Q: I'm sad. This will be your last season doing "True Blood"?
A: It's just a question of mental and physical health. Running a TV show is huge. There's a reason people take a year off and stuff like that. I'm at the point where the show is very strong. All the writer-producers know what they're doing.
Everybody is operating at the executive producer level. I need a break to clear my brain. Clear the deck. Live as a human for a few months.
Q: It's not 12 months a year -
A: It's close to 10-11 months a year. By the time I'm finishing post (-production) on episode 12 it's August. And I go to every single spotting, casting session, editing. After five years of that, it's self-preservation. I'm ready to move on and work on some different types of things.
Q: Do you feel the show will be able to carry on your voice once you leave?
A: I believe I'm leaving it in very good hands. I'm OK with not being in control. I am a control freak, every show-runner is, but I'm happy to let go of this control.
Q: I'm not one of those guys who writes every single word. I empower other writer-producers on staff, they do a better job that way. I don't want to develop a drug habit to meet the output level. But the nature of horror genre means there is a heightened, visceral, Grand Guignol kind of aspect to it.
The vampire idea is basically people feeding on other people. It's a horrifying concept once you look at.
Q: So let's talk about sex.
A: The vampire metaphor as sex is built into the whole mystique of vampires. There is an exchange of bodily fluid, lust, hunger, passion. French refer to orgasm as "the little death." That's one of the reasons vampires have been so popular as literary creatures, because they are sex.
Q: But you've made it very explicit.
A: I have to nod to Charlene Harris, the writer of books. The sex is pretty graphic. That's part of the appeal. She created a grab bag of horror, romance, humour, social satire, all in this little southern town.
But it is insane and fantastic and ridiculous. Even when we use the vampires as metaphors for the gay and lesbian community, for people of colour.
Q: When the show started, I remember your giving interviews talking about how "True Blood" was a kind of metaphor for the ostracizing of minorities. Has the show veered away from this?
A: Vampires are mostly crazy and vicious and amoral. I don't say this is a metaphor for gays and lesbians and transgenders, it's more about getting to explore the dynamic of 'fear of the other' in the way that isn't really that serious because of the nature of the show.
You don't need a show saying hating gays and lesbians is wrong. "True Blood" is mostly about entertainment and escape, that's been the joy of five years, after another show ("Six Feet Under") that looked at mortality.
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