One of the characters that I will sorely miss from True Blood is Bill’s maker, Lorena. The part was so brilliantly played by Mariana Klaveno who made us all love to hate her.
Lorena certainly was a sick lady, even though, in her own demented way, she truly thought that she showed her love for and completely loved Bill. Even at her end, she professed her love for him as Sookie drove the stake into her.
SEASON 3 SPOILER ALERT!
In the excerpts from a Q&A below with Mariana at digitalspy.com, we find out whether Lorena’s really evil, how she felt about that head-turning sex scene and why she enjoyed the flashbacks.
Lorena has an evil side – how do you stop her from becoming just evil?
“I think the trick to playing villains is that you can’t play them as if they know that they’re villains, otherwise it becomes some sort of mustache-twirling caricature! Personally, I never saw her as evil. That could just be my bias because I was playing her but to her she was not being evil, she was just doing what she needed to do. She was madly in love with someone and she operated by a different set of rules and that’s how I justified it for myself. In her world it’s not a terrible thing to torture and kill humans. She’s a vampire, it’s sort of fun, that’s what we do, and it was all done for the love of Bill. That’s how I approached everything she did – it was always all for him. When you go from that place of intention and emotion I think the evilness kind of melts away and the words you say and actions you’re doing, those take care of the evil part of it, if that makes sense.”
I get the sense you often find yourself defending Lorena…
“I absolutely do! I mean, she obviously was intended to be a villain and was quite naughty in many ways. But I also… maybe it’s a bit of the feminist in me, but I think people like to slap her with the evil label much more easily than they would any of the guys in the show. I actually thought about it kind of recently when I was thinking back over the season. I don’t think she really did anything worse than things that Eric has done. Eric has brutally murdered people and done really questionable things and yet we don’t really think of him as evil, he’s just this badass vampire. So I do find myself defending her a little bit which is a little nerdy, perhaps, but when you play a character you can’t really judge it. In my mind I think she was very misunderstood! I say that with a wink and a nod.”
How would you describe Lorena and Bill’s relationship in the third season?
SPOILER! “Violent! It’s funny to me that people would talk about the torture scene at the end and, ‘How could you torture him?’ It struck me as funny because I’d ask, ‘Really? After everything he did to me and leading up to that you still feel sorry for him? He lit me on fire, he twisted my head around, he punched me in the face’. Aside from the violence, I actually think it reached places of intimacy that it hadn’t before, especially in that last scene where I am torturing him. There’s this beautiful moment that [creator] Alan Ball wrote where Bill says that he wishes he could have met me before I was turned. There’s this wonderful moment – Bill and I get to look at each other in this way they never, ever had before. For me, playing that moment, I loved it and I thought it was this wonderful way to look at this character in a way you’ve never seen her before. You get a glimpse that she was a human, that she was probably tortured in her human life, and that’s what made her the vampire she is today. And she was a soft, feminine, kind, loving girl at some point before it all went downhill. So I feel like aside from the violence there were moments of real connection and intimacy between the two of them.”
Why do you think Lorena is still so obsessed with Bill after such a long time?
“It’s a good question. I think that she’d obviously been looking for a companion for quite some time before she met Bill. She really desired and absolutely needed someone to walk the Earth with her. As an actor, I came up with my own little story of what happened to her as a human and that sort of informed why she was so hellbent on having a loving companion with her, and she would get it by God, no matter what. She was denied love or it was taken away from her in some tragic way in her human life and that’s why she was so obsessed with having Bill. Why Bill? I think because he possessed the qualities that she deemed worthy. The irony is that those very qualities are what prevents him from ever loving her back. I think at his core he is a really wonderful, worthy, dignified man and that of course makes him love Sookie and not Lorena!”
SPOILER! A lot is said about the sex scenes in True Blood but you had one of the craziest with the head-twisting moment. What did you think when you read that?
“The first thought out of my head was, ‘Oh my God, my poor parents!’ Yeah, it was a little wild and crazy. It’s kind of what I love about the show, that it doesn’t shy away from really pushing the envelope and challenging the audience.”
SPOILER! Were you nervous about filming the scene?
“I was very nervous, it was very uncomfortable. Even though Stephen and I are really good friends and by that point had shot all kinds of things together, it’s still uncomfortable. You’re doing these scenes that are very vulnerable and you feel awkward as an actor, but you kind of have to go for it. That goes for any scene in True Blood – it’s not a show for the timid. It actually feels better to go for it 100% rather than doing it 60%. But about ten hours into the day, being on the bed doing that over and over and over again, we got to the point where we were just sort of hysterical. I mean, you laugh. I think that’s what saves you. You have to keep your sense of humor about you when you’re doing these crazy, dark, twisted – forgive the pun – scenes. You really have to just laugh between takes because that will lighten the mood and you can’t take it so seriously. Luckily, Stephen is a hilarious person so he was able to keep me laughing.”
Lorena’s been around for hundreds of years – did you enjoy building up that background or was it daunting playing a character with so much history?
“It was a bit daunting because we don’t go into all that – it’s all vague and shrouded in mystery. You don’t really know where she was and what she’s done and who she’s been with. But I kind of loved it. I loved that there was all this rich history that you could build for yourself. Just to get really nerdy about my process as an actress, I kind of liked playing around subtly with how she was a little bit different through each decade. Obviously she was the same character but she was a little bit different as I think you would be, as humans are different in each decade. And I don’t know that it would necessarily be different for vampires. I really loved doing that. And the flashbacks are just a wild amount of fun – the costumes and the designs and what we’d be doing.”
What was it about the flashbacks that you particularly enjoyed?
“I loved the flashbacks, loved them. I think you get the opportunity in this show to play a million different characters because you get to go back in time. I think it speaks to that really early instinct of an actor wanting to play dress up. It’s the ultimate fairytale dream for an actor to get to play dress up in a variety of different ways in the same show. There’s nothing more fun than putting on an old costume and jewelry and being in a house that’s decorated from the ’20s or ’30s or whatever. It’s just so fantastic that that show allows actors to have those kind of fairytale experiences.”
You’ve just been in an episode of Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, haven’t you?
“I was playing another evil person!”
What else have you got coming up?
“There is an independent film I did a while back called No God No Master and it should be finished pretty soon, so hopefully it gets released and people can see it. I don’t know – I’ve done a few things here and there but it’s kind of hard once you come off a show that’s so incredible like True Blood. It’s kind of hard to pick the next project. I’ve been kind of picky and I feel I was a bit too spoiled on that show! But hopefully something fun and challenging will be coming down very soon.”
Go over to digitalspy.com to read the entire Q&A.