Stephen Moyer: What we thought was Bill is no longer Bill

Stephen Moyer spoke with TVLine about the transformation Bill went through in the shocking True Blood finale. Read part 1 of 2 of the Q&A.

TVLINE | As billed, the finale featured a lot of blood.

We didn’t skimp on the death. [Laughs] During the table read for the episode, we were all going, “Oh my f—ing God!” It was like every five seconds somebody exploded. And I know what that means to shoot an episode that has that many deaths in it. Every single time you have to replace the body with a bag of blood, which we call a ‘Goo Drop.’ The ‘Good Drop’ is something like 20 to 30 gallons of blood being smashed down on the floor. And they came up with an even better way of doing it where they jettison 15 gallons of blood into the air as 16 gallons of blood falls down onto that blood, so you get this splatter effect that goes out wide. But that takes the best part of two or three hours per hit. So when we all read that episode, we were going, “Okay, three hours, six hours, nine hours… that’s a day, that’s another day.”

TVLINE | How long did it take to shoot the episode?

It was three very intense weeks. We’re very lucky on our show because we get to shoot like 20, 25-day episodes, which I don’t think anybody else on television gets to do

TVLINE | Let’s talk about the final scene — what was the makeup process like?

It’s a long process, but ultimately not something we haven’t done before. Sitting in a chair having your body painted is something I’ve done quite a few times on the show. You spend three or four hours in the chair and then you come out looking like somebody else. One of the most interesting parts of the shot was actually during the transformation before the final moment. There’s a lot of tiny little tubes that you have all over your body and then they pump blood through the tubes, and that’s the cross moment where Bill as we know him [turns] into what he becomes. And that was amazing.

TVLINE | What does he become? And is Bill really dead?

I don’t think so. Certainly, when I read it I went through a moment of, “Oh my f—ing God – Jesus!” And certainly a couple of people — Alex [Skarsgard] being one of them — called me going, “Have you read it yet?!” It’s pretty out there… One of the things I wanted to do was show fear in Bill’s eyes. Show that he’s absolutely clear that what he’s doing is the right thing until it starts to happen, and then we see the vulnerability in him of, “F–k, what have I done?” And that was something I hope comes across. We [wanted] to freakin’ terrify the audience.

TVLINE | This obviously sets Bill up to be an even bigger villain next season.

I think you’re right. I haven’t seen anything for next season so I have no idea, but yes. [Laughs] I think it would be safe to assume that what we thought was Bill is no longer Bill.

TVLINE | So it’s within the realm of possibility that he could do to Sookie what he did to Jessica — only worse. How do you feel about that?

If that’s dramatically compelling and fun and great to watch, then so be it. That’s awesome.

TVLINE | With that cliffhanger, Alan Ball is setting up a killer Season 6 for you — but now he’s leaving the show. Any concern there?

We had some inkling [he was planning to leave] around Season 4. We weren’t even sure he was going to do Season 5, so we were very excited to have him for another season. But we did know this was coming. He’s just extraordinary. He’s this wonderful, complex, funny puppet master; we all adore him. Do we want to see him go? No way. But Mark Hudis, who is taking over, is an excellent writer. He came in during Season 4. He understands the characters, he has great wit. I had the great pleasure of directing his episode this season — Episode 8 — so I worked very closely with him. He has a fantastic take on what our show is. And Alan would’ve never given his baby over to someone he didn’t trust.


  1. Oh my … I will never stop lamenting the loss of the Bill I have come to love through 5 seasons.  And If he becomes this uber villain in Season 6, I’m not sure I will be able to handle it.  It will undoubtedly be terrific for Stephen to play him that way, but devastating for those of us who fell in love with the mainstreaming southern vampire we first met in Season 1.

  2. I am really hoping you don’t hurt Sook or Eric, i’m a die hrd Billith fan already but if u mess with either of the above and i’m out

  3.  Yes, the Bill Compton we all come to love these past 5 seasons is gone. I’m having a hard time living with that fact but it’s out in our control. “Bill is no longer Bill”. True but, I believe this means Bill will be come more fearless vampire and not a villain. I will continue to be a Bill fan till the end and very proud of Stephen’s performance. I hope Bill’s storyline will happy medium in season 6.

  4. Every season the characters all tend to go through major changes… so if this is where Bill starts next season, perhaps we will get another full flip… AB did say that it’s still Bill- memories and experiences etc. So it could play out any number of ways… I will cling to that hope to get through the hiatus :P

  5. I am a Stephen fan first and foremost and will not desert Bill.  I may watch Season 6 with fear and trembling, but I will watch.  I won’t be able to stay away.  Right now, what happened is all too raw.  Best I mostly keep quiet and try to sort things out in my head. 

  6. I am also a Stephen fan first.  It was Stephen that made fall in love Bill…the tormented vampire with a heart and darkness..the vampire king…I miss him so much already.   It is Stephen alone that will bring me back to Season 6 and nothing else.  His acting is always nothing short of greatness..

    1.  @Romagirl
       i miss him too Roma.  And as you say it is him alone that will bring me back to S6; which l personally think that he will burn down!
      We’ll be alright.

  7. As carefully guarded as this finale was I think it would be foolish to assume anything by tidbits thrown out about where Bill is headed in S6.
    One thing for certain, Stephen will continue to rock and roll. The man is a phenom. Bravo Stephen ♥
    I wonder how long it took to shower off all that “blood?”  I would have been more than willing to help him lather up.

  8. achei sacanagem o lindinho do bill vira essa coisa feia sacanagem era melhor a soock ter estacado ele ,fiquei triste buaaaaaaaaaaaa:(

  9. Right now I’m stunned, shocked, gutted, and dumbfounded. 
    I will certainly miss the William Thomas Compton that we all know and came to love. There is no doubt about that. And I will continue to hope that one day we will see him back to his old self. 
    I have no idea where Billith will lead us in S6. He may be much more vicious and cruel than when he was speaking to Sookie before he drank the vile (it was so hard to hear him talk to her like that). Or, there is a cure. Or Sookie finds some newfound fae powers that zap him back to something more “normal”. Who knows.  
    What I do know is that it’s gonna be a long wait until we find out. I also know that Stephen was awesome in S5 and we know that he’ll just run with whatever storyline they give Bill, good or bad. He’ll always be awesome. I’m a Stephen fan first and foremost, so I’ll be there till the end (even if it’s bitter).

  10. I’m feeling the same…shocked, stunned, amazed at what has happened to Bill.  Who knows where they’ll take him in Season 6.  But kudos to Stephen…phenomenal job, sweetie.
    I’m with WK…how long did that take to shower that goo off?  It could have gone a lot faster with some help…just sayin!

  11. I am one of the group who wants Bill back the way he was.  I think this could be Kool though…My instinct has been right in the past and I love Stephen in 5 and he os always the best thing on TB but it will be very hard to watch him be evil…I worry f=more for loss of SM/BC fans we will lose in the process. You know what I mean? I will always and formost be a Stephen fan.  I have loved him all his roles and will always cause he is the best i have seen in years.
    Besides Stephen has not led us wrong yet.

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