Team Eric, Team Bill & Season 3 Tidbits from the Paley Center – LIVE (SPOILERS)

The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills is hosting a True Blood writers panel this evening, featuring Alan Ball, Alexander Woo, Nancy Oliver, Brian Buckner, Kate Barnow, and Elisabeth Finch. The panel is being moderated by PopWatch’s Alynda Wheat. As usual we have operatives in place to report back to us with juicy tidbits in advance of a full report coming later. The panel begins at 7PM PT; keep refreshing for the latest and beware of spoilers!

Writers Brian Buckner, Nancy Oliver, Raelle Tucker, moderator Aylnda Wheat, creator Alan Ball and writers Kate Barnow, Elisabeth Finch and Alexander Woo attend The Paley Center for Medias Inside the Writers Room: True Blood

Writers Brian Buckner, Nancy Oliver, Raelle Tucker, creator Alan Ball and writers Kate Barnow, Elisabeth Finch and Alexander Woo attend The Paley Center for Media's "Inside the Writers Room: True Blood"

On the Red Carpet

  • Raelle Tucker’s favorite character to write for – currently – is Jessica.
  • Alexander Woo says that the scenes at the Fellowship of the Sun when the vampires and humans are fighting were among his favorites to shoot.
  • Alan Ball observes that all of the characters are his “babies”, but he especially likes writing for Jason. Alan also reveals that his favorite parts of season 2 include “the growing sexual attraction between Eric and Sookie, the Dionysian revelry, and Jason watching Sarah.”
  • Alan confirms that Alcide will appear beginning in episode 3.03. He has not yet been cast.
  • Regarding Bubba, Alan says that he loves the character in the books, but “because he’s Elvis there’s no way we can do it” on the show.

The Panel

  • Alan says he’s not a fan of stunt casting. Looks like Snoop Dogg won’t be getting his wish.
  • Alan thinks episode 1.05, “Sparks Fly Out”, is where True Blood hit its stride.
  • Alan: “I will admit to oftentimes saying, ‘Come on, can we just get his [Ryan Kwanten's] shirt off?’”
  • Nancy Oliver feels lucky to be on pay cable because pretty much anything goes. “We can do a story about priapism.”
  • Our girl Raelle Tucker on Sookie: “What makes Sookie an amazing character is that she feels as though she has a disability, she feels hopelessly flawed.”
  • Alexander Woo says True Blood fans are the best looking fans in the world. (Yeah we are!)  Alan appreciates the fans’ enthusiasm and Raelle thinks True Blood fans have great costumes.
  • Raelle reveals a soft spot for Lafayette: “I am a dirty little slut for Lafayette, even if I’m not his type.”
  • Expanding on comments made on the red carpet, Alan says he enjoys writing for Jason and Lafayette, Raelle enjoys writing for Hoyt and Jessica, and Brian likes writing for Eric.
  • Alan knows what the fans want: “Alexander Skarsgard appears without most of his clothes in the very first episode of S3.”
  • We find out where Bill is in episode 3.01.
  • Fans in the audience are expressing their unhappiness with Evan Rachel Wood as Sophie-Anne. Alan takes it in stride.
  • Nothing new coming out of the fan part of the Q&A: lots of new characters in season 3, including possibility of the Newlins; Maryann is totally dead; the theme for season 3 is “identity”; Sookie will be driven to find out more about what/who she is/
  • Ah, some reassurance for Team Bill: “Bill will not be marginalized. Bill and Sookie will have troubles, but Bill and Sookie have a connection that will not die.”
  • And something else for Team Eric: Alan confirms that Eric will get amnesia in season 4.
  • The fans gave Alan a standing ovation for the last scene of Six Feet Under.
  • Alan says we’ll see more Pam and Nan Flanagan in season 3, groans at mention of pink spandex.
  • Godric’s death scene was partially live, partially green screen and they got it in only two takes!
  • Alan confirms that we’ll see Godric again in flashbacks in season 3.
  • Alan also confirmed that season 3 will launch in June 2010.

That’s a wrap! Our reporters on the spot are sticking around to get more photos and (hopefully) some autographs. We’ll have photos and a full report tomorrow.

About Mel

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

91 comments

  1. YAY FOR ALCIDE THANK YOU!

  2. Alan knows what the fans want: “Alexander Skarsgard appears without most of his clothes in the very first episode of S3.”

    OMG!!! I can’t wait!

    • I second this Yea!!!

