New York born actor/director Gregg Daniel talks with TV STORE ONLINE about his character Reverend Daniels on the final season of the hit HBO series True Blood.
TV STORE ONLINE: Boy, that sure was a great episode with you a couple weeks back...That monologue in the church with Sam Trammell was just great...
DANIEL: I'm so glad to hear you say that... I'll tell you...After we finished shooting that I sent an email off to the writer of the episode and thanked him for that. It was the first time that I had done that, but I felt like I had to email him to thank him. When we were doing the table read everyone was saying, Wow...Gregg's got this great speech." So I wrote the writer and told him thanks for the speech and for caring about 'Reverend Daniels'. It's pretty rare that a character like Reverend Daniels gets such a moment on primetime television. I came onto the show during Season 3, and for him to go and reach back into that character's past and give him a back story really meant a lot to me. The quality of that scene too...The fact that Reverend Daniels taps into his past and gets to his pain....I, as an actor, was just thrilled to get that. I have a theater background, and for me, that speech was like having something to say from a Eugene O'Neill or Tennessee Williams play.
TV STORE ONLINE: I saw that your audition tape for True Blood just popped up on the internet recently...
DANIEL: I saw that! (Laughing)
TV STORE ONLINE: Looking back at that audition tape what are you thoughts on it now?
Well, when I made that -- I never thought that I'd get the role. When the Producers contacted me I was in Cape May, New Jersey doing a play. The Producers contacted me and said, "Can you put yourself on tape
?" The first thing you think of is -- Okay, who can I find that will film me? It wasn't like I was in New York City
proper. It's always better to be in the room with the Producers for something like that because they can feel you and you can feel them -- there's a great alchemy in something like that. I really loved the simplicity of the scene I was given for that too. I didn't want to approach the character as a typical fire-and-brimstone southern preacher. I thought that that would have been too histrionic, and when I sent it to the producers I didn't think that I'd get the role. It was about a week after I sent them the tape that they called me and told me that I had gotten the role.
TV STORE ONLINE: The Reverend seems like a patient and wise man and I really like where the show writers are taking the character and "Lettie Mae" as a couple...
DANIEL: Yeah, it's been wonderful. I'm very pleased with where it's going. We know that the Reverend has endured loss and he's suffered, just as much of us have in our lives. Now he has to figure out a way to save Lettie Mae and how does the Reverend save a community that is losing their faith? Those are nice, big questions for an actor to get behind.
TV STORE ONLINE: Being on the set for True Blood down in New Orleans...Does the set or the costume help you find the character?
The sets are amazing. So, Yes! Every time I walk onto a set...You wouldn't believe the detail that goes into those sets. These sets and that environment aren't ones that I visit every day. Costumes
, sets, and lighting help a great deal, especially when you as an actor give yourself over to it. I still remember the first time that I visited the set for Lafeyette's apartment. I said, "Wow! Have I ever been any place like this before
TV STORE ONLINE: I'm sure you're getting questions from fans about what is going to happen throughout the rest of this final season of the show...But have you ever been tempted to just make something up when you're asked about it? Have you ever been tempted to tell fans that the show is going to end in a big musical number and it's all a dream?
DANIEL: (Laughing) I love our fans. They show up on location, and not only are they very respectful but they know everything about the show. They know every detail about the True Blood universe. If anything, I'm sort of hanging onto what they're saying about the show! If anything, I tell them, "Keep the faith. There will be an ending. There may be a sacrifice, but you will have a sense of closure." This is the final season of True Blood, we're on top and we're for sure going out with a bang.
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True Blood airs on HBO Sundays at 9pm EDT.