‘True Blood’s’ Stephen Moyer: Sookie and Eric romance will be ‘great for the show’

June 21, 2011 | 8:30 a.m.
moyer True Bloods Stephen Moyer: Sookie and Eric romance will be great for the show

Stephen Moyer in "True Blood" (HBO)

If you’re talking about “True Blood,” it’s the inevitable question that arises — Team Bill or Team Eric? The vampires duel for the affections of telepathic cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) on the HBO series adapted from Charlaine Harris‘ bestselling novels, and each has his loyal core of supporters. But Stephen Moyer, who plays Southern gentleman vampire Bill Compton and is married to Paquin, insists that, off screen, there’s no animosity between Alexander Skarsgard, the towering Swedish actor who portrays Viking Eric Northman, and himself. In fact, he believes that the romance that might be brewing between the two blonds could inject new life into the already vibrant show, which returns for its fourth season June 26. Moyer recently spoke to Hero Complex contributor Gina McIntyre about the appeal of the Alan Ball-created series and the enduring appeal of all things vampire — even “Twilight” — hinting, too, about what audiences might expect from Bill in the coming weeks.

bill True Bloods Stephen Moyer: Sookie and Eric romance will be great for the show

Stephen Moyer as Bill Compton in "True Blood." (HBO)

GM: Are you surprised at the way the series has become something of a phenomenon?

SM: When I got on board, I knew that it had the possibility of being that. If you asked anyone who read that pilot, they would have said the same thing — that it had the possibility of becoming that. I am not surprised. I certainly didn’t realize that the episodes were going to finish the way they did when I first started, which was that kind of we end on a climax, this kind of thriller aspect. It finishes with this crazy ending that is actually solved in the cold open of the next episode. So what it makes you do, OK, certainly when you’re watching it on DVD, you go, I’ll just watch the cold open of the next episode, just to find out what happened and then I’ll stop. It’s like crack. Three episodes later you’re like, Oh my God. It’s 3 o’clock in the morning. That seems to be a consensus.

GM: So you’re saying you’ve tricked people into loving the show?

SM: You completely trick people into buying your drug. That’s what we’re about. We’re selling drugs.

GM: What do you think it is about the series that people really respond to?

SM: Sex, drugs, all the rock and roll you could possibly hope for. Blood, comedy. Suspense, thriller. There’s so much. There’s all the deep metaphor underneath. You can either see that or not. We don’t care. We’re going to get you to watch it anyway. It’s always amazing me, some people go, Oh my God, I didn’t realize that so and so dying meant this. You might not have even thought of what that metaphor was. It’s very strange that we have this power that we have where people watch our show to escape, pure escapist drama, of course, but also they do like to see what’s going on underneath. They like just the pure comedy of it, the chewing-gum-ness of it. One of my favorite quotes is that television is chewing gum for the eyes — ours is like chewing gum with acid in it. I know what it is, but I can’t quantify it. I can’t tell you what it is we do, but I know that if I were creating a show, I’d want to watch something that has some jokes in it, something that’s sexy, something’s that a complete diversion from my life that makes me think about my life a little bit. The framework of a vampire show does that, especially if it’s grounded in truth. I think what we do very, very well is do fantastical crazy, but it’s grounded in truth. When it comes to other shows, what I liked about “The Walking Dead,” the pilot, is that there you are looking at Atlanta and it’s gone. And you kind of believed it for a second. I thought they did that brilliantly that episode.

I think that our show is a way for Alan [Ball] to talk about what is right or wrong with society by using a framework that people don’t think he’s bashing it over their heads. So, therefore, yeah, it’s a vampire show, but we all know that that’s not strictly what it is really. I remember the first two seasons going, it’s not a vampire show. It is a not a vampire show — whenever people went, oh, are you the guy in the vampire show? I’d go, well, yeah, but we really don’t think of it as a vampire show, and I still don’t. But for the sake of doing these pieces, I’m prepared to say that it is. It’s a show with vampires in it.

GM: Is that what drew you to the series? Its grander ambitions within a genre framework?

