Imagine loving a television show like True Blood and then actually getting the opportunity to work on it. That’s exactly what happened to Amelia Rose Blaire who came on this season to play Willa Burrell, daughter of recently deceased governor Truman Burrell (Arliss Howard) and newly turned vampire. Blaire sat down with Rolling Stone recently to discuss her love of the HBO series, the challenges Willa is facing this season and of course teases what is to come for her character.
Amelia is a self professed Truebie and has watched the show since season one. Being on True Blood now after being a viewer for so long is an experience she describes as unreal. She has always found herself drawn to the vampires of the show as her favorite characters like Bill (Stephen Moyer), Eric (Alexander Skarsgård), and Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten). But she also appreciated Fiona Shaw’s Marnie Stonebrook from season 4. This season Rutger Hauer and his Niall is something she has enjoyed watching. She describes him as a character on and off screen!
On set, it was Arliss Howard who gave Amelia a really good piece of advice to help conquer her nervousness when shooting began:
“I talked a lot to Arliss Howard, who played my father, and he gave me some great advice on the first day. Because I was nervous and I was like, “I want to do a good job. I want to prove that they made the right choice in hiring me.” And he pulled me aside and was like, “Hey, you’ve got the job, so anything you do, everything you do, is right. There’s nothing wrong. All of your choices from here on out, are right, because the character is yours.” And so that was really cool to have him tell me that, especially because he’s such a talented actor. It was so fascinating to watch him on set, because every single time he would do something different. He was very physical, always yipping and yelping [laughs] in his character, so having him tell me that was really special.”
As for being turned, Amelia admits that she didn’t get the full experience until she watched the scene. Apparently the had to shoot it in sections due to all the blood that was being used. But she did like how it turned out. The interesting thing about it though was not what happened on set, but rather off. The actress describes waking up the next morning feeling very angry then very sad, and then happy before returning to anger. Her reaction mirrored what Willa felt on screen being very happy, very sad, and then very betrayed. So did Willa know what she was getting into when she agreed to be turned?
“I think she probably didn’t know what it meant to be a vampire. I think the idea of it was extremely fascinating and very seductive. And, of course, Eric is such a compelling character and he’s scary – but he’s also really sexy. And I think that when she made that decision, when she said, “OK, let’s do this,” I don’t think she necessarily thought of what it would mean for the rest of her life, so I think she knew what she was doing but didn’t think it all the way through. She was like, “This is what I want,” and jumped.”
When asked if Willa had any regrets, Amelia touched upon the relationship with her character’s father. She describes this huge disappointment the character feels towards her father when he turns her into the vamp camp and essentially gives up on her. That, she says, dampens any hope of repairing their relationship. And in terms of Eric turning Willa, Amelia suspects that he saw a strength and power in her that surprised and interested him which is partly why he turned her.
Willa also spent a lot of time wearing a nightgown and now she’s in prison wearing a uniform. So she hasn’t gotten to share Pam’s wardrobe as of yet. Does she have wardrobe envy? Amelia says she misses the nightgown:
“I actually loved that nightgown. I got really attached to it, and all of the different stages of it. They had the first one, and then in the beginning of episode four, it started getting a little muddy around the bottom, and then the final one was all covered in blood. So by the time I had to go into the prison scrubs I was like, “I want to go back in the nightgown!” [laughs]. It was just so beautiful; Audrey [Fisher] just does a fantastic job, all of the costume department. But I love wearing costumes and anything puts you in a certain state of mind, so the prison scrubs definitely put me in a very specific state of mind, too. But I would love to get to eventually wear some kind of traditional, sexy vampire outfit.”
Throughout the series and particularly in season 6, we’ve seen characters struggle with their humanity whether they are human or vampire. When asked whether Willa will maintain her humanity, Amelia tells Rolling Stone that maintaining her humanity will be very important for Willa in this human vs. vampire battle. She spent most of her life sheltered and in the dark about her father’s intentions so while becoming a vampire opened her eyes to a new world, she can’t completely go against who she is.
To close the interview, Amelia teased more jaw-dropping and heartstring tugging moments ahead in the rest of the season:
“There are definitely going to be a lot of things that are going to make people’s jaws drop, and people’s heartstrings are going to get pulled. And because I was a fan of the show from the beginning, something that I love about what [showrunner] Brian Buckner has done is, he’s grounded it back in something that was very similar to what I loved about the show when it first came out, which was the humanity in the vampires.”
Source: Rolling Stone.com– “Amelia Rose Blaire on Vamping it Up”
Image Credits: HBO, Inc. and Jason LaVeris, Film Magic