      • Though he says he doesn’t know what fans want, it seems that Mr. Ball has been reading our blogs. You know Team Eric. ASkars naked in Episode One, hmm the visuals we can have over the long hiatus.

        Filming beginning next month, we all can look forward to new footage and stills in January and February. The new Charlaine Harris novel is due in May and Season Three will drop in June.

        Keep the spoilers coming AB, we all eat them up. They are all essential for our v-ddiction to be satisfied. 222 more days until Season Three. Whoohoo, Truebies. Rejoice, it will be here before we know it.

  3. “And something else for Team Eric: Alan confirms that Eric will get amnesia in season 4.”

    THANK YOU. This is very good news.

    • Yes! Agreed! I was so worried they were going to write his out.

      • AGREED THREE!!!

        And everyone who’s read the books knows what amnesia means!!!!

        At least, it had BETTER, mean what we think it means! Haha.

        Can’t wait!

        TEAM ERIC!!

        <3

  4. Thanks so much for posting. I can’t wait for next season!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Alexander Skarsgard without most of his clothes in the first ep!!! and Eric getting amnesia in season 4!!! YESSSSS! BEST NEWS EVER! Thanks for posting! This really made my day!

  6. Do we have to wait til season 4 for amnesia NOOOO! BUt just hope leads to the shower scene! YAY for the First ep of season 3 – Alexander Skarsgard without most of his clothes on..And Alcide WOOHOO….Roll on June 2010!

    Thank you!! You’ve made my week!

  7. I was there tonight, and it was interesting to see how half the audience seemed to express strong dislike for Evan Rachel Wood’s casting and I thought Alan seemed fairly surprised by that. He said to kind of “blame him” because he cast her.

    I would also note that someone asked if they had a “master plan” of sorts for what they’d like to happen through the next few seasons and he said not really, they haven’t even gotten to planning the end of season 3 yet. I was surprised that their writing process seemed pretty loose and more open to changing the storyline as they go than I would have expected. Alexander Woo essentially said If they see one actor really shining or the character coming to life they aren’t afraid to adjust the focus to explore that character more. Someone asked for more Pam and Alan said she should have a lot more to do next season (yay!)

  8. He didn’t “groan” at the mention of pink spandex – I remember Alan saying that “Alexander is up to it”. Whether or not it’ll happen though is still any one’s guess.

  9. Just when I thought I couldn’t get any more impatient for True Blood to start again….darn! Very exciting news. Three things more than anything for me… naked Alex, amnesiac Eric, and more Pam!

  10. I was there also and agree with K. He seemed a bit surpised at the feedback on ERW let’s hope he does something about it.

  11. You know, if one were cynical, one might wonder whether Evan Rachel Wood’s Sophie-Anne had been this unpopular if there hadn’t been these rumours about her dating Alexander.

    I mean, not that I would think that.

    • Well, in this little group of True Blood fanatics the dislike for ERW happened in that first scene with Bill. WAY before there were rumors about Alex. BTW, all of us like Alex as Eric, but we’re not panting for him to be naked unless it has to do w/Sookie, so we can wait until it should happen. The fact that he’ll be naked in Season 3 is, like, okay, whatever.

      • Ummmm…actually I would take it anyway i could get it :)

      • Completely agree. Alex is a sight for sore eyes but if we’re gonna see him naked he’d better be with Sookie. I read somewhere that there will be another love interest for him next season (a stripper!!) and there are gonna be hot scenes with her. Personally, I hope that’s fake info and no such thing happens (not to mention that Alan Ball wouldn’t give such a big spoiler out this early on, so I don’t just hope, I want to believe it’s fake).

        • The stripper is an actual spoiler from the casting call for the first epi of season 3 (check out spoilertv.com). There is also a solid update from AB (I believe it is from an interview with a newspaper is Sydney, Australia) that states Eric may have competition from Pam for the stripper’s attention!

      • Completely agree with you there, amelia and sofia!

        • I don’t think so Vi. I have male friends who have never read the books who think ERW is awful as the queen.

          • I just hate the way the Queen is depicted period. In the books she seems to have alot more class ( I think) and isn’t anywhere near the self-serving bitch she appears to be in the show. Am i off-base here?

            Dating AS… pleeeezzzz say it ain’t so!

      • Sorry we will take the Viking Vampire God naked and every way including north. LOL

      • I don’t care who he’s naked with, as long as he’s naked!

  12. Whew, what a relief, Bill won’t be marginalized. So how about the continued marginalization of Eric? Naked or no, he was, with the exception of two episodes last season, marginalized. I have no faith that he will emerge as a 3 dimensional character, as long as Alan continues to be so enamored with the Bill character.