SM: Absolutely. I remember watching the pilot and just going, this is hilarious. I’d seen the dark humor within it. What I hadn’t seen was the laugh-out-loud humor. That surprised me. It had the sexiness, it had the otherness. I’m not really a genre fan, [but] when you watch it, you tap into a side of yourself which is completely fantastical and different. That’s that kind of sci-fi element, which is a kid sitting down in front of a piece of paper and instead of drawing … the swingset and the slide in front of them, they draw a spaceship. That is genre right there. It’s letting your brain go to a different place than the obvious. I love that about it.

Another thing that’s amazing that has been very surprising, and I suppose this happens in all long-running series, in Season 1, I didn’t know that I was a nightclub pianist in the 1930s. In Season 2, I was a nightclub pianist in the 1930s. And so what happens is you learn things about your character from the past that will inform how you play the present, which you don’t know when you sign on. That is fascinating especially when I’m playing a 170 year old. There are so many different periods of history that we can go back to that will inform how we move on from here. Obviously, we can’t change what we’ve already shot, but certainly it will inform the decisions I make from now on. As an actor, that is something that I just didn’t even perceive of knowing. That’s so much fun.

GM: What do you make of the current vampire craze? It really shows no sign of abating.

SM: It doesn’t seem to be abating. It’s one of those unanswerable questions because when you think it’s one thing, it turns out to be another. … I think in the teen world, there’s a beautiful romance about that stuff. I believe this year the Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart characters [in the “Twilight” saga] have a baby. It’s this perfect romance, this perfect ideal. Ours isn’t quite as fluffy as that … our characters and the way that Alan works is, as soon as a character has a semblance of happiness, he digs a hole for them to drive into.

GM: With that in mind, what can you tell us about what’s in store for Bill in Season 4? He doesn’t figure too prominently in “Dead to the World,” the novel this season is loosely drawn from.

SM: Because Bill and Sookie went their separate ways at the end of last season, he’s sort of found himself in a situation where he’s had to do something else. The only thing he’s got left in his life ultimately is the fact that he’s a vampire and Jessica, who’s his sort-of progeny. There’s a really beautiful scene at the end of Episode 9 or something last year where he realizes that she won’t go away; he tries to release her, but she’s not going away. Conversely, he realizes that he’s got something to live for, which is quite a beautiful motif in a way. As much as you may want everything to go away, sometimes they won’t. It’s not going to be as simple as that. He’s got a lot of other stuff going on this year that, ultimately, he’s trying to be a better person. He’s realized that he’s made some mistakes, and he’s gone in a different direction.

sookieeric True Bloods Stephen Moyer: Sookie and Eric romance will be great for the show

Anna Paquin, Alexander Skarsgard in "True Blood." (HBO)

GM: What’s your take on the potential Sookie-Eric romance that seems to be brewing this year? Do you and Alexander Skarsgard have a friendly set rivalry?

SM: I’m sure you’d love me to tell you that we loathe each other and we fight every day, but if you came to the set, you’d just see us having lunch, laughing, the three of us. There’s not really a story there. But we are interested in how the show works, and we are very much into helping the show move along. I went up to him at the beginning of the season, and I just went, look, I want you to do your job to the absolute best of your ability, and I will not be around when you have to do that stuff. I don’t want you to feel like you’re looking over your shoulder and there’s me at the monitor going, get your hands off her! It’s absolutely not how we roll. Me and him are mates. I think it’s great for the show, I think the fans who have been waiting for that stuff to happen will be very pleased with the way it plays out. But as I said earlier, it doesn’t always go necessarily the way you want it to. That’s what’s great about the show.


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53 Responses to ‘True Blood’s’ Stephen Moyer: Sookie and Eric romance will be ‘great for the show’

  1. rocco says:

    What would be better for the show is to have Eric kill Bill with a wooden stake in episode 1. I hate that character.

    • nsw says:

      Actually there are others who do love the Bill character-me included so that was not very nice. I actually would not like to see any of the main characters killed off. Even though I am not a Eric fan I do like him on the show and I think Alexander is a great actor and plays Eric well. Since Bill is the leading man I don't think your wish is going to happen.

      • buh says:

        Bill is not the leading man, in the books he is not even the main love interest, its Eric, with him Sookie has the longest relationship

    • Pam G. says:

      Have you actually been watching the show? B.C. is twice the man/vampire that E.N. is. Besides, who has his name 2nd in the credits?

