TV & Video Magazine Exclusive: Meet True Blood’s Newest Sheriff — Blackburn — Aaron Perilo!

Posted on the 14 August 2011 by Truebloodnetcom @truebloodnet

True Blood’s Newest vampire Sheriff

Recently had the chance to chat with one of the new True Blood vampire sherrif’s, Blackburn, played by Aaron Perilo. Described in his bio as:

The Omaha, NE native honed his acting skills in theater productions on both local and national levels before landing television roles on various series, among them NBC’s “American Dreams,” Disney’s “Suite Life on Deck,” CBS’s “CSI: Miami” and ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” Of late, Aaron is set to portray Caleb on HBO’s highly anticipated series, “Luck,” and is set to portray Jim Bonza opposite Malcom McDowell and Dean Cain in the sci-fi thriller “Mind’s Eye.”

Read on to find out what interesting things happen when you work on True Blood.

Interview with Aaron Perilo You grew up in Omaha, is that correct?

AARON: Yes, that’s correct. What was it like growing up in that area?

AARON: It was great. Omaha is a perfect place to be from, as well as a perfect place to leave. Oh I see.

AARON: It was just like the rest of the world. I would describe Omaha as like any other place. I talk to people from Los Angeles, I say it’s like Pasadena meets Orange County. If you know what those areas are like. I do know what those areas are like, I’ve been out there many times.

AARON: Yes, it’s just kind of normal. People aren’t worried about being better than you are all the time. LOL So it was more of an urban area?

AARON: I grew up in the city, but Omaha is a giant suburb really. There are some urban areas but I’m not from that area. You’ve been accepted to the American Academy of Arts? What was that like?

AARON: Yes, originally I auditioned in New York because my brother was in New York and I had been living there for several years. I always went to visit him since he’s an actor in New York as well. I fell in love with New York and wanted to go to school there. I auditioned there and realized, after I’d gotten accepted, that I should go to the school in LA because I wanted to focus more on television and film. I’d never been to California before and so I made the jump and did it. I’m really glad I did because I feel like New York is going to come later in my life and I will have more money to enjoy it. Yes, there’s more support for emerging actors in LA

AARON: Absolutely. Once you’re established it is easier to move to the East Coast. Did you do plays while you were at school?

AARON: I studied acting, Dialects class, speech and theater history. I actually grew up doing theater. Since I was eight years old, I’ve been an actor. : What was your first performance?

AARON: It was The Christmas Carol as Tiny Tim. It was a national tour and it was pretty amazing. I was in the third grade, getting money every day. It was like getting an allowance every day and traveling, a dream come true Oh that’s so great! LOL

AARON: Yes. In sixth grade I was Frances and then again in the eighth grade as Peter. It was the same tour company but in between all that, I also did theater in Omaha. Wow, so you knew right from when you were small that you wanted to act?

AARON: That’s interesting because I never saw it as a job. I never thought of it as; “Oh, this is what I want to do.” It was probably my junior year in high school when I realized there wasn’t anything else I had fun doing. It was my goal to have fun and make money doing it. That’s kind of always been my motto. I realized there was nothing else I would be hAaronpy doing. Very good motto by the way. It’s something I found out later in life….LOL We always hear about part time jobs that actors take on in order to make ends meet. Do you have any part time jobs that were interesting or challenging?

AARON: I waited a lot of table while I was auditioning, bartending as well. I also did a lot of catering, which was interesting because you got to see things that most people wouldn’t get to see; like high society and their parties. Once I catered for a bar mitzvah and it was a $3 million budget. They flew out Cirque du Soleil performers, rented an entire sound stage and decked it out like it was jungle. It blew my mind. I think every bottle of wine was $500 and every bottle of champagne was $100. There was, like, 50 to 100 tables, a lot of people Wow! That sounds huge. A lot of actors I know are students of all kinds of people, so a job like that would give you an opportunity to watch different people.

AARON: Oh yes, I’ve played rich people a couple of times. That definitely helped me out. The rich are kind of demanding people. It was very interesting to do that. Watching people be vulnerable, that’s what I look for. Exclusive: Meet True Blood’s Newest Sheriff — Blackburn — Aaron Perilo! You have done film, plays and television. Do you have a particular field that you prefer at this time?

AARON: Currently, I prefer film, but it’s tough. There is such a huge enjoyment in doing plays because, to me, it’s acting in the purest form. Your character starts at one point, and within two hours, you change as a person and go through a huge emotional transformation. You know you can’t stop and say; “Let’s do that again.” Plays are more satisfying, at the end of the day. However, films or a scene in a show might be more satisfying because you always have it forever. It’s just two different things. I do love theater and I plan on doing it again. One of my biggest goals ever since I moved here is that I want to do film and TV in LA and then have a place in New York city and do Broadway and plays. That’s something I really look forward to.

TBN.COM: Seattle is really good for that too. I know a lot of actors go to Seattle for that.

AARON: I say New York because I’ve always had a big passion for that place and I feel the need to live there at some point.

TBN.COM: So, you’ve mentioned already that you have a brother acting and I heard that you have a sister who acts, too. Is that right?

