Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Get ready for True Blood (Charlaine Harris)

From Manila Standard Today --

Get ready for True Blood --

By Deni Rose M. Afinidad --
Contributor --

They say it’s the adult Twilight, but to some, it’s no more than the wannabe Twilight. One thing is certain though, True Blood is such a hit in the United States, it would be a pity not to bring it to the Philippines.

So, guys, it’s now here!

True Blood Season 1 will be premiering on HBO Asia’s new channel, Max, on April 9 at 9 p.m. This original HBO production brought lead star Anna Paquin to her recent Golden Globe win for Best Actress in a Television Series-Drama. The series was created by Six Feet Under’s Alan Ball, based on the New York Times bestseller Sookie Stackhouse novels of Charlaine Harris about the tale of a perky waitress with telepathic gifts and an irresistible attraction to a vampire named Bill Compton.

“This is a dream role for me,” says Paquin who plays Sookie Stockhouse.

“She’s fragile but very intuitive; she’s had a really hard life, but she’s still innocent. She believes in love, and believes that it’s actually possible, even in circumstances that seem completely impossible. She’s brave, she doesn’t mind being the odd one out… Life’s kicked her pretty hard, but she hasn’t become bitter and she hasn’t become a totally damaged person. I think it’s an amazing quality to be able to roll with the punches and not be totally ruined as a person because life’s been rough for you. That’s a really admirable way to go through your life,” Anna says of her character.

Apart from Paquin whose first claim to fame is her portrayal of Rogue in the X-Men films, the saga stars The Starter Wife’s Stephen Moyer as Bill Compton; Summerland’s Ryan Kwanten as Sookie’s womanizing brother Jason; Rutina Wesley as the outspoken Tara Thornton; Judging Amy’s Sam Trammell as Sookie’s good-hearted boss Sam Merlotte, Nelsan Ellis (The Inside) as the iconic cook Lafayette Reynolds; and Alexander Skarsgård (HBO’s Generation Kill) as Eric, a Nordic vampire.

“I loved the way it was funny and scary and sexy and romantic, and it had a lot of interesting things to say about what it’s like to be other than mainstream. And it’s not just the vampires: Sookie is a telepath, and there are other non-human characters in the story,” says Ball on what made him want to turn Harris’ book into a sequence.

According to him, the first season is the first book in the series, with some new stories created for the characters of Jason, Tara and Sam to provide balance.

“One of the things I love about Charlaine’s books is the way she treats the supernatural world so matter-of-factly. We’re trying to do the same thing in our production design and the way we shoot everything. We want to keep the supernatural rooted in nature, so that it’s just more nature than we’re used to in everyday life,” says Ball, adding that he has been trying to avoid all the vampire clichés.

“I watched just about every vampire movie, and most of them told me what I don’t want to do. I wanted to avoid the crazy contact lenses, the opera music, the blue light… I want it to be rooted in the characters, and seem like it could be really happening, and not some fantasy world,” he explains.

In addition to Ball, the series gathers the directors of some of today’s big hits: John Dahl (Rounders), Nick Gomez (The Shield), Anthony Hemingway (HBO’s The Wire), Michael Lehmann (HBO’s Big Love), Daniel Minahan (Grey’s Anatomy), Nancy Oliver (writer, Lars and the Real Girl), Marcos Siega (Veronica Mars), and Scott Winant (Hidden Palms).

Unapologetic and irreverent, True Blood is a radical option for those who feel Twilight is teeny-bopper. This Max series has all the ingredients of a hit-maker: sex, action, mystery, violence, suspense, and rock and roll.

Even before the series’ local premiere, it has already created a following among Filipinos. Some have even recorded the series’ opening song and made it their ringtone!

Indeed, it was so popular that in conjunction with its Asian premiere, HBO Asia has also launched an online game, Fang Fighter, available at www.cinemaxasia.com/trueblood. Players of the game will take on the character of a vampire who has to defeat various opponents standing in his way.

Max, which will hold True Blood’s Asian premiere, is a re-branding what was originally Cinemax. It targets a generally male market through genre-driven action, sci-fi and suspense programs presented with a bold, direct, and unapologetic attitude.

“True Blood has a much lighter tone. It’s more of an adventure. It’s a story you’ve never seen before and a world you’ve never seen before. It’s fun. It’s a show I would watch,” says Ball on why people ought to sink their teeth into True Blood, no pun intended.

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