    • Will says:

      Did you not read this?

      *If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate.

      Back away from the keyboard kid. Isn't Twilight playing somewhere you could be watching?

    • Cindy says:

      Bill is sexy as hell and if you haven't noticed….Alan Ball doesn't go exactly by the books which makes it more interesting because you never know for sure what is going to happen!!! Bill and Sookie are soul mates on the tv series!!!!!

  2. Diana says:

    Love Bill and am dying to see the direction he takes this season. The character has so much depth and Stephen Moyer brings him beautifully to life. Eric…meh.

    • mimi says:

      I love both actors' portrayals of their respective characters. Stephen Moyer has the attitude we should all have, even if we profess to be on Team.?.. or Team..?. (whatever!). And that is that the antagonism and the competition and the "eye f*cking" these vamps engage in is so great for the show, and for the tension and drama it provides. It's a TV show – we should all be having fun with it!

  3. Liz says:

    @rocco – haha. Well then. Guess they are doing their job. Thin line between love and hate and all that.

    I LOVE Bill. That character is so my cup of tea and Steve just hits it out of the park every single time. As a big Bill/Jessica fan I can't wait to see the progression of their relationship. That's the one I'm keeping an eye on.

    Also, thanks for putting these interviews up. They are great.

    • mimi says:

      You nailed it, Liz! Bill is my cup of tea too! (Tea for two, and two for tea….) I love the Bill/Jessica relationship, it is so real (if you can say tha about anything in this show – LOL!).
      And this is a terrific interview! Thanks from me too for posting.

  4. Juney says:

    To me Bill is the most interesting character on the show. Truly a tragic hero, who was a good man in life and is now tormented by his vampire nature. Bill is tryng to hold onto what remains of his humanity and Stephen Moyer's portrayal of Bill brings this complex character to life for me.

  5. RaisingCaine says:

    I am so ready for the show to inject some new life into the characters!

    Really looking forward to seeing the Eric and Sookie dynamic this season.
    Who has the farthest to come back to any semblance of humanity? Who is not used to having "Feelings?"
    That would be the thousand year old Viking Vampire. His character is such an enigma. There is such a vast span of his life over the past millenium that can be used in the show. He's exciting and fresh. He's a vampire who knows who and what he is. He never conceals his nature.
    Having his memories suddenly wiped away and leaving himself vulnerable to Sookie is going to make for some great storytelling not only this season but in future seasons as well.
    Alex Skarsgard is simply brilliant as Eric. He embodies the character so well and understands him.
    This is the season I have been looking the most forward to. Ready for the "Shift" – Bring it on!

    • mimi says:

      I love the way AS plays EN. I can't say the character is exciting and fresh. He's kind of controlled, low key, paces himself, and calculates unendingly. But I do think the amnesia story line and the way it will affect his relationship with Sookie is going to be great fun. And it will present Eric in a very new and refreshing way, which will be so interesting!

    • CB47 says:

      Enjoy the "shift" while it lasts. Because you know Alan is going to pull the rug out. It's a given.

  6. Mai says:

    Thank God! Bill and Sookie are soooooooooo BORING! Bring me Eric and Sookie!!!

  7. Lynn says:

    The most interesting character in this show is ERIC. The only reason I watch True Blood. He is powerful, daring, caring. He is a BAMF, but he cares about the people he loves. In his own way, you can trust him. Eric Northman is the best character in a show that really is in trouble after a poor Season.

    • Pam G. says:

      I am a real Trubie and love everything about the show including Eric but someone really needs to show him how a screen kiss should be done. He always looks like he is in pain. On the other hand, Mr. Moyer appears to be a real pro. Team Bill all the way!

    • mara67 says:

      Agree with you completely. If it weren't for Eric, I would have stopped watching in season 2. The Maryann arc was a waste of time. The arc with Sam's trashy family was a waste of time. Lafayette
      character is weird, and will become a witch this season??? I thank God for the mute button on my remote

      Have any of the writers ever read the books. I am not asking for a page by page adaptation, but a resonable rendition of the books.

  8. William says:

    This isn't Twilight kiddies, there are no 'Teams'. If you've read the books then you already know Bill isn't a main character after the 3rd book. Personally, I can't stand Bill but I do think he's protrayed amazingly by Moyer. But Eric is by far the best character from Harris' creation to Alex's portrayal. I hope y'all are ready to see another side of him!

