Yesterday, the True Blood family was devastated with the news that Nelsan Ellis had died at the age of 39. We too were shaken and found it necessary to reopen the Vault in order to post a fitting tribute to the wonderful actor.
If you go over to our sister True Blood site, you will not see that many of the True Blood cast and crew also have been tweeting about his death with shock and sadness. We too, here at ASM are grieved.
See our Tribute to him here: The Vault – trueblood-online.com
Stephen Moyer was also inspired to also write about Nelsan and his portrayal of Lafayette. Stephen writes a heartfelt description of how Nelsan Ellis and his wonderful portrayal of Lafayette was very, very special indeed.
Read Stephen lovely post from Facebook below:
One of the first places we shot on the pilot of True Blood was Sam Merlotte’s Bar.
The kitchen Suzuki Ingerslev built in Merlotte’s had a walk in freezer & working gas burners. It remained my favourite set throughout all 7 seasons – when shooting in Louisiana many months later she took us to the actual bar she had used as inspiration. It was almost as amazing as our Merlotte’s, but not quite – They didn’t have a Lafayette.
In the scene that was being shot that day, Lafayette, a male cross-dressing short order cook in the show, was expounding on his theory of men’s fear of the female anatomy.. specifically, the vagina. ‘I know every man whether straight, gay or George MotherFuckin’ Bush is afraid of the pussy..’
I’m not sure I have ever seen, before or since, people crowd around a monitor at video village with their hands clapped to their mouths from shock, sheer laughter and wonder as the actor playing Lafayette jiggled and shook and humped the butchers block to get his point across. it was completely original, funny, sardonic, risqué and brilliant.
That was Nelsan Ellis. All of the above.
I turned to Alan Ball when the scene was finished and whispered… ‘you can’t kill him!’ (Lafayette’s death at the of the first book is the cliffhanger that leads to Book 2… )
Nelsan Ellis was the only actor in the 7 years of True Blood whom Alan allowed to improvise. Actually, I’m going to take that back. It wasn’t that Alan allowed him to do it, it was more that when Nelsan inhabited the world of Lafayette, he quite literally COULDN’T STOP himself. It was like he was possessed.
In actuality Nelsan was quiet, smart, thoughtful, warm and kind. A published playwright himself.
I think it would be fair to say that he taught all of us that intent and courage and fearlessness and freedom are the aspects of playing make-believe that spark the corners of the room where the dark is most impenetrable; to shine a light on those corners within ourselves is the very reason we go back time and again to Movies, TV shows and Theatre. To see that spark ignited.
Nelsan had that electricity in an abundance I have rarely seen. I can’t believe he’s gone. #nelsanellis
See a screenshot of the actual post on Facebook below:
When I read this lovely story, which I know is very personal for Steve, I was truly touched. We hope you all will be touched, too. If you are, please tell us what you think below.