The second season of HBO's True Blood kicks off tonight and doesn't waste any time jumping into the scary murder madness that has engulfed the citizens of Bon Temps.
According to the show's creator, Alan Ball, everything intensifies this season: vampires are more monstrous, sex scenes are even sexier, shape-shifters become more, er, shape-shiftery, and the anti-vampire movement becomes even more zealous.
Here are more highlights from the conference call Ball recently held with reporters:
- Talking about the serial killer: "The first season we, the audience, did not know who the serial killer was. In this season, as the show progresses, we know there is a character who is up to no good and is dangerous long before any of the other characters on the show know it."
- Describing the anti-vampire cult and whether or not it's a metaphor for our current political climate: "That whole conflict becomes deadly serious. Given the nature of the political debate in this country, I think it's very easy to look at it in a satirical light. I've been clear from the beginning: they really believe they have a mission to save the world."
- On Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer's real-life relationship: "They are such consummate professionals, both of them, that it doesn't affect filming whatsoever. It only affects filming in the sense that they're incredibly comfortable with each other and their chemistry translates to the screen."
- Talking about the changes Ryan Kwanten's character, Jason Stackhouse, will go through in season two: "In the books, Jason is very much the hot guy in town who is the womanizer. Once we started to flesh him out, no pun intended, we saw that he is sexually compulsive. Ultimately, Jason is a scared little boy that has been abandoned by everyone he has ever loved. In the second season, he is very much aware of the deep hole in his soul and he’s looking to fill that. As many people do, he latches onto religion and becomes part of an organization that makes him feel special. But of course, as time goes on . . . let’s just say Jason can’t leave his clothes on too long."
- On making Alexander Skarsgård's character Eric, even scarier, and not shying away from the sexiness of the show: "This season, I did not feel like we needed to up the ante just to up the ante. I did feel like it was important to make Eric more frightening and see more of his monstrous side because as we progress we see more of his more human side. There is a scene where Sookie and Bill make love in the first episode that basically on the page it said 'Sookie and Bill make love.' Then I saw the dailies cut together . . . and I was like ‘Oh, wow! OK.’ I love it and I think that’s part of the appeal of the show. I don't think we do anything gratuitously. But it's important to show that between Sookie and Bill, there is this incredible, erotic chemistry."
- On who Ball thinks is the most evil character: "I would hesitate to say Maryann is the most evil but she revels in chaos and destruction. She doesn't look at it from the polarities of good and evil."
- Describing Evan Rachel Wood's character: "She is going to be playing the vampire queen of Louisiana. Each state has a king or queen and the buck stops there in terms of the [vampire] politics. Evan's really beautiful and very, very pale. And she looks like a vampire to me!"
- On feeling any pressure to win awards or live up to the show's hype in season two: "I don't really think about those things. I feel like that is a real trap. I just feel like I try to do the best I can do. I don't feel more pressure, I really work very hard to stay in a little bubble in that regard because otherwise you go crazy."