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.

RELATED | True Blood Exclusive: Eric’s Season 7 Fate Revealed!

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.

RELATED | Stephen Moyer on True Blood‘s ‘Sad’ Series Finale, Possible Happy Ending for Sookie and Bill

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

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  1. alistaircrane says:

    Damn. He is extremely hot and was looking forward to more nudity from him!

  2. Jimmy says:

    Why not just drop the character altogether? It’s the final season, concentrate on the core cast.

    • WTactualF says:

      Because Bucky is a terrible show runner.

      • Cassandra says:


      • Sauva says:

        I don’t agree, more like Luke is tasty eye candy but not such a versatile actor. I thought Brian Buckner did a great job last year and can’t wait to see what he brings next but I’d be equally happy if Alan Ball were to jump back into the driving seat for the final season.

        • Teddy says:

          It would be cool but I highly doubt it as he has his hands full with Banshee. A pretty good show in its own right.

    • Aprilcot says:

      That’s what I was hoping for. I’d really like to see Jason and Jessica as end game.

    • alistaircrane says:

      Writing out James would involve rewriting all the scripts they’ve completed and changing their story plans. With production beginning next month, it’s too late in the game to do that, so recasting is the only option.

  3. Aleksa says:

    As long as it wasn’t Lafayette, Pam, Jessica, or Eric, it doesn’t really matter all that much.

    • tatjana says:

      Agree… and since they are going to do boring Bill and Sookie I doubt I’ll be watching the final season…

      • meleliot says:

        Seriously? Sounds like you’ve been watching the show up until now. You’d opt out of the last 10 episodes just because you think Bill and Sookie are boring? I don’t know you, but I imagine your comment was just hyperbole.

  4. nikki says:

    Too bad. I like the actor. He was good with Jessica.

  5. Ryan says:

    he exited early from b&s too. hmmmmm

    • jenferner8 says:

      He got a really bad deal with B&S. His character was only brought on to justify the writers putting Justin and (God-awful) Rebecca together as a “real” couple based on some supposed chemistry, I’m guessing that an incestuous relationship on the show would have been bad for ratings!. Then writers didn’t know what to do with him after that. Personally, I liked Luke’s character and Justin together better then anything with Rebecca and Justin, she was worse then nails on a chalkboard.

      • dude says:

        Rebecca was the best. She was played by Emily Van Camp who is the best and Justin/Rebecca were the only reason to watch B/S towards the end. Anyone who hates Rebecca must also hate puppies and sunshine and just all around delightfulness.

        • jenferner8 says:

          I happen to love all animals, and sunshine and all around delightfulness, I just happen to not like Emily or her acting. I haven’t liked anything she’s done since Everwood so we will just have to disagree on that. My point was because B&S decided there was some supposed chemistry between Rebecca and Justin (fyi, yes, I know David and Emily were couple in real life at some point), Luke’s character was thrown in to justify an otherwise incestuous relationship. As for the show itself I thought Justin was a better person without Rebecca. I wished the show had dropped Rebecca, instead they killed Robert whom I liked because he was interesting and made Kitty tolerable. I stayed with the show because as a straight woman even though it is very difficult to watch people treat and talk to each other the way Rebecca did Justin, I liked Kevin and Scotty way to much to give up the show.

      • ErixN says:

        I agree. I thought the Justin/Rebecca story hurt the show. I still miss that show though.

  6. WTactualF says:

    Even the actors know how shoddy the writing is. The show is a joke.

    • dude says:

      Last season was the best since season two.

      • Gretavanderahlden says:

        I totally disagree. Most critics would agree with me.

        • “most critics” don’t matter. I love the series and can’t wait for this final season.

          • Sauva says:

            I agree, Bobby, I love True Blood too. It’s still entertaining, highly addictive and massively popular which means it remains lucrative for all involved in its production.
            Who actually gives ‘ a twirly f*** ‘ about “most critics”?

        • Cassandra says:

          I’m with you. I really liked the first part of the season, but it all fell apart in the last 3 episodes.

      • alistaircrane says:

        Actually, it was the best since Season 4—Season 5 was the only bad season, followed by Season 2. True Blood is generally an awesome show, and Season 6 was a return to form. The only people who hate Season 6 are the Eric and Sookie shippers. Unfortunately for them, that ship has sailed, and Bookie are endgame. :-D

        • Francine says:

          Sorry, its not true that only Sookie and Eric fans hated season 6. I know its easier to think thats the case and it may be for some- but not all. I actually prefer Sookie with Bill (I liked Eric and Sookie in the books but never thought they made sense on the show) but I still thought last season sucked for a number or reasons- which I actually stated below. The last 3-4 episodes just ruined the progress they made in the beginning episodes for me.

