Exclusive Interview: Stephen Moyer’s vision on the True Blood Finale

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In an exclusive Skype interview for AllStephenMoyer.com and The Vault Shadaliza spoke with a relaxed and bearded Stephen Moyer about the Concussion film, Killing Jesus, the end of True Blood, his future projects and more.

In part 2 of the interview we spoke about what True Blood means to Stephen, the finale and how he envisioned the final scene, how Stephen prepared for Bill’s death, the best series finale of all time and his daughter’s debut on the show.

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True Blood was an extraordinary roller coaster of emotions

You cannot interview Stephen Moyer and not talk about the show that has changed his life in so many ways: True Blood.

When I bring up the subject in my Skype interview with Stephen, he smiles and says: “True Blood? What’s that?” I reply: “That little show, you know, I used to watch it sometimes”.

Before I can ask my first question, he asks me in a sympathetic voice: “Are you missing it? By saying that I don’t, I probably give him the answer he least expected from the co-admin of one of the most popular True Blood websites. He looks at me for a second and says: “That’s fair enough”, he flashes me a smile and listens to my explanation.

avatarthevault3I tell Stephen that True Blood has been an amazing ride and a beautiful adventure that has given me opportunities that I had never even dared to dream of, like interviewing him and so many other cast and crew. But running The Vault – TrueBlood-Online.com (with my amazing co-admin Lynnpd) was a full time job that kept us busy 24/7. When I heard that season 7 would be the final season I was at peace with that: everything comes to an end and I was ready to start doing other things and pursue new horizons.

Stephen nods: “I understand completely. You’ve just voiced in a way what happened for us, I think, in some respects. It was such a dream and such an extraordinary roller coaster of emotions. Not least because of meeting Anna and having children and moving here. Meeting the person you want to spend the rest of your life with is major, but that’s all gravy on top of the chocolate coating on top of the bacon”, Stephen explains invigorating his words with wild hand gestures.

So it’s all joyous”, he continues.The actual show itself was just an incredible creative dream scenario. But like anything you get to a point where, not that it’s stale by any stretch of the imagination, but it get’s to a point where you want to stretch out and do other things. Everything that we have all expressed in all of our interviews and all the love but it’s time to do something different.

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It is everything that I hoped it would be and a sh*t ton more”, Steve continues. “You can’t even begin to hope that it will become what it became. But at the same point that affords you to do things that you didn’t expect to be doing and that makes your life go in a different direction. Alex [Alexander Skarsgård] is a great example of that. He was thinking about moving back to Sweden before this job started, because he was sort of done with America, it wasn’t quite the way he wanted to live his life. And I was in a similar situation myself when it came along. We are eternally grateful for it, it changes your life and it makes you move in a different way. Joe Manganiello is a great example; True Blood is responsible for changing his life into this amazing, beautiful bird that is flying. But that doesn’t mean that you stay in the box, in the cage that was the thing that started it all.

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Coming to terms with Bill’s end

A lot was said about the series finale of True Blood. Since Anna and Stephen left the States before the final episode aired they didn’t get to watch it at the same time as the rest of us. The first time Stephen saw it was during the DVD commentary.

I ask Stephen how he feels about the finale in general and about the outcome of Bill’s storyline in particular. After giving it a few moments of thought Stephen says: “I am going to say something slightly controversial here, which I am sure having read most of my interviews over the years you’ve seen me do that a little bit. Everybody thinks that death is: A. The end and B. some kind of awful bad thing.”

Stephen adjusts his horn-rimmed glasses and continues: “When I knew that Bill was dying, because I knew back at the end of season 6 that that was what they were going to do, I came to terms with it in a way that the fans and everybody else didn’t. So, for me I was working towards this ending that I knew was going to happen and therefore, in my mind, whether I would have thought it was right when I was told about it, for me it was the closing of a chapter, of everything that he had been.”

trueblood-00116Stephen continues:”What I tried to do was getting him to a point where he had experienced everything that there was to experience and that he didn’t need anything anymore. Whether I agreed or liked the Jessica storyline with Hoyt or any of that is by the by cause that’s what I had to do. So for me watching her get dressed and being able to see her get married, to see her have this light in her eyes and be happy, to know that I was setting Sookie free, to know that, in Bill’s mind, I was going to be with my children and my wife, all of that was a perfectly wrapped up little box in it’s own way”

“It is not necessarily how I would have done it, but given the parameters that I was given I had to make that work. So in my mind I got to a point where I could believe that Bill was doing all of this for the right reasons, in his head. Whether I, as an actor believe it or not; whether Steve thinks that’s what he would have done. I have to believe that Bill is doing what he needs to be doing.”

