There are just ten agonizingly long days until the fifth season of “True Blood” premieres.
When we last saw the residents of Bon Temps, Sookie (Anna Paquin) had pulled a Kelly Taylor and dumped both Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard), Tara (Rutina Wesley) had been seemingly fatally shot, Alcide (Joe Manganiello) had killed the leader of the wolf pack, and Russell (Denis O’Hare) had escaped his concrete prison. The stars hit the red carpet for the show’s Hollywood premiere and revealed a few tantalizing clues about what’s to come in Season 5.
1. Reports of Tara’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
Tara will be back on the show this season. But it will not be easy for her to return to Bon Temps. Though Rutina Wesley would not reveal how Tara comes back, or if she will be human, she hints, “Sookie is going to have to figure it out on her own.”
Wesley says that everything Tara has endured has changed her. “She’s always sort of on-guard and that sucks because we really don’t get to see the flower inside her that is there. There’s a softness. Tara, I think, is just looking for love and validation. I’m hoping that we’ll get to see some more of that. I’m hoping she’ll find some happiness at some point.”
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2. King Russell Is Back With a Vengeance – and a New Lover
The Vampire King of Mississippi was one of the show’s scariest and funniest villains. Denis O’Hare reveals that viewers will see a very different Russell in the season premiere. “When he first appears, he’s smaller, redder and a lot weaker. He’s pretty disgusting.”
Russell will have to use his cunning to outwit numerous enemies. Bill and Eric, who imprisoned him in cement, want to kill him to keep the Authority from sentencing them to the true death. Although Russell holds a grudge, he’s smart enough to know that his enemy’s enemy is his friend. “Russell’s able to look at the big picture, and when you might think he will kill somebody, he’ll show mercy, and you’ll never know why he shows mercy. He’s got his own reasons.” As for the Authority, “You’d be surprised. There are ways to convert even your most ardent enemy.”
Russell memorably kept his lover’s bloody remains in a jar after he died. His time underground has enabled him to work through his grief. Now he’s ready for a new romance. “He’s got a new love interest. I can’t tell you the name, but it’s definitely someone surprising. And it’s someone who brings some youth to him and brings kind of a new take on things. “In fact, Russell is filled with lust – for life. “What he wants to do is to live. Of all the characters I’ve ever played, he’s got a passion for life. It doesn’t necessarily mean that he wants to achieve anything. One thing he really wants — because he’s an old Celt and the Celts worship the sun — is to be out in the sun again.”
O’Hare hints that one of Russell’s scenes will rival his infamous takeover of a newscast. “There’s a great thing in episode 10 that is just a bizarre scene and also beautiful. It’s funny because a lot of his scenes this year are surprisingly lyrical and surprisingly beautiful.”
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3. The Authority Fights Back
If Season 4 was the season of the witch, then Season 5 is all about “The Authority.” Viewers will finally get to see the upper-reaches of the powerful, mysterious organization. Former “Law & Order: SVU” star Christopher Meloni plays its leader, Roman. A trio of other vampires serve as his advisors.
Roslyn is “at least 1,500 years old. After 100 I just stopped counting,” says her portrayer, Carolyn Hennesy. “She is a member of the Vampire Authority. She hails from Texas now and she’s a man’s man in a man’s world. We are very subservient to [Roman], but he relies on us for advice because we are the governing body for all vampires. He could probably do it alone but needs a little help once in a while and we’re the Vatican to the Catholics.”
Child actor Jacob Hopkins plays Roslyn’s co-chancellor Alexander, “a really strong-minded vampire and really impetuous. Let’s just say that he makes himself heard a lot. He’s pretty old. Looking like a kid has nothing to do with his importance. He can’t help it. He was turned when he was nine,” explains Hopkins. “I’m the oldest in the Authority. I’m like billions and billions of years old and I have a lot of power.”
Salome (played by Valentina Cervi), is, as her name suggests, a more sensual member of the Authority. “She was inspired by the biblical Salome who was betrayed by her mother when she was a kid and slept with her uncle. So a lot of her stuff is about standing up for your rights and if that means using your seductiveness to get what you want, then she’ll do it.” She’s more than willing to use her feminine wiles on Bill and Eric. “She will go into different situations or different moods with them. The guys are very different, so she needs to use different tools with them. She will do anything to get what she wants so why not [seduce them]?”
4. A Return Trip to Fairyland
Last year, Sookie traveled to Fairyland to explore her mysterious roots and her supernatural powers. This season, she will go back. Since her previous “fairy godmother” Claudine died, the position is assumed by Claudine’s brother Claude (Giles Matthey), who by the way is yet another extremely handsome man for the show. Matthey describes his character as, “A mentor figure for Sookie that goes into what it means to her to be a fairy, and where that leads as well, which is important because she’s only recently discovered that she’s a fairy.”
In addition to Claudine, Claude has another sister, Claudette (Camilla Luddington). She explains the family’s unusual nomenclature. “I think our parents just loved Claude and all of the girls got stuck with variations of it.”
5. The Wolf Pack Wants/Hunts Alcide
Alcide will find himself in a complicated situation with the wolf pack. He is offered the position of pack leader, but some of the werewolves suspect he had something to do with Marcus’s death. Kelly Overton plays Ricky, who is “extremely tough, the polar opposite of a damsel in distress. She’s loyal to the pack.” Ricky is a bit of a sleuth. “[She’s] pretty determined to find out what happened to the packmaster… I have a few scenes while I’m tracking down what happened to Marcus and the other characters that were involved with his death.”
The fifth season of “True Blood” premieres Sunday, June 10, at 9/8c on HBO.