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True Blood – Sexy vampire, Stephen Moyer

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Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) © 2011 HBO

British actor Stephen Moyer was born in Brentwood, Essex, and graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He worked in the theatre for five years, including time with the Royal Shakespeare Company, before moving on to films and TV.

In 2008, he was chosen to play the sexy vampire, Bill Compton, in the successful HBO series True Blood, created and executive produced by Alan Ball. And the series was a triumph for Moyer’s private life too, as he married his co-star and love interest in the show, Anna Paquin, who plays Sookie Stackhouse, on August 21, 2010.

This season Sookie and Bill’s undying love for each other is totally challenged and your scenes together border on tense. What’s it like playing that opposite each other?

[The series] is about Sookie growing up and her making decisions for herself rather than being the innocent. She starts as this innocent virgin in the first season, and she’s changed from there, and she’s starting to choose what she wants instead of being preyed upon by these vampires.

I think it’s really important for the story that she, and all the characters, move through these arcs, maybe find their way back to each other or maybe not.

Do you guys miss working together as much?

True Blood, 4.01 - Stephen Moyer
Episode 4.01 - Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) © 2011 HBO

It can be one of those things where you get home and the other one’s at work. Truthfully, we got to know each other on set and all the crew and everybody knows us together. They’re probably lying, but they tell us they miss seeing us together.

Was there an instant attraction between you, when you met?

I waited for her to tell me that she really fancied me, before I admitted anything.

What do you like to do together, when you’re not working?

We drink blood together. It’s just your average, regular Sunday!

Now that you’re in Season 4, have you reached a point where you give more input into your character?

True Blood, 4.06 - Stephen Moyer
Episode 4.06 - Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) © 2011 HBO

Alan was very open, I remember, immediately after the pilot. We had a three-month wait until we found out about the pickup, and then we had the writers’ strike, and even then Alan was saying to us, ‘If there’s anything that I’m missing or if there’s anything that you feel that I could bring to it or would help us, then please talk to us and give us the idea.’

When we were down in Comic-Con recently we were pitching ideas of Bill taking over the world. (he laughs)

What was it about Alan’s scripts that you liked so much?

I think that one of the things in those first three scripts that we saw that Alan wrote was his humor.

My character isn’t one of the ones who gets many of the [funny] lines because he’s more melancholic and introverted. But I was very pleased in Episode 5, of this season, where Pam comes in with a huge thing [on her head] because she’s covering her screwed-up face, and Bill says, ‘Oh, good. The world needs more beekeepers.’

So when you get those lines, you’re like, ‘Yes.’ We all get them, and we all look forward to hearing the other people read them at the table read.

What was your appearance at Comic-Con like this year?

True Blood, 4.04 - Katherine Helmond and Stephen Moyer
Episode 4.04 - Caroline Bellefleur (Katherine Helmond) and Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) © 2011 HBO

It was extraordinary. When we go to Comic-Con, we are playing very much to a specific audience who eats this stuff up, if you’ll excuse the pun!

When did you find out that Bill was the new King of Louisiana? And did you go, ‘Oh, this was inevitable?’ Or did you go, ‘What the hell do I do with this?’

The way that Alan has the show set up is that whoever has written that episode is the producer of that episode and sits on set the entire time. We’ve got six writers, so that means they’re going to be on for two episodes.

Every single one of us hits those writers up for information without any of the others knowing that we’re doing it, and then we all pool that information and try to find out what’s going on. I shouldn’t have said that out loud!

True Blood, 4.06 - Stephen Moyer
Episode 4.06 - Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) © 2011 HBO

And so I did find out that that was the idea that was being pitched towards the end of Season 3. I feel really lucky because I’ve got to play a really interesting arc just as an actor from the First Season where he’s this kind of enigmatic voyeur watching everything.

Then he’s worried in Season 2 that he’s going to lose [Sookie], and he holds on really tight. Then he realizes that he can’t hold on. He has to push her away in order to save her, and he’s quite nasty in the way he does it.

Then this season, what I’ve got to play is I’ve got to let her go. If you love somebody, you have to set them free; so whilst doing all of that I get to be the King. He’s having to make very powerful choices whilst letting go of the thing that he loves, so it’s been a really interesting dynamic for me to play.

In a way, Bill gets to perhaps become somebody that she can respect again because of the choices that he makes as King.