Saturday, November 22, 2008

Music man sets the mood: Gary Calamar handpicks music for shows such as "True Blood," "Dexter" and "Entourage."

By Geoff Boucher November 23, 2008
Los Angeles Times

Every intense music fan presumes he or she has what it takes to be a TV or film music supervisor, and they have a box of clattering mix tapes from high school to prove it. Yes, it was clever how you started with "Please Come Home Baby" by Tom Waits and finished with Mel Tormé's "Comin' Home Baby," but there's more to the job than making "High Fidelity" lists.

Or is there?

Meet Gary Calamar, a man whose hilltop home has a garage with sliding shelves three-deep to handle just the old stuff in his CD library. Calamar is a sort of Mr. Sunday Night when it comes to handpicked music; there's his KCRW-FM (89.9) show "The Open Road," and it's also the night HBO airs " True Blood," the vampire show that has music in the, uh, spooky vein but also songs speaking to the Louisiana setting.
"True Blood," which has its season finale tonight and has been renewed for a second season, is part of a string of shows Calamar has worked on, along with " House, M.D.," "Six Feet Under," " Weeds," "Dexter" and " Entourage."

On some, such as the 1970s-steeped " Swingtown," he looks for time-capsule hits viewers will recognize instantly, but with something like the quirky "Weeds," the soundtrack is far more of a pop-culture safari.

"Sometimes things are too right on the nose, you want to go off of that sometimes and surprise people. You certainly don't want to ever bore them."

Calamar's was a familiar voice to KCRW listeners a decade ago -- and that resonates in Hollywood -- but when he pursued his first major supervising gig, the film "Slums of Beverly Hills," the producers were skeptical. Calamar still got the job by teaming with veteran G. Marq Roswell ("The Commitments"). "I learned a lot about the whole business . . . then I just kind of ran with it."

How does the job work? "You get a script early on, often before they're ready to shoot. You map out where songs are going to be. Oftentimes the writer will write in some songs. . . . Rarely actually does that song end up in the final cut."

After the shoot comes the spotting session with the producer and director, where Calamar says he hears, " 'We love this song,' 'This one doesn't work, we want something more melancholy' or 'More upbeat or regional.' "

Sometimes the perfect song doesn't make it, especially if sung by the Beatles or Stones. Calamar works on shows with a music budget of $8,000 to $130,000. "The budget plays a huge part of the whole game. So you decide to put the Led Zeppelin song in one spot and go with an unknown version of the next song."

Boucher is a Times staff writer.

True Blood : Alan Ball POV (HBO)

Quote of the Day -Ryan Kwaten

ON Geraldo this was what he said about why vampires are popular ...gotta love this answer

Albert Einstein
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.

Alexander Skarsgard interview

Jason Stackhouse ( Ryan Kwaten) on Geraldo tonight !



I can't confirm as I don't see it on the website

Sookie leaked photo Episode 12- Picture of the day

See spoliers and leaked scripts below!
Is it Sunday yet ?

Exclusive Interview: Sam Trammell of 'True Blood'

Friday, November 21, 2008
audio can be found here

Sam TrammellOne of the best new shows of the fall season is HBO's True Blood, which airs its highly anticipated season finale this Sunday at 9pm. The first season of the vampire drama has been packed with jaw-dropping surprises, but perhaps the most shocking twist was the reveal that kindhearted bar owner Sam Merlotte, played by actor Sam Trammell, is a shape-shifter. Sookie has grown closer to Sam since discovering his secret, but with a murderer on the loose and her jealous vampire boyfriend on the rampage, they probably won't live happily ever after.

I had a chance to sit down with Sam Trammell today to talk about his role on the hit HBO series. Read on for his thoughts on his character's complicated romantic relationships, what he hopes to see in True Blood's second season, and what fans can expect in Sunday's season finale.
This is Don from BuddyTV, and today I'm talking to Sam Trammell, who plays Sam Merlotte on True Blood. How did the role on True Blood come about, and what was that audition process like for you?

Well, I had been hearing about it for a while from my agent, this script by Alan Ball that HBO was going to be doing. I got it and read it -- I was already interested even before I read it, but I read it and thought it was amazing. I basically went in and auditioned with one of the casting directors on tape. I think Alan was in New York, he was out of town, so they showed him the tape and then Alan decided he wanted to test me. I don't know if you know that word, but it's when you do your final audition in front of HBO. He decided he wanted to do that so that was great, and he wanted to meet with me beforehand. I went to his office and met with him, and kind of read the scenes with him and he gave me some notes. I think he showed me the first two scripts as well. Then I went and did the audition for HBO and I found out that I got it the same day. I was like screaming in the car, I was thrilled.