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Having written The Bill Chronicles for all these years for AllStephenMoyer.com, I gave a lot of thought of course about the reasons behind Bill’s decision to die. I also wondered what could possibly had been the alternative if he hadn’t died, and in my mind I saw him in a similar setting as the final scene of Dexter; isolated from the world and his loved ones living alone in a cabin. Stephen admits that Dexter lost him a couple of years ago and he didn’t see the last seasons, but he did hear about the finale.

One of the things I did hear in passing from people was that the True Blood finale was appalling, but it wasn’t as bad as Dexter”, Steve reacts with a big smile.

But how many great series finales have we seen?

One” replies Stephen without hesitation. Ignoring him for the moment I say that I could live with the ‘Breaking Bad’ finale and he agrees.
But there is one…”, he calls me back raising his finger like a professor and simultaneously I say: “Six Feet Under”.
There you go”, he nods when I give him the answer he was looking for. “Six Feet Under is one of the greatest episodes of all time”.

stephen-moyer-raising-fingerI tell Stephen that the only reason I checked out True Blood was because Alan Ball was connected to it, because I don’t even like vampires. “No, me neither”, confesses Stephen. “But that was the beauty of this show, because what it did make me do is appreciate the genres, sci-fi, vampirism and the whole zombie element. I have only ever been interested in what we in England call “kitchen sink drama”, which is people sitting around a table talking; real life. So when I read the pilot of True Blood I was just blown away by how f*cking phenomenal it was…. and Alan’s writing… and this world…. I just fell in love with it. And I fell in love with Sookie and with Sam’s bar and Lafayette and all of that in a way that I couldn’t wait to see where he took that world.”

“When people ask me what my favorite season was I always say season 1 because it was just magical.”

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Stephen’s vision of the final scene

Most of the Bill fans did make peace with his death, although it took some longer than others [Stephen chuckles], but we all feel that he deserved a better send off. After the final dying scene Bill was never mentioned again, it would have been nice if during the Thanksgiving dinner they could at least have raised a glass to him since they were all there thanks to the sacrifices he made [Stephen nods throughout my whole speech].

Absolutely”, Stephen says and gives his next words some careful thought before proceeding. There is a lot that can be said for the benefit of hindsight and I pitched one thing that was chosen not to be done. One of the things that I thought that would be an interesting beat, would be as the camera is panning out the table and seeing everybody with their thanksgivings and their drinks, they’re saying hello to each other and there is this beautiful kind of camaraderie; I thought it would be an interesting beat that just as Sookie turns to the new dude there is a small breeze that makes her hair move and she stops and looks. Then we cut to a POV [point of view] looking back at the table at everybody being happy, she looks and it goes back to the shot that it was before and it pans out.”

Stephen continues his vision: “All that would have done is make everybody talk about who that was. Because in my mind it was Eric, but it could have been anybody, it could have been Niall, or her fairy godmother, Russell Edgington or it could have been Bill’s ghost. It doesn’t matter; you don’t even need to know who it is. I wanted to see something ethereal, something from another plane. But that was just a pitch that I put forward and they didn’t think it was what they were trying to do. Which is fair enough because I am not the guy making the show, but I think you have to put in the audience’s heads that there is still something else out there. That was my thought; a touch of magic.”

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Stephen’s daughter Lilac’s debut

During our chat I frequently heard Stephen’s phone chiming, he did a good job ignoring the messages that came in, but when his eldest daughter Lilac called him he had to interrupt our conversation for a moment to pass his phone to his assistant Mark. When Stephen puts his earpiece back in I tell him how surprised we all were to see Lilac in True Blood as a young Sookie.

Does Lilac wants to be an actress?

Oh God, she would love to be an actress, but it’s not something that we are pursuing necessarily. I am a big believer in childhood and Anna having had the childhood she’s had is also a big believer in childhood. That scene with young Sookie and Tara was actually in the first episode of season 7. What happened was that we auditioned 8 or 9 Sookies and we found a fantastic Tara, she was just Rutina, but we didn’t find a Sookie that day. Also in the meeting that day was Howard Deutch [True Blood director] who is a very close friend of mine, Buckie [Showrunner Brian Buckner], a couple of the other writers and the casting. Howie, who adores Lil and is very close to her, said: “What about Lilac?” He had seen her in a school play, but I wasn’t sure about it and wanted to talk to her mom and Anna first. Because it was me directing and it was one scene she would be missing only one day from school, so we decided to possibly let her do it. I let her read the scene and videoed it on my iPhone and sent it to them. I left it up to them to decide, I didn’t want to be part of that process, I was not going to cast her. They all loved her and thought that the audition was great, so we decided to include that scene in the first episode. It was supposed to be the bridging moment between the morning Sookie wakes up after sleeping with Alcide and before going to church. But somehow it didn’t feel right, tonally it felt wrong and since the episode was running long we removed the scene.”

trueblood-00153Stephen continues: “Bucky had always loved the idea of the scene so what happened was that they reshot it for episode 10, which I did not direct of course. They wanted to add some bits to the scene but the girl who played Tara wasn’t available that day so they recast Tara but they kept Lil and that’s how she ended up in it. I thought she was great, but I am bias”, daddy concludes with a proud smile.

