True Blood Exclusive: Luke Grimes Exits Prior to Seventh and Final Season, Role Will Be Recast

Luke Grimes Leaving True BloodTrue Blood‘s upcoming seventh and final season has already claimed its first victim.

Luke Grimes, who joined the HBO hit in Season 6 as Jessica’s (Deborah Ann Woll) brooding, soulful vamp-camp lover James, has unexpectedly left the series, TVLine has learned exclusively.

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When reached for comment, an HBO spokesperson confirmed Grimes’ exit, saying, “The role of James is being recast due to the creative direction of the character.”

Grimes’ rep declined to comment, but a source close to the Brothers & Sisters alum tells TVLine that the actor asked to be let out of his contract after he learned what producers had in store for James in Season 7. “He initially joined the show because he wanted to work with [his Forever co-star] Deborah Ann Woll,” says the insider. “But when he started reading the scripts for Season 7, he was disappointed to learn that they were going in a completely different direction with James.”

Grimes recently joined the Fifty Shades of Grey movie as Christian Grey’s brother.

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Production on True Blood‘s farewell season begins next month ahead of a June 2014 premiere.