Did they let you know about Sam's shape-shifting secret beforehand, or did they encourage you to read any of the books?

No, I don't think they did. I got the books, and before I did the network audition I think I read enough of the first book that I found out. I think that's how it happened. So I sort of found out on my own. They didn't really encourage or discourage reading the books. I decided to read as many as I could, because I just wanted to see -- the show is based on books, and I wanted to see what was in the books and see if there were any crazy surprises about Sam that I should know about in book five. So I read like five or six of the books and they're really fun.

The show's popularity has really grown throughout the first season. Have you started being recognized more? What's that like for you?

Yeah, I think I am getting recognized more and more. I was just in New York for a couple weeks, and that was crazy because you're just walking on the streets and every day people would stop me to say how much they like the show, which was really exciting. It's also weird, places you wouldn't expect to get recognized. I was ordering a taco somewhere and the person at the register recognized me, I was at a furniture store and somebody recognized me. Just random places you get recognized. It's great, it's exciting to see that people are so enthusiastically into it. They're really excited about the show and that makes you feel really good.

We've seen Sam develop different relationships with both Sookie and Tara over the course of the first season. What do you think it is about those women that draws Sam to them?

The proximity, first of all. It's a small town, you don't have a billion choices of people like in L.A. or New York where you look around and then choose. That's what I would say first of all. The reason that he's really, really attracted to Sookie I think is because they're both different. Sam obviously is a shape-shifter, he's got a big secret. Sookie is a telepath, she can read minds. I think that's a telepath, am I saying the wrong word?

I think that's right.

One of those. I know that there's a tele-something where you can move objects, she's not that one. She's the one who can read minds, obviously. So I think there's a real empathy. Like I think he really empathizes with Sookie being the outsider. A lot of people know about Sookie's abilities, but it's also a secret, and I have a secret, so there's a lot of empathy there. That's a real deep, empathetic bond that he has with her. And she's just also sexy, obviously. He's attracted to her.

Tara, I don't think the plan was at all was to be attracted to her or to have his heart involved with Tara at all. I think it happened because he was feeling rebellious. You want to sort of strike out and do something when you get angry at somebody, I think he was sort of frustrated with Sookie. It was an unintended heart involvement with Rutina [Wesley, who plays Tara], an unintended attraction with her. But it is complicated. You'd think he would be totally faithful to Sookie, but I think Sookie is just so frustrating that he found another outlet to express his love.

One of my favorite things about the show is how it switches from drama to horror to comedy, sometimes all in the same scene. Is it ever a challenge figuring out how you should play a certain moment or certain scene?

Not so much. The real genius behind all that is Alan Ball. I just play my scenes as they are written and I don't try to think about the tone of the show. I knew the tone of the show was going to be a huge issue, when I read the pilot I thought, “How can anybody do this?” I guess if anybody can, Alan can. But I had no idea that he would just knock it out of the park, which he's done. He's just so smart and it's his taste. The reason that he's successful is because he doesn't try to please too many people. He's got his vision, he sticks to it. He welcomes a lot of input, but he just really has a unique taste and he's able to bridge all these genres. I trusted him. I just sort of thought about my character and tried to just do my job with Sam.

I was looking over the stuff you've done over the years and you've done big budget movies, independent movies, TV, and theater. Which one is the most fun for you personally?

You know, there are so many fulfilling things. Doing theater and doing film and television, stuff on screen, is so different, but they're just fulfilling in different way. With theater you get to do the whole thing every night and you have the immediate audience reaction. There's something amazing about getting to do the whole piece every night, and also having all of that rehearsal time where you get to just really think about it so much and find new layers. With film obviously you don't have the same rehearsal time, you only are doing pieces. But what's fulfilling about film and television for me is you just get in close to the face and you can really just have small, real moments. They're good in different ways.

Considering that you've read the other books in the series, is there anything you want to see Sam get into in season 2?

Oh boy, oh boy. This new character that Michelle Forbes plays is a very interesting character. I think I'm going to have some dealings with her and I'm excited about that. I think that's going to be an interesting character to see. So yeah, I'll be excited to have my dealings with her.

She's going to be a regular next season, right?

I think so, yeah, I think so. Her character is fairly big in the second book as I recall, so I think she'll be around, yeah. And I'm not sure what's going to happen with Sam and Tara. I don't know if we may have hit a dead end, but you never know. I don't think they planned on keeping our relationship going as long as they did.

