" Fans have long been expecting Tommy, Sam’s screw-up brother, to exit the show. But even if you were one of the viewers who’d hoped it’d happen sooner, Marshall Allman’s death scene had to move you. At least that’s what the actor, who knows Tommy had haters, hopes. He admits it’s tough playing a polarizing character.
“To act, no matter how the character is, you have to love and have compassion for the character you’re playing,” he tells EW. “You can’t judge a character that you’re playing because then you’re fighting against doing what the character’s doing. People were pretty vocal about not liking Tommy, and I would have to understand and just hope that the True Blood team would give Tommy some sort of redemption so that he’s not just hated and forgotten, and people are just like, ‘Well, glad he’s dead.’ At this point, at least it’s not pure hate. That’s all I’m grateful for.” He laughs. “I was so honored that they would give me that time in the show. I love Tommy so much, and for other people to see him the way I see him would be a joy. And to all the Tommy fans who believed in him from day one, it’s like a rebel crew of people, they’ve got a soft place in my heart.”
Producers told him early in the season Tommy’s end was near. “I was sad, but then I was seeing where the story line was going, I don’t know that Tommy could ever go on forever,” he says. “When I saw the writing that they were doing for me, I was like, ‘Man, if Tommy’s gonna go out, this is a really great way to go out.’ The reason why it was perfect is because Tommy tried to do good, but then he messed up. He tried to defend Sam, but he didn’t hold on to the shift to make them think Sam had died. He failed at being a martyr, which is perfect for Tommy. He messed that up, too.”
Why did Tommy make so many bad decisions? The answer is in the advice Allman gave costars Sam Trammell (Sam) and Dale Raoul (Maxine Fortenberry) when it came time for them to act as if Tommy had shifted into their characters. “All I gave them was that through everything that Tommy’s doing, whether it’s good or bad, he’s always got this junkie part of him that gets a high off the adrenaline,” Allman says. “And that’s what turns [his] decision-maker off. He’s more about the adrenaline of the moment than he is about the wisdom of is this a good decision.“
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