The first episode of True Blood debuted in 2008, which was the same year that the first Twilight movie hit the theaters. Twilight was seemingly hated by most of the global population during the height of its popularity, while True Blood was seen as the pallet cleanser for those who still believed that vampires could be cool.
True Blood was often just as dopy as Twilight, with its cringe-worthy fairies, constant fan service, and terrible CGI panthers that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a movie made a decade earlier, but the stellar cast of True Blood managed to make it work and they kept the audiences coming back to Bon Temps for seven seasons. True Blood must have been a difficult show to produce, considering how many computer-generated and practical effects were used, as well as the buckets full of fake blood that were dumped on the cast on a regular basis.
We are here today to peek behind the curtain and take a glimpse at what it was like for the cast and crew of True Blood to make the show – from Eric performing heart surgery without a medical license to the work that went into crafting the teeth worn by all of the vampires.
Here are the 20 Behind-The-Scenes Photos Of True Blood That Change Everything!
20 Helping Jessica To Lunge
The vampires in True Blood become more powerful as they grow older, which means that a fight between two vampires with a century of age between them will almost always favor the elder of the two.
Jessica is turned into a vampire during the first season of True Blood, which pretty much puts her on the bottom of the totem pole in terms of power and station in vampire society. As the show goes on, we see Jessica overpowering new vampires and rising up the political ranks. Jessica never developed the ability to fly throughout True Blood, but she still had the supernatural strength and speed to leap across a room in a flash, which is the kind of agility that requires the support of wires and some sturdy men to carry her.
19 Jason’s Melting Face Selfie
One of the properties of vampire blood in True Blood is that it healed the wounds of mortals who drank it, which meant that it was hard to take any injuries in the show seriously, as everyone was just a vampire’s wrist away from being brought back to full hit points.
In the season four episode called “Soul of Fire”, Jason Stackhouse is wounded when Pam fires a rocket at Marnie and it bounces off her magical shield. Jason would likely have suffered some horrific permanent injuries from the blast if Jessica hadn’t quickly offered up some of her blood to him. Ryan Kwanten (the actor who played Jason) had to wear a significant amount of prosthetics for the brief scene after the blast, which Stephen Moyer and Alexander Skarsgård found hilarious.
18 Eric The Cameraman Has No Need For Sleeves
Stephen Moyer directed a few episodes of True Blood, and he has since parlayed into directing movies. Alexander Skarsgård never directed any episodes of True Blood and his only directorial credit is a short film called Att döda ett barn, which shows that he may wish to remain in front of the camera instead of pursuing a career in production.
It seems that Alexander Skarsgård still played a part in the production of True Blood and even remained in costume while doing so. The vast majority of camera operators in the world aren’t as buff as Alexander Skarsgård, as they would probably be wearing the same outfit at work if they could.
17 Mortal Wounds Are Hilarious
The vampires in True Blood were often seen sporting wounds, which was partly due to the fact that they can be harmed by silver. When a vampire needs to be apprehended, the captor just needs to make some chains out of silver in order to weaken them.
The actors on True Blood were constantly dealing with red liquids and wound makeup, as well as wearing a lot of clothes that were bathed in crimson dots and stripes. By the time the show finished its seven-season run, the actors must have become so accustomed to the sight of fake blood that it never bothered them to be walking around the set with gaping holes in their skin.
16 They Had To Audition The Werewolves
When fans of True Blood first discovered that werewolves were going to appear in the show, they may have expected the bipedal creatures from movies like An American Werewolf in London. The budget was already spent on the awful CGI panthers, so when the werewolves transformed, they took on the form of regular wolves.
You might think that the producers of True Blood would have been forced to use large dogs when making the show and use green screen when necessary (like in Game of Thrones), but they were able to find trained timber wolves that could be used on the show. The picture above shows the wolves being auditioned for one of the werewolf roles on the show.
15 Taking Direction In An Open Grave
Anna Paquin spent a lot of time in graves throughout her time on True Blood, which is to be expected when you work on a show that deals with vampires.
