An Insider's View of Paley Fest 2011

-Note to readers: Although nothing major was spoiled at Paley Fest, many of the comments here do give hints as to the direction where Season 4 is headed. As such, if you’re trying to avoid spoilers you may wish to not read this, or just skip down towards the bottom of the page where the cast discusses their oddest fan encounters. Also note, I didn’t get any of the fan questions on here as I went down early to try and get a decent spot to get autographs-

Right at the start there was a short vid of other shows at Paley this year. It was like watching the In Memorium montage at the Oscars – the more popular the show, the louder the applause. They then showed a compilation of scenes from S1-S3, and a brief tease of S4 (not the amnesia scene that HBO released earlier in the day, more on that below.) They then began to introduce all the actors. Everyone was greeted warmly, especially Joe, Stephen, Anna and Nelson – but none compared to the deafening roar that greeted Alex.

Most of the panel was taken up with hints and tidbits about where characters left off and what direction they were headed in. As best as I could remember, here’s what people were saying:

-Lafayette/Jesus – Lafayette trusts Jesus because he’s “under Jesus’ spell” (said jokingly). Kevin said you can only trust Jesus as much as you can trust anyone.

-Arelene/Terry – She’s still pregnant, don’t know who the father is, but it isn’t a “vampire baby”

-Jessica/Hoyt – they’re still together, but the “fairytale is over.” in Alan’s words “Maybe the reality is better than the fairytale?” The promo clip that HBO is working on shows Pam, Jessica and Hoyt leaving Fangtasia to find a group of FotS protestors in a “post-Russell world”. Pam tells the other two to let the protesters “practice their constitutional right to be f*cking idiots.” Jessica gets in one FotS member’s face after she’s called a vamp-wh*re. Pam holds her back (someone is filming the confrontation in “720 p so I can see everything!”) while Hoyt gets into an altercation.

-Andy Bellefleur appears to start experimenting with the V in his office.

-Ryan said that Jason is now a ‘deputy sheriff’ and that Jason should be the last person on this planet to have any kind of authority.

-Sam had a “bad night…bad week” throughout all of S3, but has a chance for love this season.

-Tara is ‘more stable’ now and has undergone some changes that might be seen as ‘surprising’ and we’ll find out where she’s been.

-Eric is ‘decidedly not stable’. He confirmed the amnesia storyline, but wouldn’t give any real specifics. He did mention a flashback of Eric/Bill early on, and said that he’d love to do more flashbacks with Pam and/or Godric. One of the actors (Marshall – Tommy, I think) says he’d like to work with Alex to find out why he makes people scream.

-per Alan: We will see some Pam & Tara scenes.

-Pam seemed to be the number one choice of someone that they haven’t worked with that they’d like to. Kristen also stated how she tears up easily and Alex likes to make her cry. He even said he was trying to when he called Pam Eric’s “lovely daughter.” They also talked about Pam’s one-liners. She says she doesn’t stay up late at night working on them. She figures she’s delivered them properly if she gets no comments back from Alan.

-per Alan Bill/Sookie is all but dead. “It’s hard to believe that they aren’t soul-mates when they are in real life, but the betrayal ran so deep that it’s going to take a long time…that’s why we need 17 seasons of the show”

-They asked who did the best impersonation of Stephen’s “Sookeh.” One of the cast members (maybe Marshall, I couldn’t tell) did a good one, but they said that Alan often does voices at table reads when someone can’t be there and apparently does them well!

-The moderator asked where Rachel Evan Wood (Sophie Ann) was. They said she was “busy” but in a way that didn’t seem very convincing – something that the moderator commented on when she pressed if Sophie Anne was permanently dead, but obviously no comment on that.

-Anna said absolutely nothing that could be construed as a spoiler at all and even acknowledged that. When she finished her rambling Anna was like “Did any of that even make any sense?” Both Alex and Ryan feigned shock at their characters causing problems for Sookie.

-Stephen didn’t really give any hint as to what Bill is up to, but talked about how they filmed the Lorena scene and the puppets they used. He also mentioned how he’d like the chance to direct at some point.

-Alan said that they deliberately made the choice to not kill Russell, that he’ll be back and he’ll be “pissed.” Alex asked Alan to please don’t do that. He also said that there is no real canned answer theme for the season (like S2 was religion and S3 was politics) ultimately saying. “It’s about True Blood and bringing our fans more of what they love” or something of that nature.

The moderator then had the actors go down the line and talk about their weirdest fan encounter. Most had very positive experiences and no real stories to tell, but a few that did…

-Joe talked about how a woman at Comic Con babbled about werewolf saliva healed wounds faster and could he please lick her? Security then escorted her away.

-Deborah said that she seems to get a lot of of directions, that ‘people don’t seem to like the way I look in real life!’ to which someone yelled out that she was beautiful as she was. (awww)

-Patrick had someone who wanted to tell her boyfriend (who she mentioned had just gotten out of prison) how to be more like Hoyt. He declined.

-Sam and Rutina were down in Florida and some people dressed as vamps wanted to bite -them-

-Todd mentioned that someone wanted to help him move because they thought he had a pickup truck. He had to explain that he personally didn’t…but still helped him move.

-Anna/Stephen mentioned how a lot of women pretend to be interested in Anna when it’s clear they’re only interested in Stephen.

-Alex mentioned a woman in Ohio who offered to fly him out and pay him to marry his daughter. Alex raised his left hand and joked “It was a lot of money, so of course I said yes.”

The funniest story of the night belonged to Chris Bauer. He doesn’t usually get recognized (though he tells his wife he does) so when they were down in Mexico on vacation he was really excited because he say this man eyeing him and walking back and forth he was certain he was going to get an autograph request. The man comes up to him and was all “I don’t know how to say this…but you’ve got a bunch of bird **** on you.” Everyone on stage (never mind the audience!) were cracking up and no one knew how to (and couldn’t!) top him.

The funniest after-panel moment: Alex and Sam were the last two signing autographs. A girl yells out “I LOVE YOU ALEX!” and shrieked. So then Sam shrieked and yelled “I LOVE YOU ALEX!” much to the amusement and delight of the crowd.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening – the cast really does seem to have affection for each other and most were great when it came to signing autographs. It was a very long night – I left at 3:15 to pick up a friend and didn’t get home til almost midnight- but totally worth it 😀