    • Jessica says:

      Agreed! I adore Eric and Alexander Skarsgård really brings the character to life. You learn so much more about Eric in the books. He is the way he is for a reason. Speaking of Eric, has he messed up with Sookie in the books hmmmm? :P

  9. Jonna K says:

    I absolutely can't fathom watching True Blood without Bill, he's my favorite character on the show and Stephen is just brilliant at playing him. There are few indispensables on True Blood, and Bill, right after Sookie, is one of them. I just hope they don't change his character too much this year – show him in a different light (again!) but let him stay recognizable as Bill. I am looking forward to every Bill and Sookie meeting, no matter how awkward, and also to Bill and Jessica
    I am so tired of reading the yapping about E+S – a truly unappealing and incomprehensible pairing unless Sookie's memory is erased and she forgets she has sworn off vampires. But it seems inevitable so I will swallow this bitter pill. There is so much else to look forward to.

  10. Jenna B says:

    I Love Stephen Moyer, no wonder Anna fell head over heels for him, Great interview, also his acting skills are through the roof, I really hope to see him win some awards this year, he shined in season 3.

  11. Stephanie Peck says:

    I love True Blood. I have read all the books. I am really looking foward to seeing the Eric and Sookie relationship play out. I am also interested to see how Bill's character is going to develop. I am addicted to the show and I have spent countless hours reading about and watching True Blood. My husband is in the military and during last years deployment True Blood kept me company and helped me escape into a fantacy land. This show has so much potential for a long run.

  12. Mimi says:

    It is so fascinating how emotionally committed we fans are to our vampire of choice. I am a true-blue Bill fan as far as favorites, but I think Eric is a great character. He's hot, and old, and jaded, and pragmatic, and (usually) controlled, and he plans ahead, which I like. Bill falls victim to his emotions more than Eric, but after all, he is 175 (approx) and Eric is almost 1000. He better know more by now!

    I find it interesting that Eric and Sookie hook up but things don't always go as expected. Very interesting statement. Although both male vampires compete for Sookie, I love seeing them in other circumstances, as Bill with Jessica, which is so well done, and Eric with Pam, Lafayette, even Yvetta. These actors are so talented, and have brought these characters to life (well, undead life ) in such captivating and intriguing ways, it just makes us human women sigh and swoon!

  13. zee says:

    bill and sookie got boring FAST after season one…right now i'd rather see her with pam..or tara or even tommy! thn with bill. although lets face it…its all about eric :)

    • karin says:

      I FEEL sad for you. the show is so much more than just one character. it is an ensemble. i am sorry you are missing the beauty of all the characters.

  14. Dooby says:

    Eric and Sookie romance? Oh YES please!

    Eric is such an exciting character, he is the main reason I watch the show.

  15. Lou says:

    Stephen Moyer gives great interview! So thoughtful, intelligent, funny, and he's just such a fan of the SHOW. What a wonderful thing to see. I look forward to seeing Bill's story continue to unfold in season 4, and I know Stephen will knock it out of the park as always.

  16. taint says:

    its not surprising that on a Stephan Moyer interview the Bill fans are whoring around. So you mainly can accept anti Eric comments, the funny thing is Bill is less popular there are enough evidences you Billovers, look on youtube over 1 million views for erics waiting sucks Bill has less than Sam and Jason. And Erics hbo twitter page has the most followers, bills the lowest.

    • karin says:

      why are you so angry? we are all about enjoying the show, with ALL cast members. i could not enjoy the show if I were so angry like you. Perhaps you should just let be what is. Hope so.

    • Jenna B says:

      Do u truly have issues or what?? I don’t see anyone putting Alex/Eric down here, you must be mistaking us for Nasty Eric fans like yourself, no one cares about popularity either and youtube videos, why can’t you people let people like who they want to like FFS, it IS a Stephen Moyer interview afterall, please stay rude with your own kind, I would be ashamed to be Alex, because how most of his followers act, very childish!

  17. sammy says:

    Wonder if Bill and Eric will have to put up with Sookie and Quinn?…that is the romance that should have worked.