          • tarc says:

            The show has been ridiculously successful, so there really isn’t a basis for saying any season was particularly anything. Mentioning the whole ‘shipping thing pretty much eliminates your objectivity, IMHO.

        • Susan says:

          Bookie is endgame because the Paquins control the show. ;)

        • Francine says:

          Sorry tarc, was that supposed to be a reply to my comment?

  7. Hmm. says:

    Really hope that means this ridiculous “love” is over. If the series is ending, I want it to end with Jason and Jessica

    • Gretavanderahlden says:

      I don’t. Jason is nearing mid thirties and Jessica is forever 17. I find that kind of creepy.

      • Hmm says:

        I take it you had the same issue with Hoyt then, as he and Jason are the same age? Also, how old do you think James was? Couldn’t have been much younger than Jason.

        To each their own, but of all the relationships on this show, I was most intrigued by Jason and Jessica’s. She came into Jason’s life at a time he needed “purity” and he was a coming-of-age for her. They were a ray of light in an otherwise annoying season 4.

        • Cassandra says:

          But unlike Hoyt and Jason, the age difference is never going to be more extreme than what it currently is, James is permanently stuck in his late twenties, the other two guys will just keep on spreading that gap.

    • alistaircrane says:

      Jessica belongs with Hoyt.

      • Jj says:

        this. I wish they’d bring him back.

      • Sauva says:

        I’m not so sure, Hoyt no longer has any idea who she is so they’d have to fall in love all over again. Unless he comes back from Alaska as a vampire, I don’t think Jessica would want to go there again.

  8. Kyle C. says:

    It’s the last season. We don’t need endless lead characters we just need the originals and long-time characters. Not a cluster of a show.

  9. jenferner8 says:

    The poor guy can’t seem to get a break, he seems to get screwed on every show he’s done the last several years. First Brothers and Sisters, now this.

  10. Kyle C. says:

    Wait, he’ll exit True Blood because he didn’t like the writing but he choose to join Fifty Shades of Grey… Irony.

    • JK says:

      ^^^This! Hahaha!

    • Gretabanderahlden says:

      That oughta tell you how bad True Blood’s writers are. You know it’s bad when 50 SoG is more appealing.

      • alistaircrane says:

        True Blood’s writers are pretty damn good. Season 6 was excellent!

        • Francine says:

          I wish I could agree with you, but I found the writing last season to be just as bad as the previous year. It started off fairly good but the Warlow character and the way it ended… That was just bad writing. There was potential there but they never went anywhere with it. And zombie vampires? Oy. Season 6 was slightly better than season 5 but as that year was horrific, that’s not saying much. I miss the feel of seasons 1-3. They haven’t given me any reason to think it will be better in the final season, although of course I’ll see it through. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

        • Sauva says:

          As usual, I couldn’t wait for each new TB episode to air last season. IMO season 6 was great and set up what looks like is going to be a promising final season this year.

    • KND says:


  11. dan says:

    Disappointing. I liked him with Jessica.

    • Lena120 says:

      I did too. He was the only new character I liked. And to be honest, I don’t even remember much else about last season. That’s how bad it was.

    • Sauva says:

      I thought they made a cute couple too. Maybe too cute, you know how True Blood loves to mess with happy relationships.

  12. Whatever says:

    Well that’s disappointing ! He is all kind of hot.
    I was really looking forward to seeing him on the final season of TB.
    As long as we still have Eric…

  13. Andrew Hass says:

    I don’t watch True Blood for the record but maybe Luke Grimes leaving could be a good thing because the show may not want an actor who is unhappy.However Luke is an actor and yes he may have been promised something when he joined but the show may have changed their plans regarding his character and that is their right.As for recasting maybe it’s too late to write the character off because of the story he’s going to be in.

  14. Tori says:

    I am really curious in what direction was the character heading in the final season that he felt strongly enough too ask to be let go? The final season of a popular show will receive extra media attention ; which many actors would kill to have that kind of exposure to further their careers.

  15. mac says:

    Many actors stick with shows for the fans, that’s kind of an unwritten rule. Otherwise many actors would’ve already bailed on other shows.

    So I say this: whatever they wrote it couldn’t possibly have been worthy of dissapointing his fans.

    Kill James off in a few seconds, who cares about a side character like that anyway ?