67 Comments

  1. I still hate the finale. In my head it didn’t make sence to see Sookie and all the rest being happy. To me it wasn’t 4 years later it was 5 minutes after watching Bill die! 2 days after I watched that episode a Bill video showed up on FB right in front of me and I clicked play and I broke into tears like I was crying over a real person. Yes that is how much Bill ment to me over this years. But i agree about Six feet under. It was my favorite before True Blood came. I watched every single episode of it. Will I ever watch the finale season of TB ever again? I don’t now. But it was a great ride. It was an era in my life that I will never forget. Because of TB I have experienced things( Roleplayworld) and met people I wouldn’t know excisted and some will be friends for a long time.Thank you

  2. Very interesting Shad. Too bad they didn’t use Stephen’s suggestion for the very end. I like it. Lilac did a great job as young Sookie. Looking forward to part 3.

  3. Beautifully done, Shad.  A lovely Part 2.  So good to get Stephen’s thoughts on what True Blood means to him, Lilac’s debut, and Bill’s ending.   I’m glad Stephen made peace with the ending, and came to believe that Bill did what he thought needed doing.  I still have not made peace with Bill’s death.  I don’t think I ever will.

  4. If I am picking up what he us putting down, ie the subtext, we feel the same about the ending…I had a feeling we would

  5. Could Stephen be any lovelier as a human being? How exciting to interview him after all this time.
    I will say this: the fact that Stephen’s beautiful suggestion for the finale was rejected is a perfect metaphor for the direction this show took with Brian Buckner at the helm — thoughtless, arbitrary and bizarrely stubborn in its reluctance to give Bill Compton the respect he deserved as a character.

  6. Stephen knows Bill fans are devastated. I don’t know if ‘most’ fans have made ‘peace’ with that ending. I don’t know how you verify that. But I am at least glad that Stephen was honest with us. Reading between his words: he did not like it either. But as an actor, he had to prepare for it:(
    I think Alan Ball would have done a much better job with the ending. There would have been some ‘magic,’ as Stephen had suggested. And more consistency in the characters.
    Anyway, I won’t watch Bill die ever again. Just hoping that some day I’ll be able to watch the previous seasons without feeling so sad and angry.

  7. Pure awesomeness! Thank you for sharing this wonderful interview! What am incredible actor – I can’t wait to see his future work!

  8. Loving this interview!! 

    I have not made peace with Bills death either. Even though I’ve moved on with my life without True Blood as a part anymore, I still get moments when the show pops in to my thoughts and that final scene with Bill…and I get choked up and feel the un-healing from it. I still don’t know if I will ever be able to watch my beloved Season 1 DVD’s again knowing how Bill & Sookie’s story ends. And then everyone moving on as if Bill Compton never existed. I think it will always be a sore spot for me. :'(  
    I LOVED Stephen’s idea he pitched of the wisp of a breeze that catches Sookie’s attention. To know that Bill’s spirit is still watching over her and Jessica would have at least taken a bit of the sharp edge off his death. 

    Anyway….wonderful interview Shad! Can’t wait for more. :)

  9. We know that Stephen did the best he could with Bill’s fate, but I still wish that there had been something to recognize his passing; he deserved more. Great installment Shad, and Stephen I love how Stephen talks; he’s so natural and candid.  Great Part 2; waiting patiently for the other installments.

  10. Adding to my post.  I so agree … there should have been some acknowledgment of Bill’s life at the Happy Thanksgiving feast.  He was totally forgotten, and that was so wrong.

  11. I definitely have permanent standing in the still mourning for Bill column.  Not to rehash yet again but I will never understand or forgive the decision by the powers that be  I don’t think everyone was surprised the series ended after 7 years but parting is bittersweet.  The cast being such creative and talented people, understandably so they are ready to move forward to new projects. 

    Thank you Stephen for being so candid and perhaps empathetic to those of us that love Bill.  I loved the idea of a breeze / ethereal  touch.

