The broadcast of the final episode of The Sopranos in 2007 caused some concern over the future of HBO. When Sex and the City ended in 2004, it was up to Tony Soprano to carry the network.
This could be seen in the numbers, as many people only renewed their HBO subscription when a new series of The Sopranos was due. It was up to HBO to come up with new programming that could keep the network going.
True Blood is the successor to the other hit shows on HBO. It was a dark and intimate supernatural drama, which brought vampires and other creatures of the night into the modern world.
The vampires of True Blood wanted equal rights and standing in society, even if many of their brethren were only interested in chaos and murder. True Blood was an adaptation of The Southern Vampire Mysteries novel series, though it quickly found an identity of its own.
True Blood was a huge hit for HBO, running for seven seasons. It couldn’t have been easy for the cast and crew to have filmed so many episodes of a show that required many night shoots and special effects shots. As such, there was a lot of turmoil going on behind the cameras.
We are here today to look at the secrets of True Blood that rival the dark stories that took place on the show.
From one actor abandoning ship due to not wanting to partake in a gay romance storyline to the real-life drink that will let you pretend to be a vampire, here are the 15 Behind-The-Scenes Secrets You Didn’t Know About True Blood!
15. Luke Grimes Left The Show Over A Gay Romance Storyline
A vampire named James Kent was introduced in the sixth season of True Blood. James would fall in love with Jessica and the two of them would escape the camp in which they were imprisoned. James eventually left Jessica for Lafayette and the two were still together as of the final episode.
James was originally played by Luke Grimes in season six. It was reported that Grimes left the show as he didn’t want to perform a gay romance storyline. The role of James was recast, with Nathan Parsons taking over for the final season. Nelson Ellis publically denounced Grimes over his choice to leave the role.
It seems that Luke Grimes objections to appearing in certain roles haven’t affected his career, as he has appeared in numerous films since leaving True Blood, which has included playing Elliot Grey in the Fifty Shades franchise.
14. Stephen Moyer Directed A Lot Of His Wife’s Love Scenes (With Other Men)
When a TV show becomes popular and runs for several years, the main actors can ask for perks outside of a pay raise in order for them to renew their contracts. This can sometimes lead to actors being allowed to take over director or producer roles on the show.
Star Trek: The Next Generation had several episodes that were directed by members of the cast. Kelsey Grammer also directed many episodes of Frasier during its run.
Stephen Moyer (who played Bill Compton) asked to direct some of the episodes of True Blood. This meant that Moyer had to direct his wife (Anna Paquin) in several intimate scenes with other men.
The Bill/Sookie relationship petered out over the course of True Blood, which allowed her to pursue other men. Moyer not only had to watch his wife cavort with other guys, but had to give them both instructions on how to do it better.
13. The Creator Has Criticised People For Interpreting The Show As Being About Gay Rights
The common consensus among many fans of True Blood is that the story of vampires seeking equal rights is an allegory for the real-life struggle of gay people seeking equal rights.
The terminology used for vampires in True Blood by those who hate them is “fangers” and the moment when someone reveals that they are a vampire is referred to as “coming out of the coffin.” The fact that Alan Ball (the creator of the show) himself is gay has encouraged this interpretation.
Alan Ball has stated in interviews that True Blood is not about gay rights and any such interpretation would be considered lazy and possibly homophobic. This is due to the fact that many vampires in True Blood are dangerous killers, so the public has every right to feel threatened by them.
12. The Controversial Scene From The True Blood Comic
Sookie Stackhouse’s Fae heritage gave her telepathy and the ability to fire bolts of light from her hands. Jason Stackhouse is kind of lacking in the superpower department, but he also did gain some benefits from his Fae blood. It is revealed that Jason’s good looks and charming nature can be attributed to his Fae ancestry.
Jason’s seductive nature manifested at a young age, as it was revealed that he slept with one of his teachers when he was a teenager. This was actually a reused plot point from the True Blood comic series, which Alan Ball also had a hand in.
The True Blood comic shows Jason sleeping with his much older teacher at the age of fifteen. This sequence was played for titillation and fanservice, even though it depicted intimate acts involving a minor.
11. Jason’s “Comeuppance”
Jason Stackhouse might have had the most love scenes out of any character in True Blood. He was shown to have numerous girlfriends and one night stands throughout the course of the show.
The most controversial storyline in True Blood involved the werepanthers who kidnapped Jason. Their clan was dying out, so they strapped him to a bed, bit him while in their panther forms, and drugged him with Viagra. The women of the clan then took turns sleeping with Jason, including ones who appeared to be underage.
Alan Ball and David Petrarca (the director of the episode) both claimed that this scene was Jason’s “comeuppance” for his earlier promiscuous behavior. This is a totally misguided and frankly quite disgusting reason to include the scene.
10. Rutina Wesley Replaced Brook Kerr Due To “Creative Differences”
It’s not unusual for the cast of a TV show to be changed after a pilot is filmed and is then brought to series. This was the case with 30 Rock, as the original actresses for Cerie and Jenna were replaced when the first season was commissioned. Game of Thrones also has a pilot that has never officially been released which used numerous different actors.
True Blood had a pilot episode that was commissioned by HBO. It was strong enough to be picked up, which was likely helped by Alan Ball’s passion for the project.
The True Blood pilot is practically identical to the first episode of the TV show. The main difference is that the role of Tara was played by Brook Kerr. She left the series due to “creative differences” and was replaced by Rutina Wesley. The true reason for Kerr leaving the show has never been revealed.
