Michelle Forbes: True Blood‘s Orgy Scenes Can Be ‘Just Another Day at Work’
09/14/2009 at 12:00 AM EDT
As Bon Temps's resident maenad, Michelle Forbes has been freaking out True Blood fans since she appeared naked in the road with a pig at the end of season 1. But, "I'm really very nice," she tells PEOPLE. "Everyone's getting so scared when they meet me now. I could kill show creator Alan Ball."
This season, her character Maryann used mind control to turn an entire town into lust-crazed zombie-like revelers with black eyes. In a recent phone interview, the actress talked about bringing a mythical creature to life (and into pop culture), hosting TV's wildest orgies (and a furry uninvited guest who showed up on set one day) and what's cracking open on Sunday's finale on HBO (9 p.m. EST). "It certainly went to a place that I wasn't expecting," she says. Caution: May contain spoilers! --Aaron Parsley
How was this role described to you?It just mentioned the more basic points of what a maenad is ... That women of this sort tended to run through the woods tearing children and animals to pieces, and they were known as the "wild ones" and the "raving ones." That was pretty much it.
Did that appeal to you?It did! It didn't necessarily line up with what was on the page and that was the exciting thing that sort of gets the hair on the back of your neck standing up. You start looking for a shovel because you just want to start digging to figure out what this riddle is all about.
What do you think of the current vampire craze?In this age of vampires, what I love about True Blood the most is that it's a post-modern take on it. Sookie Stackhouse series author Charlaine Harris and True Blood creator Alan Ball turned that whole mythology upside-down ... It's not just about vampires. It's about a lot of different things. And that's what I love about the show ... It's great to see the interaction between all these different creatures and humans.
Do you believe in supernatural creatures?Not really. No.
If vampires represent forbidden love, what, if anything, does Maryann represent? I think Maryann represents things going on in the real world since the beginning of time -- Woodstock, Paris in the '20s, the transgressive movement of cinema and music in New York in the '80s -- when were just really trying to shed all moral boundaries.
Well, you certainly shed a few. How awkward is it to film those wild orgy scenes?It sort of flip-flopped between very disturbing and just another day at work, as odd as that sounds. You just sort of get used to it and everybody was very respectful ... At one of the orgies there was this bunny -- there was a rabbit, who was just sitting there staring at us. We all kept saying, "Look that bunny's still there." And after about 45 minutes, I thought, "Maybe he's hurt," and I started to walk over to it and it took two hops and I was like, "Nope, he's just a pervert." ... He was pervy Peter Rabbit!
Tell us about Sunday's finale. What's up with that egg?What is up with that egg? I can't talk about the egg! All I can say is that it was so much fun shooting it. We had one hell of a time. It was pretty surreal at times. I don't want to say anything because I don't know what are expecting, especially after that last glimpse of that egg. It certainly went to a place that I wasn't expecting. ... You can't say that our gang didn't take a risk that is really exciting. All we can hope for in life is that storytellers take risks and tell the story that they want to tell and that they need to tell. I think that we did this. We took a risk and it's bold.
John P. Johnson/HBO