  16. ericsw47 says:

    Luke Grimes fiasco just illustrates how bad the writing team on true blood really are ……last 2 seasons have had no direction ….you see start season 6 off with Eric and Sookie saying goodbye ..thats the best chemistry on the show. Then by the finale you have Sookie with A lcide as a couple..which is no chemistry and now Bill is back as a love interest again but their relationship mostly was an abusive and manipulative one ….Grimes says that the script for James was disappointing …I am sure it is …..ridiculous Buckner and his cronies

    • alistaircrane says:

      Oh, I get it now…you’re a bitter little Eric fan. Well, Sookie belongs with BILL and always. Fortunately, the showrunners know this and will put them together in the end.

      • Choco says:

        I actually don’t care who Sookie ends up with, but Alcide? Seriously? Her single scene with Eric at the season premiere was better than anything with Alcide.

        • Hmm says:

          This makes me sad. I feel like the only person in the world that was rooting for Alcide and Sookie. Out of all her suitors, he genuinely seems like the only one who truly has her best interests at heart with no agenda. The end of season three and season 4 kind of showed this dog match between Bill and Eric and honestly, it got quite stale. I’ve been a fan of all three pairings and A/S is the only one that hasn’t yet been ruined for me (although I know they will be). Season 4 killed Eric/Sookie for me and season 3+ ruined Bill as a person. If I had my way, Sookie wouldn’t end up with anyone. One of the reasons I started to dislike True Blood was the hard focus around her love life. I’m PRAYING there will be SOME good material this season to retire the show.

          • Sauva says:

            I agree. Alcide does seem, as you say, genuine etc and he does have chemistry with Sookie but, IMO, it’s been clear from the start that True Blood’s constant central relationship is between Sookie and Bill. That doesn’t mean to say there can’t be a twist of some kind when the show ends.

          • WTActualF says:

            Yeah. I liked when Sookie got drunk and Alcide was willing to have sex with her even though he knew she wasn’t sober. What a gentleman.

      • Shelli says:

        Oh I get it, you’re an obnoxious little Bill fan. You sound ridiculous, people can like whoever/whatever they like without being ridiculed and scolded.

      • RedLily says:

        The Eric fans complain about everything and bash BB and his crew without having all the facts, all because their ‘ship’ never panned out.

        • Gretavanderahlden says:

          Or, people are just stating the obvious. BB is a terrible show runner. Don’t believe me? Go ask all the writers that left. They’ll tell you. The organic froth and characterizations were thrown out the window Amin favor of forcing the square peg into the round hole. And I you didn’t agree with BB, then pack your bags because you’re out. That’s coming from an inside source. The current writers are awful and their storylines are rushed and nonsensical.

          • alistaircrane says:

            Season 6 was excellent. You’re an Eric fan and therefore not objective at all.

          • Gretavanderahlden says:

            Hey alistaircrane I never said I was an Eric fan. But even if I was, your idiotic logic would apply to yourself since you love that abusive monster so much.

            Why don’t you go back to your sad little Bill Compton Appreciation Society and talk about how hot DubCon cemetary sex is.

          • redjane12 says:

            I agree and even without insider knowledge one just has to look at the highly promising storyline involving Ben/Warlow (and a decent actor at that – hot, charismatic and could act) that the previous show runner Mark Hudis started and how it was f***** up half way through and ended up being totally pointless. Nearly as pointless as Niall who should have been a better character based on casting a pretty well known Rutger Hauer but again, that plotline went to hell.

          • Sauva says:

            It’s Alan Ball’s show so he gets final say on story direction and on the appointment of his writing team and his successor, nothing controversial about that IMO. I don’t agree that the current writers are awful, Ball, Buckner and Woo have written some of the best episodes and have been on board since the show’s inception.

        • alistaircrane says:

          I don’t even feel sorry for Eric and Sookie shippers. They are rabid little mutts and they only brought this on themselves. It never made sense to root against Bill and Sookie—-the first season clearly established they are endgame. Too bad, so sad, Eric fans! We Bill and Sookie shippers are getting what we want and deserve! Clearly Anna Paquin agrees—she married Bill! :-D

          • Aeol says:

            I think you’re taking these fictional television characters a little too seriously!

          • Susan says:

            That’s why Moyer married Paquin. Poor Anna.

          • Gretavanderahlden says:

            You are a sad delusional mutt. You actually think Anna Paquin IS Sookie and Stephen Moyer IS Bill. Get a clue. They’re only actors, you can stop fapping off to their cemetary sex in your twisted little mind.

          • Jj says:

            Um…. time for somebody’s NAPPIE!!!!!!! Just sayin’! Thanks for the laughs though…..

          • redjane12 says:

            As much as I am a total Eric-Sookie shipper I agree with you that TB has always showed their endgame was Bill & Sookie with some subtle, some not so subtle changes from the books like Bill not raping Sookie in the show, Bill killing Longshadow rather than Eric to save her etc etc.