    Did anyone ask why all of Eric’s good deeds have been attributed to Bill? Why they’re writing them black and white? Why Sookie is written as such that she can’t take care of herself? So far, except for the ERW, it sounds like there were no dig-deep questions asked.

    • I agree, as a lover of the book series, most of the changes and developments done by the show I have no issue with. EXCEPT with Eric. I do not like the way they have devloped him and they have seriously marginalized him as a character. I am not saying that they need to stick to the book exactly, but I feel there are a few key things that shouldn’t be changed. The amnesia storyline makes me happy, but concerns me as to what direction they take it. My biggest concern is that they will leave Bill and Sookie together because of the real life relationship (which is totally cute BTW). Oh and hooray for more Pam.

      P.S. I want Eric’s hair back :(

      • AGREED!!!

        That is the very first thing that made me SOOOO angry about this show, and at AB… it seems that EVERY good thing Eric did for Sookie, or to protect Sookie, they gave to Bill…. except when Eric takes the bullet for her…. which seemed to me that AB ONLY put that in the show so that Bill could talk about how deceitful Eric is trying to trick her into drinking his blood.

        Eric is the one that killed Longshadow to keep him from killing Sookie. Eric also helped replenish Sookie’s blood after the maenad attack…

        I severely hope that they don’t keep Bill and Sookie together just because of Stephen and Anna’s real life relationship. It wouldn’t be true to the book, characters, or world that CH worked so hard to create. I’ll probably have to stop watching if they keep pushing the Bill and Sookie relationship.

        Stop stealing Eric’s good storylines and give him some of the credit he deserves!!!!!

  13. “Alan says he’s not a fan of stunt casting.”

    ??? Then explain Evan Rachel Wood as Sophie-Anne.

    • Haha!

      •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
      ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Is that long enough!?

    • ERW is a solid actor — a homewrecker, but, though you may not like her, she IS an actor. Snoop Dog is a rapper. AB is right not to cast celebs like Snoop or Lohan (who was obviously trolling for a role on her Twitter feed). Their presence would turn TB into a clowncar!

  14. These are awesome spoilers! More Eric, more Pam, more Godric!! sweet, I will really enjoy this next summer!

  15. Yippee!!! More Pam.

  16. All good news except waiting for episode 3 for Alcide…BOO HOO!! LOL!

    Alex almost naked makes up for it tho…YUM!

  17. I’ve read all the books so far and it’s made it fun to be able to see how the show follows them, yet puts in its own spin. Can’t wait for June!

  18. ROCK ON! that is all good news. Re: the comment about waiting to see Eric until he’s with Sookie, I disagree. I think they should show that Eric would have other women around. My guess is that he’ll be not that into the stripper (other than for the obvious reason). Same as he wasn’t that into the blood hooker in Season 2. Then when he gets to Sookie, they’ll be able to show him behaving totally different as he realizes he has real feelings for her.

  19. Can’t wait to see Alexander Skarsgard nekkid.Yum.Just…yum.

  20. Ok…what good deeds of Eric’s have they given to Bill?????? Eric and Sookie do not have sex until Book 4.. You have to deal with Sookie and Bill before Eric can even get with Sookie..and of course, Eric has sex with other women..Sookie is just not aware of it, and she shouldn’t be yet anyway..

    • Well beginning with Season 1, it was Eric that staked Longshadow, not Bill. Though I’m not really complaining there because that twist gave us Jessica who I love. Then in Season 2, it was Eric that accompanied Sookie to the orgy at the end of the book and helped her through it (while wearing pink spandex!). Bill did not save Sookie in the graveyard in Season 1, she saved herself and he was no where around. Bill did not get to be the big hero of Season 2 because in the books he was actually not even there for half the orgy scene, and when he did show up he and Eric worked as a team to clean up the maenad’s mess. So that may be some of what Kathy and Dawn were speaking of.

      Also, Eric and Sookie have a very playful, bantering type relationship, not one where she tries to act like he is evil incarnate, which he isn’t.

      As for the Eric/Sookie sex, well I am Team Eric/Sookie, but I have to admit that I’m more Team Take Eric Anyway We Can Get Him, But Especially With No Clothes! :D

      Can’t wait for Season 3!!!!!

      • Also, when Sookie was attacked by the maenad, it was not ONLY Bill that gave her blood to replinish.

