Creator Alan Ball reveals some of the current Hollywood big names who were once up for a role in True Blood such as Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Debuting in 2008, the dark fantasy series was based on Charlaine Harris' series of mystery novels titled The Southern Vampire Mysteries and was created and produced by Ball for HBO.
Centering on Sookie Stackhouse - a telepathic waitress from Bon Temps, Louisiana - the show's narrative is kickstarted by the invention of synthetic blood called "Tru Blood" which paved the way for vampires to come out of hiding and co-exist with mankind. Sookie then finds herself romantically involved with a 173-year-old vampire, Bill Compton.
The HBO series is celebrating its 10-year-anniversary and in light of that, Ball attended at the show's special pilot screening at Vulture Festival where he dropped some interesting casting bits that didn't come to fruition. As it turns out, “Benedict Cumberbatch came and read for Bill" - a role which landed on the lap of Stephen Moyer. Jessica Chastain also tried for the role of Sookie Stackhouse which was played by Anna Paquin. Finally, Jennifer Lawrence was once considered to play the role of Jason's (Ryan Kwanten) love, but due to a wide age-gap, they passed on her. “She was great but all the women in the room, because she was going to be Jason’s girlfriend, and she was 17 at the time, were like, ‘No that’s gross,’” Ball explained.
While it's undoubtedly fun to contemplate on how True Blood would've turned out if these now A-list celebrities joined the HBO show, the series turned out more than fine - running for seven seasons, five of which were critically-acclaimed. Of course, the narrative is a huge part of the reason why it resonated to a lot of viewers, but considering the tricky premise, it's safe to say that the actors and their chemistry with one another were also a catalyst for its success. Both Paquin and Moyer were lauded for their performances and the show even won an Outstanding Casting for a Drama at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards - proof that Ball and his team made the right casting choices for the project.
Aside from the juicy casting details, Ball also offered an update on the in-development musical adaptation of True Blood from composer Nathan Barr. It's unclear whether or not he's officially involved in the upcoming project but he admitted that he's heard good things about the in-development show. “It tells the story of vampires coming out of the closet. Ultimately it really departs from the book, because people aren’t ready, and they’re too bigoted and they end up going back in to the closet,” he said. No word yet on when the show might finally be available to the public as it's supposedly being retooled at the moment.