I'm sure you can't say much about the season finale on Sunday, but can you give us any hints of what we can expect?

I'll tell you this, you can expect at least one juicy death and a number of cliffhangers. Really exciting cliffhangers.

Now I'm worried!

Yeah, obviously nobody wants to know, everybody wants to be surprised, so I won't say too much. But it's a really exciting episode. It lays the ground to a certain extent for next season.

Season finale spoilers and leaked script pages

the scripts docs can be found here

According to E-online two different characters get their skulls smashed in—and not everyone in town will make it out of the finale in one piece.

At least one of the beloved characters listed below takes a beating. Can you guess which one? Here’s the dish…

Who’s in Danger?

Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin): The serial killer hates fang bangers, and Sookie is certainly one of those, so Sunday night the killer finally comes looking for her. Unfortunate timing, then, that Sookie just revoked her superpowered ex-boyfriend Bill’s invitation to stop by the house—because that’s just where the bad guy comes looking for her. (Bonus Bill spoiler: Being a vampire is an especially unfortunate circumstance when it’s still daylight outside but your Spidey sense tells you that someone is trying to kill your girlfriend.)

Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell): Remember how Bill asked Sam to look after Sookie? Well, Sam continues to do just that, and he ends up smack dab in the middle of a fight to the death.

Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley): You know those halfway-house people who took in Tara? They are not the least bit nice, and I think they might take in strays (Meredith Grey-style) so they can butcher them (Dexter Morgan-style). Among other things, there may be a pig involved, and Michelle Forbes‘ character is not normal. If this universe has vampires, shape-shifters and werewolves, it’s got to have witches, too, and Michelle Forbes’ character is at the very least a witch with a capital B.

Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten): Andy Bellefleur is ready to throw the book at Jason for the killings, and that makes Jason a sworn enemy—and target—of some in the town. Ironically, it makes him a hero to others…

Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis): Lafayette’s vampire canoodling might be catching up to him…

Murder-Mystery Bonus Dish:

The serial killer who took out Maudette Pickens and friends might or might not be the same person who murdered Gran.

'True Blood' actor Nelsan Ellis credits Thornridge teachers with on- and off-screen success

Chicago Sun Times November 22, 2008

When actor Nelsan Ellis is on the set of HBO's vampire saga "True Blood," show producer Alan Ball says, "We all just stand back and point the camera in his direction.''

Ellis, Ball has said, "channels from his own planet.''

Ellis is, of course, from this planet. He grew up in the south suburbs -- metamorphosing from troublemaker to an artist commanding critical acclaim and expanding parts.

For that, he credits two of his teachers at Thornridge High School in Dolton. Without their support, he figures, he would have ended up just another statistic.

Ellis isn't the star of "True Blood," which wraps up its first season Sunday night. The leads are Anna Paquin as Sookie, a waitress in Bon Temps, La., who's cursed with the ability to read people's thoughts, and Stephen Moyer, as a vampire named Bill trying to live among mortals. But Ellis owns most of the scenes he is in. Ball calls him "a genius.''

Ellis' Lafayette Reynolds is a short-order cook and peddler of vampire blood (which, on the show, carries LSD-like effects). Oozing sexual energy, Ellis plays a flamboyant gay man whose feminine wardrobe and makeup are a stark contrast to his menacing, boxer-like body. Ellis presents Lafayette as a simmering force with a quiet but unmistakable inner anger, a bomb with a fuse sizzling faintly before the inevitable explosion.

In real life, Ellis might have indeed exploded if not for Thornridge High, especially teachers Tim Sweeney and Bill Kirksey. Without them, "I'd probably have five kids and a rap sheet," says Ellis.

Born at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey, Ellis moved to Alabama at age 6 with his mother after his parents divorced. Bessemer, Ala., a largely poor and black suburb of Birmingham, was a violent place. His mother was shot once and, as Ellis puts it, "I had to knuckle up there."

At 14, he was sent back north to live with an aunt, Pat Thompson, in Dolton, not far from his father, Tommy Thompson, who works for a grocery distributor. Thornridge, with its emphasis on arts education, proved to be an oasis.

"I had no intention of being an actor," Ellis recalls. His girlfriend asked him to audition for the speech team with her. Sweeney and Kirksey "reached out to me."

Sweeney, now retired, was the chair of Thornridge's fine arts department.

"Nelsan had such an unusual voice, an unusual manner and a kind of a cragginess about him that made him a little different from every other kid," Sweeney said.

He cast Ellis, as a freshman, in the play "The Colored Museum" as Junie, a major part, "much to the chagrin of some of the older kids."

