Monday, June 7, 2010

In the Lair of the Vampire True Blood creator Alan Ball digs into the show’s sets.

From New York Magazine

Alan Ball is in the dungeon underneath Fangtasia, the vampire-owned strip club on HBO’s True Blood, and it’s as cold and creepy as it looks on TV. It’s the place where the bad vampires chain and shackle humans they can torture, then exsanguinate; in one scene last year, a townie named Royce was ripped to shreds, literally. Ball is unsuccessfully trying to turn on the lights, but instead feels his way to a corner to study a mysterious piece of machinery—what looks like an antique boiler. “I’ve never seen this here before,” says Ball excitedly. “It’s gnarly. I’ve got to figure out how to use it.”

Whatever he decides to do, it won’t end well. Few auteurs are as comfortable with death and darkness as Ball, who won an Oscar for his screenplay for American Beauty; whose first series for HBO, Six Feet Under, was about a family of morticians; and whose current show fetishizes the undead. “After Six Feet Under ended, I wanted a change,” he says, “and True Blood seemed so fun and bright.”

Perhaps he means bright as in quick-witted. True Blood, which begins its third season June 13, is set mostly at night; the action, design, and even the acting are steeped in an unrelenting (albeit often mordantly comic) murk. Most sets are located in West Hollywood; the exteriors are shot in Mississippi and Louisiana, where the show takes place, in the fictional town of Bon Temps.

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