    Well done Shad . Looking forward to reading more of what the handsome bearded one discussed with you. :)

  12. lynnpd  “We know that Stephen did the best he could with Bill’s fate, but I still wish that there had been something to recognize his passing; he deserved more”  

    Ditto . No disrespect or complaints for Stephen.  He played the hand he was dealt with grace and aplomb all the while knowing his fan base would  be so unhappy and brokenhearted.

  13. Thanks for the great interview Shad.  I really enjoyed hearing Stephen’s thoughts about the ending.  I loved his suggestion for the Thanksgiving scene, and wish they had decided to put it in.  Lilac did a great job, and it was nice to hear the back story on how that came to be.

  14. What a wonderful interview, thank you.  I love Stephen’s idea for a little breeze.  The idea that Bill was still watching over Sookie is such a lovely idea. I don’t think anyone would think it was anyone but Bill and I think Sookie would know that it was Bill.  I wish they had used that idea, it was brilliant!  Next time I watch it, I’m going to pretend that it’s there, lol! 
    It was great hearing the back story on Lilac playing young Sookie.  You can tell how close they cast and crew were if they actually saw her in a school play!  I can see where that scene fit much better in episode 10 than episode 1.  Tara’s death was too fresh for Sookie in episode 1.  She would only be thinking of Tara, not what her grandmother had to say.  In episode 10, Sookie has this difficult decision to make, so it makes sense that she would be thinking about what her grandmother had said about the possibilities for love in her life.   I had to make peace with the ending or else I could never watch the series again, and I don’t want to not watch something I loved so much.   Looking forward to part 3!

  15. @Rhonda McNair I
    based my opinion that most had made peace with Bill’s death
    from what I read on our message board. Most there accepted the
    inevitable, it happened and we can’t change it so better make peace with
    it and move on. I don’t know if Alan Ball could have saved the day,
    there were some very unpopular storylines under his leadership as well. I
    just wish that somebody had stepped up and give this amazing show the
    ending that it deserved. I doubt I will ever watch season 7 again.

  16. Elin Thoreid Sykes 
    I don’t know either if I will ever watch the finale again.
    But as I also mention in the article it was an amazing ride for me as a
    fansite owner and I will cherish the memories always.

  17. ShirleyMortimer1 I didn’t even buy season 6 yet, I am waiting for some super discount sale, because I do want to complete the series and have all DVDs.

  18. Karenv I would have liked that too, they could have brought back a touch of magic from season 1 and let us believe that it was Bill’s ghost that was still watching over her. Because we would ALL have believed it was Bill.

  19. Rowena75 I basically did what Stephen did when I was writing the final Bill Chronicles, I tried to get into Bill’s head and see it from his point of view and try to understand. Because from my own personal pov I will never be able to understand the choices Bill made.

  20. Rowena75 I explained to Stephen how the fans feel just as I wrote in the above article and he truly nodded in acknowledgement the whole time. He knows how we feel and he understands.

  21. Willkill4Bill lynnpd I don’t think he was too happy about it either. I think he would have wished for a different ending, but as he said: he didn’t run the show.

  22. DeepPurple64 You are right, knowing how the story ends will make it hard to watch even to watch our beloved season 1 again.

  23. ShadalizaMonterosa Rowena75 I’m glad Stephen knows and understands how we feel.  Still unbelieving and devastated at the hand that was dealt our beloved Bill Compton.

  24. This was a fantastic interview. I for one am glad to know that Stephen at least pitched a small moment for the fans even tho “Buckie” was too stubborn to use it. I am one of the ones too that has NOT made peace with that finale and I never will. I have not rewatched one single episode of any season and will never again watch season seven. none of it. This was such a blockbuster, I truly believe that HBO made a huge mistake with the ending. I will not be buying S7 either. I will never again watch anything that BB has a hand in since I blame him for the lousy ending.

    I am glad to know that Stephen also thought there should be a small reminder; a “touch of magic”, at the very end. I thought the last part, the dinner, was so rushed and disrespectful to the fans and the whole story that it ruined the entire show for me. I feel as tho I can never again trust enough to put my whole heart into another show like this again.

    I won’t be hurt twice like this, never again.

  25. He’s still working on ‘Killing Jesus’ project for National Geographic. He’ll probably get clean~ shaven again at some point. Give him a break, just sayin’ lol

  26. DITTOS! I forgot he is already on film,with the beard, in the other project. Right. I know most women hate it when men start growing ‘hair’ when and where they can! lol But it’s quite normal & freeing thing for them to do anyway, isn’t it? Shaving your face everyday must get old! ;)
    Especially for biblical stuff, gotta have the ‘tasche & beards, right? I think he looks very scholarly and sage with the beard, ‘tasche AND glasses! Like a college professor:)
    Hopefully, only a temporary condition;) lol

  27. AllStephenMoyer I liked reading of his idea for the touch of etherial magic for the very end…Wish they would have made that happen!