"They said, 'Why are you putting this young kid in there?'" Sweeney remembers. But Ellis "could internalize, and I could see the wheels turning and clicking. Once he got hooked, he just decided that was the world he wanted to be in."

For Ellis, Thornridge was more than just acting.

"It was my first experience being at a school where you had teenage black men who were serious about stuff, and you had these teachers who cared about the students and paid attention," Ellis said. "I was, like: I'll do this because people seem to be serious. My years at Thornridge probably changed the course of my life."

Kirksey said he knew Ellis would succeed "from the get-go" and would pick up Ellis from home to make sure he got to competitions on time. After Ellis graduated from Thornridge in 1997, Kirksey would send him money at college. "He calls me his child,'' said Ellis.

Referring to Kirksey, a legendary drama coach at Thornridge, and himself, Sweeney said, "Sometimes we see in kids more than they see in themselves.''

Ellis ended up at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York, where past students include Oscar winners Robin Williams and William Hurt, Tony winner Mandy Patinkin and two-time Emmy honoree Andre Braugher.

But Ellis' old life wasn't far behind. While he was at Juilliard, his sister Alice was killed by her husband back in Alabama. Ellis channeled his pain into writing a play, "Ugly," which was first staged with his classmates, then off-Broadway. Sweeney and Kirksey flew to New York for the premiere.

"[My sister] was in an abusive relationship for about five years,'' said Ellis. "She was pregnant, and my brother-in-law shot her point-blank with a sawed-off shotgun in front of my 6-year-old nephew."

Writing the play helped him to try to understand domestic violence and the reactions to it.

"You can't ostracize the victims for staying,'' said Ellis. "My sister stayed with him not because she was scared to leave but because she loved him and had a family with him. I call it the ugly side of love -- you love a person so much you stay with them no matter what."

"True Blood" is violent, too -- someone is murdered just about every episode, some graphically so. But, said Ellis, "Violence, in reality, is strikingly different than from what you do on the set."

Still, he said, "I can walk down the street and see someone with that energy. They don't have to be physical at that moment, but if I see that same look I saw in people when I was growing up, that will shake me a little bit."

Ellis, now 30, is excited about his featured role in an upcoming movie, "The Soloist," starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx. But he's aware of the ephemeral nature of Hollywood fame.

"If this moment never happens again, I hope that it will be enough to show Mr. Kirksey and Mr. Sweeney that their investment in me wasn't in vain," he said.

Preview " Burning House Of Love" episode 7 aired Oct 19

HBO's True Blood-Vampire Motel Commercial

Music from True Blood Episode 11 - To Love is To Bury

Song: Wichita Lineman
Artist: Glen Campbell
Scene: Sam and Sookie go to Big Patty's Pie House

Song: To Love Is To Bury
Artist: Cowboy Junkies
Album: The Trinity Sessions
Scene: Jason and Amy make up

Song: Two
Artist: Ryan Adams
Album: Easy Tiger
Scene: Sam and Sookie discuss love while driving back from the restaurant

Song: West Of Wichita
Artist: D. DaPonte
Album: Let It All Come Down
Scene: Jason and Amy do V one last time

Song: Symphony No. 8 In G Major Op. 88: Adagio
Artist: Philharmonia Slavonica & Alfred Scholz
Album: Dvorak: Symphony No. 8 - Concerto for Violoncello & Orch Op. 104 - Piano Piece Op. 52
Scene: Maryann brings Tara to her house

Song: Pass You Buy
Artist: Gillian Welch
Album: Revival
Scene: End Credits

Audio interview with Stephen Moyer

Stephen Moyer radio interview about his Theatre project in England -talks a litle about True Blood

For all Fans of True Blood, Southern Vampires, & Charlaine Harris! An opportunity to help complete backstage facilities at Brentwood Theatre and receive a certificate signed by your favorite vampire, Stephen Moyer!

HBO/True Blood’s own Stephen Moyer, born in Brentwood, Essex, UK, is Brentwood Theatre's first Patron. His initial effort as Patron is supporting their "Reaching Out, Building On" campaign to help fund the 2008 completion of the backstage facilities renovations.

Inspired by the first gift from the USA in his honor, as heard in an interview with Stephen on the Opening night performance of “Fame” Nov 4th

Listen here

Radio Interview with Alexander Skarsgard

Alexander Skarsgard did a radio interview the other day. Alexander is very charming, but the interviewers didn’t even bother to prepare well and ask all kind of stupid questions.

Listen to the interview with Alexander Skarsgard

from trueblood online