Wednesday, October 29, 2008

'True Blood' vs. 'Twilight': What's a Vampire Fan to Do?

'True Blood' vs. 'Twilight': What's a Vampire Fan to Do?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
On Halloween night, HBO is airing an eight-hour marathon of their sexy
vampire series True Blood. The growing popularity of the show is proof that
vampires are once again having their pop culture moment. The creatures
stepped back into the spotlight last year with the CBS drama Moonlight,
which was canceled after one season despite having throngs of devoted fans.
True Blood followed in its footsteps, and it'll soon be joined by the big
screen adaptation of Twilight. The film, which is based on the book by
Stephanie Meyer, opens November 21, and offers a more romanticized brand of

With both True Blood and Twilight dominating the pop culture landscape, how
does a vampire fan know where to turn? Neither tale is for everyone, so
read on to find out which one is for you.

True Blood

Plot: Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) is a small-town waitress with the power to read people's thoughts. Her ability makes her an outsider, but she finds comfort in the arms of a vampire named Bill (Stephen Moyer), who knows a thing or two about being removed from humanity. As Sookie and Bill grow closer, someone starts murdering people who are sympathetic toward vampires.

It's for: Anyone who doesn't mind a show filled with sex, brutal violence, morally reprehensible characters, drug use and tons of nudity. True Blood is R-rated in every way imaginable. It's also for anyone who loves a good murder mystery.

It's similar to: Season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

What are the vampires like? Some choose to drink a manufactured product
called Tru Blood instead of feeding on humans, but others aren't so kind.
Bill is romantic and deep, but the other vampires range from meek and
harmless to just plain evil.

Features plenty of: Southern accents, male and female nudity, blood,
metaphors, sex.

You can find it: On HBO every Sunday at 9pm. You can also find the story
in bookstores, as the show is based on a series of novels by Charlaine


Plot: Bella Swan is a normal girl who moves to Washington to live with her father. Her life is turned upside down when she meets the beautiful Edward Cullen, who just happens to be a vampire. The two fall in love, but their relationship is thrown into chaos when another vampire coven comes to town and decides to hunt Bella for sport. It's up to Edward and his fanged family to save her.

It's for: Anyone who dreams of falling in love with a gorgeous man who won't dare touch you until marriage. Despite some vampire action, Twilight is more about romance than bloodsucking. You'll find none of the wild sex
and rampant drug use present in True Blood.

It's similar to: The work of Nicholas Sparks and Anne Rice.

What are the vampires like? Edward is basically flawless and perfect in
every way imaginable, with nothing on his mind aside from protecting Bella.
His family is kind and refuses to drink human blood, but the rival coven led
by James enjoys hunting and feasting on people.

Features plenty of: Declarations of love, adjectives describing Edward's
beauty, brooding, pale skin, swooning.

You can find it: In theaters everywhere on November 21. You can also find
Stephanie Meyer's book series on the shelf of every teen girl in America.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bill's family photo

Anti-war Bill

Episode 2

“There is nothing glorious about dying in a war – a bunch of freezing starving boys killing each other so rich people can stay rich…madness”

Episode 3

“ Humans have killed millions upon millions in senseless wars and I do not hold you responsible for that “

Monday, October 27, 2008

Amazon talks to Charlaine Harris

True Blood: An Interview with Charlaine Harris

Since the first appearance of Sookie Stackhouse in Charlaine Harris's Dead Until Dark, readers have been addicted to this exciting and charming series set in the South. But that addiction has reached fever pitch with the debut of the new HBO series by Alan Ball, True Blood, based on Harris's "Southern Vampire Mysteries" series. Earlier this year I was lucky enough to meet Harris briefly at a convention in New York, and found her to be down-to-earth, approachable, and generous to her fans.

I recently interviewed Harris about both her books and the TV series via email. She answered my questions "sitting in my office, which is across the carport from the main house. It was intended as a mother-in-law apartment. It's one large room with a bathroom and a big closet that used to be the tool shed; I had the outside door blocked and an inside door cut. It was an inadequate tool shed, anyway. My office is "decorated" with photos of New Orleans tomb art, the usual awards and stuff, and some incredible mementos. Plus, a picture of our three children, all beautiful and talented. Of course."

