Recently, I was given the opportunity to interview two stars of HBO’s True Blood: Tara Buck (Ginger) and Marshall Allman (Tommy Mickens). It was certainly an amazing experience and so much fun to catch up with the friendly and down to earth stars before they did their signing event at Club Fangtasia. If you didn’t get a chance to meet them at this event and you live in Melbourne, Australia, you also had the opportunity to meet up with them on Sunday 4th November during the First Contact Full Blood convention. Or, alternatively, see them at the Club Fangtasia Halloween party on Sunday night.
Even with their hectic schedule, the stars were happy to sit down and have a chat about True Blood with TrueBloodNet. Tara was straight into talking about her favorite True Blood moment: riding Pam’s coffin in Season 5. A moment that she didn’t know was to occur until she actually jumped on the coffin and it started to move. Which led to the first fan question, sent in by Lenore Mills, who asked if coffin riding was similar to horse riding? Tara was quick to declare that it wasn’t, but it was fairly close to mechanical bull riding!
Marshall then described his craziest True Blood moment, one which involved having to (while naked) jump and transform from a human into a bird. Besides the fact that he was jumping about naked, he kept making ad hoc transforming sound effects. As a result, they had to retake until he could jump without making any noises at all!
This was the opportune time to ask the question sent in by KL Joy: Since there are so much naked moments for shifters in True Blood, were there any awkward moments? Allman pointed out that being naked on set gets very old very quickly and it’s just a matter of getting on with the job.
It was also interesting to discover how the pair of them researched their roles. While Marshall plays a shifter and a character who is not in the Southern Vampire Mystery books by Charlaine Harris, he still found it easy enough to research:
Tommy had been basically raised as a dog fighter, so I watched ‘The Dog Whisperer’ and he did a whole episode on pitt bulls. He talked a lot about the nature of the pitt bull and how the breed has been trained. When pitt bulls experience pain, they don’t have a threshold for it and go crazier. They will attack until they die. So learning that, it was kind of like, wow, Tommy’s a lot like that, you know, he just doesn’t know when to stop.
Ginger, on the other hand, is a character in the books, so it is possible for her to draw on that. Although, Buck prefers to go with her own special version of her character. But, because Ginger dies in the books, there was a concern that the Ginger in the HBO series would suffer the same fate:
We shot a scene, that never made it to air, the very last scene of the last episode of Season 3, where Ginger runs into Fangtasia and her head is backwards and so you don’t know what has happened but clearly a spell has been cast and so, when I read that, I actually said to Alan Ball; ”Oh my gosh, Alan, you killed me!” To which Alan replied; “No, no, no, Tara, don’t worry, your head’s just been turned around, but you’re still alive.”
Which is such a relief to hear, since so many people love Ginger. This bought me to the source of the most popular questions for Ginger: her scream. While it was never a part of the audition process for Tara Buck, when her character witnessed the death of Long Shadow in Season 1, it became an organic, ad lib process in the scene. Once she started wailing, everyone thought it was hilarious so they asked for more of it. Then, of course, she started throwing up, so they asked her to scream and throw up and then scream some more.
Truebie fan Eve Lynch, wanted to know how the the both of them got into acting? Tara announced that she fell in love with Michael J. Fox while watching him in the movie ‘Back To The Future’. Even though she was only 8, she decided that the only way to meet the celebrity, was to take up acting! Marshall, on the other hand, had originally planned to be a professional soccer player, but was, unfortunately, injured before he could live out that dream. On a whim, a friend suggested he try out on a talent search The rest, as they say, is history!
True Blood fan, Kate Rodaughan, wanted to ask Tara Buck if it was fun to play Ginger. To which the actress responded with a definite yes:
I don’t even know where to start. I love the costumes. They’re tiny – it’s like Halloween every day! Her hair is big and crazy and it’s just fun. I love it.
Another fan, Cindy Burrows, wanted to ask Marshall Allman about his role in Sons Of Anarchy. In particular, what it was like to play such a gullible character in a scene (where Allman’s character, Devon, is propositioned by a transvestite hooker) that fans have declared as hilarious, in a show that is not often known for its humor:
Oh man, it wasn’t hard at all! I absolutely loved playing the role of Devon. That scene was so much fun to shoot.
And fans of both Sons of Anarchy and Marshall Allman will be pleased to know that the role should be reprised in Season 6.
I can’t wait. You can go in so many different directions because he’s so wide-eyed and he has no idea what the culture is like.
I was also curious to know, besides True Blood, what is the strangest role either of them have ever had to play? Tara Buck is actually known for playing unique characters. So, for her, the weirdest ones, so far, are the roles of crazy Rhea Reynolds in Nip/Tuck and a character in her upcoming film ‘K-11′; who is a transgender inmate. She actually plays the role of a man playing a woman!
Allman has also had his share of interesting roles. Besides his stint as Devon in Sons of Anarchy, he has starred in the movie, ‘The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle’. In this movie he plays a janitor who gives birth to blue fish after becoming addicted to experimental cookies.
Now, if you want to see more of Tara Buck and Marshall Allman, they have plenty of stuff hitting the screens. Tara has a new movie coming out called ‘Tomorrow You’re Gone’ (also known as ‘Boot Tracks’), which stars Willem DaFoe, Stephen Dorff and Michelle Monaghan. It’s directed by David Jacobson and should hit the big screen early in 2013. The film, K-11 (which stars Goran Visnjic) is being released shortly.
Marshall Allman has just completed a movie called ‘Jane Mansfield’s Car’. It stars Billy Bob Thornton and Robert Duvall. You can also see Allman in the upcoming independent film, The Bounceback.
Thank you to Tara Buck, Marshall Allman, HBO, the crew at First Contact Conventions and Garth O’Hehir for making this interview possible.
(Photo Credits: ClubFangtasia.com.au/HBO Inc.)