            I think the marriage is unrelated though….

    • Sauva says:

      Luke’s departure illustrates no such thing, IMO. If the writing on True Blood were bad the shot wouldn’t be such a hit. The last 2 seasons had a clear direction: taking the show leads on an evolutionary journey, way out there, to their extreme fairy and vampire natures; then laying the ground to bring everything back round full circle to Bon Temps.

      I don’t see the chemistry between Sookie and Eric as the best, nor do I see Bill as being any more abusive and manipulative to Sookie than Eric has been. I can see chemistry between Sookie and Alcide too.

      I suppose we all have our different favorites and points of view but TBH your complaints, ericsw47, sound driven by your disappointment in the writing team not portraying Eric as Sookie’s soul mate.

    • It's devolved says:

      This show has devolved into zero plot. It’s all schlocky violence and gratuitous (and generally not-sexy) sex.

      Can you spell *P*A*N*D*E*R*I*N*G?

  17. Kyle C. says:

    Shiloh Fernandez is his doppelgänger. Cast him.

  18. Trenton says:

    My guess is his character was going to turn somewhat evil. He joined the show as a white knight character… and obviously he took the role with that being the case. Now he is leaving b/c he doesn’t like the direction assuming the report is accurate. His character becoming evil or possibly infected early on only highlights the possibility that she and jason may have a shot. Of course a 500 year old vampress with tease issues may be a bigger issue.

  19. S says:

    Why do we need a recast? I like Luke/James but I just don’t see the need in it and it must be really bad considering this is the last season and he’s still choosing to leave. Wow. Well you know what I don’t even care anymore after them burning our Eric. I only care about Eric’s story now.

  20. Isabella says:

    Are you kidding? He was the best new man candy!

  21. Sandie says:

    I want the show to concentrate on the core characters from season one, in roughly the same proportion of their screen time that year. I know they need supporting characters to interact with, and I was okay with the actor, but sorry, James is too new and I don’t feel invested in his character’s ending. Sookie, Jason, Bill, Tara, Lafayette, Arlene & Andy. They deserve stories with proper endings. They’re the heart of the show.

  22. sarah says:

    so he was gonna do it even with fifty shades of grey role but he just really didn’t like the scripts and character development
    that’s a little worrying for the final season

  23. Annie says:

    Lafayette’s new boyfriend perhaps? If that’s the case then Luke is pulling a crappy move.

  24. Fernanda says:

    Don’t do any recast,.. just say Jessica and James slipt up because any other reasons. She finds out James has other vampire women or a human lover and then she bangs to another vampire…. many people love Jessica and Jason but I don’t, I prefer one last meeting with Hoyt, even if he doesn’t remember her

    • redjane12 says:

      I think the reason is that they need a hot charismatic vampire for the final season and Eric Northman is not going to be around much… Based on how the showrunner described his season 7 future he is going to seemingly be away from Bon Temps doing his own thing so they need someone to be the titular fanged heartthrob in Shreveport… Bill just doesn’t have that kind of pull…

  25. RedLily says:

    I’m disappointed that Luke Grimes is leaving because he was really good playing opposite Jessica. And as an actor, if he does not like the direction of his character then he has every right to leave said tv show.

    And bashing the writing and BB without having all the information about why Luke asked to be let go is just plain rude. Luke has more manners then some posters here do, he has not said one bad thing about TB and the writers.

    • Gretavanderahlden says:

      I can bash BB all I want because he is an awful show runner with terrible ideas and a lame writing staff. What was all that garbage with Warlow about? They literally tie him to a tree for 3/4 of the season, then killed him off when they were done. Wasn’t he supposed to be the most powerful vamp ever? Terrible

  26. Francine says:

    Bummer, I actually liked him. I thought he had good chemistry with Jessica.. I was never that into Jason and Jessica together, but I would take that over Jason staying with the Violet character.

  27. Aeol says:

    I didn’t know who this actor is and I thought the character was totally forgettable, but I think it’s pretty unprofessional for an actor to quit a job because “they don’t approve” of the storyline. He doesn’t own the show, he should be glad to even have a job. He lucks into a series regular role on the final season and then quits? Good riddance.

  28. Jillian says:

    Not a big loss. He was a pointless character to begin with. Too bad they’re not scrapping the whole character instead. True Blood has too many cooks in the kitchen.

  29. Susan says:

    You know Season 7 is a disaster when minor characters are jumping ship.

