Now that True Blood has aired its (quite literally) explosive season finale, Stephen Moyer can speak a whole lot more freely than he could in Part 1 of our two-part Q&A. For instance, not only can he get into the technical challenges of transforming Bill into, shall we say, Billith but also the psychological underpinnings of the scene. Plus, he can share his thoughts on whether Bill is even Bill anymore and if his upcoming reign of terror will mean the end of his on-again/off-again relationship with Sookie (and maybe even the end of Sookie herself?!).
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.