        Eric, Pam, Chow and Bill did the blood draining, because she was too hurt for JUST Bill to be enough to save her. Eric ordered Pam and Chow to help and offer blood in the book….. So there is yet ANOTHER thing Eric did that they gave to Bill.

        I think so far, by the books… we have at least 3 major character steps of Eric’s that they gave to Bill in the show.

        1. Staking of Longshadow
        2. Blood draining after the maenad attack.
        3. Accompanying/helping Sookie at the orgy.

        And there will be more… trust me. Judging AB’s fixation with the doomed Sookie/Bill relationship, there will be more.

        Plus, let’s not forget that they had Eric call Lorena to detain Bill from helping Sookie… which is utter hogswallow, and further hurts the character of Eric.

        It’s annoying to those of us who actually follow the books and KNOW how the story is SUPPOSED to go.

        Thank you very much.

        • Great points! It was actually Eric that made sure to replenish Sookie’s blood loss with mostly human blood as well, as she wished, after the maenad attack.

          I so agree with all that you said though and it’s not that I don’t love the show, because I really do. One of the biggest Trubies out there! And I don’t want it to be exactly like the books as many people complain that we “book people” do.

          I love many of the changes they’ve made….like Jessica, keeping Lafayette alive, all the stuff they’ve done with Jason, Andy, and Sam, making Tara more of a central character (even though she did get a bit annoying last season).

          And even most of the changes that I don’t love don’t really bother me… like changing Chow’s appearance from what it should be or changing the whole maenad character into something totally different, even her name going from Calisto to Maryann, which I didn’t like but I can live with.

          But when they start messing with Eric, that’s when it gets to me. I don’t mind that Lorena came into the story earlier than in the books, but I hate that they have Eric being the one calling her. It’s like they want to zap all the wonderful little things that make him such a compelling literary character away.

          For me though, hope springs eternal cause I’m just a nut that way and even if they don’t give Eric the scenes I want him to have, I at least know that AS will own whatever they do give him!

          • Oh and I forgot Godric! One change that I definitely wholeheartedly approved of and one of the very rare times that they actually allowed AS to portray the softer side of Eric, which is hopeful! :D

  21. I’ve read the books too abd LOVED them. Support Ms. Harris and read the books! I feel some of the changes that were made on the show would have made the books better!! Loved it that Layfayette is still around – great comedy there. Great spoilers! Can’t wait until Season 2 DVD release and June Season 3!!

    • I am so team eric. I wonder how they’re going to make bill look bad now since they already did the psychomaker story. Btw when does season 2 dvd come out?

  22. so excited for next season!!

  23. Yay! More Pam is always good news :D! With so many great characters it is hard to fit them all in, it must be tough, not to mention all the awesome new characters that we have yet to meet. I’m a big fan of Lafayette, Eric, Pam and Sam, Andy and Jason (as a team) and hope to see a lot of them next season but know that Sookie and Bill come first of course and don’t mind cause they are awesome as well.

    And as far as the sour reaction to Queen Sophie, that was an immediate thing that I saw pop up right after the episode aired, so I don’t think that people were swayed by rumors… I don’t think people are that delusional (at least I hope not). I thought she sucked, but am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt until her character and such is expanded and she has more to chew on. It was a jarring performance, but she is a very capable actress, I’m sure she will be able to sway more people into her corner.

  24. I could not WAIT to see Sophie-Ann. Wood looked so Wonderful in the previews. I was terribly disappointed after I saw her act. I could not believe how poorly she acted. Also, instead of being a queen that has alot of savy, smarts and digity she was bat *hit crazy. So the writing made it extra difficult for Wood. While the Sophie-Ann character and casting might be a flop, Jessica has been an Excellent and wonderful surprise. I adore the actress and the writing for her 17 year old and bad baby vampire behavior is great. Thanks so much Mr. Ball.

    • I agree. Jessica is great. And Deborah Ann Woll gives an excellent performance.

      Evan Rachel Wood MUST be replaced. Unfortunately, looks like we’re stuck with her. :

    • I mean, lets not blame Wood entirely, I think she was written terribly. I think even if they had cast someone who looks more like how she was described in the book, the way she was written as a bratty crazy you know what, really ruined it. I mean, the yatzee stuff was funny, but come on, she’s the queen of louisiana, doesn’t she have better stuff to do? Like run the state. I would have preferred to see a more serious, busy, stoic queen who oozed strength through intelligence and charm and indifference, instead of pettiness, crazy and rage. Also, was anyone else upset with the way that Hadley portrayed, as a ditzy country bumpkin? I miss my gothic snotty former drug addict. In fact, perhaps Wood should have played Hadley!!