    • redjane12 says:

      Yep – that was my initial reaction too. It is a pretty popular show on HBO so for a non-star actor like him (not meant as an insult, just a fact) to drop out, he must have seen some dire scripts (not that this is too surprising as the last couple of seasons have been very irregular in quality)

    • Sauva says:

      No. All you know is that Luke didn’t like the direction his character was taking. It’s hardly the Titanic. Not until more of the cast jump ship can it even start to be considered a disaster, IMO.

  30. Tai says:

    This isn’t that surprising. I really haven’t enjoyed True Blood in years. I was such a huge fan of it until about season four. Then it just got tedious to watch. Much like the books were to read. I liked this guy but he’s not a huge part of the show unless something changes. Still the fact that he doesn’t like the direction of these scripts but is still in 50 Shades of Grey. Yeah, that just says so much.

    That being said I’ll still be watching the final train wreck. But I still can’t help but hold onto the hope that the quality will return again.

    • Sauva says:

      I find it surprising but I still love the show and am now curious to see what happens with James character next season.

      You must be a real glutton for punishment or a supreme optimist to continue watching what you find a tedious show you suspect is pretty much headed for a trainwreck of a finale. I hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  31. Francine says:

    Off subject here- TVLine, WHEN are you going to get delete and edit buttons on here??? My reply posts keep getting randomly posted under the wrong comments and it looks like I’m having an imaginary conversation with someone. Ugh.

  32. Didn’t this happen with him on B&S too? Not to cast stones, but maybe the actor’s a bit difficult to work with. Whenever “creative differences” are cited that’s usually the truth behind the separation.

  33. ginger says:

    I’m not sure why everyone presumes if you are an Eric fan you hate the show? I am a huge Eric fan and an Eric/Sookie fan and I love True Blood. Eric has been the best written character over the entire 6 seasons of the show so far, and I’d be surprised if that changed in the final season. Alexander Skarsgard has been the break-out star of the show as well. Eric fans have a lot to be happy about and I am happy.

    Luke Grimes is no great loss, 5 minutes screen time in an established and highly successful HBO show and he throws out his teddy because he isn’t getting to be with Deborah. Shut the door on your way out please!

  34. Am I the only one that wants Sookie and Sam together?

    • Sauva says:

      I love Sam but with only 10 episodes next season is it be too big an ask to pull that off convincingly? I could be wrong but it looks like if Sookie ends up with anyone it will be Bill unless she’s going to do a Tara and find herself a female forever after.

    • cas says:

      Yeah in season 1 I did want Sam and Sookie. I feel now they don’t make sense, and really they barely even share screen time much. They just aren’t the same so I think they work better as friends.

  35. redjane12 says:

    Not a great sign for TB’s 7th season that an actor would opt out of a significant character – it has to be significant since it is being recast… My best guess is that they need a hot vampire as Eric Northman’s presence is probably going to be minimal… Bill just doesn’t scream hot really…

    • Sauva says:

      Bill screams hotter than Eric to me but shifters and weres run hotter than vamps.

      • Susan says:

        Bill looks too old.

        • Sauva says:

          Not to me (or Anna Paquin) he doesn’t.

        • WTActualF says:

          Agree. I like Stephen Moyer and I’m happy that Anna Paquin and him found each other, but he’s a terrible Bill Compton. Bad accent and yeah, he’s too old for the character.

          • Sauva says:

            Don’t agree that Stephen Moyer is in any way “a terrible Bill Compton”. I’m still very happily being glamoured by his portrayal of Alan Ball’s version of Bill and don’t see him as “too old”. To my mind at least, Moyer’s Bill and Paquin’s Sookie have a powerful chemistry and make excellent star crossed lovers. I think True Blood has a beautiful and all round outstanding cast but individual fans will always find different actors or characters good or bad, hot or not, so it seems we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. I just happen to believe that Grimes opting out now is more likely to be down to the direction in which his character is headed, rather than the relative merits or hotness of Bill and Eric.

          • Mollie says:

            That’s probably because you’re old. Old women love Bill Compton.

  36. It's devolved says:

    The fact that Bill and Sookie may actually be the end game is just a reflection of how badly this show has tanked. I’d take big, dumb and morally compromised Alcide over Bill the sexual sadist serial killer any day of the week.

    • WTActualF says:

      Bill Compton is a sexual sadist serial killer. That’s what I love about him. He’s the only vampire with the balls enough to take why he wants and eff the consequences (which have been zero for him) he deserves Sookie because he claimed her first and she has had his blood more often than Eric’s. Bill likes to kill attractive blondes, so I’m hoping that he’ll kill Sookie in the finale.

  37. Remy0070 says:

    Read the books,they were better than the show.

  38. kevin houser says:

    Homosexuals and people who advocate for them are the lowest forms of life. Someone had to say it…perverts!