  18. liz says:

    I’m not much of TB fan and I mostly don’t like Bill, but I would read/listen to Stephen Moyer interviews all day. I have yet to see one where he wasn’t delightful. It pains me when people hate on him just because of Eric/Sookie. Actors are not their characters — you can like one and not the other!

  19. Monica says:

    I love Bill way more than Eric in the show. However I'm interested to see how the show goes! Why can't we all just get along and enjoy the show for what it is?

  20. Guest says:

    I like all the characters on True Blood, because each one has a purpose within the story. As other people have stated, Bill trys hard to hold onto his humanity.

    I'm extremely happy that True Blood is nothing like other Vamprie shows in recent years, and I hope that it never does become like the others, because I'll quit watching it. Twilight is the biggest joke on this planet !!!

  21. Jane says:

    Bill is just not interesting to me. After the first four or five episodes in season one, he became bland. Eric on the other hand, is electric to watch.

  22. Lalá Ruiz says:

    Great interview!

  23. simone says:

    True Blood is wildly popular in America, but on an international scale, I don't know.. It came on television last winter in my country in Western-Europe with a lot of pr on beforehand, but it wasn't successful and that surprised me a bit. I didn't like it that much either but then I'm not into the vampire stuff and I agree it isn't bad at all. On the other hand, when the third movie of the Twilight Saga hit theatres last summer it was the biggest opening ever in film history in my country. i know it because it was told on TV journals everywhere.

  24. alf767 says:

    I hope the TV show does change a bit from the books…makes for more interesting and unexpected drama. However, I would like to see Bill & Sookie keep their relationship…I feel so bad for Bill and all the suffering, torment and hurt he's experienced just because he loves someone. Eric is a great character, but Bill really did fall deeply in love with Sookie for who she is and it would be a shame if they can't be together. Eric on the other hand is just after Sookie's blood and to have some type of challenge in his ancient life. How can Sookie just stop loving Bill overnight and fall into the shower with Eric, after all the bonding her and Bill did. Anyway, guess we will see what the producers have in store for us week to week. : )

  25. Cindy Ashe says:

    So glad True Blood is back. I need my Eric fix. I love all the characters on the show and the actors' portrayals of them. I lived in Louisiana for several years and I think that the actors are spot on in their portrayals of small town life there. Eric is my favorite, He can rock my world anytime. I loved the books and would like to see the show stick to them as far as Eric and Sookie are concerned.
    Thanks for all the thrills from your biggest fan.

  26. amnesiacvampire says:

    no offense to Bill fans but I only like Bill in season one when he save Sookie form the Rattrays and in Season three when Debbie Pelt tried to kill her.Eric is hotter and much better for sookie

  27. Lola says:

    Huh. I guess I'm in the minority who are bored by Eric but not by Bill. I'll admit, though, that my preference might be due to how unattractive I find Eric–appearance and character. Apart from that, I'm interested to see how the story plays out!

  28. nam says:

    Bill Compton is the best True Blood has to offer. Stephen Moyers Character is the main protagonist of the series.Moyer is a wonderful actor and brings an old century charm to his character onscreen. Notice how he uses an old world accent and style to elucidate that his character is a century old vampire. Not to discredit anyone but the series would be better if other actors were half as good as Stephen moyer.

  29. Mouskamoushka says:

    I just love true blood and don't want to read the books for fear it will spoil the surprise in it for me but the uk season 4 premiere is taking too long :( hurry up fx I need my true blood fix, all these chat rooms are driving me nuts with suspense thank you m x

  30. louise says:

    when is season 4 airing on fx uk?

  31. truebloodlove says:

    i loved the clueless eric. he was so darn cute.

  32. tori says:

    I love Stephen Moyer and I love Bill. Sookie and he belong together and whatever he's done in the past isn't because he doesn't love her,he's given his life many times for her and her happiness. He's made mistakes,he never thought he'd love again or have the feelings Sookie has brought into his life so he didn't realize what the heck he was doing. He's tried to fix things as best as he can give the guy a break. He lost his wife,children his life and has nothing good in it since then. Sooke and Bill belong together. Bring someone else on for Eric!!!

  33. bridget says:

    Team Eric, definitely. thought from series 1 that the chemistry between Eric and Sookie worked better than Bill/Sookie,

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