AARON: Yes, I was inspired by my oldest brother and I think my sister was as well. I remember the first play I saw him in was ‘Where the Wild Things Are.’ He played a kid in a fantasy land and it struck a chord with me. It was amazing watching him be another person in a fantasy world. I told my parents I wanted to do it too. After moving up to New York, he did some comedy work for a while. He did a lot of shows with the Upright Citizens Brigade and now’s he’s gotten into some screenwriting. He’s also sold a TV show pilot to MTV last year. They haven’t done anything yet, but he sold it. He has several screenplays that he’s shopping around and things are moving forward with him with screenwriting, more so, at the moment. We are also trying to work as a team and I think the more successful we both get, the more realistic that actually can be: us working together again.

TBN.COM: Do you see yourself moving into directing and producing and your brother doing the writing portion?

AARON: I would love to produce and direct, that would be amazing, but I don’t think that would be until much later. What I was really thinking of is packaging me into his movies. The more of a name I make for myself and attach myself to his scripts that would be more incentive for production to make his movies.

TBN.COM: Your career is starting to take off; you’re really busy this year with True Blood, Fear Not, Sassy Pants, Luck, In Time and Minds Eye. Can you tell us a little bit about some of those titles? Not True Blood, though, we’ll get to that….LOL

AARON: ‘Fear Not’ is a horror film I shot early in the year. It’s about a haunted mansion that I convinced my friend to go to and stay the night in. My character intends to pranks them. He’s just an ‘ornery’ guy that tries to get some reactions on camera. But it turns out that the house really is haunted! I haven’t seen the final cut yet, but we’re hoping that it turns out well. ‘Sassy pants’ is a dark comedy in which I got to work with Haley Joel Osment and Ashley Rickards. The cast was great and the script was good, so I think there’s promise there. Haley is a fabulous actor and it’s great to see him acting still, as an adult. ‘Luck’ is a new HBO series that will be coming out later in the year and I have the pleasure of working with Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Farina. It was really amazing working with Dustin. He’s a very giving actor and has a great sense of humor. I kind of felt like I was working with my dad. We were singing Sinatra songs in between takes.

TBN.COM: So, is this going to be a series. Is your character going to be on-going?

AARON: Well, I’ve shot one episode, and they said it was re-occurring so we’ll see.
‘In Time,’ I only have a small role in this movie, but I do have a confrontational scene with Justin Timberlake. We almost get into a fight. Someone becomes a bigger man…I won’t say who.

I just finished filming ‘Mind’s Eye’ a week ago in Boulder. It was really nice there. The movie is great. It’s a Sci-Fi thriller that deals with alternate universes that people can create and trAaron you in. They can make you whatever they want you to be. It was incredibly confusing, but I loved it. The script was amazing. As far as dramas go, it might be my favorite script that I’ve been involved in. It’s one of those movies that you just have to watch again.

TBN.COM: Just like Inception, with Leonardo DeCAaronrio? I had to watch that three times before I got it.

AARON: Yes, just like that. It’s certainly one of those movies you have to watch several times. There’s a lot of interesting stuff. Malcolm McDowell is in it, whose one of my favorite actors. Dean Cain is in it too. He’s incredible, one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.

Aaron Perilo as True Blood vampire Sheriff Blackburn and Sheriff Luis

TBN.COM: Now, on to True Blood….First of all, were you aware of how popular TB was before you tried out?

AARON: Yes, I’m a huge fan myself.

TBN.COM: OK, so who was your favorite character before you tried out?

AARON: It’s a tie. I love a good villain. Russell Edgington and Godric are both great. It’s so hard to say which is my favorite.

TBN.COM: Mine changes scene to scene.

AARON: Exactly, I would say those are my favorites though.

TBN.COM: So you’re already a fan but how did you find out about the audition? Your agent?

AARON: Yes, I actually had five auditions that day and True Blood was the first one. It was insane, I was also doing a final test for a movie that I didn’t end up getting. So I went to the audition and by the end of the day it was the last thing on my mind. The True Blood audition was awesome, Alan Ball was in the room and I wasn’t expecting that. He laughed at what I did. You make Alan Ball laugh and that’s a good thing. He has such a sick sense of humor. So I get a call the next day and they said I’m on hold for True Blood. I was like; “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it.” I’ve never been on a show where I’ve watched every episode and have been obsessed by it. Going to set and doing scenes with Bill Compton, I had to pinch myself a couple of times. Being that engulfed in that fantasy world and then being on the inside – it’s every fans dream.

TBN.COM: I know! I got to tour the set.

AARON: Did you go to the lot then? That’s awesome. I haven’t actually seen the whole set. For example, I haven’t seen Sam Merlotte’s bar yet.

TBN.COM: Oh, it’s awesome. You’ll have to go in for a drink. LOL. All of the detail is incredible. So, tell us about your character, who do you play?

AARON: My character is Blackburn, I’m a vampire and very, very old. I’m familiar with Bill and Eric; we go way back. My character is kind of a trouble maker. He likes to get dirty at the drop of a hat, or should I say bloody. I guess that kind of sums him up. I’m brought into the season on a special request.