  25. no bubba :/ they cant use a different celeb? lol or make up one. hahaha i love that character.

  26. To answer one of the previous questions, no, I don’t think the event went as I expected, although there was some good information (it was also short: 1 hour and 15 minutes). During the introduction by the moderator, I got the feeling that it would become a fan “gushing” event (she set that tone), not insightful information on the writing process as I had hoped.

    Since AB took credit for casting the Queen, would bet lots of money she won’t be changed. The reaction by half of the audience to her mention was very vociferous; I thought it was a bit embarrassing. I groaned at the pink spandex too – that scene was in Book 2 and is over – putting it in now would be gratuitous and have no context. My imagination will suffice.

    • Someone in the audience said they didn’t like ERW because she stated in an interview that she didn’t know who CH was and had never read the books. I thought that was pretty weak criteria for fan hatred when other TB actors have said the same.

  27. I think Lafayette should have some sort of “thing” or strange relationship with Eric. Which was kind of alluded to but i think it should be played up more. I think they have really good chemistry.

  28. Love the idea of more Pam and Eric naked. I can live with that. Evan Wood is lousy as the Queen. Would live Allan Hyde as the King of Louisanna under a different character. He was wonderful as Godric. He actually brought tears to my eyes in that role. Eric with a stripper? What is that? Don’t like that! More interested in action with Sookie.

  29. Of course Eric has sex with other women. Eric with a hot Czech stripper? Sounds gratuitous, but I’ll take Alex naked anytime and anywhere. Can’t wait to see who they cast as Alcide, he is one of my favorite characters in the books. Glad to hear Pam and Godric will have more screen time in season 3. I also agree that ERW was terribly miscast as Sophie-Anne. I hope to see more Jason shirtless and more Lafayette. Who will be cast to play Tara’s vampire boyfriend Franklin Mott? So many questions unanswered. New book comes out in May and new season in June 2010. It’s going to be a LONG, cold winter.

  30. This is making me pretty angry…. I’m trying not to get that way, and wait to see what AB actually means by this comment, but so far, it’s just pissing me off….

    “Bill and Sookie may go through some rough patches that last maybe a little longer than Team Bill fans might like, but Bill and Sookie have a connection that will never die.”

    Now, I am aware of timeline, and that Eric and Sookie won’t happen until later, but the way he worded that seems like he’s never going to break them up… all I have to say to that is:

    If Sookie does not dump Bill’s lying butt and get with Eric, LIKE IT IS IN THE REAL STORIES… I’m going to have to stop watching the show. Seriously.

    And I have a feeling I’m not alone in that.

    • I’m really really hoping that when AB says connection, he’s not meaning relationship. In my eyes, even in the books Sookie and Bill do have a connection that doesn’t end and won’t ever end. But that connection does not mean that they are together as a couple or that they should be. Maybe that’s what he meant. Maybe. Hopefully. Okay, probably not, but I’m still keeping my fingers crossed.

    • There are so many fans like me who never read the books before seeing the show that the sentiments here are somewhat shocking. The books are fun reads but I agree with both the CH and AB perspectives: The show would be a bore if it followed the books as if they were The Ten Commandments.

      Also, you might find it interesting to visit some of the fan sites devoted to the various actors (beside Alex and Stephen). The appeal of TB has gone global, with Anna pulling HUGE numbers of male fans. Of course the UK has TB-mania now, along with France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Most of these fans are show fans — they are just now getting access to the books. And they love Stephen and Anna as the center of the series. In fact, I recently watched “The Graham Norton Show” on the BBC with Anna. She is hugely popular in South Africa because of TB.

      I think those of you book adherents who think turning off your flatscreens will influence AB to shape TB in your preferred view are pushing a very large rock uphill.

      • If you want more evidence that HBO takes the global appeal of the True Blood version of the Sookieverse to heart:

        check this out (HBO Hungary):

        http://www.trueblood2.hbo.hu/microsite2/#/Countdown

      • I completely agree! I read the books after I watched the first 2 seasons. They are different, and I can see how those who read the books first would be aggravated, but why would you wanna watch a show if you already know how it’s gonna end?

    • The show, True Blood, is a parody of the books. Alan Ball is just enjoying playing around with the plots and characters much like the SNL crew do. He’s got people watching, which is the major objective for him, and renewed contracts for more seasons on HBO, so it’s a win-win situation for him.

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