeweler Udi Behr. Most of the jewelry is silver, and features leather, rubies and chains.

9. Resemblance isn’t key

Many people wonder why the characters and plot in the television show “True Blood” are so unlike the book. To be cohesive with a new medium and to “let the characters breathe,” Ball had final say on how the characters were portrayed and how the plot develops away from the books. In order to fit his style and that of the network, he took some creative liberties.

10. Thanks, Stephen Colbert

The interior of the vampire and fangbanger bar, Fangtasia, was inspired by a Colbert Report poster of Bush biting into The Statue of Liberty. The set designers used the poster, along with commissioned paintings and anti-religious imagery to make the bar look political yet fun.

11. Oh, Arlene

Arlene Fowler, the spicy redheaded waitress at Merlotte’s, has been married four times on the show and engaged five. That’s a record for the human characters and presumably many of the hundred-year-old vampires on the show.

12. Sookie’s house is everyone’s house

Mike Wells, a construction guy, used his deceased grandmother’s possessions to decorate the Stackhouse house, and as time went on, many other crew members donated items for this location, even family pictures.

13. Bill and Sookie’s winter spring romance

Bill Compton and Sookie Stackhouse are, of course, far apart in age. Compton is 173. Stackhouse is 25. So are the actors: Stephen Moyer is 41 and Anna Paquin is 27. In love, on and off-screen, they prove that love transcends age or lack of pulse.

14. Bon Temps is real!

The fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana is based on the actual town of Clinton, Louisiana. The filming of the show, however, is split between multiple locations in both Louisiana and Southern California.

15. Upstaged?

Almost every major character in “True Blood” has a Broadway theatre background, including creator Alan Ball, who started out as a playwright. I can’t wait for the musical episode!

American Heart, Episode 2: Well, If the Guard Says Its True

American Heart, Episode 3: The World Wide Dead

Watch Episodes 4 and 5 of American Heart.

Rebecca Leib received her BFA in Fine Art and MFA in writing and hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is a Los Angeles based comedian and writer. Her work can be seen in the pages of many print and online publications, including Beautiful/Decay, Artillery Magazine, Blackbook, Tvgasm, Metrowize and Dailyfill. She has performed at the Second City Studio Theatre, UCB-LA, IOWest and the improv, and can often be seen brooding at sidewalk cafes.

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Must Reads 7/26/2014