TBN.COM: Alright, well…we don’t want to get too many details. But does he interact with the werewolves or anything?

AARON: I have some interactions with the witches but that’s all I can say.

TBN.COM: How many episodes have you shot so far?

AARON: I have had shot five.

TBN.COM: Do you have more?

AARON: I can’t say.

TBN.COM: OK, so you’ve already worked with Stephen and Alexander. Have you met Pam?

AARON: Yes, I’ve met Kristin Bauer also and I have worked with most of the cast.

TBN.COM: Can you talk a little about the actual process of working on True Blood? Is it any different than the other shows you’ve worked on?

AARON: Yes, True Blood is really special. They shoot like it’s a feature film and they take their time. The shots are set up very specifically and extremely stylized. It’s an incredible experience to work with people that are so passionate about the whole process. That’s the big difference, they treat every episode like it’s a film.

TBN.COM: So, even the lighting and everything else is more special?

AARON: Yes, it would take up to an hour to set up each scene. The first day that I shot, it took us twelve hours to shoot one scene.

TBN.COM: WOW! That’s a lot for TV.

AARON: Yes, it’s a lot.

TBN.COM: We know True Blood shoots a lot at night. Did they have you working a lot of night scenes?

AARON: Yes, there were a lot of night shots, as well as day shots.

TBN.COM: Indoor scenes for the day shoots, right? Otherwise, you have a lot of powers that we don’t know about! LOL

AARON: Yes. Indoor shoots in the daytime.

TBN.COM: There’s also a lot of waiting in between takes. What do you find yourself doing in those downtimes?

AARON: Laughing at Stephen Moyer’s jokes. He’s so funny, I would love to see him in a comedy. And, I don’t know…texting. I’m into texting, and just talking and eating M&M’s.

TBN.COM: Do you have any other projects lined up once the season is over?

AARON: I’m always looking for work. Currently, I’m writing a screenplay which is taking up a lot of my time. I also have a couple of other projects that look pretty promising.

TBN.COM: Do you have other hobbies? What do you do in your free time?

AARON: I play guitar and maybe at some point I’ll perform a song but right now it’s just a hobby.

TBN.COM: We think there should be a True Blood band. There’s you, Sam and Todd Lowe, the actor that plays Terry Bellefleur, who all have bands.

AARON: That’s cool, I didn’t know that. I would love to be in a band again. Once I was actually in a band but we never did anything. We wrote songs and then broke up before we even got started. I’ve started to write as well, so that’s been another passion of mine for the past three of four months.

TBN.COM: Do you visit the fan sites ever? Do you read about True Blood online?

AARON: I haven’t done that. Actually, I didn’t know there were so many fan sites with such a huge following.

TBN.COM: HBO did a really nifty thing. They reached out to a few of us to interview. They are very supportive.

AARON: HBO is great. They’ve always been my favorite programming.

TBN.COM: Have you ever Googled yourself?

AARON: Yes, I have, to be honest. I haven’t been embarrassed yet, so that’s good.

TBN.COM: Maybe we’ll start a rumor. LOL That you’re an M&M addict

AARON: He’s an M&M freak….great, there will be some comics with M&M’s all over my face.

TBN.COM: If Blackburn died, what would you like to see on his headstone?

AARON: Murdered by a Coward Whose Name is Not Worthy to Appear Here.

Aaron Perilo True Blood vampire Sheriff Blackburn

TBN.COM: Do you twitter and would you like your fans to know what your twitter name is?

AARON: It’s just AaronPerilo. I guess I don’t know what to tweet. What do people tweet about? LOL

TBN.COM: We also host online Twitter parties. You just missed the premier party. If we’d known ahead of time, we would have invited you. There’s that kind of stuff going on but also people really like to hear from you. You know you can share your life with everyone but you don’t have to tell everything about what’s going on. The fans just love that. If you have any charities, a lot of people tweet about their favorite charity.

Do you have a Facebook or MySpace?

AARON: I haven’t made a fan page for Facebook yet and I don’t check MySpace anymore. I feel like once True Blood comes out, I should get a little more personal with my stuff.

TBN.COM: Are there any questions that you would like to ask the fans?

AARON: I would like to take a poll and find out how many people are fans of vampires verses werewolves.

TBN.COM: Do you have any expectations about where you would like to see yourself in the next ten years?

AARON: Yes, I see myself fulfilling my goals about doing films that I choose to do. Also, I’d like to do some theater work in New York, when we’re on hiatus. I would love to make a great living out of acting, while own houses in Los Angeles and New York.

TBN.COM: Thank you so much Aaron! We really appreciate the interview.

Aaron was really great to talk to. He’s obviously smart and has a lot going for him. He’s very down to earth and realistic with a great sense of fun. Speaking of which, we think if you ever see Aaron that you should give him M&Ms as it seems a vampire never looses their sweet tooth! (it must sit right behind their fangs).

Photo Credits: Aaron Perilo, HBO Inc.

Transcription Credit: Tammy Harris

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