  28. Thank you Shadaliza, for the great interview and expressing what I felt to a certain extent. It was time for True Blood to end. Perhaps it should have concluded a couple of years ago.
    I never had a problem with Bill dying at the end of the series but I felt it was badly written by Brian Buckner, Bill was rendered passive and depressed as opposed to active and heroic. That was my big problem with that storyline. Season 1 was magical and fun. Season 7 was dull and regressive. Reading between the lines I don’t think Stephen or Anna understood how poorly served they were by that finale until they were able to see it for the DVD commentary. But there were great insights from Stephen on what he had to do to make sense of his motivations. And both he and Anna were terrific in those final scenes despite the looney assisted suicide angle. I loved his suggestion for the Thanksgiving scene which might have injected a lovely grace note that harkened back to season 1. 

    Stephen is such a terrific actor and all around nice guy. I can hardly wait to see his new projects! I am happy to see him move past Bill in such a positive way despite the way the final show was received.

  29. sophierose729 Season 7 was the worst in my opinion, but several other seasons had some very low lows as well. I guess the biggest problem as I see it is that the quality of the writing wasn’t constant and went up and down too much. In the beginning it was magical, but the magic was lost somewhere along the way.

    Stephen has a long list of future projects (I’ll post about that in another part of the interview article series) and it’s best to look forward now.

  30. I love how he talks with his hands. He must have been making a very astute point here. Loved his insight in this interview. Waiting for more, please. :)

  31. I already commented, but I don’t see it here, so I’ll try again.  I agree with all of those who have said how they hate the ending of TB, and how Bill was left out of the final scene, when he deserved, more than anyone besides Sookie, to be part of it.  It was a travesty, and one I don’t think I’ll ever forgive the writers for (especially Mr. Buckner).

    I am grateful for this interview.  I am less angry than before, because I understand what Stephen is saying here, and I appreciate how he did his best to make Bill’s journey in S7 one that rang true to who Bill was and how he saw his destiny.  The only…only…saving grace in that badly conceived, poorly written s/l was Stephen and Anna’s performances.  They were incredible! Stephen took Bill to his death with all the dignity, care, and  devotion possible.  His performance was heart-wrenching, soul-crushing, and awe-inspiring.  I was shattered with sadness, and more in love with Bill than ever.

    A brief moment of Sookie feeling a presence (and we all know it would have been Bill’s love she was feeling) could have made such a difference to that non sequitur of a final scene.  Poorly played, writers, poorly played.

    It was great to read Stephen’s comments on Lilac’s casting.  I was impressed.  She did a great job, as did the young Tara.  I also completely understand his and Anna’s reservations about being a child actor.  It can be a treacherous road to travel.

    ITA, Six Feet Under’s finale was probably the best of all time.   I’m guessing Stephen may have secretly wished AB was on board to write TB’s finale.  I know I sure wish he had!

    Thanks for the opportunity to share in Stephen’s insights… so honest, open, and real.  Love this guy!

  32. sophierose729  When they were doing the commentary, and the cemetery scene started, both Stephen and Anna were quiet. Stephen apologized for not saying anything, explaining they were seeing it for the first time.  I can’t imagine what that was like for them!  It had to be difficult.
    I completely agree with your comments, and I, too, am eagerly awaiting his upcoming projects.  I’ve become a total Stephen Moyer fan, and always will be.

  33. love_lillia I am torn between wanting to watch the series again, and not being sure is I’ll enjoy it, since this horrible ending.  I’m going to wait and see how I feel.  I know I want to see S1 again, because of the magic of that iconic season. Guess I’ll give it more time…maybe next year.  I agree, I don’t want to not watch any of it again.  There was so much great stuff…especially Stephen as Bill Compton, the best vampire ever to be on screen!

  34. Willkill4Bill lynnpd  Beautifully said, willkill4bill.  He did just that… played it with grace and aplomb, knowing there would be heartbreak among Bill fans.  Also, I’m sure, feeling some heartbreak himself.  As he has said.  he loved Bill.

  35. Bill and Eric scenes were some of the best in all of TB.  I agree, Alex and Stephen are terrific actors, and their chemistry was incendiary on screen…and often hilarious!

  36. iamtrue2bill You beautifully worded what so many of his are thinking. Stephen did the best he could with what he was given.

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