Dead_original_3 Dead
(Dead Until Dark, original cover and "True Blood" cover) Vampire novels have been around for a long time, obviously. It's a subject that takes particular ingenuity to make fresh. What do you think makes your books unique? And do you think of them as "vampire" novels, or something else?
Charlaine Harris: Hmmm. I think of them as adventure novels. Maybe the difference in my approach is the humor, and the fact that my protagonist has no increasing supernatural powers and has trouble paying her bills. (The telepathy? It's up in the air in the books as to where that came from.) What has surprised you about fan reaction to the books? Has that reaction made you see the books in a different way?
Charlaine Harris: I'm pleased, startled, and often taken aback by the intense fan involvement in Sookie's life and travails. That's pretty much what every writer hopes for, I think, but it's always kind of shocking when you get what you wish for. It's made me wonder how responsible I am for peoples' reaction to the material in the books. Which book is your own personal favorite, and why?
Charlaine Harris: Oooooh. Well, I like a few things very much in each book; every now and then I hit the goal I set for myself. Sometimes this extends to more of the book, rather than less. When you have a series like this, how do you stop inertia from setting in? How do you keep the books fresh for you as a writer?
Charlaine Harris: I have a large cast of characters, Sookie has a wide range of activities, and I kill people off regularly. I'm assuming you've seen the HBO series. How, in your opinion, does it differ from the books?
Charlaine Harris: There are lots of differences. The books are all told in the first person. The series can't be shot that way, for obvious reasons. So we're seeing the activities of some of the other characters that were never shown in the books. Sometimes, what they were off doing (while Sookie was front and center in my world) has really surprised me. And of course some characters have been changed to suit the needs of the show. I'm never bored when I'm watching "True Blood," because I really don't know what's going to happen. Has the HBO series given you any ideas for future books?
Charlaine Harris: I love the way "True Blood" LOOKS. It's incredibly rich visually. And I love Anna Paquin's little square-shouldered walk. But ideas for future books, no. There are some characters I'm increasing inclined not to kill because I know the actors! But I hope I can "woman up" and do the deed when it's time. Did you have a chance to meet with or talk to Alan Ball about adapting your books? What was it that drew him to your books in the first place?
Charlaine Harris: I did talk to Alan, though not exhaustively, about the books and what I intended when I wrote them. I knew after one conversation that he understood what I was doing, and that that was why he wanted to adapt the books: he too likes a mixture of blood, horror, humor, and romance. And, in closing: What are you excited about right now?
Charlaine Harris: I'm excited about my daughter graduating from high school in May.

Preview "Plaisir d'Amour" episode 9 aired Nov 2

Descendents of the Glorious Dead: Tipsy Cake

For custard frosting
• 1 cup whole milk
• 3/4 cup heavy cream
• 4 large egg yolks
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 5 teaspoons cornstarch

For cake layers
• 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising) • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened • 1/2 cup sugar • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla • 2 large eggs • 1 large egg yolk • 3/4 cup whole milk

• 8 tablespoons sweet Sherry, brandy, or dessert wine • 9 tablespoons strawberry jam
• Accompaniment: lightly sweetened whipped cream

Make frosting:
Bring milk and cream just to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and remove
from heat. Whisk together yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt in a
bowl and add hot milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour
custard into pan and boil, whisking, until thick and smooth, about 1 minute.
Force custard through a fine sieve into a bowl. Set bowl of custard frosting
in a larger bowl of ice and cold water, then cool, stirring occasionally,
until cold. Chill frosting, its surface covered with plastic wrap to prevent
a skin from forming, 2 hours.
Make cake layers:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (8- by 2-inch) round cake pans and line
bottoms with wax paper. Butter paper and dust with flour, knocking out
excess. Sift together 1 1/2 cups cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat
together butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer
until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, then yolk, beating well after
each addition. With mixer on low speed, alternately add milk and flour
mixture in 4 batches, beginning and ending with milk (mixture will look
curdled; do not overbeat).
Divide batter between cake pans, smoothing tops. Bake in middle of oven
until pale and a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Run a thin knife
around edges of pans and invert layers onto a rack. Carefully remove wax
paper and cool layers completely.

Assemble cake:
Halve cake layers horizontally with a long serrated knife. Arrange 1 cake
half, cut side up, on a plate and brush with 2 tablespoons Sherry. Spread
evenly with 3 tablespoons jam. Repeat with remaining 3 layers, ending with a
layer cut side down. Brush top with Sherry. Frost cake with custard.
Cooks' notes: · Custard frosting may be made 1 day ahead and kept chilled,
· Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well individually in
plastic wrap, at room temperature.
· Assembled cake keeps, covered and chilled, 2 days. Bring to room
temperature before serving.

