“True Blood” Returns With Scares, Sex and Vampire Politics

Show Takes Cues from GOP Primary Season for Season Five

“True Blood” is back, promising a sex-tactular, scare-ific and downright fang-tastic fifth season.

Sookie Stackhouse will once again have a stake at the heart of all the vampiric – and werewolfen, shape-shifted and fairy-fied – love, lust, life and death in Bon Temps, as HBO’s horrific hit returns for another bloody big summer run. PopcornBiz tapped the veins of the creative team for every drop of scoop we could suck out of them.

Alan Ball (executive producer): A lot of this season is about vampire politics and vampire religion, and how a mixture of politics and religion is never a really good idea. We were starting to write the show just right around the same time the Republican primaries were starting up, and you have such powerful characters like Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum and their sort of desire to create a theocratic state. And we sort of thought, well, what would a vampire theocratic state look like? And let's explore that. And It's a great Bill/Eric season, because for two characters who've always been at odds to find themselves on the same side and to have to depend on each other, I think it's a really good season for them. It's a great season for Arlene and Terry. It's a great season for Tara – I won't tell you how! It's a good season for everybody.

Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton): Eric and Bill get themselves into a pretty dark situation, and I think they decide instead of fighting, as they always do, and being at each other's throats, that they'll actually do something together, put their heads together…I think people like favorites against others [as to who will win Sookie's heart]. There's big Joe Manganiello fans, there's big Sam Trammell fans. Everybody has their own ideas of what they want it to be, and the more characters you give them the more chance there is of pleasing at least some people some of the time. I think Alan's very clever, and it's a funny, dark, twisted, amazing show and it ticks a lot of boxes off.

Anna Paquin (Sookie Stackhouse): Alcide’s got a lot going for him, you know. Easy on the eyes, he's protective…[Laughs] I get to work with incredible actors, writers, directors. Our crew is extraordinary. There's not one single person who doesn't give 2000% every single day. It's an unbelievable show to get to be a part of, and I think a lot of that shows up on screen. Plus the stories are really sexy, badass, and scary-weird!

Joe Manganiello (Alcide Herveaux): We go further than the books, let's say. It's the season I've been waiting for since I've been on the show, so this is really a really exciting third act to the play, for me, that we're creating: the whole new kind of a werewolf show-within-the-show this year. A lot of great new characters to play around with. You're going to meet Alcide's dad. The dynamic is so interesting. It's fascinating – you're going to get a lot of history between them, and it's really sad and interesting and exciting all at the same time.

Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica Hamby): Jessica hasn't been a vampire that long – It's been a year and a half or something, so she's reaching out. She's trying to find anyone to understand her, and hopefully at some point she'll succeed. We're not done with the Jason/Jessica storyline. For sure, we're not done with the storyline with Hoyt. We definitely have some resolving to do there, so you'll see more.

Rutina Wesley (Tara Thornton): I can say absolutely nothing but that I will be back. I can't tell you how. And Sookie has to figure it out on her own. I'm always game for whatever, because I was surprised and happy and scared and all kinds of things as an actor would be – but it's going to be fun. I'm hoping people enjoy it.

Denis O’Hare (Russell Edgington): I’m back! I think his experience has changed him. In a strange way it’s shifted his priorities, from trying to acquire things to questioning why one acquires things. And I think he’s looking to enjoy his life, in a strange way. He’s not mellow – he could NEVER be mellow – but he certainly got a different perspective, and he’s grateful to the people or person who dug him up.

Kristin Bauer Van Stratten (Pam De Beaufort): We’re delving into Pam’s backstory, which is so much fun for me, to finally know what that was – it was extremely fun to film, and I can't wait to see it myself, actually. And also, vampire politics are big this year. And the Authority is pretty intense. It's been really fun also having this political year that we're having as humans. And we took the outfits to a new level this year. It just keeps progressing inch by inch so we don't realize that Pam is in the craziest outfits ever. I think we're all just kind of learning from each other, so hair, makeup, and wardrobe are just one fantastic team. It's a lot of high heels, a lot of corsets, a lot of hair.

Todd Lowe (Terry Bellefluer): We're going to discover the source of Terry's Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. His former commanding officer, his sergeant in the Marine Corps, shows up to Merlotte's Bar & Grille and can't be bringing good news. That doesn’t make for good drama. And so we're going to discover what the two of them went through.

Carrie Preston (Arlene Fowler): This is definitely a season that is about the vampire authority. We've definitely come back to that and come full circle, in a way. And we're dealing with those who want to mainstream and those who don't. So I think that's the real thrust of it: Loyalty. Who are you loyal to? And I think that happens in the human character interactions, as well. Who are you loyal to?

Chris Bauer (Andy Bellefluer): Andy softens up a little bit, and kind of in the macro-thematic vocabulary of 'True Blood' he softens up because his life actually evolves. And the way that starts to happen is he kind of starts making connections to some women. On this show, you can go from zero to hero real fast.

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