The scene pictured above occurred in the final episode of the first season of True Blood, which involved Sookie being pursued by Rene Lenier. Sookie was forced to hide in an open grave until help came along before she disposed of Rene with a shovel. Alan Ball directed the final episode of the first season of True Blood and he is the one directing Anna Paquin in the scene shown above. Alan Ball was also the showrunner of True Blood for its first five seasons.
14 You Have To Make Sure That The Werewolves Have Read Their Lines
The producers of True Blood had a far easier time with their wolves than the people working on Game of Thrones, as the werewolves of Bon Temps were only the size of regular wolves and didn’t need to be added in using CGI and green screens, which cost the Game of Thrones production a lot of money.
The wolves used on True Blood still required direction in order to perform all of their scenes. which is what can be seen happening in the picture above. It’s telling that we didn’t see much of the wolves in True Blood, as there are a lot of rules and restrictions when it comes to working with animals, but at least they looked better than the panthers.
13 Pam Giving A Thumbs & Ears Up
The fourth season of True Blood dealt with the appearance of a powerful witch named Marnie who could control the minds of vampires, which made her an enemy of most of the characters on the show.
Pam finds herself on the wrong side of one of Marnie’s curses, which results in her flesh rotting away throughout the fourth season until the curse is finally broken. Pam was played by Kristin Bauer van Straten, who had the good fortune to play one of the best-dressed characters on the show. Kristin had to suffer throughout the fourth season of True Blood, as she had to wear a lot of disgusting looking prosthetics in order to bring the decaying curse to life.
12 Alcide Walking His Werewolf
It’s difficult to find pictures of the wolves that appeared in True Blood, as a Google image search will usually bring up lots of pictures of Joe Manganiello with his shirt off. Joe Manganiello played a werewolf named Alcide Herveaux in True Blood. He spent most of his time wearing very few clothes.
The wolf that Joe Manganiello is walking in the picture above is named Thunder and he also played Alcide Herveaux in True Blood. Thunder played the wolf version of Alcide that appeared in many scenes and the two of them became pally enough that Manganiello had no fear taking him for a walk on the True Blood set.
11 Staging Jessica’s Turning
Jessica Hamby is transformed into a vampire during the first season of True Blood, as Bill is forced to create a progeny to make up for the fact that he staked a fellow vampire. The scene in which Jessica is turned involves a gathering of local vampires, who come together at the request of the Magister in order to bear witness to Bill’s sentencing.
The picture above depicts the direction of Jessica’s turning, which concluded with Bill biting her neck. The director of this episode was Scott Winant, who is running through Stephen Moyer’s movements for when he chows down on Deborah Ann Woll’s neck.
10 Eric Was Bitten By A Radioactive Vampire Bat
Eric Northman is one of the few vampires in the world of True Blood with the power of flight, which may be linked to his advanced age. The special effects used to make someone fly can be pretty expensive, which meant that Eric rarely used this power on the show, save for instances where he could fly into the air for a second before instantly landing somewhere else, which is considerably cheaper to produce.
Eric also resorted to a lot of the jumping and super speed used on the show, which cropped up a lot during his fight scenes. The picture above shows Alexander Skarsgård performing one of these scenes while being held from the ceiling by a wire.
9 The Edgington Crew
Russell Edgington was one of the most ancient and powerful vampires that we ever saw in True Blood. He quickly became an enemy of Eric Northman, as Eric slew Russell’s longtime lover in a sneak attack, which sent Russell over the edge and turned him into one of the most vicious antagonists on the show.
The animosity between the actors who played Eric and Russell wasn’t shared off-screen, as the actors who worked on True Blood all got on famously (by all accounts), which is important in a show that deals with a lot of the romance that is so important to the vampire genre.
8 The Amount Of Technology Needed For A Car Scene
True Blood was set in Bon Temps, Louisiana, but the bulk of the show was filmed in Southern California and Los Angeles, which is common for a lot of TV shows and movie projects. The only main cast member of True Blood who was actually from Louisiana was Sam Trammell (who played Sam), with Bill coming from England, Sookie hailing from New Zealand, Jason coming from Australia, and Eric coming from Sweden.
True Blood had a lot of scenes that were filmed outdoors, which takes a lot more work than you may think. The reason why California and Los Angeles were used for most of the filming was due to the fact that the producers needed as many daytime hours to work with as possible, which necessitated the use of the equipment shown above in order to prevent reflections and glare from the windshield of the car.
