Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for years.
The hit HBO series True Blood, debuted nearly 10 years ago, on September 7, 2008. The show revolved around telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse, who lives in the town of Bon Temps, Louisiana two years after vampires "came out of the coffin." She falls deeply in love with 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton, and is thrust into a world full of mythical beings and creatures of the night. The series was a ratings hit for HBO, even surpassing The Sopranos in viewers. It ran for an impressive seven seasons, the first five of which were heavily praised. In honor of the show's approaching 10-year-anniversary, let's take a look at some fang-tastic facts about the hit show.
1. The fictional town of Bon Temps is actually based on the real city of Clifton, Louisiana. Bon Temps was taken from the French saying, "Laissez les bons temps rouler!" It translates to, "Let the good times roll!"
2. The character of Sookie's sassy best friend Tara (Rutina Wesley) was almost played by a different actress. Passions actress Brook Kerr was originally cast in the role and even filmed the pilot, but series creator Alan Ball was extremely impressed by Wesley's vulnerable portrayal of Tara, and she was ultimately cast instead.
3. The design of the prosthetic fangs that the vampires wear is very unique; the physicality of the teeth is based on rattlesnake fangs and the design team even worked closely with an animal trainer to replicate the effect.
4. Ian Somerhalder played the vicious bloodsucker Damon Salvatore on The Vampire Diaries, but before being cast he originally auditioned for the role of Jason on True Blood. The actor definitely wears his fangs well, and found major success as Damon on the show.
5. Joe Manganiello (Alcide Herveaux) used to get paid $25 a week to dress up like Captain Morgan at bars.
6. Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica) is not actually a natural redhead. She's really a blonde, and has been dyeing her hair red since she was 14.
7. Though the series takes place in the deep South, most of the cast members do not have a genuine Southern accent. Alexander Skarsgård (Eric Northman) is Swedish; Anna Paquin (Sookie Stackhouse) grew up in Canada and New Zealand; Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse) is from Australia; and Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton) is British.
8. Sam Trammell, who portrayed Sam Merlotte, is the only cast member who is actually from Louisiana.
9. Alexander Skarsgård originally sent in an audition tape for the role of Bill Compton, but was later cast as the 1000-year-old Viking vampire sheriff Eric Northman.
10. Anna Paquin is actually a brunette and quite fair, and dyed her hair blonde for the show while also sporting a fake tan.
11. Some of the makeup the vampire characters wore took the makeup up to five hours to apply. It was often even longer for the female vampires.
12. Queen Sophie's mansion for the show is located in Malibu, California, and the 12,000 square foot Mediterranean compound was put on the market for $34 million in 2014.
13. In order to get into the character of Lafayette, Nelsan Ellis listened to Rihanna. Sadly, the actor passed away in 2017 from heart failure.
14. Charlaine Harris, the author of The Sookie Stackhouse Novels, wanted the focus to be more on the people than vampires. She told Vanity Fair, "I didn't want to write about being a vampire. I wanted to write about people who were interacting with vampires. I thought it would be fun to write about a woman dating a vampire, so I imagined what kind of woman would do such a stupid thing."
15. The True Blood Drink actually tastes like orange soda, and you can even buy it online and try it yourself. The show also created a cookbook inlcuding some of Sookie's meals and Fangtasia's drinks.
16. Anna Paquin (Sookie), Stephen Moyer (Bill), Ryan Kwanten (Jason), and Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette) are the only actors to appear in every episode.
17. Stephen Moyer was extremely protective of his prosthetic fangs, and even hired an assistant to wash and store them each night during filming. They even were insured by the actor.
18. Not only did Anna Paquin (Sookie) and Stephen Moyer's (Bill) chemistry sizzle on-screen, but it translated off as well. The two began dating after the pilot episode was filmed in 2007, became engaged in 2009 and married in 2010. Together, the couple have fraternal twins.
19. Joe Manganiello helped land the role of Alcide Herveaux due to fans and blogging. They took to the internet to try and convince show runners to choose the actor. In an interview, Manganiello had said, "I made sure to order the books, read them, and it looked like Alcide was described as pretty similar to me physically. I made sure I watched every episode, started bugging my agents and managers about it and that's how I wound up getting the part."
20. Rutina Wesley (Tara) and Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette) play cousins on the show, and had actually both attended the prestigious Julliard School together. Their bond prior to the show helped the chemistry between their characters shine onscreen.
© 2018 Rachel M Johnson