Sunday, August 29, 2010

True Blood’s Carrie Preston on Playing Arlene, Dying Her Hair, and Being Married to Ben From Lost

On a sanguinary series like True Blood, there are all sorts of bursts of shocking red, but none pops more than the brassy hairdo on top of the equally brassy waitress Arlene, played by Carrie Preston. This season, Arlene’s had plenty to deal with, including an unwanted pregnancy from her bad seed ex, a vampire coworker at Merlotte’s, and the mysterious machinations of Holly (Lauren Bowles), who seems oddly invested in Arlene’s pregnancy. Preston talked to Movieline about those juicy moments, her character’s “drag queen” looks, her husband (Lost’s Michael Emerson), and her impressively Law and Order-studded resume.
Now, I love all your comic moments on the show, but that scene recently where you broke down with Holly was actually kind of a dramatic powerhouse. Was it fun for you to do something that was less wink-wink than Arlene often can be?
I cannot tell you how thrilled I was with that. Alex Woo, who wrote that episode…each of our writers pretty much writes two episodes per season, and the first episode Alex wrote, we were on set and doing the scene where I’m in the doctor’s office and I find out I’m pregnant. Alex said to me, “You know what, I have to apologize to you.” And I said, “What?” And he said, “I haven’t given you enough in this episode. I need to write something better for you, and I promise that I will.” Then that episode you’re referring to came up, and he was good for his word.
I was so thrilled because I think it was high time for us to see another side of that character, and I think that’s what this whole season has been about: delving deeper into all the series regulars and getting involved in all their personal lives. It was very nice to be included in that, and it was fun to play that scene with Lauren Bowles, who’s new on the show. To play with a woman of equal age to me, it was great to have that kind of energy between two women that we haven’t seen on the show.

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