Lettie Mae Thornton's Hoe Cakes

True Blood Recipes: Hoe Cakes ( Tara’s Mom )

Hoe cakes are a traditional Southern cornmeal pancake that are supposed to have been so-named because they were originally cooked on the blade of a hoe over an open fire.

Makes about 12 cakes
· 2 cups fine stone-ground cornmeal
· 2 teaspoons baking powder, preferably single-acting
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
· 2 cups whole milk, buttermilk, or yogurt
· Oil, melted butter, or lard, for the griddle

One: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 150°F. Mix together the meal, baking powder, and sugar in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and milk or yogurt and beat until they are smooth. Stir this quickly into the dry ingredients, using as few strokes as possible.
Two: Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, brush it lightly with the fat. Using a large, pointed kitchen spoon, take up about 2 tablespoons of the batter and pour it onto the griddle from the pointed end of the spoon (this helps insure that a round cake will form). Repeat until the griddle is full, but not crowded.
Three: Cook the cakes until the bottoms are nicely browned and air holes form in the tops, about 4 minutes. Turn, and cook until the second side is browned, about 3 to
4 minutes longer.
Four: Transfer them to the warm oven and repeat with the remaining batter until all the cakes are cooked. Serve hot, with or without additional butter.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Anna Paquin enlivens HBO's "True Blood"

By TERRY MORROW, Scripps Howard News Service

"Come in here and show them your teeth," actress Anna Paquin yells into another room.

Actor Stephen Moyer walks in, a bit perplexed about why she wants him to open his mouth to a room of strangers. Then she giggles and asks him again to bare his fangs.

And he does.

"See," she says, smiling. "He does have them."

As the star of HBO's vampire drama "True Blood," airing 9 p.m. ET Sundays, Paquin thinks her co-star's pointy real-life canine teeth are cool. They are long and sharp like a vampire's would be. Strangers might find them a bit disconcerting, especially since Moyer plays a vampire on "Blood."

It's part of Paquin's charm to flirt. She can be playful and silly but rarely inappropriate or shameless.

She still loves to talk about acting, with the same vigor of a young artist although she's played the Hollywood game more than half her life.

Despite her world travels, she still comes across as a bit of an innocent.

At 26, she's no longer the little girl audiences discovered in 1993's "The Piano," for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. After a few high-profile period pieces (such as HBO's "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee") and a big movie franchise (Rogue in the "X-Men" movies), she's grown up. Unlike many actresses who had careers as children, Paquin doesn't feel a need to declare to the world she's an adult.

"I never did kids films," she says. "I was a kid in (serious) films most of my life. It wasn't as if I had to overcome this cute-kid-with-dimples thing."

Paquin has come of age while working. Today, she is engaged by talking of her work. She doesn't do the Hollywood party scene much. She lives quietly.

Paquin has little pretense for an actress with an Oscar on her mantle. She isn't interested in being the star. She wants to be one of the gang.

As Southern barmaid Sookie Stackhouse on "True Blood," Paquin says she's found an unconventional woman.

Sookie is intrigued by and attracted to the town's first resident vampire, a Civil War veteran named Bill (played by Moyer).

She doesn't fear his sharp teeth. In fact, she loves to look at them. Her flirting with this mystery man causes her neighbors' jaws to drop.

"I love how hopeful she is. I love how, despite whatever happens to her, she's still an optimist and a romantic," she says. "She has hadn't the easiest life, but she's still open to new things. She still sees the bright side."

Paquin uses those attributes when approaching her work. She doesn't want to know what's ahead for Sookie, preferring to stay in the moment.

"What you do as an actor is to explain why people are the way they are," she says. "You spend every waking hour trying to figure out that person or, at least, I do."

Sookie has invaded Paquin's life in more ways than one. She's dyed her hair blond and gotten used to wearing tight T-shirts and jeans. Sookie represents a sexuality that Paquin has never displayed before on screen.

In many ways, Sookie is the type of role that Paquin strives for.

"I would be thrilled if people watched the whole ('True Blood') pilot and couldn't figure out who I was," she says.

"My favorite actors are people you can't recognized when you're walking down the street. ... She's a completely different character than what I am used to playing.

"Very few (producers) are going to cast you sight unseen for a role unlike anything you've done before. If you don't audition, how do you know you're right for the part?

"I'd rather know I'm right for the part than have someone cast me based on how they think they know me."

(Terry Morrow writes for the Knoxville News Sentinel in Tennessee)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Preview "The Fourth Man in the Fire" Episode 8 aired October 26