7 Bill’s Wire Work
It’s possible for vampires in True Blood to be able to fly, which Eric claims is a rare ability and it is usually only possessed by older vampires. The younger vampires still possess the ability to leap at great distances, as they have superior strength and agility to regular humans.
We see far more vampires using their super leaping power than flying in True Blood, which is partly due to how the former is far cheaper to produce than the latter. The picture above shows Bill leaping during his fight with Sophie-Anne, which was quickly resolved when AVL soldiers showed up and disposed of Sophie-Anne.
6 Eric Performing Open Heart Surgery
The majority of the vampires in True Blood hold little regard for human beings and show no hesitation in using their supernatural abilities to take the life of any mortal that dares to get in their way.
The scene depicted above comes from the fourth season of True Blood, where a witch named Marnie used her magical abilities (granted by a ghost) to enslave vampires. When Bill and Eric show up to deal with Marnie, one of her followers tries to protect her, prompting Eric to tear his heart out and drink the blood from one of the aortae like it was a straw. The heart pulling scene was created using practical effects, save for Eric’s supernatural speed. The picture above shows the two actors clowning around during the filming of the scene.
5 Bill The Director
When a TV show runs for long enough, the actors can ask to take on the role of director for a few episodes as part of their compensation, which has happened a lot in the Star Trek franchise.
Stephen Moyer was able to direct three episodes of True Blood during his tenure on the show, which included the episodes called “Jesus Gonna Be Here”, “Who Are You, Really?”, and “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Stephen Moyer went on to direct a movie called The Parting Glass in 2018. The picture above shows Stephen Moyer taking on the role of director and giving instructions to one of the cameramen on one of the episodes of True Blood.
4 Protecting The Camera From Blood Spurts
Bill met his final fate at the hands of Sookie in the last of episode of True Blood, where she used a wooden stake to pierce his heart. Bill’s final moments involved him erupting into a huge puddle of red liquid, which coated Sookie as she wept for her lost love.
The cameras used for the filming of True Blood needed protecting from the explosion of Bill’s blood, which required the production equipment to be shielded in plastic, as they are all incredibly expensive and it only takes a small amount of errant liquid to destroy an electrical device or cause the bulbs in a lighting rig to shatter all over the crew.
3 Bill & Eric’s Pow Wow
One of the most difficult aspects of making any TV show that prominently features vampires is needing to film more nighttime shoots than normal. There was a TV show in the ’90s called Kindred: The Embraced, which was based on the Vampire: The Masquerade tabletop RPG. The producers of that show had to come up with a reason as to why vampires could sometimes go out during the day, as they couldn’t afford too many night shoots.
The producers of True Blood did their best to work around night shoots, mostly by using as many indoor shots as possible or by darkening some scenes in post-production, but there were still times when they needed to brave the outdoors at night in order to film a scene.
2 Bill Goes In For A Fitting
The fangs of a vampire in True Blood are based on those of the rattlesnake, which is why they pop into place with a clicking sound, rather than emerging from the gums like the fangs of other vampires in fiction. The effect of the fangs snapping into place is accomplished using CGI, which might come as a shock to those who thought the effect was done using practical methods, especially as it looks so realistic.
The actors who portrayed the vampires in True Blood required trips to the dentist in order for special prosthetic fangs to be created, as they were meant to be worn a lot, so they had to be as comfortable and natural looking as possible. The picture above shows Stephen Moyer being fitted for the fangs, which was originally shown in Emmy Magazine.
1 Planning Out The Impaling Of Bill
The vampires in True Blood are almost instantly destroyed when a wooden stake is thrust into their heart, which prompted the use of crossbows and other ranged weapons that could fire pieces of wood in order to dispose of vampires from a distance.
Bill and Sookie’s final scene in True Blood involves Sookie staking Bill while he is in his coffin, which she does by hand, even though a hammer would have been a huge help. Sookie is helped in her task by Bill, who helps bring the stake down into his own chest. The picture above shows the director and one of the producers running through Bill’s final scene with Stephen Moyer.
Which behind-the-scenes photo of True Blood is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!