9. No Snoop Dogg Cameos Allowed!
It didn’t take long for True Blood to break HBO’s viewing record for a single episode, which had previously been set by the final episode of The Sopranos. The second season premiere of True Blood broke The Sopranos record and the figures only went higher from there. These numbers would later be topped by Game of Thrones.
True Blood might have been hitting high ratings, but the people at HBO still felt the need to go the extra mile to promote the show. They hired Snoop Dogg to perform a rap song about Sookie which was filled with references to the show.
It seems that Snoop Dogg wasn’t actually welcome in Bon Temps. Sam Trammell (who played Sam Merlotte) confirmed that Alan Ball wouldn’t allow a Snoop Dogg cameo, as he was too high profile. It was felt that Snoop Dogg’s presence would be distracting.
8. The True Blood Cookbook
A popular TV show or movie series will inspire merchandise in all of its forms. Most of you have likely seen this recently with the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, as Rey and Kylo Ren’s faces have been plastered on every product known to man.
It is quite common for a popular franchise to inspire the creation of a cookbook that teaches you how to make the fictional foods from the property. We have seen cookbooks for every kind of franchise, including Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and even Hannibal.
True Blood also has an official cookbook that contains a mixture of traditional southern recipes and cocktails from Fangtasia that have vampire-themed names. These include cringeworthy introductions for each dish that were attempted to be written from the perspective of different characters from the show.
7. The Meat Statue From Season 2 Was Real
The second season of True Blood introduced a Maenad named Maryann to the series. Maryann was a powerful supernatural being who wanted to marry Dionysus. She used her considerable magical powers to take control of the residents of Bon Temps.
Maryann orders the creation of a food statue, which is made up of raw meat and vegetables. You might think that such a structure would need to be made from artificial food, but Alan Ball insisted that the statue be as real as possible.
The production crew spent five-hundred dollars a day on food and then had to hire security guards to protect it from being ravaged by wild animals. The presence of the meat statue in an outdoor shoot in the middle of summer also meant that it absolutely reeked.
6. One Of The Actresses Demanded Carb-Free Blood
All of the actors who played vampires in True Blood were still alive and as such couldn’t be sustained on the blood of the living. They needed to drink a blood substitute for the scenes when their characters were actually feeding.
This meant that a separate formula was used for a fake blood that was drinkable, rather than the kinds used in other scenes.
It seems that one of the actresses on True Blood was worried about the calorie intake of drinking so much fake blood, so she demanded that they create a carb-free version, as she had to consume so much of it.
5. The Long Second Life Of Lafayette Reynolds
An amazing performance can lead to a character remaining on a TV show for far longer than was originally planned. Jessie was planned to die during the early episodes of Breaking Bad, while Bronn’s repeated returns as an associate of the Lannister regime in Game of Thrones is wholly inspired by the adoration earned for Jerome Flynn’s performance.
Nelson Ellis managed to earn his character a stay of execution thanks to his amazing performance. Ellis played Lafayette Reynolds in the first season of True Blood.
The character actually dies in the second book in The Southern Vampire Mysteries series, though he was kept alive for the remainder of True Blood. Ellis became one of only four actors who appeared in every single episode of True Blood.
4. Godric Was Way More Evil In The Books
The character of Godric in True Blood is actually a composite of two people from The Southern Vampire Mysteries novels. Godric is a mixture of Appius Livius Ocella and Godfrey, who is sometimes known as Godric.
Appius was Eric’s maker in the books, while Godfrey was an evil vampire who had repented and sought death by stepping out into the sun in order to be absolved of his sins.
Godric talked about his sins in True Blood, but they pale in comparison to those of Godfrey. It is revealed to Sookie that Godfrey was both a child abuser and a serial killer before he changed his ways.
Godfrey also admits to murdering children, as well as willingly feeding on them. These elements were left out of True Blood, as the TV show tried to make Godric more of a benevolent mentor figure to Eric and Nora.
3. Everyone Hated The Endings (Both Of Them)
It is rare for the final episode of a TV show to please all of the fans. This is due to people being unhappy with certain characters ending up together romantically, or plotlines being left unresolved.
True Blood certainly had a polarizing response to its finale. There are a lot of reasons for this, though the most common one is that we never learn the identity of Sookie’s husband/father of her unborn child.
Fans of True Blood weren’t alone in their disappointment of the ending, as The Southern Vampire Mysteries fans also disliked the ending of the book series. This was due to the fact that Sookie ended up with Sam, who was a divisive character on his own.
2. Elvis The Cat Killer
There have been repeated sightings of Elvis Presley in the real world, even though he passed away in 1977.
The world of The Southern Vampire Mysteries actually has a reason for these sightings: Elvis is still alive, or dead, considering the fact that he is now a vampire.
When Elvis died in 1977, he was taken to a morgue that was staffed by a vampire. This vampire happened to be a big fan, so he turned Elvis into one of the undead. Elvis was so far gone before the turning could be performed that he came back in a damaged form. Elvis now referred to himself as Bubba and hated being reminded of his past.
1. There Is A Real Tru Blood Drink
The name True Blood refers to a drink within the universe of the show called Tru Blood, which is a synthetic version of plasma that vampires can drink in order to stay alive.
The invention of Tru Blood is what prompted vampires to reveal themselves to the public at last, as they now had a means of sustaining themselves without needing to feed on a human.
HBO never want to miss an opportunity to sell overpriced merchandise on their website. This is what led to them creating a real Tru Blood drink and selling it for a limited period of time on their online store. Tru Blood is essentially orange soda in a replica bottle.
Those of you looking to pretend that you are a vampire might want to start saving up, as even empty Tru Blood bottles can cost a lot of money online.
Can you think of any other dark secrets about True Blood? Sound off in the comments!
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