Charlaine Harris Blogs About ‘True Blood’

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From March 10, 2008:

There’s a reason adages become adages. They express a general truth, and they encapsulate a whole argument into one sentence. “Better safe than sorry.” That telescopes a long discussion pretty effectively, doesn’t it? Or “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”: a neat way to sum up a whole value system.

The adage I’m thinking of this week is “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This observation first appeared in ancient Greece and has been reiterated in different words through history. To put it in different words, people bring to their concept of “beautiful” all the factors that have made them what they are:  their culture, their exposure to the media, their mother’s face, their body image. I see a plate by Charlotte Rhead and I think it’s beautiful. When I show off my collection proudly, I can see other people are looking doubtful, or surprised, or bored. It’s gone right by them.

This week, with the casting of Eric, that idea has been at the forefront of lots of posts. “Yes, Skarsgard is gorgeous, he’ll be perfect.” “There are so many men who are better looking! Why’d they cast him?” “He doesn’t look at all like Eric.”

I’m not a casting director. I’m not a television producer. I have a very limited understanding of how the whole process works. But it seems to me that the process of casting boils down a formula that might go something like this: Physical appropriateness + acting talent + availability. I’m afraid a lot of casting doesn’t pay attention to the “acting talent” component. But competent – even inspired – casting has to.

I also believe that enough acting talent can ensure the actor embodies the part. That’s the essence of acting, right? The ability to be someone else, believably?

I’m looking forward to Alexander Skarsgard’s convincing me he is Eric Northman. I want to see Anna Paquin fill Sookie’s skin. I want to see William Sanderson become Bud Dearborn, and Sam Trammell become Sam Merlotte. I’m ready to give the cast a chance to embody my characters. I hope you all are keeping an open mind, too.

While we’re talking about the series (because I’m not going to keep on blogging about this until the show is on the air, because I won’t be thinking about it that much), prepare yourself for differences from the books. Everything that reads well doesn’t film well. Plot devices that work on the page don’t necessarily work on the screen. “True Blood” will be a completely different experience than the books, and rightly so. It’s a different medium.

Still, I’m looking forward to that experience, and I hope a lot of other people will enjoy it, too.

Charlaine Harris

Fan of the Southern Vampire Mysteries since 2001, and co-admin of True-Blood.net since 2008. Team Sookie!

1 Comment

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