Alexander Woo on Writing History for Bill Compton

Today, I published an exclusive interview with Alexander Woo on The Vault. Alex is one of the writer/producers of True Blood and has written some fascinating things for the show such as:

  • Alex created the “wheel” in the basement of Fangtasia.
  • He has also written some of the funniest and most clever scenes, such as the now famous scene, known as the Aidsburger scene” where Lafayette says some of his greatest lines.
  • When Denis O’Hare gave that great speech on National Television after killing the newscaster, that speech was written by Alex.

But for Bill Compton/Stephen Moyer fans his best writing was done when he wrote about Bill’s history, as follows:

  • In his very first True Blood episode that he ever wrote (Episode 5.01 – Sparks Fly Out), he had the daunting task of writing about Bill’s speech in the church to the DGD and his turning during the Civil War. 
  • Alex created the story that took us back to the Civil War when Bill, trying to get home, sought shelter and food at a lonely cabin in the woods.

In my interview with Alex, he spoke about these Bill scenes in depth and revealed some things about them that I didn’t know and I bet you didn’t either. He also discusses the process of using a prop to help make seamless a transition of a scene from present to past. He illustrates by discussing his use of the antique “toaster” in Bill’s Civil War scene when he met his maker, Lorena.Below are excerpts from my much larger interview on The Vault.

Of all the episodes you wrote, which is your favorite?

It’s difficult for me to answer that because each episode I feel like is part of the longer narrative. I write episodes that kick off stories that then become much bigger things or other episodes that end stories that have been keyed up several episodes earlier, there are some things I pick up on in the middle. I do feel though that within an episode I’ve written there is something that I’ve really loved.

Can you give us an example of that?

In the first season I got to write Bill’s big Civil War speech which really introduced a human side of Bill to the town so that was a really great opportunity and was the first episode I did and started off my relationship with Stephen.


On Sparks Fly Out, what gave you the inspiration to have Bill smash the ‘toasting fork’ at the end of the scene of his turning and how much research did you do to even find / think of having Lorena use one?

I wanted a smooth transition into the flashback of how he was turned into a vampire because during the speech in front of everyone, you can tell there’s something darker and sadder there, so in the episode there needed to be some kind of transition in to the flashback. I thought there should be some sort of souvenir or item that is in this really old house that Bill has recently moved into that has stayed as the Compton Residence for 150 odd years. And, that antique toaster I think came from a bit of research (I didn’t spend terribly long on it). I was looking for some sort of implement that might seem very sinister but have a benign purpose. I believe I found it from some sort of dealer in reproductions of colonial cooking equipment. I saw that piece and I thought this would make a really nice transition because Andy can pick it up and he can have very, very dark thoughts about it and Bill can explain its really a very benign thing. Then we can transition into a flashback with it and discover that it was the thing that housed the last meal he ever ate. So, he has mixed thoughts about this item. And, it’s one of those things that when you’re under the hood of the car you think, we’re going to this flashback, how am I going to get there. So, with a little bit of digging, a little bit of homework I found that one strange item, an old toaster, which I never would have otherwise known about, and it seemed right.



source: The Vault – Interview with Alexander Woo


  1. The DGD speech, the flashbacks to Bill’s Civil War days pre-Lorena, his visit to the lonely cabin and turning by Lorena are among my favorite True Blood Bill scenes.  I appreciate learning more about how those scenes came about, and the role that the antique toaster played in transitioning to the cabin and Bill’s meet up with Lorena.
    Thank you, Lynn, for an excellent in-depth interview with Mr. Woo. 

  2. Wow, wow, wow .. I do not even know where to start … Excellent interview. Very good and thoughtful questions and Aelx’s response … what can I say … I am totally .. it’s almost like getting a brain orgasm .. lol .. Much appreciated to se behind the scenes how a show is created .. This is perhaps something we will see more of .. open doors and show the fans what’s behind. I think it would be appreciated. Do you hear me, HBO??? As someone wrote before me. one of the best interview about True Blood .. Lynn, HBO would pay you and The Vault for all the work you do to promote True Blood. And you do it with bravure. If you read this interview .. you become so curious about what kind of show they’re talking about that you just have to see it.  One more time thank you, Alex and Lynn. I would LOVE read more of such intelligent and welldone  and written interviews.

  3. I just read your excerpts here, and I’m going over to The Vault to read the whole interview.  Lynn, you are a great interviewer, and Mr. Woo is an excellent interviewee!   It is fascinating to read how he chose the toaster as the segue into and out of Bill’s “turning” scene.  Alex Woo is an outstanding writer –  my favorite on the series!

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