Everybody loves Eric in True Blood which is why Sarah May tracked down the actor who plays him, Alexander Skarsgård , to talk about season five
True Blood season five is airing in the UK on FX on Monday nights at 10pm.
Words: Sarah May
This is the season of the Eric-Bill bromance. How does Eric feel about that?
“It’s weird. Eric doesn’t care about many people or vampires. He has a handful – Godric, Pam, Nora his sister, and Sookie – that he’s very loyal to, but not many, so it’s a discovery for Eric that he cares about Bill. He never hated Bill, he just thought: ‘Pah! Naïve young little vampire who believes in humanity still…’ So it’s weird for him when he’s suddenly protecting and saving Bill. He’ll say, ‘I’m not leaving without you.’ The discovery of, ‘I actually like this guy,’ it’s definitely a new feeling for Eric.”
How much fun is the bromance to do?
“It’s been a little too much fun. Stephen Moyer and I are good friends, so after four years of us fighting over Sookie and butting heads, it’s been fun playing something different, playing that Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid banter, but we were both so excited, it got kind of silly. We had to remind ourselves, “Oh f**k, we’ve got to remember that the stakes are pretty high.”
Might Eric and Sookie get back together this season? Because Eric seems to get over her quite quickly when we meet his sister…
“Well, the relationship with Nora is quite different. And with Sookie, he’s not over her, it’s more about that he punishes himself because he opened up and let her in. Last season even after the spell was gone, he said, ‘I still want you,’ and she said no! So he’s like, ‘You f**king idiot, this is what happens when you open up, this is the reason you have this wall around yourself emotionally, because when you let a human in, you get hurt!’ So even though there is still obviously a connection he’s very much… No.”
Is work still fun after five years?
“Yeah, I was worried, in the beginning, because on a movie, you read the whole thing, so you can plan it. On this show I didn’t know how season five would end until a few days before we started shooting because we didn’t have the scripts yet, so that’s weird and scary, but creatively that’s good, to be a little intimidated. I didn’t know, ‘Am I going to be challenged after four, five, six years?’ But it’s never been repetitive. Alan and the writers keep it interesting. Last year I got to work on a completely different side of the character with the amnesia, and this year I have the bromance, so five years in, I’m still excited.”
What do you like about Eric?
“Eric? I love him. He’s been around for a thousand years so he doesn’t really give a f**k. He’s seen it all, done it all. Initially what attracted me to him was that they introduced him as a villain, and I loved that because I knew that there was more to him than evil. I think we’ve all got both forces within us, and I loved that you had to back up and go, ‘Wait a minute! I wanted him to be a villain but now I sympathise with what he’s doing.’”
Where does your inspiration come from to play a vampire?
“For inspiration I went back and watched Max Schreck and Bella Legosi and Nosferatu and all those classic old vampire movies. It was also about finding the humanity within the character. Inspiration can come from anything: your younger brother does something or you watch animals on television and that inspires you, where you’re like, ‘That’s pretty cool, I’m going to steal that.’”