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True Blood’s Nelsan Ellis Interviewed by NY Magazine

Posted on the 23 July 2011 by Tbfansource @tbfansource

True Blood's Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette Reynolds)True Blood’s Nelsan Ellis has proved that, in three seasons of the popular vamp drama, you can be a proud gay black man who wears more makeup than the ladies, sashay harder than your typical southern damsel, and call anyone a Hookah – so long as your name is Lafayette Reynolds. Lafayette quickly became a fan favorite after season one, and all because of the fact that Ellis was the one playing him. Let’s be honest, could you even picture someone else as Lafayette? No, neither can we. Ellis sat down with NY Magazine recently to talk about the show that has made him a household name, what his conservative father thinks about his job, and how he became an “angry black man.”

The biggest change with Lafayette this season is definitely the hair. We’re so accustomed to him wearing doo-rags that when season 4 kicked off with him sporting a Mohawk, it was definitely a significant change. So, was it Ellis’ idea to change things up?

“Yeah, that was my idea. I figure since he’s got a boyfriend, he probably wants to jazz it up a bit.”

The Mohawk, the elaborate outfits, and the extensive eye makeup have made Lafayette who he is today. Ellis has completely embraced everything possible about Lafayette’s life, and being a straight man, he makes gay look amazingly fabulous. He admits that he bases his portrayal of Lafayette on his mother, even though he looks more like his father. And speaking of his father, Ellis’ dad is someone that has had a harder time coming around to the idea that his son plays a gay drug dealer turned wiccan on one of HBO’s most popular TV series:

“He works at a meat-packing company and is a deacon in the church — he’s a man’s man, my father. So seeing his son look like that, you know, makes him uneasy. Anything that goes against his biblical nature was never allowed in the house — vampire shows, anything sexual. So it’s not just me. But he supports me in his own little way: [Chuckles.] He’ll turn True Blood on, but he won’t actually sit down and watch it.”

Ellis may have had a difficult childhood, but he learned quickly and was able to make opportunities happen for himself. He had drive, intelligence, and a flair for the dramatic. After figuring out (very quickly) that enlisting to be a marine wasn’t the best idea he had ever had, he turned to theater, enrolled in Juilliard, and became a classmate of fellow True Blood alum Rutina Wesley (Tara Thornton). Yes, they became fast friends, mostly because there weren’t many black students attending Juilliard, but also because, as Ellis gushes, Wesley is pretty great. But what was Ellis like back in school?

“I was quiet. If I really wanted to say something, I would. I just wasn’t interested in saying anything. And that was a problem for my teachers. They said, “People won’t want to work with you. You seem too mysterious.” They were actually right. So my second year, I started to talk more. I became an angry black man!”

Angry black man or flamboyant gay man, we love Ellis no matter what he’s doing. And we especially love him as Lala. To read Ellis’ interview in its entirety click here.

Source: NY Magazine – Nelsan Ellis on True Blood’s Season of the Witches, Lafayette’s Mohawk, and Dodging the Marines

Photo Credit: HBO


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